The Retired Racehorse Project announced today that 578 trainers have been accepted to compete for their share of $100,000 in prize money at the 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover at the Kentucky Horse Park on October 5-8. The trainers approved to compete this year, 65 of whom expect to bring two horses, include some of the most highly respected in their disciplines.
Trainers were approved based on evidence of ability to effectively introduce an off-track Thoroughbred with no experience outside racing to one or two of the ten Thoroughbred Makeover disciplines, demonstrating that horse’s talent and trainability. Skills and experience were evaluated based on applications that included competition highlights, references, and video links.
“We were overwhelmed, not only by the number of applications, but also by the quality,” said RRP President Steuart Pittman. “The performances on the first weekend of October could be more awe-inspiring than what we saw last year, and the selection of carefully chosen, well-started Thoroughbred sport horses for sale will be vast. People should pencil this weekend in on their calendars now.”
Each trainer must acquire a Thoroughbred that meets the competition’s guidelines. Two hundred-thirty have registered their horses already and the others are shopping at racetracks, on social media, at aftercare facilities, and on the RRP Horse Listings. The horses may not have started second career training before the December 1 opening date, and must have raced or had a published work after July 1, 2015. Racing owners may list their horses on the RRP web site as Makeover-eligible.
Trainers are approved based on their skills in a primary discipline, but may compete at the Makeover in one or two of ten sports depending on aptitude shown during the training process. The disciplines offered, with numbers of trainers identifying each as their primary, are as follows: eventing (182), show hunter (126), show jumper (77), dressage (63), barrel racing (31), competitive trails (27), field hunters (20), polo (19), working ranch (17), and freestyle (16).
The field of trainers is comprised of 49% professionals, 39% amateurs, and 12% juniors. They are from 44 states, two Canadian provinces, and England, with the highest representation from Pennsylvania (63), Kentucky (61), Virginia (45), Maryland (38), Ohio (31), Michigan (29), Florida (28), New York (26), Georgia (26), and Ontario (25). Twenty-one will travel from the west coast states of California (16), Oregon (3), and Washington (2), and two will fly from England.
Trainers entered for the discipline of eventing include heavy hitters such as Cathy Wieschhoff, Jessica Bortner-Harris, Dorothy Crowell, Brittany Kart, Ian Roberts, Elisa Wallace and many more. Click here for a complete list of trainers.
"Everybody should attend the Makeover,” said Lauren Turner, winner on Fairway King of the dressage division and overall title of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred. "It is the most diverse gathering of horse trainers in the competition industry. I learned so much last year from trainers in other sports and am looking forward to reuniting with them and their new horses this October."