Breeders’ Cup Ltd. announced a partnership with the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) to honor the winner of this year’s Thoroughbred Makeover between races at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, bringing together the country’s most prestigious weekend of Thoroughbred racing and the largest retraining competition for Thoroughbreds after racing.
Earlier this month, the Thoroughbred Makeover, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, drew nearly 400 horses, all in their first year of retraining after racing, from 40 states and four Canadian provinces to the Kentucky Horse Park to compete for their share of more than $135,000 in prize money. Horses competed in one or two of 10 different non-racing disciplines, including barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunters, freestyle, polo, ranch work, show hunters and show jumpers.
This year’s winner was Cowboy Swagger, ridden and trained by Fallon Taylor. Cowboy Swagger is an Oregon-bred son of Grindstone out of the Baquero mare One Fast Cowgirl. Bred by Dr. and Mrs. Jack B. Root, Jr., Cowboy Swagger earned three wins from 16 starts.
Retired from racing in January of this year, Cowboy Swagger was retrained for the Makeover by Fallon Taylor, a professional barrel racer from Collinsville, TX. Taylor, who was named the Women’s Pro Rodeo Association (WPRA) Barrel Racing World Champion in 2014 at the National Finals Rodeo, has one of the largest social media followings in rodeo and chronicled her journey of retraining Cowboy Swagger from being a racehorse to a barrel racer on her YouTube, Facebook and Instagram channels.
In addition to winning prize money and other merchandise, Taylor and Cowboy Swagger will be honored in the winner’s circle on Friday, November 1 between races. RRP will also be promoting Breeders’ Cup weekend to off-track Thoroughbred enthusiasts.
“We are thrilled to once again partner with the Breeders’ Cup to honor this year’s Thoroughbred Makeover Champion and recognize all of the people who invest their time, money and talents into transitioning Thoroughbreds from race horses to sport horses,” said Jen Roytz, executive director of the RRP. “Each year the best horses in the world gather under the banner of the Breeders’ Cup to vie for top honors, and in recent years the Thoroughbred Makeover has achieve similar esteem for horses in their inaugural year after racing. For the Breeders’ Cup to show such dedication and support in celebrating these horses after they’ve run their last race is a testament to how much they respect and value these athletes through all phases of their lives.”
“Since its founding in 2010, the Retired Racehorse Project has brought an incredible amount of attention to retired Thoroughbred racehorses,” said Dora Delgado, Executive Vice President, Racing & Nominations at Breeders' Cup. “Breeders’ Cup is devoted to celebrating the Thoroughbreds that compete in our great sport and we could not be prouder to continue our partnership with the RRP this year. We are excited to help the RRP expand the market and create more demand in the equestrian world for such amazing athletes and ease their transitions into the second stages of their careers.”
In addition to the competition, the Thoroughbred Makeover included educational seminars and panel discussions focused on Thoroughbreds in second careers, as well as the Makeover Master Class, a training clinic that featured top trainers and their approach to restarting Thoroughbreds after racing. The Makeover also provides an annual opportunity for recreational or competitive riders to shop for horses, as approximately one third of the entrants were available for adoption or sale in the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace.
All horses that competed in the Makeover are listed online, along with their pedigrees, race records, breeder, and their racing connections as of their last start. The list is searchable and can be sorted by state and sire. View entries here.
Retired Racehorse Project works to facilitate placement of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in second careers by increasing demand for them in the marketplace and inspiring equestrians to provide the training that secures their futures. RRP offers online directories, educational resources, and publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine.