Record Number of Trainers Accepted for 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover

Emily Daignault-Salvaggio and Gin Joint, winners of the Field Hunter division at the 2015 Thoroughbred Makeover. Photo by Heather Benson.

The Retired Racehorse Project announced today that a record 794 trainers have been accepted to compete at the 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, held Oct. 4-7 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

The record number of trainers highlights the growing popularity of the Thoroughbred Makeover, which accepted 578 trainers in 2017 to give a 37% increase in trainers that will compete in 2018.

“The feedback on applicants from the selection committee was overwhelmingly positive, and we’re thrilled to welcome another class of quality trainers to this special community we’ve created,” Kirsten Green, RRP’s Director of Operations, said.

“Over the coming months, each of these 794 talented trainers will invest hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in the future of their chosen horses. When you add all that up, that’s a pretty remarkable impact on the value of these horses.”

The Thoroughbred Makeover is a training competition open to professionals, amateurs and juniors, in 10 different disciplines: barrels, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunters, polo, ranch work, show hunters, show jumpers and freestyle. A winner is crowned in each discipline, and then spectators vote for the horse that most inspires them to become America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred.

Of the 794 trainers, 231 have entered to compete in the eventing category, including Elisa Wallace, Sally Cousins, Cathy Wieschhoff, Richard Picken, Nick Larkin, Clark Montgomery, Erika Nesler, Natalia Neneman, Jacob Fletcher and Maya Simmons. Click here to see the full list of accepted trainers.

In addition to four-star event riders, the trainers also include U.S. Dressage Federation gold medalists, A-circuit hunter riders, Grand Prix show jumpers, high-goal polo players, decorated barrel racers and prominent members of the racing industry.

The trainers represent 40 states and the District of Columbia, as well as three Canadian provinces. Professionals make up 46% of the trainers, with 42% declared as amateurs and 12% declared as juniors. The youngest trainer is 11 years old, with the oldest trainer 71 years old.

The 2017 America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Old Tavern with trainer Charlie Caldwell. Photo courtesy of Retired Racehorse Project.

Polo player Charlie Caldwell, who trained the 2017 overall winner Old Tavern, said to him the Thoroughbred Makeover is about “quietly and patiently giving my horse a chance to succeed” in a second career after the racetrack.

“Winning the Makeover came with national support, which definitely encouraged me to continue my interest in making my own polo ponies,” Charlie said, “but more importantly, the true winners of the Makeover were the hundreds of Thoroughbreds who have and will continue to find careers after racing. This competition brings great awareness to our horse community.”

A new website dedicated exclusively to the Thoroughbred Makeover launched today at Accepted trainers can now manage their entries on the website and can now start registering the horses they intend to compete.

The horses selected to compete will all have a maximum of 10 months of retraining by the time the Thoroughbred Makeover takes place in October. About one-third of the horses that compete will also be available to purchase through the Thoroughbred Makeover Horse Sale. Asking prices at the 2017 sale ranged from $3,000 to $30,000, with an average sale price of $9,100.

“The Thoroughbred Makeover has clearly engaged the commercial and recreational sides of the horse industry in the important work of transitioning these horses to secure futures,” RRP President Steuart Pittman said.

“It has also become the greatest horse shopping event of the year. Nowhere else in America can buyers view hundreds of sport horse prospects at reasonable prices with proven soundness and a solid foundation of training. The 2018 Makeover will be bigger and better than ever.”

Click here to read more information about the trainers selected to compete in the 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover. We wish the best of luck to all the trainers!

[794 Trainers Accepted to Compete at 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover]