CANTER California, in partnership with RanJan Racing, presented feisty cross-country competitor Helium Risin’ (Jockey Club name: Begone JoJo) with the High Point OTTB Award and a $1,000 check after an outstanding performance in the weekend Spring Event at Woodside.
Following the Preliminary Level competition, Jan Vandebos, a principal in RanJan Racing and the sponsor of the High Point Award, joined horse and rider Kelsey Devoille in a brief ceremony to honor the top-performing off-track Thoroughbred.
“I am an outspoken advocate for all Thoroughbreds,” Vandebos says. “And I’m so proud of the progress we have made in the past several years in the racing community” to assist ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds in successful transitions to new careers.
“I have been able to make a difference in the racing world by setting an example, and not putting horses into claiming races, and rather, retiring them sound and preparing them for their second careers,” she adds.
Recognizing the un-raced Thoroughbred in his second career with the High Point Award is yet another way to reward the talent of ex-racehorses, says Ali Dacher, executive director of CANTER California.
“We are excited to be partnering with RanJan Racing to sponsor this prize that highlights and rewards Thoroughbred athletes and their owners as well as celebrate the resilience and athleticism of the breed,” Dacher says. “RanJan Racing and CANTER are committed to providing opportunities for second careers for retired racehorses.”
A total of 15 Thoroughbreds, including 12 ex-racehorses, competed in a field of 44 during the weekend event. Helium Risin’ and his rider, who were said to work “amazingly well” together, were the hands down high achievers.
In making the award to Helium, his rider, and his owner Marin Burns, RanJan Racing principals Robert Naify and Vandebos spoke of the importance of highlighting the success of Thoroughbred sport horses.
After their romp, RanJan principals Vandebos and Robert Naify gathered around the successful trio to make the presentation.
“We would like to celebrate the achievements of this wonderful breed and partnering with CANTER is a great way for us to support the work they do to
re-home these horses that have so much more to offer when their racing career ends,” Naify says.