Texas Joins Retired Racehorse Group TAKE2

The TAKE2 program is growing. Designed to promote second careers in the show ring for retired racehorses, TAKE2 offers hunter and jumper classes restricted to Thoroughbreds, with prize money funded by members of the Thoroughbred racing industry.

The initial launch featured three venues: the May 2-6 Garden State Horse Show in Augusta, N.J., sponsored by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association; and the Saratoga Springs Horse Show (May 2-6 and May 9-13) and the Skidmore College Saratoga Classic Horse Show (June 12-17 and June 20-24) in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., sponsored by the New York Racing Association, New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA), and New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc.

Now the initiative has reached the southwest, with the Texas horsemen's group, The Paddock Foundation, a benevolence arm of the Texas Thoroughbred Association, stepping up to help fund TAKE2 classes for five horse shows in the Lone Star State this year. The Lone Star Round-Up kicked off the series last week, and the second, the Texas Shoot-Out, started April 25 and runs through April 29 in Tyler, Texas. All five shows will include a $750 Thoroughbred Hunter division, comprised of one under-saddle and two over-fences classes; and a $500 Thoroughbred Jumper division, with fences in two classes at .95 and 1.0 meters, respectively.

The circuit also boasts bonuses for the high-point Thoroughbred Jumpers. The high-point Texas-bred Thoroughbred ex-racehorse will get $1,500; the high-point unraced Texas-bred will get $1,000; and the high-point ex-racehorse bred outside of Texas will get $500.

The three fall shows in the Lone Star State are the Southwest Showdown in Katy, Sept. 20-23; and the Fall Fun Horse Show Oct. 11-14 and Dallas Harvest Horse Show Oct. 31-Nov. 4, both in Tyler.

Patrick Rodes manages all five Texas shows, as well as the Skidmore College Saratoga Classic. The Kentucky native is looking forward to renewing his relationship with Thoroughbreds.

"Growing up in Goshen, Ky., I was always around the beautiful Thoroughbred horse farms," Rodes said. "My parents were foxhunters and I began my hunter and jumper showing career on Thoroughbreds. I had many jobs with Thoroughbreds when I was growing up in Kentucky, and I will always have a soft place in my heart for them."

Rick Violette Jr., NYTHA president, welcomed the Texas competitions into the TAKE2 fold: "Patrick has been keenly interested since we started talking about this, and he was eager to be a part of it. He has been wonderful to deal with, because he understands what we are trying to accomplish."

Violette was particularly pleased that the TAKE2 message was moving beyond the northeast.

"The addition of Texas is significant because the TAKE2 initiative should be a nationwide initiative," he said. "We would like to see it encompass horse shows across the country, with year-end championships and awards."

Explaining the decision to support the TAKE2 initiative, The Paddock Foundation President Mike Kindred said, "We wanted to help bring attention to the fact that there are Thoroughbreds out, there, ex-racehorses, that are well-suited to participating in the show horse arena. Over the years, the European Warmbloods have been the rage, but it wasn't always that way. We want to encourage participants in the show horse world to rediscover the Thoroughbred."

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