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 Pensioners on Parade

Stories about your favorite retired racehorses. For archived stories, click here.

The day after Maryland-bred Trifor Gold won the Sussex Stakes at Delaware Park, Anchor and Hope Farm’s Grace Merryman reached out to say she had “a fun Pensioner On Parade if you are looking.”

Gold Scammer MAG 6645 copy“We’re always looking,” came the response.

Merryman offered “the quick version” of an introduction to Trifor Gold’s dam, Gold Scammer.

“She’s a 1999 model but looks like she’s about 10. We always call her ‘The Ageless Wonder.’ And after she had Trifor Gold, we thought we were going to lose her. She was bleeding pretty bad. Louis [Grace’s husband] sat in the stall with them for three days. Scammer laid down most of the time with blankets piled on her, and then one day she stood up, shook it off and was back to normal.”

Gold Scammer was the first mare purchased by Alina Muther’s Copper Penny Stables, also the breeder of Trifor Gold’s sire Tritap. That son of Tapit died in 2016, but his sons and daughters have extended his reach despite just two small crops. Trifor Gold and Gold Scammer are doing their part.

“Several of her foals are in the $100,000 earnings range,” Merryman said of the mare. “She has a yearling, and we retired her this year, and now she’s with Chris Simmers doing some bareback trail riding and living out with another retired gelding.”

Those are the CliffsNotes. A deeper dive into Gold Scammer’s backstory was anything but quick. The 22-year-old dark bay mare was bred in Kentucky by James Spicer. By the Mr. Prospector stallion Gold Tribute, she was produced from the Deputy Minister mare Capital Coverup. She sold at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky’s July yearling sale in 2000 for $90,000 to Joseph Lacombe Stables. Seven months later, she went through the ring as a 2-year-old at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s February sale where she was purchased by Jay Em Ess Stables for $150,000.

She was a California girl for her first two seasons, including a tough beginning when she clipped heels and fell in her debut at Hollywood Park. She won twice in a dozen starts at Hollywood, Santa Anita, Del Mar and Fairplex Park for trainer Ron Ellis before getting claimed for $32,000 by trainer Bill Spawr for owner Anthony Pyliotis in April 2003. Gold Scammer resurfaced two months later at Suffolk Downs for Pyliotis and trainer Robert Raymond.

She spent the next two years shuttling up and down the eastern seaboard where Pyliotis utilized several trainers. Gold Scammer ran at Philadelphia Park, Aqueduct, Pimlico, Laurel and Charles Town with one stop at Saratoga in 2004. She was claimed three times during the last six months of her career, making her final start for $4,000 at Charles Town for owner Robert Cole and trainer Stephanie Beattie. She finished last in a 10-horse field. After 39 races, her record was 9-3-6 with $113,101 earned.

Gold Scammer transitioned into her next chapter as a broodmare for Copper Penny. She delivered her first foal in 2008, a dark bay colt by Dance With Ravens named Capital Fellow. Trained by Mark Shuman and later gelded, Capital Fellow won nine races and earned $239,257 before going on to a career in the show ring. In 2019, he was the mount of Team Racing Kids rider Jessica Silver in The Real Rider Cup, a charity jumping competition which benefits Thoroughbred aftercare.

Gold Scammer’s second foal was Capital Fellow’s full-sister, Ravenesque. She placed in a stakes and won twice while earning $121,476. The Fairbanks gelding Freelander, foaled in 2010, won five of 43 starts and earned $233,442. Gaming, Gold Scammer’s 2013 foal by Freud, became her fourth winner of more than $100,000. Trained for Copper Penny by Gary Gullo, Gaming raced exclusively in New York and won once from 12 starts, banking $101,660.

Trained by Shuman, 5-year-old Trifor Gold followed up his win in the Sussex with a fourth in Pimlico’s Find Stakes Aug. 21. That check brought his earnings to $188,559 with four wins from 28 starts.

Gold Scammer’s 2-year-old is Mercury Ten, a bay gelding by Bourbon Courage. He made his first two starts in August, finishing fourth in the Hickory Tree Stakes at Colonial Downs and the Dover Stakes at Delaware Park. “I intended to just breed [and not race] Thoroughbreds, but I realized I needed to race in order to understand what I was breeding for,” said Muther. “Sentimentally, I have kept all of Gold Scammer’s foals to race. I have Trifor Gold, Mercury Ten and her last foal, a Bourbon Courage yearling filly. Ravenesque is now a broodmare in Kentucky. I hope to continue Gold Scammer’s line through her two daughters.”

Capital Fellow just won the Colonial Classic in New Jersey, and Muther hopes to watch him compete at Devon.

Earlier this summer, Gold Scammer left Anchor and Hope and moved to the nearby farm of Christine Simmers, the girlfriend of Louis Merryman’s father, Edwin. Simmers’ retiree, 15-year-old Remember Joe, needed company, and all agreed that the situation could be perfect for the pensioned mare. They were right; the transition has been seamless.

Grace Merryman isn’t the least bit surprised. “This mare has been all class from day one,” she said.

Simmers’ homestead is a great retirement spot for any horse, and Gold Scammer gave her immediate seal of approval. The two-stall barn adjoins the garage and sits about 30 yards from the house. Stall doors are left open, and the horses come and go as they please throughout the property’s fenced perimeter, which includes run-in sheds in each field. And they take full advantage of the set-up, according to Simmers.

“They only come in to eat,” she said, “or to get away from the bugs, which they both hate.”

Shortly after Gold Scammer arrived, Simmers used her stepstool to climb aboard bareback and take a quiet stroll around one of the paddocks with just a halter and shank. It’s become a sweet part of their routine.

“I don’t really even have tack – just that,” she said, smiling and pointing to a western saddle on a rack in her garage. “But she hasn’t batted an eye.”

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