Approximately 70 retiring racehorses will be paraded before the horse-buying public Oct. 20 during CANTER New England’s 8th annual Suffolk Showcase.
The rehoming organization’s signature event, which strives to find suitable, caring and lifelong homes for retiring racehorses, begins at 9 a.m. on the backside of Boston’s venerable racetrack.
Horses will parade along a path adjacent to Receiving Barn A, as Suffolk Downs’ racing analyst and publicist Jessica Paquette offers commentary and introductions. Horse trainers and owners will also be on hand to answer questions about the horses, and accept offers.
The partnership between racetrack and CANTER New England is a win-win situation for all involved, says Paquette.
“Showcase is such a fun, unique event because it allows a potential buyer to see so many different horses in person, at once, and gives them the opportunity to speak directly to the trainers,” Paquette says. “Nothing makes me happier than seeing so many Suffolk Downs alumni that have gone through CANTER go on to excel in so many different disciplines.”
And if Paquette were putting money on a few Suffolk alumni to make a big splash in their next careers, her top choices would be Mister Dixie, a horse with “attitude to do anything,” she says, and Lir Jet, who she would snap up herself if she didn’t already own New England champion What A Trippi.
“There are some amazing horses that are scheduled to go through the Showcase this year!” she says, noting that Mister Dixie’s jockey was so fond of him that after every race, he commented on what a pleasure he was to ride. And Lir Jet possesses great athleticism, and is extremely well mannered with a fantastic brain, she notes.
Stories like these, and success stories about OTTBs that are published on Social Media venues add a positive buzz about Thoroughbred sport horses, and drives interest in the Showcase, says Barb Lamb, volunteer coordinator for CANTER New England.
“It seems that we have had more people asking about the Showcase this year than in previous years— potential buyers are planning their schedules so they can make it to the Showcase,” Lamb says. “The Showcase is a massive undertaking.
“But when you see the results at the end, you realize that all the hard work is completely worth it … the Showcase is growing every year, and we have to thank Suffolk Downs for their continuing support … which allows us to flourish.”