The Presque Isle Downs & Casino will join CANTER-PA next month in a first-time joint effort to match retiring racehorses with prospective buyers.
During an Oct. 1 Showcase set for the Erie, Penn. racetrack, roughly 30 OTTBs will be presented to the horse-buying public in an event designed to help less competitive racehorses get a hoof up in their next career.
The venture to aid trainers and horsemen in their efforts to find new homes for horses who, in many cases, have been lightly raced, was trail-blazed by Monica Travers of the track’s Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association (HBPA) and Sue Smith, executive director of CANTER’s Pennsylvania chapter.
“We just recently started working at Presque Isle helping horsemen list their horses after the seasonal meets,” says Smith, who notes that Travers was very excited to kickoff the type of sale that has worked so well elsewhere.
Citing the huge success of CANTER New England’s decade-long Showcase at Suffolk Downs in Boston, which moved high numbers of horses to new homes, Smith says Travers was eager to work a little of that same magic with this effort.
“The track has been incredibly supportive of this idea. The HBPA did a fundraiser for CANTER-PA last month, and the dollar amount, which hasn’t been finalized, will be significant.” Funds will go toward helping duplicate the “brilliant idea,” she adds.
“A Showcase gives people who might normally be put off from coming to the track a chance to come in with a group and be presented with an array of horses,” Smith says.
Sale horses will be walked and trotted in hand, and lineage and medical histories provided, she says. A track veterinarian will be on hand to assist prospective buyers, and trainers will also be available to speak in depth about the animals.
And the horses are remarkable conversation pieces, she adds.
“Because racing at Presque Isle is seasonal, and the horses run on poly, not dirt, many of them are in fantastic condition,” Smith says. “Poly horses have turf breeding, which makes a really nice pedigree for Eventing. And these horses tend to have the winters off, rested, and not pushed too hard.”
As an added inducement to purchase an OTTB at the Showcase, three scholarships for $200 worth of riding lessons will be raffled and a small care package of gifts will be given to buyers.
— Those interested in attending the Presque Isle Showcase are invited to read more at https://www.facebook.com/events/145814912535174/