McCarron, Jenkins and Crump to Judge America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest

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Chris McCarron, Rodney Jenkins and Diane Crump will team up at Pimlico Race Course on Sunday, Oct. 5, to provide commentary and insight on the performances of 10 Thoroughbred ex-racehorses performing in 10 equestrian sports during the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover: A Marketplace and National Symposium.

America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest is designed to educate the equestrian public about the process of training an ex-racehorse for a second career. The horses are new to their respective disciplines, but their trainers are experts. The public has been watching their progress on the RRP website (RetiredRacehorseProject.org) and will vote for their favorites from Sept. 25 – 28. A second round of voting will take place during the Oct. 5 demonstrations and immediately after.

“We chose these judges not only because they are three of the most accomplished horse people in America, but also because they are three of the most entertaining personalities in racing,” said RRP President Steuart Pittman.

The role of the judges is to comment on each performance and question the trainers in a format similar to that of Fox Television’s American Idol. They do not decide the winners, but they can influence the popular vote with their commentary. The event offers $10,000 in purse money and can be watched live at BloodHorse.com. It will be emceed by Stan Salter of Maryland Horse Radio.

The contestants represent the sports of dressage (Nuno Santos with Now and Then), eventing (Phillip Dutton with Icabad Crane), foxhunting (Christy Clagett with Saba Rock), show jumpers (Armand Leone and New Vocations with Discreet Dancer), show hunters (Bev Strauss and Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue with D’Sauvage), polo (Juan Carlos Gonzalez and Marisa Bianchi with It’s A Little Chilli), ranch work (Dale Simanton with Rikim), barrels and western dressage (Patrick King with Pookie’s Princess), steeplechase (Jazz Napravnik with So Outspoken), Pony Club (Hannah Gilhool with Mad Bomber).

McCarron retired as a jockey in 2002 as America’s all-time leader in earnings. He won two Eclipse Awards, was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame, and later served as General Manager of Santa Anita Park and as a racing analyst for TVG. In 2005, he created the North American Racing Academy to train future exercise riders, jockeys and horsemen.

Crump, was the first American woman to ride at a major track (Hialeah in 1969), the first woman to win a stakes race, and the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby (1970). She won 228 of her 1,682 races as a jockey. After retiring from race riding she created Diane Crump Equine Sales, Inc., a successful business that matches horses and buyers in the sport horse market.

Rodney Jenkins trains a strong barn of some 40 racehorses out of Laurel Park, but he made history in the horse show world. He not only dominated both the hunter and jumper rings throughout the 1970s and 80s, but he did it primarily on Thoroughbreds. His most famous winner was Idle Dice, a Charlestown claimer who won 31 Grand Prix events in his career, including two at the age of 21. Rodney is in the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame, the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, and he was Maryland’s leading racing trainer in 2004.

The America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest is a part of the Thoroughbred Makeover: A Marketplace and National Symposium, Oct. 4-5 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The weekend includes a Thoroughbred Marketplace sponsored by Thoroughbred Charities of America, seminars about transitioning racehorses to second careers, and demonstrations by top Thoroughbreds in multiple disciplines. Marketplace entries are being accepted at RetiredRacehorseProject.org and the catalogue of horses can be viewed there during the week before the event.

RRP works to facilitate placement of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in second careers by increasing demand for them in the marketplace and inspiring an army of equestrians to provide the training that secures their futures. RRP offers online directories, educational resources and public events. For more information visit RetiredRacehorseProject.org.