Preliminary competition is now complete for all 10 disciplines at the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, taking place Oct. 2-5 at the Kentucky Horse Park. Each competitor received a preliminary round score with the top five in each discipline advancing to the Finale on Saturday. It will be broadcast via live stream, so be sure to watch!
Let’s see how things shook out in our favorite discipline, Eventing, which saw a field of 67 horse/rider combinations. Eventing Makeover horses performed USEF 2018 Novice Test B in a small arena, followed by a show jumping course set at the trainer’s choice of USEA Beginner Novice, Novice or Training dimensions and a short cross country course with a choice of fence height options.
The following combinations will advance to the Finale (Rider & Horse – Dressage/Show Jumping/Cross Country Scores – Total Score):
1. Rosie Napravnik (Pro) & Sanimo – 71.667/70.50/113.00 – 255.17
2. Elisa Wallace (Pro) & Crafty Charger – 71.429/61.00/115.00 – 247.43
3. Josephine Irish (Jr) & Right Ben – 70.000/61.50/113.00 – 244.50
4. Caroline Holmes (Jr) & Kitten’s Beauty – 65.238/63.50/113.50 – 242.24
5. Eleanor Godson (Pro) & Boggie – 65.000/64.00/112.50 – 241.50
Makeover veteran, former jockey and OTTB advocate Rosie Napravnik raced to the Eventing lead with Sanimo. 2019 marks Rosie’s fourth Makeover since she transitioned careers from professional jockey to professional trainer of off-track Thoroughbreds. She and Sanimo completed three Beginner Novice horse trials this summer before making the move to Novice at Flying Cross Farm H.T. last month.
“This horse peaked today,” Rosie said. “He had by far his best dressage, his show jumping was very good, and by the time we got to cross country I was just so excited to ride! Cross country is his best phase.”
Sanimo is a 2015 gelding (Smart Strike x Sanima, by Galileoa). He was bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge Farm and consigned to the September sale at Keeneland as a yearling, but did not sell. Dell Ridge Farm raced the horse, trained by Geoff Mulcahy, for four starts and earnings of $1,861. Sanimo is currently offered for sale via the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace.
Reigning America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred trainer Elisa Wallace finished second with Crafty Charger, a 2013 gelding (By Bye Bye Crafty x Lisa’s Crusade, by Crusader Sword) owned by Donna Biggs. Bred in Indiana by Rita Hughes, he earned $1,355 in 11 starts at the track but seems to be quite excelling at his new career! He’s completed one Beginner Novice and two Novice USEA events, most recently turning in double-clear jumping rounds at Stable View Oktoberfest H.T. last weekend.
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Crafty rocking the cross country at the @retiredracehorseproject #OTTB Makeover, finishing up in 2nd and heading into the finale!!! Make sure to watch us on the livestream tomorrow morning starting at 8am, and stay tuned til the end of the day to vote for America’s Most Wanted! #rrp2019
Junior riders claimed third and fourth place. Josie Irish rounds out the top three with Right Ben, a 2014 gelding (Here Comes Ben x Time Saver, by Mazel Trick) bred in New York by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds. “Bennie” earned $40,215 in 26 starts at the track before advancing to his new career with Josie. This year the pair sailed around eight USEA events at the Beginner Novice and Novice level, including placing 7th in the Area III Championships and turning in a double-clear performance at the American Eventing Championships. The pair also finished in 7th place out of 117 competitors in the Makeover Dressage competition. He is offered for sale through the Makeover Marketplace.
In 4th is Caroline Holmes and Kitten’s Beauty, a 2014 gelding (Kitten’s Joy x Atlantic Beauty, by Stormy Atlantic) bred in Kentucky by Dr. Tom Castoldi — he earned $14,675 in 10 starts on the track. The pair also finished 5th in the Show Hunter competition, so will make a double appearance at the Makeover on Saturday.
In 5th is Eleanor Godson and Boggie, a 2012 mare (War Cry x That’s Just Wrong, by Bold Executive) bred in Ontario by Margaret Spencer — she earned $43,896 in 20 starts on the track. The pair also finished 11th in the Field Hunter competition.
Being jacks-of-all-trades, many eventers cross entered other disciplines as well — and a couple are in the lead!
Alison O’Dwyer (ne Wilaby — congrats on your marriage, Alison!) and Fifth Ace took over the Dressage lead today. Alison describes herself as “an eventer who loves dressage” and is no stranger to the Makeover stage, having finished as reserve champion in Eventing in both 2017 and 2018.
“In the arena, I was smiling ear-to-ear with every movement,” she said. “It was a great feeling to come out of the Rolex Arena knowing that we could not possibly have done better than we had. We did our very best.”
Alison intends to develop Fifth Ace, a 2015 gelding (Bernardini x Model, by Giant’s Causeway) bred in Kentucky by Abergwaun Farm, Inc., as a personal horse. He made three career starts with $1,365 in earnings. The pair also finished 21st in the Eventing competition.
Amy Bowers is quite at home on a cross country course, but this weekend she’s contesting the Freestyle and Show Hunter competitions. Her partner: Grande Warrior, a 2013 mare (Desert Warrior x Capuchina, by Capote) bred in Alabama by Randy Haffner — she earned a whopping $70 in one start on the track.
The pair’s winning Freestyle routine started right out with liberty work, including lateral movements; Bowers then rode the mare without a bridle through all of the compulsory movements and concluded with a gallop lap while waving a blue flag. “It takes a lot of bonding to stay connected in that atmosphere,” Bowers detailed.
Bowers and Grande Warrior crossed paths nearly by accident: “A friend of mine got the mare from Amy Paulus, then realized she really didn’t have time for her; I had expressed interest in participating in the Thoroughbred Makeover so she offered her to me!” It was a fortuitous moment for Bowers, a professional from Fort Collins, Colorado.
On Friday, education takes over at the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium. The TERF Master Class takes place from 9 AM until noon, and a seminar series presented by Horse Media Group takes place all afternoon.
Best of luck to all of tomorrow’s finalists (ESPECIALLY the eventers)!