Millionaire racehorse, 14, trains to be show horse

True Metropolitan, 14, earned $1.7 million on the track before retiring to the Hindmarsh Farm in Canada. In January, Metro was turned over to Sherwood Farm to begin a new career as a show horse.

True Metropolitan, 14, earned $1.7 million on the track before retiring to the Hindmarsh Farm in Canada. In January, Metro was turned over to Sherwood Farm to begin a new career as a show horse.

A Sovereign Award-winning champion racehorse, who earned $1.7 million on the tracks of Canada before retiring to pasture for five years, has just returned to the limelight with long hair and a willing attitude to take on the challenge of a show career.

In January, the manager of a horse farm where the racing champ had retired turned over True Metropolitan, 14, to Ontario horsemen Robin Hannah-Carlton and her mother Marilyn Lee.

The women were chosen to guide the strapping 17-hand gelding into a new career by caretakers who wanted the best for the 2008 Eclipse Stakes winner, had followed the mother-daughter team’s efforts to show two famous off-track Thoroughbreds who had nearly died abandoned. Prodigioso the “Everglades Horse,” who was rescued in South Florida after being dumped and left for dead, and Future Kings, an Irish bred Thoroughbred who wound up in the slaughter pipeline were each remade into show horses by Lee and Hannah-Carlton.

True Metropolitan
Sire: Proud and True
Dam: Forest Dunes, by Green Forest
Foal date: April 2, 2002
Earnings: $1.73 million, 50 starts
Sovereign Award Champion Older Horse, 06/07
The care the women have lavished on these two ex-racehorses, coupled with the success Hannah-Carlton has had in the show ring with them, inspired Shelley Chadwick of Hindmarsh Farm to reach out on behalf of True Metropolitan.

“I’ve seen Robin show on the Central West Trillium and always thought she’d be a great fit for True Metropolitan,” Chadwick says. “He’s a bit of a quirky horse, and I knew Robin does something special with these off trackies. They give them such a good life, and a lifelong home, and we thought he might have a good career ahead of him since he’s still relatively young.”

After providing a retirement sanctuary for True Metropolitan these past five years, Chadwick, manager for farm owner Lynne Hindmarsh, notes that her boss is retiring from the horse business, and that they deeply wanted True Metropolitan to have a great new home. So she reached out the day after Christmas to see if Hannah-Carlton might have an interest in taking on the challenge of training a horse who hadn’t been ridden in five years.

A brief message on Facebook later, the three women soon united in an effort to provide a new kind of life for a unique horse.

Metro is making friends and settling into Sherwood Farm.

Metro is making friends and settling into Sherwood Farm.

“It’s weird because I don’t really know a ton about this horse,” Hannah-Carlton says. “I didn’t know anything about him until Shelley sent me a message on Facebook telling me she’d seen me show Prodigioso and Future Kings and that they loved the work we’re doing with OTTBs. She sent me a picture of True Metropolitan and we don’t usually care what a horse looks like—we take anything—but he was just gorgeous.”

He arrived in January sporting a long coat he refuses to let be clipped, and a bit too much weight. But he glistened in good health and very quickly adapted to his new life as a riding horse.

Despite his “gigantic” size, he carries himself well balanced and effortlessly swaps his leads when asked. And he obligingly carries a number of different riders, including Hannah-Carlton, who rides him three times a week. “He’s a really sound, sound horse and he’s really cool,” she adds.

True Metropolitan makes a friend of Hannah-Carlton's son Jude.

True Metropolitan makes a friend of Hannah-Carlton’s son Jude.

More than a cool racehorse with an amazing race history, True Metropolitan also links two families who go back generations, Lee says. Her father Tom was a good friend with members of the Hindmarsh family in bygone days spent working for the Toronto Star. And when the large, dark gelding walked off the trailer from the old Hindmarsh Farm, it was like walking back in time for her.

“One day my father was hitchhiking along the outskirts of Toronto and a grand Stutz Bearcat car passed by. It stopped to pick him up. And who should it be but Mr. Hindmarsh. On the drive they had a great conversation and Mr. Harry Hindmarsh Sr. told my father he appeared to be a very intelligent young man, and he offered him a job as a reporter at the Toronto Star,” Lee says, noting this all took place around the Great Depression.

Though many decades have since passed and her father is long gone, the opportunity to turn around and provide a home and good future to a horse briefly owned by the Hindmarsh family was an honor indeed.

“Our whole lives we’ve grown up with this story and a connection to the Hindmarsh family,” Lee says. “Though True Metropolitan did not belong to the Hindmarsh family until after he retired, Lynne Hindmarsh did the right thing and offered him a retirement when he started to slip down the ranks, and we’re just so happy to be able to offer him this chance at a new life now.”

12 responses to “Millionaire racehorse, 14, trains to be show horse”

  1. megan

    I also had the pleasure of working with Met while he was at Woodbine Racetrack being trained by Terry Jordan. Funny story to share about the horse with so much personality… At feed time you HAD to ensure you closed the gate behind you or he would crawl under the cross bar. A new groomed did not shut the gate and as I was walking out from the stall beside his, he crawled (yes, all 17 hh of him!) under the gate, started jogging down the shed row and out the barn…. We took off after him and it was like he had disappeared. Got a call 10 minutes later… Met had run into the grazing field with all the ponies and was hiding amongst them grazing… He ran second in a Stakes race two days later… Such a character!!!

  2. Connie


  3. Moe Doyle

    Hi Robin I first met Metro summer of 2005. I galloped him for most of his racing career. He taught me how to speak horse. I have galloped horses for 45 years and he has been my best teacher. I taught him how to take candies from my hand as we rode along I sure miss him. I would love to hear how he is doing. Cheers Moe

    1. Marilyn Lee

      Thanks Moe…we will be happy to keep you posted! He is such a neat horse…will try the candy trick with him!

  4. 3480equine

    I own the majority of this family. His FULL sister has had two babies born in Ontario, both by Champion sires in the US. His other sister was recently sold to Korea for $42,000 as a broodmare.
    His niece races for us at Woodbine under the name MISS METROPOLITAN.
    His nephew by BIG BROWN will be offered for sale this year at the CTHS ONT. sale.
    If u would like any further info on his family, dont hesitate to contact me at 604-780-6218.

  5. colmel

    Congratulations to all for doing all the right things for this valiant horse. It’s one thing to retire a horse to a life of leisure, but another thing entirely to recognize when a horse truly wants and needs a second career. Just like humans, all horses are not cut out to retire to a lazy, leisurely lifestyle. I hope we will be able to follow Metro and Robin through many years of happiness and success.

  6. comedyflyer

    I wish all the race horses went directly to these kinds of barns …cutting out the middlemen…the kill-buyers & all the rest of them making blood money on these horses….

    1. Marilyn

      Thank you…and so do we. While rehoming is not rescuing, it helps to prevent horses from ever getting to the rescue point. While this would never have been the case for this horse, it is for so many.

  7. Courtney Safadi

    I love to read when owners do the right thing for their horses.

  8. Ginger Carpenter

    So glad this guy found a soft place to land.
    He deserves it, but then again every horse deserves a good home.

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