Beyond the Blinkers

Esther Marr commentary on Thoroughbred retirement, aftercare, and interesting stories

OTTB Update: Windy Jim; Plus a Giveaway!

I love it when a past Beyond the Blinkers subject takes the time to email and give me an update on his or her off track Thoroughbred! Do you guys remember the story of Windy Jim as told by owner Jackie Cross in March 2011? (Click here to refresh your memory). Well, Jackie emailed me a few weeks ago to give me an update on the 16-year-old Feel the Power gelding and it sounds like he couldn't be better... Read More

New Vocations Breeders' Cup Pledge a Success

New Vocations, which I have highlighted several times in the past on this blog, has received some exciting results from its 2012 Breeders' Cup Pledge, with more than 17 owners or partnership groups and five trainers committing a portion of their horses' Breeders' Cup earnings to the non-profit organization's mission to rehabilitate, retrain, and re-home retired racehorses. "We definitely had more pledges... Read More

BC-Bound Flashy Ways Has Teenage Breeder

When Chad Reed's parents gave him a $5,000 budget to pick out a mare at the 2009 Keeneland November mixed sale at age 11, he never dreamed it would eventually result in a Breeders' Cup starter. But that's exactly what happened when the adolescent Thoroughbred enthusiast signed the ticket for the Carson City mare Golden Kitty with his father, Rick, at the 2009 Keeneland November mixed sale, after which... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: Diamonds for Remi

Remi Gunn has fallen on times in recent years--from the riding accident that left her paralyzed in 2003--to the financial struggles that almost claimed her farm. But in the wake of the amazing rescue and homecoming of Diamonds for Remi, a horse she bred, owned, and rode during her years as a jockey, Gunn can't recall a period in life when she was more grateful. "(Diamonds for Remi) is doing well--she... Read More

Saratoga State of Mind

My first trip to Saratoga Springs was a whirlwind--four days and nights at the Spa seemed to fly by, and before I knew it, I was returning to Lexington, back to reality.... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: Zodiac

A year and a half ago, Zodiac was the most critically ill horse to ever come through the gates of the Woodbine, Md.-based Days End Horse Rescue. But thanks to the help from many, he has endured through the darkest of days and gained a second chance at life. Maybe you’ve heard of this charming chestnut gelding, who raced successfully under the name Rhythmic Moves, but was later found starving at a supposed... Read More

OTTB Adoption Program Spotlight: New Vocations

One day last month, I had the privilege of visiting New Vocations’ Lexington facility at West Wind Farm. Located in the heart of the rolling, Bluegrass hills, it’s a beautiful operation and is currently home to 15 horses. Some of its residents have already been adopted and are waiting to transition out of the farm, while others receive daily, progressive conditioning under the guidance of facility... Read More

Catching a Falling Star

Today, I bring you the story of the up-and-coming off track Thoroughbred-turned show horse Constant Star, as told to me by Kimberly Clark: In December 2009, Constant Star was a 2-year-old filly who had two unplaced efforts at Charles Town and Laurel Park and meager earnings of $280. As the promise of having a successful career on the racetrack quickly faded, her future became uncertain. In hopes Constant... Read More

Kendall Hansen Reveals Future Plans

Dr. Kendall Hansen has done it again. The owner/breeder, who is known for pulling such wacky acts as dying his champion colt Hansen’s tail blue prior to the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), recently revealed some other unusual plans. Kendall Hansen's future hopes include mating Hansen with the Danzig mare Lady Primrose, who he recently adopted from Omega Horse Rescue. Oh, and he also expressed interest... Read More

Derby Contender Advice Up for Adoption

From Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contender to low level claimer, Advice has been given a second chance to find a new calling in life through New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. And, once he’s finished his rehabilitation at the organization, Advice will be looking for a forever home. What better way than a blog on Derby Day to highlight this gelding and the generous band of... Read More

Speedy Broadway's Alibi Ready for Lilies

Anna Ford, racing manager for E. Paul Robsham Stables, had some last minute shopping to do May 3. “We just decided on Sunday (April 29) that we’re going to the (Kentucky) Oaks (gr. I) and I still need to find a dress,” said Ford while standing outside trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn 34 at Churchill Downs, where Broadway’s Alibi was being walked around the shedrow. The daughter of Vindication, who is the... Read More

Summer Applause Laying Low for KY Oaks

Tucked away in Bret Calhoun's barn 22, a considerable distance from the Kentucky Derby backside bustle, is Kentucky Oaks-bound filly Summer Applause, who was casually eating a hearty hay breakfast the morning of May 2.... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: Doctor Decherd

Well, it’s that time of year again! Once again, I will be turning the attention of my blog to all things Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) after this week as we count down to the first Friday and Saturday in May. But first I wanted to bring you this touching story about a sweet gelding named Doctor Decherd, who is now enjoying a peaceful retirement in Texas thanks to the help of a generous group of racing fans... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: El Bomba--Life After Winning 100th Start

It’s about time El Bomba is able to kick up his heels and graze to his heart’s content—he’s earned it. The 13-year-old was turned out to pasture at Erin and Dan Hall’s Caerindoll Farm near Versailles, Ky. early this spring after making his 101st start, and life couldn’t be better for the son of Signal Tap. El Bomba’s career hit an especially sweet note when he won his 100th start at Turfway Park Jan... Read More

Bella and Boomer: The Miracle Twins

Most people in involved in the horse industry know how rare it is for Thoroughbred twins to be carried to full term, successfully delivered, and survive. It’s even more unusual when both of those twins end up thriving in their respective careers. But such is the case for Coco’s Legacy and Coco’s Heritage, respectively nicknamed “Bella” and “Boomer,” who are now living life to the fullest in spite of... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: Xantra

Shannon Hahn of Double L Equine Rescue and Sanctuary tells the story of Xatra, aka "Officer Isaac." From needing the law to becoming the law, Xantra overcame injuries due to neglect and now serves as a New York police horse. Hahn also encouraged fans to send Valentines containing $1 donations for its annual fundraiser. ... Read More

OTTB Riding Center Spotlight: Square Peg

Joell Dunlap, executive director of the Square Peg Foundation in Half Moon Bay, Calif., receives a lot of bold requests throughout the year, many of which she must turn down due to financial constraints or other limitations. But when Rupert Issacson, creator of the Horse Boy Method, asked if she could bring horses into the San Jose Convention Center and do a demonstration for kids with autism at the... Read More

And the winner is...

Using a random number generator, I have chosen a winner for the 2012 Blood-Horse calendar: gocurlin12: My favorite older horse is Forego because he always tried his best and showed so much courage on the track. A very worthy favorite! Be sure to email me your street address, gocurlin12, so I can mail you your calendar by the end of the day! My email is . Thanks so much for entering... Read More

Eagle Time's Story and Beyond the Blinkers Giveaway

This pre-Christmas blog has two purposes: to commemorate the career of the recently retired hard knocking stallion Eagle Time and to provide you guys with the opportunity to win an awesome Blood-Horse calendar. Consider it my Christmas present to you! You may have heard of Eagle Time, a remarkable 14-year-old horse whose final start was a 1 1/2-length victory at Thistledown Oct. 1. While The Blood... Read More

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