This interview was originally published on July 18, 2012.
When Maryland Jockey Club Racing Secretary Georganne Hale helped dream up the idea of the Totally Thoroughbred Show at the Pimlico racetrack last Saturday, she thought, at best, she’d attract a total of 105 horses to complete in seven classes, each with 10- to-15 horses.
Oh how she miscalculated!
In a good way.
Some 300 horses and more than 800 entrants hauled into Pimlico July 14th to strut their stuff in the steamy Maryland heat last weekend. Sleek and gleaming, yet cool in the “big atmosphere,” former racehorses gently carried tots in lead-line classes, and competed in “walk/trot” and “trotting-over-fences” classes with older riders.
“It gave me chills,” Hale says. “Watching all the Thoroughbreds standing there asleep, at the end of a lead rope, held by children—I felt proud of the horses, and thrilled to know that that many people in the Maryland area have ex-racehorses that they show, foxhunt, or take out on trail rides.”
The first Totally Thoroughbred Show was a smashing success, so much so that streamed live on HRTV, and it raised thousands of dollars in proceeds for three horse charities: Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue, Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue and Thoroughbred Placement Resources.
Off-TrackThoroughbreds.com caught up with Georganne for a quick Q&A, for this week’s Readers Clubhouse.
Q: Georganne, Social Media horse sites were abuzz about the Totally Thoroughbred show at Pimlico. Did that online excitement translate to the show grounds?
It most certainly did translate to the show grounds. I was so overwhelmed with entries. I never thought in a million years that we would have had that many entries for the show. It just proves that Thoroughbreds are making a comeback in the horse show world.
Q: Approximately how many ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds participated in the show, and who were some of the grand-prize winners?
We had 300 different horses participate, and over 800 entries. Maryland trainer, Hugh McMahon’s daughter, was one of the winners in the “Lead Line” class. Grand Champion was a horse named “Houston”. He was an un-named Thoroughbred. His show name is Houston. We had A. P. Indys, Giant Causeways, Partner Heros and many others.
Q: Was this the first show of its kind at Pimlico, and, will there be more?
This was the first “Totally Thoroughbred” horse show that was actually held at a racetrack. I did hear my boss speaking to a television station, suggesting that this will probably be two days next year. I assume that means, there will be more!
Q: How did you and your friend Stacie Clark-Rogers develop the idea for the show?
Stacie runs the Adena Springs retirement in Canada, and she’d been going around to horsemen trying to generate support for ex-racehorses, when she came to Maryland to talk to my horseman group. This was about a year ago.
While we were sitting around talking, we both agreed that it would be fun to have an all-Thoroughbred Show. And that’s how it started. I asked my boss, Tom Chuckas, the president of the Maryland Jockey Club about it, and he was all for it!
Q: How did the horse show community respond once you started advertising the show?
It was a total surprise when we started getting pre-entries. The response was tremendous! So many people responded, I was afraid to answer my phone! I wish entries for actual racing were as good as this was!
My original goal was to have a nice, little show. I thought we’d have seven classes, and if I’m lucky, we’d get 10 or 15 in a class. And my plan was to get people in and out of there like zip-zip-zip so they don’t have to hang around a show all day.
Q: Instead, it was an unmitigated success. What does this mean to you?
I’m still overwhelmed. It did give me chills to see that many ex-racehorses standing around waiting to show. Just to know that that many people had Thoroughbreds, and that they were all from the Mid-Atlantic area!
I looked around and thought, so this is where all my racehorses have gone. They’re here, showing.