Thoroughbred Makeover Wows Thousands

Fans of the Thoroughbred horse flocked to the Kentucky Horse Park by the thousands over the weekend for the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, a $100,000 competition in which trainers take less than a year to transform a racehorse into master of up to two equestrian disciplines. The event is organized by Retired Racehorse Project and is presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America.

Three hundred horses recently retired from 64 different racetracks competed in the arenas and outside courses throughout the park on Thursday and Friday in barrel racing, competitive trails, dressage, eventing, field hunters, freestyle, polo, show hunters, show jumpers, and working ranch. Seminars, training demos, and a bustling trade fair combined to make the event a true celebration of the talent and trainability of the Thoroughbred horse.

Twenty-five hundred people were on hand to watch the performances, and organizers expect that most will be back next year. “The feedback we are getting from competitors, vendors, judges and spectators has been fantastic.” said RRP founder and president Steuart Pittman. “Who knew that horses could learn so much so fast, and have so much fun doing it? Every ten minutes I saw something inspiring.”

The top three scorers in each discipline performed Saturday afternoon in the covered arena before a full house and a livestream audience of three thousand more. Every thirty minutes the arena was reset for a new sport, with every manner of jumps, a polo goal, barrels, trail obstacles, freestyle props, and cattle. Over one hundred very dedicated volunteers performed this logistical feat.

All ten division winners returned to the arena at the end for the crowd to select America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred through thunderous applause measured by an electronic meter. The winner was dressage victor Fairway King, trained and ridden by Lauren Turner a 26-year-old event rider who works full time in marketing while also managing a training business.

“I am in total shock,” said Lauren. “When I bought this guy out of a field he was probably 100 pounds underweight and his neck came out of the bottom of his shoulder. If he didn’t remind me so much of my long-time partner who is retiring I wouldn’t have bought him. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that he found his balance and started to really connect. It was like a switch went off. This whole experience has been surreal.“ When asked how she would spend her $15,000 in winnings she said it would pay off debt and allow her to do with more horses what she has done with King.

At the end of the weekend not all horses left with the trainers who brought them. Just over 100 were available for sale and some sold at the event, including two of the division winners. Grand Prix dressage trainer Yvonne Barteau bought aptly named Trick Roper, the winner of the working ranch division, and Bernie Traurig purchased Carajillo, the show jumping champion. Statistics on Makeover horse sales will be forthcoming.

The 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover will take place on the first weekend of October. Application information will be published in December.

Here are the top three in each division.

Barrel Racing

1. Deborah Keiser with Morning Rainbow (Judge Vonsteubon)

2. Mindy Stoops with Bad Girl Phase (Justenuffhumor)

3. Lance Graves with Rodeo Buckle (by B L's Appeal)

Competitive Trail

1. Lindsey Partridge and Trivia Time (by Like the Prospects)

2. Amara Underwood and Barticus (by Banachek)

3. Lindsey Partridge and Pentland (by Borrego)


1. Lauren Turner with Fairway King (by Leroidesanimaux)

2. Laura Borghesani with Cinmars Dance (by Cindago)

3. Emily Brollier Curtis with Dancing Commander (by Mr. Triest)


1. Cathy Wieschhoff and Speed Rail (by Purge)

2. Elisa Wallace with Heron's Waltz (by Garnered)

3. Cathy Wieschhoff with Title Contender (by Pulpit)

Field Hunter

1. Sarah Davis with J.J.'s Local Law (by Deputy Rokeby)

2. Sarah McMerty with Beau Fox (by Don Rigo)

3. Lindsey Partridge with Pentland (by Borrego)


1. Lindsey Partridge and Trivia Time (by Borrego)

2. Cedar Potts and Majestic Lad (by Majestic Warrior)

3. Clovis Crane with Empire Road (by Corinthian)


1. Buck Schott and Strong Angel (by Thunder Gulch)

2. Marisa Bianchi with Thunderonthebeach (by Thunder Gulch)

3. Juan Carlos Gonzalez with Illbegettinggold (by Gottcha Gold)

Show Hunter

· Tyler Weith and Greeley's Magic (by Greeley's Conquest)

· Sarah Berkowitz with My Prize Now (by Teuflesberg)

· Alex Shokat with Half the Battle (by Showing Up)

Show Jumper

1. Isabela de Sousa and Carajillo (by Medaglia d'Oro)

2. Amara Underwood and Gold Medallion (by Medaglia d'Oro)

3. Dyanna Capuano and Idle Spur (by Read the Footnotes)

Working Ranch

1. Russell Littlefield and Trick Roper (by Datrick)

2. Stan Smith and Flo's Strawberry (by Cashel Castle)

3. Dale Simanton and Quaint (by Street Sense)

Ambassador Award winner: Michelle Craig

Barrel Racing 1st Place: #205 Deborah Keiser on Morning Rainbow

Barrel Racing 2nd Place: #278 Mindy Stoops on Bad Girl Phase

Barrel Racing 3rd Place: #173 Lance Graves on Rodeo Buckle

Barrel Racing 4th Place: #45 Chya Johnstone on Fifth Date

Barrel Racing 5th Place: #220 Melanie Lyell on Runbridled

Barrel Racing Top Amateur: Diane Fryer on Raven Train

Barrel Racing Top Junior: Jade Wirick on More Zen Ready

Competitive Trail FINAL RESULTS
Competitive Trail 1st Place: #247 Lindsey Partridge on Trivia Time

Competitive Trail 2nd Place: #284 Amara Underwood on Barticus

Competitive Trail 3rd Place: #246 Lindsey Partridge on Pentland

Competitive Trail 4th Place: #7 Melia Blakely on Fingertips

Competitive Trail 5th Place: #168 Franny Galvin-Hynes on YouGottaBeKidding

Competitive Trail Top Amateur: Melia Blakely on Fingertips

Competitive Trail Top Junior: Amara Underwood on Barticus

Dressage 1st Place: #95 Lauren Turner on Fairway King

Dressage 2nd Place: #123 Laura Borghesani on Cinmars Dance

Dressage 3rd Place: #131 Emily Brollier Curtis on Dancing Commander

Dressage 4th Place: #265 Nuno Santos on Hard to Port

Dressage 5th Place: #222 Kelly Marriner-Smith on Barbara's Passion

Dressage Top Amateur: Julie Nelson on Riding the Tide

Dressage Top Junior: Sarah Bowman on El Santo

Eventing 1st Place: #298 Cathy Wieschhoff on Speed Rail

Eventing 2nd Place: #289 Elisa Wallace on Heron's Waltz

Eventing 3rd Place: #102 Cathy Wieschhoff on Title Contender

Eventing 4th Place: #48 Kendal Lehari on Coltnamedsue

Eventing 5th Place: #234 Sabrina Morris on Smash and Grab

Eventing Top Amateur: Julie Nelson on Riding the Tide

Eventing Top Junior: Macy Beach on The Muckratary

Field Hunter 1st Place: #148 Sarah Davis on J.J.'s Local Law

Field Hunter 2nd Place: #229 Sarah McMerty on Beau Fox

Field Hunter 3rd Place: #246 Lindsey Partridge on Pentland

Field Hunter 4th Place: #118 Amanda Blake on Im Tellingeveryone

Field Hunter 5th Place: #Gretchen Pani on Chucks Turn

Field Hunter Top Amateur: Sarah McMerty on Beau Fox

Field Hunter Top Junior: Emily Vandenberghe on Loose Cannon

Freestyle 1st Place: #247 Lindsey Partridge on Trivia Time

Freestyle 2nd Place: #254 Cedar Potts on Majestic Lad

Freestyle 3rd Place: #18 Clovis Crane on Empire Road

Freestyle 4th Place: #111 Yvonne Barteau on Seventytwo

Freestyle 5th Place: #85 Stan Smith on Flo's Strawberry

Freestyle Top Amateur: Marcella Gruchalak on Because Simon Says

Freestyle Top Junior: Kaitlin Hartford on Family Foundation

Polo 1st Place: #77 Buck Schott on Strong Angel

Polo 2nd Place: #116 Marisa Bianchi on ThunderontheBeach

Polo 3rd Place: #172 Juan Carlos Gonzalez on Illbegettinggold

Polo 4th Place: #209 Paul Knapp on Hello Mama

Polo 5th Place: #79 Walter "Trey" Schott on Sergio's Rose

Polo Top Amateur: Paul Knapp on Hello Mama

Polo Top Junior: Lea Jih-Vieira on Accardi

Show Hunter 1st Place: #100 Tyler Weith on Greeley's Magic

Show Hunter 2ndt Place: #5 Sarah Berkowitz on My Prize Now

Show Hunter 3rd Place: #83 Alex Shokat on Half The Battle

Show Hunter 4th Place: #179 Joanna Hagen on Estaticator

Show Hunter 5th Place: #25 Stacey Fitzgerald on Centripital

Show Hunter Top Amateur:Sarah Berkowitz on My Prize Now

Show Hunter Top Junior: Isabela de Sousa on Carajillo

Show Jumper 1st Place: #20 Isabela de Sousa on Carajillo

Show Jumper 2nd Place: #283 Amara Underwood on Gold Medallion

Show Jumper 3rd Place: #138 Dyanna Capuano on Idle Spur

Show Jumper 4th Place: #137 Erika Campbell on Stauffenberg

Show Jumper 5th Place: #186 Samantha Haven on North Tip

Show Jumper Top Amateur: Anne Barry Weber on Elusive Silver

Show Jumper Top Junior: Isabela de Sousa on Carajillo

Working Ranch 1st Place: #52 Russell Littlefield on Trick Roper

Working Ranch 2nd Place: #85 Stan Smith on Flo's Strawberry

Working Ranch 3rd Place: #270 Dale Simanton on Quaint

Working Ranch 4th Place: #284 Amara Underwood on Barticus

Working Ranch 5th Place: #239 Brittany Newton on Queen Addy

Working Ranch Top Amateur: Christine Fleming on Poquito

Working Ranch Top Junior: Amara Underwoond on Barticus