by Jessica Hammond, Beyond the Wire
Beyond the Wire, Maryland racing’s Thoroughbred aftercare program continues to grow retiring 121 horses in 2019, an increase from 2018.
A new legal agreement between the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (MTHA) and the Stronach Group, which owns the Maryland racetracks, gives Beyond the Wire $1 million dollars over the next four years and substantial continuing funding in perpetuity thereafter. This extremely positive development is in addition to the funding that is already in place from the MTHA, Maryland Jockey Club, Maryland Horse Breeder’s Association and a per start charge to owners and jockeys.
Beyond the Wire is excited to be able to provide more funding per horse to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Accredited facilities that retrain and rehab Maryland racehorses, in addition to the possibility of helping the facilities improve and expand existing infrastructure so that they can accommodate more horses.
Here is just a few of our many success stories!
Chocomount raced 38 times, all of which were in Maryland. Though he was always stabled at Laurel Park, he “changed hands” many times being purchased out of claiming races by various owners and trainers in Maryland.
The well known gelding ultimately retired from the barn of Jose Corrales and had surgery paid for by Beyond the Wire to remove a chip from his knee. He was then sent to Beyond the Wire’s partner farm, the Foxie G Foundation, for rehabilitation and retraining. Foxie G volunteer Ervin Johnson began working with Chocomount on trail riding skills.
Ultimately, Johnson, who is a Marine Corps Veteran, fell in love with the bay gelding and adopted him for himself. The new trail professional finally has his own person and is now called Durango.
Big Brother Bubba
The Maryland-bred Big Brother Bubba had 19 starts over a three-year racing career to earn $55,117. He raced exclusively in Maryland, primarily at Laurel Park with a win at Timonium as well. The big gray gelding was one of the firsts to be retired through Beyond The Wire and was adopted by Peggy Ulasek and her family.
“Bubs” was being rehabbed from a tendon injury when Peggy acquired him through Beyond The Wire partner facility Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue in January 2018. “He enjoys his new training life. He is smart, kind, spoiled and very loved,” Peggy said. “He is a wonderful horse that benefited from the wonderful Beyond the Wire Program.”
Liz Sander adopted So Quiet in February of 2019 and he quickly became a barn favorite! Now called Kovu, he retired from racing after breaking his sesamoid and was placed at MidAtlantic Horse Rescue. “I am so grateful to everyone who cared for Kovu before I adopted him! He is the sweetest boy with the most kind eye,” Liz stated adding, “I absolutely believe that the time his previous owners/trainers put into him is the main reason that he is so down to earth.”
Liz reports that it is hard to believe Kovu was a successful racehorse since his temperament is so quiet showing how versatile the Thoroughbred is. “I am only able to get out to the barn on weekends and he always takes care of me, no matter how much time passes between rides. He is also remarkably calm and patient when my kids want pony rides,” she explained. Liz had planned to primarily trail ride Kovu but said, “who knows, we might end up in the show ring. He has a lovely trot and the most comfortable canter!”
Alarming was brought to the Retired Racehorse Project TB Makeover in 2018 to participate in the first ever Makeover Masterclass, where three trainers drew straws and “started” a horse off the track in the coliseum at the Kentucky Horse Park. “It was an amazing experience and as we looked at the three lovely horses available, we were very excited to draw Alarming,” said trainer Clare Mansmann. “He checked every box imaginable.”
Clare and her husband Tom worked with Amazing and their pony horse (Tiz Solo Vino, who was a competitor in the 2018 Makeover, having already placed in the top 10 of both of his divisions). Eventually Tom was able to ride him safely and positively, even over a little jump. “It was a big environment and after that demo, we had a feeling we would like to just bring him home, but our trailer was full and we knew he was going back to Maryland with MidAtlantic Horse Rescue,” Clare added.
Shortly after the Makeover, the Mansmanns contacted Beverly Strauss of MAHR and drove out to pick up Alarming and bring him to their to Middleburg farm. Clare stated, “Since arriving, he had a little downtime to let him adjust but also to keep him eligible for the 2019 Makeover, then began ponying and hacking and fell into our program so easily.” Alarming has proven to be an extremely athletic jumper and beautiful mover that loves hacking and has also become an excellent pony horse for the newcomers. Clare even rode him in clinics with Jimmy Wofford, who she says called him “worth it.”
Tom also started whipping in on Alarming with one of their local hunts. “He’s the best hunt horse I’ve ever ridden,” Tom stated.
Make It Right
Make It Right was also adopted by the Mansmanns and has been dubbed “Peter” by their children. “We saw his picture, as well as the very honest assessment of his not-at-all-limiting knee surgery (complete with X-rays of some impressive screws), and thought ‘this is such a cool horse. How could anyone not snag him?!'” Clare explained.
But it seemed he was not getting snagged up from MAHR. “We watched a while longer and we talked to vets, and we flexed and jogged him, and finally made the decision to welcome this adorably perfect horse to the farm,” Clare added. “The day he arrived, we worked him on the ground and with the pony horse, and hopped right on. He was even more perfect than we thought.”
At the time, Peter was just barely four years old at the time, so the Mansmanns have mostly hacked him and worked him on hills with some flatwork as well. He was also quickly jumping small fences on a loopy rein. “He is the sweetest, smartest, quietest baby horse we have ever had the pleasure to be around. He could go any direction, but we do envision him realizing a child’s dreams in the show hunter ring,” said Clare.