The story of two Gradys, of fame & mystery

Grady has always been the center of attention, even when he doesn't try.

Grady has always been the center of attention, even when he doesn’t try.

“Grady is a horse who was always getting attention, even when he wasn’t trying to,” says longtime Maryland horseman Andi Puckett with a chuckle.

And when Off-Track Thoroughbreds erroneously reported a few weeks ago that her well-known racehorse, who aggressively battled his way through 104 lifetime starts to earn $785,436, had turned up on Craig’s list, and was purchased by an Ohio woman, Puckett said she knew immediately what had happened.

“I’ve been in the horse business for a long time, and I’ve seen horses being misidentified before,” Puckett says. “I once met someone who insisted they had Two Punch, the famous stallion. I told them they might have a Two Punch, the son or grandson of the Two Punch, but that they didn’t have Two Punch.”

Grady
Sire: Prospectors Gamble
Dam: Petadear
Foal date: Jan. 10,1995
Earnings: $785,436, 104 starts
So when a well-meaning friend notified Puckett that her quirky and beloved ex-racehorse Grady, long retired on the Maryland farm she owns with her husband Dwight, appeared to be living a double life in Ohio, Puckett, with merriment and graciousness reassured her friends and concerned horse fans that it was not her Grady, but rather a different Grady. One purchased three years ago by Joan Jerauld of central Ohio.

Grady the war horse
The famous Grady is now living in his own three-acre pasture—by himself, as he prefers it, and takes occasional hacks with Puckett. In his heyday, he was a mean fighting machine on the racetrack, most notably running down Kentucky Derby winner Real Quiet in the 1997 Indian Nations Futurity Cup.

Thinking of her great horse’s life on the track sends Puckett happily down Memory Lane.

On the track, Grady was “the boss” of his own race, she says. You could hit him twice with a crop, but try a third time, and Grady would duck out and quit. He never wanted to run out in the clear. He wanted to be in with all the action, boxed in if possible!

These days, Grady enjoys a light hack with Andi Puckett, and a lot of attention.

These days, Grady enjoys a light hack with Andi Puckett, and a lot of attention.

“He was always one of the first horses out of the gate, but then he’d suck back to last place. He wouldn’t start running until he got to the top of the stretch, and then he’d take off,” Puckett says. “He wanted to be on the inside, in traffic, and he wanted to bump other horses. He wanted that action, that battle.”
Off the track, in retirement on the Puckett farm, Grady had no interest in cantering on the lunge line, or around a riding ring, she says.

“He hated lunging. He’d take two turns around, stop and just look at me like, ‘What are we doing?’ And working in the ring, he was bored. All he wants to do is go for walks. He likes taking trail rides and looking around. He’s very content. He likes to be groomed and fed peppermints.”

Peppermints and an enjoyment of grooming routines are two things both Gradys adore; however, the similarities end there.

Grady of Ohio
Jerauld’s 17.1-hand bay towers over the famous Grady, who is approximately 15.2 hands. And compared to the fierce racehorse, the Ohioan with the same name is a mellow guy happy to give pony rides.

Jerauld purchased Grady after reading his advertisement on Craig’s List.

Grady of Ohio is a 17.1 hand gentle giant. He is owned and loved by Joan Jerauld and her entire family.

Grady of Ohio is a 17.1 hand gentle giant. He is owned and loved by Joan Jerauld and her entire family.

“I saw Grady on Craig’s List and I think it was his story that made me want to go see him,” Jerauld says in an earlier interview with Off-TrackThoroughbreds. She believed the famous war horse was now on Craig’s List, and felt a little sorry for the old gent.

So on an oppressive summer day she drove out to the Ohio location where he was kept and took a test ride. He was perfect for her. She bought him on the spot.

Taking Grady was something she did to help the horse, and herself. Jerauld had survived two physical battles in 2009, first a broken hip sustained when she was knocked over by a horse, and later a diagnosis of B-cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. With the chemotherapy treatment behind her, Jerauld decided her next chapter in life would include the well-mannered 17.1-hand bay with white blaze.

When Jerauld later learned that her Grady was not the famous one, any disappointment or surprise she felt at first was quickly alleviated. After speaking with Puckett at length by phone, and sharing some laughs as they discussed their two horses, Jerauld came away from the experience feeling even more determined to uncover the identity of her Grady.

Estimated to be around 20 years old, Grady’s faded lip-tattoo, which is largely unreadable, was once guessed at by her veterinarian, who wrote the number as: 17350. Plugging in a combination of some of those numbers with a combination of birth years and her horse’s identifying marks, Jerauld has found a handful of horses who seem to match.

Grady photobombs a family shot with Jerauld, her daughter and granddaughter.

Grady photobombs a family shot with Jerauld, her daughter and granddaughter.

Though her Grady did not turn out be the fierce racehorse she thought she had, he did turn out to be the finest one for her family. “After talking with Andi I’ve decided I got the best one!” she says. “I can throw my grandchildren on my horse and trust him with them.”

And Puckett’s Grady, though never one to give pony rides, has won a permanent place in the hearts of the Puckett family. “He’s just a cool horse with a big personality,” she says. “Nothing bad is going to happen to this horse, no yahoo is going to claim this horse, and he’s not going to disappear.”

The story of the two Gradys even made Puckett laugh a little.

“I was talking with the wife of the man Grady was named after (Grady Sanders) and we were saying it’s unbelievable. This horse gets attention, even when he’s not trying!” ♥

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Surprise foal is Fantastic show horse

My Fantastic Lady. Photo by Lydia Williams

My Fantastic Lady, pictured with trainer/rider Courtney Somers of Woodbrook Farm, has been a surprise from the moment her owners Angie and Sabrina Moore learned her mother was pregnant with her. Photo by Lydia Williams

It has been nothing but surprises since Angie Moore decided to take in a broodmare six years ago.

The first revelation was discovering that Lady With a Kick was in foal to Graded Stakes winner and Breeders’ Cup participant Fantasticat, a Storm Cat son.

“I had no idea the horse was even pregnant, and when I was told how impressive the father was, I started to get really excited that we had a Cinderella on our hands,” Moore says. “Everybody kept telling us we’d have a racehorse on our hands, and I was very excited to race her.”

The next curve ball turned a bit serious when the broodmare had a difficult birth, bleeding excessively as she brought the Cinderella foal, who they named My Fantastic Lady, into the world. The mare’s uterine wall tore during delivery and she bled heavily, nearly losing her life.

My Fantastic Lady
Barn name: Fancy
Sire: Fantasticat
Dam: Lady With a Kick, by Well Decorated
Foal date: Feb. 27, 2008
But mother recovered as her bright bay foal grew up and set the Moore family’s heart to hammering with excitement. “We sent her to train at Bonita Farm in Darlington, Md., with Kevin Boniface and she was funny,” Moore says. “She’d leave the gait real strong, and be out in front. But as soon as another horse kicked dirt in her face, she stopped trying.”

My Fantastic Lady was nothing like her old man in the racing department, and after a few starts on turf the pretty mare was brought home, where she was soon paired with rider Courtney Somers of Woodbrook Farm, in Jarrettsville, Md. It took Somers only five minutes to figure out that within this fantastic lady beat the heart of an exceptional jumper.

“She’s an amazing jumper and a beautiful mover,” Somers says. “She jumps very round, and she always has her knees up and square, and she’s very tight with her front end. The only thing we’re working on is slowing her down so people can appreciate how pretty she is.”

My Fantastic Lady wins the 2014 Totally Thoroughbred Show at Pimlico. Photo by Lydia Williams

My Fantastic Lady wins the 2014 Totally Thoroughbred Show at Pimlico. Photo by Lydia Williams

After just weeks of show training, My Fantastic Lady was the 2014 winner of the Totally Thoroughbred Show at Pimlico!

“We couldn’t believe it,” says her co-owner Sabrina Moore. “We were shocked. Last year I was joking with some friends at Pimlico that we’d bring her here this year and she’d win. But we didn’t really think she would. My mom left early because she didn’t think she would. But she’s truly a fancy horse!”

Her mother agrees.

A source of constant amazement from the moment she announced herself to the Moore family, to now, My Fantastic Lady is keeping her family and trainer on their toes, as she embarks on a future she seems born to.

“I’m just amazed with this horse,” Angie Moore says. “She has been the source of constant surprises. But once she started with Courtney, it’s like she found the thing she loves to do, she found what she really loves, and where she belongs.” ♥

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New Vocations show mobbed, earns $65K

Dundee competes at the New Vocations show. Photo by Sandy Seabrook

Jill Stowe and New Vocations Thoroughbred graduate Dundee compete at the 11th annual New Vocations Charity Horse Show this month. Photo by Sandy Seabrook

(Press Release)—The 11th annual New Vocations Charity Horse Show on July 10 was a huge success with over 1,400 entries and raising $65,000 to support racehorse aftercare.

The Indiana HBPA was the official title sponsor of the event, which drew a record attendance. Many of the exhibitors came simply to show off their former racehorses in both the Thoroughbred specialty classes as well as the open classes. Non-Thoroughbreds also competed, showing their support of New Vocations’ efforts.

“It was truly great to see so many retired racehorses competing in one place,” said New Vocations Program Director Anna Ford. “We are ever grateful to the individuals and industry groups who supported the show through the various sponsorship opportunities. These sponsors, along with all the hard working volunteers and exhibitors, make this event possible each year.

“Thoroughbreds with backgrounds ranging from one start to over 90, and no earnings to over $500,000, competed side by side, proving that they can excel in new careers beyond the track. Over $6,500 in prize money was awarded through sponsors and the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program, along with beautiful ribbons and a vast selection of quality prizes.

Angel's tune competes at the New Vocations Show. Photo by Sandy Seabrook

Laura Norton and New Vocations Thoroughbred Graduate Angel’s Tune do the hunter division at the New Vocations Charity Horse Show. Photo by Sandy Seabrook

Among the 95 Thoroughbreds competing, several should be noted. Nineteen-year-old, multiple stakes placed Miz Emmalou, who raced 22 times and earned over $153,000, was the War Horse Champion. Ohio-bred Letsgostreaking, with 14 starts and $1,400 in earnings, won the Thoroughbred Hunter Classic. Ontario-bred Society Fox, with 20 starts and $7,600 in earnings, was a star in the jumper ring, winning the Thoroughbred Jumper Stakes. Lastly, the Kentucky-bred Western Duels was crowned the Thoroughbred Dressage Champion.

A number of industry partners, owners, trainers and breeders joined together to sponsor the event. This year’s key sponsors include: the Indiana HBPA, Ohio HBPA, James and Anita Cauley, Homewrecker Racing, Eisaman Equine Services and 100% Racing.

For 22 years, New Vocations has provided a safety net for retired racehorses leaving the track; on average, the program takes in over 400 horses a year. Starting with a single farm in Dayton, Ohio, New Vocations has grown to encompass six facilities in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Serving over 40 racetracks, New Vocations works directly with owners and trainers in need of an aftercare program for their horses. New Vocations has a sound adoption system in place that is proven to move a large number of horses in a rather short period of time. The focus is on adoption rather than retirement, believing that each horse deserves to have a home and a purpose. For more information, visit www.newvocations.org.♥

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