Not even a winter storm could wash away the holiday spirit of the Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show (TCHS), which drew more than 100 retired racehorses thriving in their second careers this past weekend to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank.
Hosted by CARMA (California Retirement Management Account), a nonprofit, as an awareness campaign to promote the adoption of off-track Thoroughbreds and foster connections between the racing and equestrian community, the event is the only of its kind on the West Coast. In recent years, it has become an increasingly successful venture for the non-profit organization.
“When we launched this event in 2012, we really wanted to give retired race horses a welcoming environment to get experience in the show ring,” said Lucinda Mandella, executive director of CARMA. “Seeing horses who have gone through the Placement Program competing in the show brought everything full circle for us.”
CARMA's Placement Program facilitates the transition of Thoroughbreds from the racetrack to approved aftercare groups to place the horses into their second career. To date, it has assisted 230 retired race horses – four of its graduates attended the TCHS: South Texas Lingo, Branjamma's Trio, Ashley's Song and Dream Police, a San Luis Rey Downs fire survivor.
“The comradery at this show is truly like no other,” said Founder of Win Place Home, C.J. Marinaccio, who is caring for Dream Police. “Every person you meet believes in the Thoroughbred and believes in what aftercare groups are doing for these horses.”
TCHS offers numerous classes and disciplines to showcase the versatility of the breed including Hunters, Jumpers, Dressage, Showmanship and Western with more competitive prize money classes for riders.
Owner Elisabeth Hower's horse Solid Citizen, ridden by David Josiah, bested more than 15 other exhibitors to capture the $1,500 Hunter Derby. Dylan Ryan and her horse Rapid Transit won the $1,500 Jumper Stakes in front of more than 200 spectators as an opener for the CARMA's Trainer Jockey Calcutta.
Bridging the gap between the show world and racing community, the Trainer Jockey Calcutta is wildly entertaining as teams of familiar figures from the race track navigate a show jumping course aboard off-track Thoroughbreds. The winning team was the female jockeys/exercise riders which consisted of Kayla Stra, Jessica Pyfer, Roxane Losey and Kate Payeras. Some of the other riders included trainers such as Breeders' Cup Classic winning trainer of Accelerate – John Sadler, Ron Ellis, Matthew Chew and Gus Headley. Jockey riders included Octavio Vergara, Iggy Puglisi, Angel Cruz and Maria Falgione.
“The Calcutta is a really fun aspect of the TCHS that people in the racing industry enjoy. All of the riders come out with big smiles and feel proud of themselves,” said Candace Coder-Chew, vice-president of CARMA. 'The Calcutta is a party for everyone who loves and supports the Thoroughbreds”
The next Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show will be in March 2019 at Galway Downs in Temecula.
Results for all the divisions and disciplines from the weekend's show can be found at Horseshowtime.com.
Read more at the California Retirement Management Account.
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