In brief: TCA winners; Old Friends gets champ

Kayla Urbasik

Kayla Urbasik

TCA names Youth Essay winners

Two horse crazy teens were named winners of the annual Thoroughbred Charities of America’s (TCA) Youth Essay Contest, a recognition honoring their talents as storytellers and experiences with Thoroughbred horse charities that changed their lives.

Winners Kayla Urbasik, 14, of Ontario and Mary Eddy, 16, of Wilton, N.Y. wrote compelling stories about their experiences with Long Run Retirement Society of Canada and Old Friends Cabin Creek facility in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., respectively.

Urbasik wrote about the day ex-racehorse Thoroughbred Tall Glass came into her life, and transformed it. The ex-racehorse Thoroughbred, whom her mother Edie Urbasik adopted in 2008 went from being a “big horse” a little girl admired, to a show horse for the increasingly confident teen.

Eddy wrote about how her volunteer position at Old Friends in New York offered her a happy place during rocky times in her life, and how her connection with horses soothed her. (Please see both essays via this hyperlink).

The charities described in the essays were each awarded $1,000 grants by the TCA.

Amazombie retires to Old Friends

2011 Sprint Champion and Eclipse Award winner Amazombie, who was retired earlier this year, will be pensioned at the Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, Ky., according to a press release.

Amazombie. Photo by Eric Kalet

Amazombie in action. Photo by Eric Kalet

A California bred, Amazombie was campaigned by the partnership of Tom Sanford and leading So Cal trainer William Spawr. A gelded son of Northern Afleet, Amazombie achieved his first stakes win at age five in the 2011 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita with Mike Smith aboard.

Smith teamed with Amazombie again for the bay gelding’s first graded stakes win in the 2011 Potrero Grande (G2), which was followed by victories in the Tiznow Stakes at Hollywood Park and Ancient Title Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita. The banner year culminated with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GR1) at Churchill Downs and an Eclipse Award in the Sprint division.

The following season Amazombie returned for a repeat win in the Potrero Grande and a third Grade 1 victory in the Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar. In all, Amazombie captured 12 of 29 starts and earnings of over $1.9 million.

“It’s wonderful to have another great Breeders’ Cup Champion joining Old Friends,” says Old Friends Founder and President Michael Blowen. “Amazombie has a huge fan base here and we’re looking forward to their visiting. We want to send a special thanks to trainer Bill Spawr for taking such great care him and for entrusting him to us.” ♦

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3 responses to “In brief: TCA winners; Old Friends gets champ”

  1. jitka

    I agree with the well written opinion above.
    It would be interesting to know – but maybe Amazombie is not sound enough for anything but being a pasture pet and hanging out at Old Friends is the only way he can represent his kind?
    I own a Graded Stakes runner and 2nd placer and while his racing career ended with injuries, after some considerable recovery time, he makes a wonderful dressage and low jumper horse. And his aristocratic looks and the perfect conformation of a grand classic racehorse makes him a center of attention wherever we go 🙂

  2. Michelle Y.

    These were two beautifully written essays. Congratulations to both Mary and Kayla!!

  3. Nancy McMinn

    While it is great to hear that these older geldings have completed their successful racing careers and will be available to meet and greet the public, it is such a pity that their secondary careers as show horses, hunters, jumpers, equitation horses, may not be pursued to truly bring home the message that the racing career is only the FIRST career that a TB may excel at. A superstar race horse may not go on to be an Olympic competitor (or he may), but even if he gains notoriety as a children’s hunter in the 3′ hunter division in open company, it would be such a huge advantage for OTTBs everywhere, showing his versatility. A retired high level athlete rarely wants to sit around and waste the rest of his long life as a pet only. If he is competitive, he wants to continue to be competitive, at a less strenuous physical level or discipline for as long as he physically can do so. The general horse owning and riding public needs to see Amazombie and Game On Dude competing at horse shows, in open competition, if they can do so. Whether in the big jumper divisions, or in the children’s hunter divisions, showing the full versatility of the TB horse. Strike fear into the hearts of the non TB riding competitors in the jump off against a horse well known for his speed. Shock the public in seeing an ex superstar race horse shepherding a 12 year old child around kindly in the small hunter division. Whichever is suitable for each horse’s personality and talent. This is what is going to help other OTTBs gain a market for their secondary careers, seeing these big time, famous horses in public, competing successfully in secondary careers IN OPEN COMPANY (not in TB restricted classes). These horses have won a lot of money and notoriety, but have not been heavily raced. They have had top level care. They have not been “ground out” in the bottoms claiming levels by desperate and broke owners and trainers until they are dog food on wheels. They may be exiting their racing careers with slight wear and tear, or strains or bruising to feet or joints, but a good possibility of being long term functionally sound horses. They are still athletes. With access to top level riders and trainers in sport disciplines, they can show what ELSE they can do. Though they have done a lot already for the humans who own them, and for their equine family relations, they can do more yet with their secondary careers, to help and prove the value of TB horses everywhere. Don’t waste them as “meet and greet” pets only, resting on their racing laurels. Let them continue to serve the goal of resurrecting the TB breed and the most competitive, sound and multitalented versatile horses available. Don’t let the marketing of non TB sport specific bred horses send so many OTTBs to low level riders and trainers, or to no owners at all. Marketing must be fought with marketing, and we as TB owners and riders are losing this battle. Trainers and coaches automatically advise their clients to go buy a non TB for big dollars (and get the big commissions in doing so) rather than encourage their clients to shop the OTTB market for less expense. If these well known OTTBs were out there, showing what they can do, putting it OUT THERE, more buyers would think of shopping in the OTTB market. JMHO.

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