Lost And Found Presented By Horseware: The Next Chapter For Caracortado

by | 06.15.2017 | 6:56pm
Caracortado has begun dressage training in California

The story of Caracortado, the Mike Machowsky homebred who went from a maiden claiming race at Fairplex Park to Grade 1 company, captured the imagination of many racegoers in Southern California. After a six-season campaign in which he won three graded stakes and hit the board in 15 of 22 starts, a few of the chestnut gelding's fans began emailing the Paulick Report, wondering what happened to him after he left the track in 2014.

Caracortado retired due to a persistent foot issue and ended up in the hands of Jacqueline Kandalaft, a longtime horsewoman and exercise rider on the California circuit. Kandalaft accepted long ago that her love of horses borders on addiction. She started riding in her native England at six years old and was foxhunting and showing in dressage and jumper shows by the age of 12. At 17, she found work in a steeplechase training yard and as she says, “was bitten by the racing bug.”

Kandalaft's love of Thoroughbreds took her to Australia on a two-year visa, but her job with a music company ultimately moved her to southern California. She realized she couldn't walk away from horses completely and began galloping for Machowsky, John Shirreffs, and Simon Callaghan around the edges of her “day job.” Then, a filly flipped on her at Santa Anita during morning training.

“I had a compound tibia fracture, broken ribs, and a punctured lung,” Kandalaft said. “I did return to galloping after a seven-month recovery but was only able to get on three per day. It was then I decided that I would like to have my own horse again so I could continue riding once I retired from galloping. I knew there are always horses from the track that need a good home.”

Kandalaft had retrained a number of ex-racehorses alongside her other jobs in the business and set about looking for another. It was then she learned from fellow rider and racing broadcaster Zoe Cadman that Caracortado was looking for a new home.

Although Kandalaft hadn't worked Caracortado during her time in Machowsky's barn (he had long been Cadman's mount), she did know him well. In his race career, Caracortado was known for versatility. He was an early contender on the 2010 Kentucky Derby trail after a win in the G2 Robert Lewis at 1 1/16 miles on Hollywood Park's all-weather surface, but two years later also won the G3 Daytona at six and a half furlongs on the turf. In that race, he sat so far back early, announcer Trevor Denman declared the horse “did not fire today” well into the stretch before expressing surprise when Caracortado came on like a freight train in the middle of the track to win by 1 ¼ lengths.

Caracortado sporting a fresh clip job. Kandalaft managed to do a thorough job despite being 7.5 months pregnant at the time

He was also known for having a big personality in the barn. He showed up at the Machowsky barn with stitches on his face, hence his name, which means “scar face” in Spanish.  Caracortado was well-known for his love of Skittles candies, his penchant for getting buckets stuck on his head, and aerial acrobatics. Cadman told Kandalaft that he was “like a race car, smooth as silk” to breeze but could be naughty on gallop days.

“He dropped and rolled on several people,” Cadman told Kandalaft. “He used to leap, rear up, and cross his legs on the way down.”

Kandalaft was undeterred by the gelding's sense of humor, but her injuries have held her back from getting him going fully under tack. She underwent surgery on her leg to repair damage from her accident, then learned she was pregnant, and after delivering her baby, had to have another surgery to repair a muscle hernia in her leg. In between her recoveries, Caracortado managed to rip his shoe off the problematic foot, tearing part of the hoof off with it. A few months later, an abscess in the same foot set him back again.

Now, she hopes, they are finally back on track. Kandalaft has worked with Caracortado on the ground and has high hopes for his potential as a dressage horse. While she has recovered from her last surgery, he has begun training with Janie Steiner in Chino, Calif., and is showing promise and enthusiasm for his new job. ‘Cara,' as Kandalaft calls him, started crossrails recently with Steiner and she hopes they will both make their showing debut at the end of this year.

Like any true horse addict, Kandalaft has not kept away from the barn. The extra time on the ground has helped her appreciate Cara's vibrant personality.

“He's totally spoiled, of course, and will mug you for carrots, treats, Skittles, and bananas,” she said. “He's pretty relaxed most of the time, but he always has that little spark about him — you can see what made him such a great racehorse. When there was a fire last summer up in the hills, we had a bunch of horses evacuate into [our barn]. When they arrived, Cara galloped with his tail up over his back up and down the arena, showing off to everyone! He just loves attention and is a real happy horse with huge personality.” 

Caracortado begs for a treat

  • billy

    Always enjoy reading these stories

    • mookie

      His sibling was in the OBS sale ( Creative Cause/Mon Venus). Wishing all the best to the new connections.

  • Lily FaPootz

    Good to know he is in such capable hands! Hope to see them at the December TB only show at LAEC.

  • slvrblltday

    So heartwarming that Scarface won the lottery!

  • Michael Shea

    Congratulations to both of you and Good Luck in the dressage training.

  • Ida Lee

    I just love Caracortado …. what a fabulous boy….I’m a little upset in reading that after he was retired, the owners who got so much from him were looking for a new home….that is why I could never be part of this business…I could never give up Cara …. but since they did, at least he’s in a really good home with someone who appreciates how wonderful he is….I’m sure he will be a great showman cause obviously he love attention and showing off…be happy Cara….

  • NMBird

    Sure is a handsome guy and that new “clip” job is wild!!!!!
    Happy he has a new job he’s training for and that he seems to enjoy!!

    Lay off the Skittles, though….LOL!!

  • Kathy Young

    One of my favorites! Glad to know he’s on his way to what I believe will be a fabulous second career. Thanks for the update.

  • Chris

    Beautiful horse.

  • Noelle

    Kandalaft’s dedication is striking. Caracortado is lucky to have found a home with her. I particularly enjoyed all the details about his antics and his personality (which the photo captures perfectly).

  • the buzz23

    Always loved this guy. His win down the SA turf course a few years back still the best finish I’ve seen at Santa Anita. Glad his connections have found a great place for him after his racing career.

  • Leslie Knauf

    I’m delighted to hear Caracortado has landed with Jacqueline, with her great skills and dressage background – it’s a bonus for any horse and Caracortado couldn’t have a better “horse mom” – congrats and best of luck to them both.

  • Larry Sterne

    what a terrific horsewoman. wish I had a tenth of her skills and guts.

  • MyBigRed

    Thank You Natalie for the update on Caracortado. I am so Grateful he has a forever home with someone who loves him & for his connections for making this possible. I wish all horses were so Blessed :)

  • OopsyDaisy3

    Caracortado, now that is a name from the past. Just a relief to know he is still
    around and well cared for. I did not know about all of his antics. Yes i would
    agree, he does have a great personality. Thank you for caring for him Jacqueline.
    Very nice story and i do remember him well. Linda

  • Morgan

    I love this horse. So glad he’s got a great home.

  • norhymenoreason

    this is the most marvelous news! I was such a fan. He is a marvel and I so appreciate his next home! Thrilling! I love this conformation and am not at all surprised at his big personality. Please, if you are able, keep us up to date on this man! Caracortado! Loved watching this boy run. Such a race horse. Literally, just this week I wondered about him. And now I do not need to go looking. Thanks for the update! Carrots to you!

  • GloriaU

    Thank you for bringing us that GREAT story. I remember Caracortado and saw him race a couple of times. Nice to hear he’s got a good home. Good luck to “scarface” and Jacqueline!

  • gdehret

    Thank you SO much for posting this. I like finding out what happens later to our racehorses, especially if it’s good news. Sometimes it is hard to look up. I have always loved Caracortado, even though I lost a bundle on him! He’s still loved, and now I know he’s loved and cared for, too!

  • ctgreyhound

    I love this “where are they now” feature. Following up with horses that leave the track somehow completes the circle. It’s like learning the whereabouts of a friend you had in high school many years later. Hope Caracortado can make a successful transition to dressage.

  • jojo

    So glad to hear he is thriving. Cheers!!

  • Mary Darden McLeod

    Bon chance to Cara and Jacqueline in their new adventures. Love the clip job and wish I could kiss that cute mug at the end!!!! xoxo to ALL, Mary

  • Delrene from Carlsbad ,Ca

    This update on Caracortado Is the best news! I beleieve it was at Del Mar paddock or Santa Anita paddock I fell in love with him. Such a poser and then he had a haircut to die for. He was all diamond designs and it looked like lightening bolts all along his sides and back rump area. He was my bet and anytime he ran I was there. I thought I read he was in training for being a track pony but this is even better circumstances for a wonderful second career. He could not be in a better place. Congratulations to his Mom. And to “Cara” Love his current cut and what a face silly boy!

    Thanks always love these articles about happy endings for these wonderful horses that provide us with such joy at the racetrack.

  • Leonard

    Wonderful story, glad to see he is doing well & landed in good hands. May he continue to thrive in his neq career.

  • MRO

    I often wondered where Caracortado was. Glad to see he safe and in good hands. Wishing him and his new connections much success!

  • Cindi

    I enjoy these updates so much. Thank you for the story.

  • gammyp6

    Thanks so much for the update. “Cara” also one of my favorites. So glad he has moved on to a wonderful second chance career.

  • md reynolds

    So happy to hear about Cara’s new career! He was one of my favorites during his racing days. His Daytona was crazy good!

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