From Suffolk with love, race fan gets a T-bred

Longtime Boston-based Thoroughbred advocate Jennifer Montfort adopts a Suffolk Downs racehorse as an era ends, and the track closes.

Longtime Boston-based Thoroughbred advocate Jennifer Montfort adopts a Suffolk Downs racehorse as an era ends, and the track closes.

After spending years helping others find their dream horse at Suffolk Downs, longtime horse advocate and volunteer Jennifer Montfort went for it last weekend: she bought a horse!

In horse country, a bold step like this may elicit a shrug or a comment like, “So what?” But, in Boston, Mass., where affordable stabling is about as hard to come by as affordable anything, Montfort decided to throw caution to the wind and purchase 4-year-old Caristo.

“It all happened very quickly,” Montfort says. “I first met Caristo last year when he was a new 3-year-old in John and Kathy Botty’s barn, and I immediately liked him. He’s very much my type of horse. I actually have a picture on Instagram from over a year ago with me saying that he was my new horsey boyfriend.”

Sire: Langfhur
Dam: Gemilli, by Lemon Drop Kid
Foal date: March 23, 2010
While visiting the gelding’s owners on Saturday, Montfort lamented that with the imminent and permanent closure of the 79-year-old racetrack, her dream to one day adopt a Suffolk horse would forever be just that; a dream. Montfort previously worked for years for CANTER New England, taking trainer listings and networking specifically to help Suffolk Downs horses find new homes. And as she discussed her disappointment with the Botty family, they chimed in, “What about Caristo?”

“I had to think about it. I haven’t owned a horse since I moved to Boston in 2006, so it’s a big deal to contemplate,” she says. “But, after a little bit of thought, and some very quick plan making, and a lot of enabling by my horsey friends—I thought it was probably the right time and the right horse.”

Caristo, on left, will be leaving Suffolk Downs soon to winter in Maine.

Caristo, on left, will be leaving Suffolk Downs soon to winter in Maine.

It seems the match was written in the stars and in his Jockey Club papers to boot.

Says Montfort, “I attended Sweet Briar College. And there are two names I saw when I first looked his pedigree up. They were: “Sweet Lady Briar” and “Sweet Briar Too.” How hilarious is that?”

Though disappointed that Suffolk Downs is closing due to losing out on a casino deal, which would have brought much-needed revenue to the struggling racetrack, she is thrilled to take a piece of Suffolk home with her.

“I’m devastated that the track is closing, but so happy to have a horse that was part of its history from people who have taken amazing care of him,” she says. “It’s nice to have a bright spot with the track closing, and I’m glad to be able to give a horse a home and a new job.

“The horses at Suffolk are so worthy of their happy endings and have been so lucky to have such a great supporter of TB aftercare in Suffolk Downs—it’s been so gratifying to see so many go on to great homes in my time there, and I’m honored to be a part of that with a horse of my own.” ♥

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12 responses to “From Suffolk with love, race fan gets a T-bred”

  1. Jen

    Thanks, everyone! Happy to take a horse home from great connections–and excited to be a horse owner again!

  2. Judith Ochs

    Atta girl. You will never regret this – and if you had not done it – would have always regretted that one chance and wondered. Wishing you and your guy the best.

  3. edna

    Thanks for all the people and horses you’ve helped to find each other. Now you have your own friend and he does too.

  4. Colmel

    Congratulations Jennifer! My first horse was an OTTB who had raced at Suffolk. This was back in the 1970s! I still can’t believe the era has come to an end. I’m certain you will have many years of fun and love with your beautiful Caristo!

  5. Lisa Melone

    Congrat’s to both! So sorry to see Suffolk Downs closing. Even though I can’t afford any more horses (already have 3 OTTB’s), I still peruse the listings every year, just window shopping.

  6. Sandy Carr

    Good for YOU and Caristo! The two of you together will help those memories of Suffolk Downs continue. Have a great time with your “new boyfriend”! 😉

  7. Shannon

    What a beautiful horse. Love the dark bay OTTBs, as I have one myself! Congrats on your new love. Hope you have many happy years together.

  8. Michelle Y.

    Congratulations Jennifer! He’s a beautiful horse!!

  9. Canter Michigan

    Congratulations Jennifer! More people need to contact trainers at Suffolk Downs and adopt horses! Find listings at New England.

  10. Jen

    Thanks for the sweet write-up, Susan! He’s a good egg. 😉

  11. nancy atkinson

    My OTTB raced at Suffolk. Sorry to see such a long history come to a close.

  12. cheri vaughan

    Love it!

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