OTTB Showcase: Bing Bang (Show Name: Bing So Lucky; a.k.a. Bing)
Name: Bing Bang (FR) (Show Name: Bing So Lucky; a.k.a. Bing)
Born: 1996 in France
Dam: Bali Punch
Sale History: RNAed for U.S. $107,280 at GOFARC in 2000
Race Record: 30-4-3-2; 1st in the Grand Handicap de Deauville
Race Earnings: $141,449
Bing Bang is one of those horses that commands attention. There are some horses that look through you or beyond you. This horse looks at you with intensity. That look is what drew Maggie House-Sauque to him the moment she saw him.
Maggie’s father, Michael House, is well-known in Thoroughbred circles, but he first got involved with horseracing in 1973 by racing Appaloosas and later transitioning to Thoroughbreds. Maggie was indoctrinated into equestrianism at an early age, and before long was showing one of her father’s retired Appaloosa racers in everything from barrel racing to jumping.
“Horses have really been a common thread between my dad and me and it has kept us very close,” said Maggie.
The pair often went to the track together in the mornings to watch the family’s horses train, and it was in the barn of their trainer, Julio Canani, one morning that Maggie first spotted Bing Bang, a top French handicap horse who had recently been relocated to America.
“The moment I saw him, I fell in love with him. I could not get over how beautiful he was,” said Maggie. “He had this ‘come pay attention to me’ look about him. While my dad and Julio discussed another horse my dad was interested in buying, I looked Bing over and could not get over how well put together he was.”
In the following days, Maggie couldn’t help but tell seemingly every person she came in contact with about Bing Bang. Time went by and then, out of the blue, Michael surprised his daughter by informing her that he’d purchased Bing and that the horse was going to be running in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park.
Unfortunately a minor injury kept Bing from running in the Shoemaker Mile. In fact, Bing never got to make a start for Maggie’s family, as shortly after her father purchased him, he bowed a tendon and was retired.
Once his tendon healed, Bing’s new role in life was to be Michael’s trail horse, but that idea faded quickly after Bing proved himself to be less than the ideal candidate for long, lazy trail rides. With that decision, Bing was offered to Maggie in late 2001 and he’s been with her ever since.
“I quickly learned that Bing had a strong personality and will tell you instantly what he likes and what he doesn’t,” explained Maggie. “I wouldn’t call him hot, but he isn’t easy-going either. Flat work isn’t his favorite thing, and since we do a lot of flat work, it can be challenging.
“My trainer and I originally thought he would make a nice hunter because he is such a beautiful mover and jumps so correct, but that didn’t last long. Coming into the ring doing the Zenyatta walk is not very popular with hunter judges.”
So Bing began competing as a jumper, where rather than being judged subjectively based on style and the “ideal” way of going as show hunters are, horses and riders are judged objectively on speed and precision in order to win ribbons. For Bing, it’s been a natural fit from day one and today he’s still competing on the AA show circuit with Maggie.
“I’ve never had a horse that enjoys showing as much as Bing,” said Maggie. “On an overly technical course, I feel like he almost jumps better and his Thoroughbred stamina really kicks in.
“What made him a good racehorse makes him a good show horse. He’s so competitive and gives 100 percent at every show.”
As talented as Bing is in the show ring, Maggie says her favorite part about him is how sweet he is with her six-month-old son.
“He’s so gentle. The cockiness he shows around everyone disappears when my son is near,” said Maggie. “Bing and my other horses are not just show horses, they’re part of my family. I’m always so proud to share his story and the success we’ve enjoyed together.”
If you have or know of a retired Thoroughbred with an interesting story to tell, we’d love to hear about it! Just email Jen Roytz (Jenlroytz@gmail.com) with the horse’s Jockey Club name, background story, and a few photos.
Jen Roytz is the marketing and communications director at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Kentucky. She also handles the farm’s Thoroughbred aftercare efforts. She currently owns two retired Thoroughbreds: Point of Impact (by Point Given; a.k.a. Boomer), who retired from racing in late 2011 and is just starting back under saddle to find his forte as a riding horse, and Shotgun Shine (by Tale of the Cat, a.k.a. Gage), who is in training as a hunter/jumper. Contact Jen on Facebook and Twitter.