A 16-year-old Thoroughbred ex-racehorse once worth a small fortune has gone from a Pennsylvania kill pen to a top Ontario horse show circuit in only a year’s time.
Future Kings, a grandson of 1979 Eclipse Award Champion Sprinter Star de Naskra, has been raking in the ribbons in the Baby Greens under the guidance of well-known rider Robin Hannah-Carlton. Almost exactly a year since the older gelding was rescued from the slaughter pipeline, Hannah-Carlton says the beautiful bay has attracted accolades, good ribbons and even a few purchase offers since she debuted the OTTB earlier this year.
“He is getting a lot of attention because of his lovely expression and his very rhythmic canter. Everybody wants to know who he is and what his breed is, and nobody believes me when I tell them he was found in a kill pen last year,” Hannah-Carlton says. “Last weekend he won every class with me and three out of four classes with another rider.”
Sire: Desert King
Dam: Stellar Empress, by Star de Naskra
Foal date: April 19, 2000Competing at Caledon Equestrian Park and other A-level show grounds in Ontario, Kings has gone up against 20 horse at a time, earning good ribbons against high-quality Warmbloods who “easily” sold for $100,000, Hannah-Carlton says.
And speaking of Warmbloods, Hannah-Carlton also competes her own very fancy mare, with Grand Prix bloodlines on both sides. And Kings is beating her!
Hannah-Carlton and her mother Marilyn Lee, of Sherwood Farm in Ontario, are no strangers to the art of remaking hard-luck Thoroughbreds into show-ring dreamboats. The pair adopted OTTB Prodigioso, an ex-racehorse blinded, starved, and abandoned in the Florida Everglades several years ago. The pair adopted the chestnut gelding after he spent eight months rehabbing from injuries and trauma, and following his rescue by the South Florida SPCA. (Please see that story here: http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2013/08/16/left-on-fla-roadside-a-horses-life-takes-u-turn/).
As they had with Prodigioso, the pair looked past the sorry state the animal was found in, and imagined the beautiful show horse he could be, Lee says.
“My daughter Robin and I both happened to be looking at Facebook and we both found King’s picture. We weren’t looking at him together, but we both recognized how cute he is,” Lee told Off Track Thoroughbreds.com shortly after his rescue. “We knew nothing about his story, and there’s still quite a bit of mystery about him.”
Future Kings was rescued in an effort led by Marlene Murray of R.A.C.E. Fund, Gail Hirt of Beyond the Roses, and Texas businessman John Murrell. (Please see original story here: http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2015/04/15/220k-yearling-was-slaughter-bound-in-old-age/).
When the strapping bay gelding was released from quarantine, he was shipped to Lee and her daughter to take up residency next to Prodigioso. In the coming year, he will be shown in the Baby Greens. And win or lose, the one certainty is that he will remain a “prized horse” in their show barn.
Says Hannah-Carlton, “We’ve had a lot of people interested in purchasing him. My answer to everybody is: Sorry, he’s not for sale.”