2017 Thoroughbred Makeover Accepts Entries From 578 Trainers

The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) announced Feb. 7 that 578 trainers have been accepted to compete for their share of $100,000 in prize money at the 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover, taking place Oct. 5-8 at the Kentucky Horse Park, in Lexington.

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. Trainers are approved based on their skills in a primary discipline, but can compete in up to two of ten offered, depending on aptitude shown during the training process.

“We were overwhelmed, not only by the number of applications, but also by the quality,” said Steuart Pittman, RRP president. “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.”

So far, 230 trainers have registered their horses already while the remaining ones are shopping at racetracks, on social media, at aftercare facilities, and on the RRP Horse Listings (where racing owners can list their makeover-eligible horses) for their makeover candidates. Equine entries must meet the competition’s guidelines to participate. This year’s horses may not have started second career training before the Dec. 1, 2016, and must have raced or had a published work after July 1, 2015.

This year’s field of trainers is comprised of 49% professionals, 39% amateurs, and 12% juniors. Trainers’ primary disciplines include:

  • 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).

Trainers are from 44 states, two Canadian provinces, and England, with the largest 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.

Among the entries are Hollywood horse trainer Rex Peterson, Show Hunter Hall of Famer Louise Serio, Canadian eventing Olympians Ian Roberts and Kelly Plitz, former jockey Rosie Napravnik, Rolex CCI**** winner Nick Larkin, and World Equestrian Games Silver Medalist Dorothy Crowell. The junior riders include members of United States Pony Clubs, offspring of prominent horse racing families, and up-and-coming stars in their respective sports. A list of highlighted trainers by discipline is availble on the RRP website.

"Everybody should attend the Makeover,” said Lauren Turner, who piloted Fairway King to victory in the dressage division and overall title of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred at the 2016 event. "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."

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