Beyond the Blinkers

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

Fan Group to Race Shackleford Offspring

Here's a heartwarming story for you: an eclectic group of friends brought together from a shared love for Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Shackleford will now campaign a homebred offspring by that stallion. Dubbed the "Shackettes" the Shackleford enthusiasts connected via Facebook during the son of Forestry's decorated campaign, during which he also won the Carter Handicap (gr. I), Metropolitan Handicap... Read More

Kentucky Oaks/Derby iPhoto Essay 2014

This year's Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks have come and gone, but the memories will always remain. Following is a pictorial essay of some of my favorite scenes throughout the week leading up to both races. I hope you enjoy! Did you attend this year's Kentucky Derby? If so, what were some of your favorite moments? Stay tuned next week for an exciting giveaway on the blog! Early morning on the Churchill... Read More

Paolucci is Courageously Confident in Ria Antonia

One day prior to the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), Ron Paolucci, co-owner of Ria Antonia, sat handicapping the May 1 Churchill Downs card with his wife and a dozen of his closest friends in the track's Win-Place-Show room. Paolucci, who races Ria Antonia in the name Loooch Racing with Christopher Dunn, had already seen his filly gallop over the Louisville oval and had a hearty breakfast at the iconic Wagner... Read More

Untapable Schools in the Paddock

Yesterday, on April 29, I had the opportunity to watch Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) morning line favorite Untapable have a schooling session in the Churchill Downs paddock. The daughter of Tapit acted cool, calm, and professional as she stood in the schooling stall, and was then led around the paddock walking ring under the watch of trainer Steve Asmussen. Untapable walks around the Churchill Downs... Read More

Afternoon With the Regal Rosalind

Last Tuesday afternoon (April 15), I had the privilege of going to Keeneland and visiting Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) hopeful Rosalind at trainer Kenny McPeek's barn. The reason for the visit was to do a video interview with McPeek that will be posted in the next few days on, but while I was there, I was also able to spend a few moments with Rosalind. She was accommodating while I petted her... Read More

Kentucky Oaks Name Game: 2014 Edition

It's time for my annual Kentucky Oaks name blog! I cover the Kentucky Oaks for the magazine, so for the last five years, I have researched the meanings behind the names of several of Oaks-bound fillies. Read some of my past entries here , here , and here . Whenever I make a "hunch bet," it's usually about 80-90% based on the horse's name. How much do name meanings weigh on your handicapping? These... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: Faithful

Guest-blogger Paula Carleton Evans shares the story of Faithful, an ex-racer who jumped a wall higher than eight feet in 1949. Yesterday marked the 65th anniversary of Faithful's legendary jump. ... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: Theres Trouble

Today I bring you yet another story from Shannon Hahn at Double L Stable Equine Rescue in New York. For the last six years, I have featured different horses from Double L, and in the process, also plugged that organization's Valentine's Day fundraiser. Please see the bottom of this story for information on how you can support Double L and also be entered in a fun contest. I'm also hosting another giveaway... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: Prime Cut

I apologize for another long hiatus! I have been focusing on more on stallion news for the magazine and website, and with that plus sale coverage, I've been extremely busy since I returned from maternity leave. But I'm determined to still update my blog whenever possible! Following is a story about Prime Cut, whose prominent half siblings are graded stakes winners Vyjack and Tepin. Prime Cut was bought... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: Bluegrass Knight

I apologize for the delay in blog posts, but I was recently out on maternity leave. Meet my daughter Lyla Jane! Needless to say, Lyla has taken up a lot of my time lately, but I am finally back at work and getting back to the swing of things. Thanks for understanding my absence! Earlier this summer, The Blood-Horse benefited from the services of a very capable intern, Emily Walden, who is the daughter... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: Sandburr

In light of the recent unfortunate breakdown of grade I winner Monzante, which has once again brought the topic of racehorse safety and retirement to the forefront, I thought I would bring you some positive stories about horses that were retired at the right time and able to have lives beyond the track. ... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: Arctic Bright View

Over past two years, Arctic Bright View, a pure, white son of Panoramic, has experienced an exciting adventure to Tinsel Town and back, and he lives to tell the tale. Out of the Airdrie Apache mare Arcticanna, Arctic Bright View just emerged from training in Hollywood, Calif., where he was leased by Disney to portray Silver in "The Lone Ranger." Several other horses were also trained to portray Silver... Read More

Equine Artist Martinez Reflects on Rich Career

Happy almost Belmont weekend! While the following story of Nick Martinez isn't directly OTTB-related, this jockey-turned equine artist does donate a portion of the proceeds from his work to retired racehorse efforts. I hope you enjoy this story of Martinez' colorful journey in the Thoroughbred industry. ************************************************************************************ From cattle... Read More

OTTB Spotlights: Stone Cold Angel and Liberian Freighter

Hello readers! One of our talented West Coast-based correspondents, Tracy Gantz, has written a great guest blog peice about the Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. I hope you enjoy! Photos will hopefully be added soon. Have a wonderful weekend! ***************************************************************************** Stone Cold Angel obviously didn't want to be a racehorse... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: Sir Prize Birthday

Today I ran across a pretty cool OTTB-related story I thought was worth sharing. Sent by Francis LaBelle, former assistant director of communications for the New York Racing Association, it chronicles the life of the stakes-winning, hard knocking horse Sir Prize Birthday, who is soon to be 33 years old! Enjoy. ************************************************************************************* On... Read More

Kentucky Oaks/Derby iPhoto Essay

With this year's Kentucky Oaks and Derby come and gone, I'm left with a lot of memories in the form of photos that I'd like to share. In the past, I've provided lists of my top 10 favorite moments during Derby week, but this year, with so many to choose from, I thought I would give you a photo essay of my experiences. Read my past Derby lists here here and here . Did you attend this year's Derby or... Read More

KY Oaks Name Game: 2013 Edition

The Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) name game is something fun that I've done on this blog for the last few years leading up to the Run for the Lilies. I research as many Oaks contenders as I can to find out their name meanings, and I usually get some pretty interesting stories! Following are some of the explanations I received on this year's stellar field of contenders. Which one is your favorite? Beholder... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: Declan's Moon

The Retired Racehorse Training Project's "100 Day Thoroughbred Challenge" was comprised of four horses representing four Mid-Altantic Thoroughbred farms, including Samantha Siegel's retired grade I-winning gelding Declan's Moon. ... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: Metro Meteor

Read the story of Metro Meteor, the OTTB that is raising thousands of dollars for a racehorse adoption charity through his paintings. Also, the giveaway winner is announced!... Read More

OTTB Update and a Giveaway

I would like to welcome back Shannon Hahn of Double L Stable Equine Rescue and Sanctuary in Argyle, N.Y., who I have featured several other times on Beyond the Blinkers. Over the years since I started this blog, Shannon has come to me with different stories of horses she has helped nurse back to health, rehabilitate, and re-home. This year, in light of Double L's upcoming Valentine's Day fundraiser... Read More

OTTB Spotlight: Miss Fifty

Read the story of Miss Fifty, a Thoroughbred filly that captivated the heart of racing fan Mary Cage. After following the filly through a career of ups and downs, Mary received the best gift she could have imagined. ... Read More

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