New Prize Announced for Thoroughbreds at Ocala Jockey Club CCI

Katie Ruppel and Houdini at the 2017 Ocala Jockey Club Three-Day Event. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

EN loves seeing support for Thoroughbreds who transition to seconds careers in eventing following their time on the racetrack. The Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event (OJC3DE) and Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ & Owners’ Association (FTBOA) have teamed up to provide a $1,000 award to the top-placed Florida-connected horse and rider competing at this year’s event on Nov. 15-18.

“The FTBOA believes the care and support of retired Thoroughbreds is a common sense responsibility shared by all who participate in the racing and breeding industry,” FTBOA CEO Lonny Powell said. “This high profile, award-winning event is among several that support and promote the versatility and marketability of retired thoroughbreds.”

Since its first event in 2016, OJC3DE has provided $15,000 in prize funds to participating Thoroughbreds, and the FTBOA was involved from the inception. FTBOA staff consulted with the event organizers, helped connect organizers to community leaders, and volunteered onsite to ensure the 2016 event was a success. Thoroughbreds made up 27% of the horses competing at OJC3DE that year.

Since then, OJC3DE has become one of the premier events on the fall eventing calendar in the U.S. and was recognized with the 2017 Small Market Event of the Year award by the Florida Sports Foundation. This award recognizes Florida’s communities and sports commissions for their outstanding efforts in the state’s sports tourism.

“A goal of the competition is to attract equestrian sport competitors’ interest to own and value off-track Thoroughbreds,” said Pavla Nygaard, the owner and president of the Ocala Jockey Club and Thor-Bred Stables, along with her husband Erik. “Off-track Thoroughbreds need second careers and great owners. It’s a win-win for both sides.”

OJC3DE has offered a CIC3*, CCI2* and CCI* since 2016, and this year is also adding a new CCI3*. The new CCI3* course, along with the existing CIC3*, will be designed by Mike Etherington-Smith. Due to a pre-existing scheduling conflict with the Adelaide CCI4*, where he also designs, the course designer on record is set to be Clayton Fredericks, with Mike listed as assistant course designer. Clayton will once again design the CCI2* and CCI* tracks.

The new Thoroughbred award at OJC3DE is the latest initiative from the FTBOA that promotes the versatility of the breed. In 2014, FTBOA began partnering with Run for the Ribbons Horse Shows that promote the retraining of thoroughbreds in the state of Florida into second careers as hunters and jumpers.

Almost two decades ago, the FTBOA partnered with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and the Florida Department of Corrections to establish Second Chance Farm at the Lowell Correctional Institute. Approximately 15 women are enrolled each session to earn an equine certification degree and upon release are considered for employment on horse farms across the state. Part of the experience is caring for the more than 50 retired Florida thoroughbred racehorses at the facility.

Pavla Nygaard is a strong supporter of retired Thoroughbred opportunities and serves on the board of the Retired Racehorse Project. The Ocala Jockey Club recently sponsored the National Thoroughbred Makeover and Symposium, hosting a large-scale silent auction to support OTTB programs.

The third annual Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event will run Nov. 15-18 in Reddick, Florida, with $15,000 of the total prize fund awarded to the top-placing Thoroughbreds in each of the four competition divisions (CCI3*, CIC3*, CCI2*, CCI*).

Click here for more information on the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event.

[Florida’s Retired TBs Offered Chance at $1,000 Eventing Prize]