Beyond the Blinkers

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

Old Friends Hall of Fame Day Draws Many Supporters

On Oct. 17, I was graciously invited to attend a benefit for Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement facility near Georgetown, Ky. honoring Hall of Fame members Skip Away, Noor, and Precisionist. I thought you all would enjoy seeing some photos of this special occasion. The event started with an observance for the three previously mentioned Thoroughbreds, who were recently buried in Old Friend’s new... Read More

Lotka to Visit Keeneland

Our Mims Haven is a wonderful Paris, Ky.-based Thoroughbred retirement facility that features a stellar group of mares. This Saturday morning, Oct. 15, the retired multiple graded stakes-winning mare Lotka, an Our Mims resident, will be featured at Keeneland's "Breakfast with the Works." The event begins at 8:45 a.m. in the paddock. Recent photo of Lotka at Our Mims. Doesn't she look great for 28 years... Read More

Australian Horse Provides Inspiration Through Recovery

I apologize for being absent for awhile. I will be back with a longer blog story next week, but as I am currently dealing with some family issues, this week I will simply be sharing with you a touching article that I read recently. I love reading stories about horses with huge hearts. The subject of this article—an 8-year-old Australian-bred gelding named Geejayhaitch--is reminiscent of racing icon... Read More

Retired Racehorse Spotlight: Flying Cayman

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a retired Thoroughbred spotlight, and when I heard the story of Nikki Egyed’s Flying Cayman, I thought he was a perfect candidate. Egyed owns and operates a successful riding stable called Silver Shadow Training Services in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and Flying Cayman, a 9-year-old chestnut gelding by Fly So Free she acquired off the track at Fairmount Park, is the star... Read More

Update on Noor and Tribute to Awad

I wanted to give you guys a little update on Noor’s remains being sent to Old Friends. The plan is for the body of the deceased Hall of Famer to be shipped to Michael Blowen’s Georgetown Ky.-based farm Aug. 30. Noor is being exhumed from his previous burial ground at the Loma Rica training track in California due to the land being developed. Immediately upon his arrival, Noor will be buried in a new... Read More

Thoroughbreds Shine at New Vocations Horse Show

During the month of July, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program hosted two horse shows that featured Thoroughbreds competing off the track. The first event was held July 9-10, during which nearly 40 Thoroughbreds gathered at the Kentucky Horse Park to compete in two Thoroughbred restricted hunter/jumper classes. It marked the second consecutive year New Vocations partnered with the Robert Murphy... Read More

Monmouth Employee to Compete in Mongol Derby

Last summer, when Sophia Mangalee read a story on Equidaily.com about the winner of the 2010 Mongol Derby, she was more than intrigued and entertained. She was inspired. “I was 100% convinced from the minute I saw (the article) that I would do that race,” said Mangalee, 28, the marketing manager of Monmouth Park. “I thought about it for about a week before I applied, and every night I was having all... Read More

Funds Still Needed to Bring Noor to Old Friends

In my last blog post, I mentioned that sufficent funds had been raised for the body of Hall of Famer Noor to be transferred to Old Friends. It has been brought to my attention by an official involved in the process that this is not the case, however. Noor's body will be moved at the end of August only if funds are available to do so. In other words, Noor needs your help! ( see Steve Haskin’s previous... Read More

Catching Up With Some Old Friends

On an extremely sultry Kentucky afternoon last week, I made the 25-minute trip from my office to Old Friends’ Dream Chase Farm near Georgetown, Ky. There’s a stillness during the summers here that I can’t quite explain, but it’s so peaceful and calm. And also breathtakingly beautiful—driving down the country roads of Fayette, Woodford, and Scott counties, verdant pastures greet me on both sides, the... Read More

Thoroughbred Retirement Spotlight: Renassaince Rescue

Many may wonder what possessed Barb Hutchison to make Thoroughbred rescue her life mission, having not grown up around the industry. But for her, all it took was one look into the eyes of a slaughter-bound Thoroughbred at Fairmount Park to turn her whole world upside down. Renaissance Rescue , a 75-acre facility located south of St. Louis in Farmington, Mo., was founded by Hutchinson shortly after... Read More

Happy Summer!

Greetings from Al, the turkey vulture that decided to hang out on the window sill at my Blood-Horse office this morning! Needless to say, I was quite surprised to see this large bird come swooping over to visit me as I was writing stakes recaps this morning and had to share this funny photo. I apologize for being MIA the last couple weeks. It’s been extremely busy time for me during this Triple Crown... Read More

My Preakness Experience Via Video

I have had a chance to recover from traveling to and from Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and thought I would share some videos with you! This was my first time going to the Preakness, so I was excited to document my journey. Below are just a few selections of videos I shot with a flipcam May 20 and 21. Please forgive my amateur video skills. Remember, I'm a journalist first! It was interesting... Read More

Guest Blog: Thoughts on the KY Derby From a Fan Perspective

I received the following piece from Erin Grogan of Keene, N.H. on the Tuesday following this year's Kentucky Derby and I felt like I needed to share it with you. Professionally, Grogan works as a senior research associate for The New Teacher Project, a national non-profit organization that focuses on teacher retention and teacher effectiveness. Recreationally, however, she is a die-hard horse racing... Read More

My Oaks/Derby Week in Photos

This year’s Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby week was definitely memorable to me—from the heartbreaking phone call I made to John Greathouse about his ill-fated filly Devil May Care, to the quiet beauty of the descending twilight on Oaks night, to the thrilling Derby finish of Animal Kingdom and the realization I had scored the biggest triumph of my betting career (which isn’t saying much, but I was... Read More

Last Minute Oaks Picks

People have been asking me for days who my picks are for the Kentucky Oaks. It’s hard this year, because there are so many great stories behind these fillies and their connections, and for sentimental reasons alone, I would be happy if almost any of them won. That’s definitely not always the case with a race like this. Aside from the sentimental stuff, this is a powerful and talented group of horses... Read More

Backstretch Snapshot of the Day: Her Smile

Her Smile is a filly that came into the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) game a little late and lacks the buzz factor that has surrounded some of the other contenders in the Run for the Lilies. But after talking with her owner, celebrity chef Bobby Flay, on Churchill's busy backstretch May 5, it appears she has just as good of a shot as any of the 12 other horses in this deep and talented Oaks field. Flay, who... Read More

Daisy Devine: Cinderella Story of the Oaks

From a $5,500 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase to grade II winner, Daisy Devine has proven to be a brilliant investment for owner James Miller’s two-horse stable. The retired oil company salesman now may just be in for the biggest ride of his life if the daughter of Kafwain were to cross the wire first on Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) day. “It would be awesome—the thrill of a lifetime,” said Miller... Read More

Dancinginherdreams Still Dreaming of the Oaks

As I previously warned you, from here through early May, it’s going to be all Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), all the time on my blog. Throughout the next few weeks, I hope to provide you with some insight into the Oaks contenders and their connections, as well as some behind-the-scenes views of the spectacle leading up to the first Friday in May. One of the many fillies currently reaching for the lilies is... Read More

Women Riders Stepping Up

As I mentioned last week, I would like to share an interview I composed with Karma Kitaj, author of the book “ Women Riders Who Could…and Did: Life Stories of Top Level Equestriennes .” The book features the stories of women professionals from various areas of the equine industry, including the now retired jockey Julie Krone. Krone became the first female jockey to win a Triple Crown race when she... Read More

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