Houston and rider Megan Sullivan are looking for their third straight sweep of the Totally Thoroughbred Horse Show on July 13. (Photos courtesy of Pimlico Race Course)
As Pimlico Race Course prepares for its annual Totally Thoroughbred Horse Show on July 13, one team is looking forward to getting back to the track.
Houston, owned by Donna Sullivan and ridden by her daughter Megan, is looking to win his third consecutive high-point title at the event.
“People have been reminding me of it (the three-peat),” said Donna Sullivan. “He is a wonderful horse and we have a lot of fun with him. I always say if he doesn’t win another ribbon that would be okay. I bought him at the Mid-Atlantic sale in 2001, brought him home, gelded him and let him grow up. I realized he was not going to be a racehorse. He is not very big (just over 15 hands). When he was four years old he was the Zone champion in the USEF (United States Equestrian Federation). He has won a lot … He is a very sweet horse who is easy to ride. He has been high point horse in both Baltimore County and Harford County.”
Houston, who is now 14 years old, has a familiar rival at the show in Testimonially and rider Kara Evans. In both the years that Houston has won the overall title at the show, Testimonially has finished second. This isn’t the only time of the year that the two see each other, however, as the horses show on the same circuit and their riders are best friends. Each horse has also spent time with the same trainer in Jack Settings, who is Evans’ current trainer.
“Megan’s best friend is Kara. His (Testimonially) show name is The Patriot and he is a fabulous horse,” said Sullivan. “Kara has had him for just about as long as we have had Houston. Jack Settings trains The Patriot and also trained Houston at one time. I credit a lot of what those horses have been doing to him. Both girls are great riders and Jack was very instrumental in helping both girls.”
In addition to owning a Thoroughbred, Sullivan also has another connection to the industry and knows how important it is to provide an outlet for Thoroughbreds to show off their non-racing talent.
“I do all the foaling for Country Life Farm so it is important to support the Thoroughbred industry. Not all of [the Thoroughbreds] are going to be great racehorses and some of them just don’t make it to the races. Either they don’t have the speed or don’t want to run so this is a great opportunity for those horses,” she said.
This year, the top three finishers in each of the 16 classes at the Totally Thoroughbred Horse Show will get nearly $15,000 split between them with the top six finishers also taking home ribbons. The show has expanded from eight classes with the addition of a green [novice] horse division, a Hunter division, and an “AARP” lead line class for riders 60 and older.
This year all proceeds from the show will go to the Foxie G Foundation and Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue, both aftercare programs for retired racehorses. The horse show has donated more than $23,000 to aftercare programs since 2012.