OTTB Showcase: UGANICK BAY (a.k.a. Ugie)
Name: Uganick Bay (a.k.a. Ugie)
Height: 17.0 hands
Dam: Nice Gal
Sale History: None
Race Record: Ran one unregistered training race in North Carolina
Race Earnings: $0
It happens with families all the time. When there are multiple children growing up in the same household, in many cases one will tend to out-shine the other(s) in some way, shape or form.
Look at the Baldwins. There’s Alec, and then there’s Billy, Stephen and Daniel. How about the Sheens? There’s Charlie and then there’s his brother, Emilio Estevez (though the tables seem to be turning in Emilio’s favor on that front). With the Jacksons, there was Michael and then there was EVERY OTHER JACKSON.
Uganick Bay was definitely NOT the sibling doing the out-shining. In fact, the reason he was born in the first place was in an effort to try to reproduce his older brother’s brilliance and athletic prowess, with an ultimate goal of retiring to the lucrative career at stud that his sibling couldn’t have. You see, his big brother is one of the most famous horses of the past several decades. A multi-million dollar-earning, Grade 1-winning gelding named Perfect Drift.
Out of the Naskra mare, Nice Gal, the mating for “Ugie” was planned after Perfect Drift stamped himself as a Derby contender, winning the Turfway Preview and Spiral Stakes (G2 before going on to finish third in the Kentucky Derby (G1) to War Emblem. He later won the G3 Indiana Derby. By the time Ugie was in training as a 2-year-old, his older brother had racked up additional wins in the Stephen Foster H. (G1), the Kentucky Cup Classic H. (G2), the Washington Park Handicap (G2) twice, and had run second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), not to mention a long list of other graded stakes wins and placings.
Unfortunately, Ugie’s racing career ended before it even began. After not displaying the brilliance of his brother in morning workouts, he was transferred to the steeplechase barn of Michael Berryman in Johnson City, Tenn., where his long galloping stride and boldness would hopefully serve him well as a jump racer. That changed, however, when Ugie suffered a serious cut on his back left leg.
“I got Ugie from a trainer I’ve known for years who calls me when he has horses that no longer hold value as racers,” said Ugie’s current owner, Tina Countiss. “He was tall, thin, and sporting a nasty large, but healing cut on his rear left leg. He was the sweetest horse I’ve ever been around. He’d just wrap his neck around you when you rubbed his forehead. I was suffering from some physical issues that had me on crutches the day I saw him, but none the less I had to bring him home.”
So, in March of 2011 Ugie made the 45-minute trailer ride to Abingdon, Va., and came out of the trailer like a 5-year-old child acts when going to kindergarten class for the first time.
“He just hid behind me,” said Tina. “It didn’t matter what we approached, be it the large barn or the jumps. He stood quietly behind me and would peek around, touch whatever it was with his cute little nose, then we’d move onto the next thing.”
In September of 2011 Ugie’s real hunter/jumper training began under the tutelage of an advanced college rider that Tina knew. Before long, he was jumping crossrails, hacking in fields and getting simple lead changes, all while staying on the bit yet light in the bridle.
“I was mainly a hunter/jumper rider for 21 years and did a little dressage as well, but the same month I got Ugie I found out that I had spurs in my neck and a variety of other problems with the structural integrity of my spine,” said Tina. “I just could not take any more chances when it came to a fall from a green horse, and this one was taller by far than my other guys, so I decided I would get riders from the local college, Virginia Intermont, to work with him.”
Under Tina’s supervision, riders took Ugie from racetrack reject to a budding show jumping show-stopper, getting him working confidently over 2’6” to 3’ courses, which was her goal from the beginning.
“He came from not knowing what a jump was to going nicely to them and using his back instead of being completely scattered out,” said Tina. “My goal now is to find him the perfect owner who would take excellent care of him, as he has a huge heart. Selling him allows him to be something special to someone with skills and heart that I no longer possess. He’s ready to have a partner for the long haul.”
Ugie is currently for sale at Tina’s farm in Virginia, and Tina is committed to finding the gelding a human of his very own to love and to be loved by.
“When I got him, I really didn’t need another horse, but I love him to death,” said Tina. “This one stole my heart and now my hope is that he steals someone else’s heart too.”
I have a feeling he will.
If you would like to get in touch with Tina about Ugie, please contact her at (276) 494-3585 or email@example.com.
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.