Life After the Track: Money Moves Making Progress, Gaining Confidence at New Vocations

Money Moves under saddle at New Vocations. (Melissa Bauer-Herzog/America's Best Racing)

Since we last checked in with Money Moves in July, the gelding has kept the New Vocations rehabilitation staff on their toes with a few setbacks and a return to life under saddle. 

In an August check-up, the gelding showed some lameness which led to the vet investigating further. It was found that he had inflammation in his proximal suspensory ligament on the right front leg. That led to time off for the 2020 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve runner, who received an injection to help bring down the inflammation.

Money Moves. (Melissa Bauer-Herzog/America's Best Racing)

New Vocations gave him two weeks off after the injection, the normal protocol for them, but he was determined to make sure he got every second of that time off. Only days after his injection, he got a laceration under his eye that required staples that would have required time off if he wasn’t already on a break. While it came at the perfect time since he was already off, it was just another chapter in the accident-prone horse’s story. 

Returning back to riding after all was healed and taken care of, Money Moves went back to the basics of only walking and trotting. 

“We’ll start him back to do mostly walk with a little bit of trot and build up the time he’s trotting then see how he does with that,” New Vocations’ Facility Manager and Thoroughbred Trainer Leandra Cooper said of his immediate plans. “We’re also trying to evaluate if [the injection] was effective at relieving the inflammation that was present. On the ultrasound, you could tell there was a lot of inflammation in the ligament but not fiber disruption. We’re hoping it can stay like that moving forward, so we start very slow because if you just throw him back into work you can push him beyond his limits. We’re just trying to make sure that the soundness level stays consistent throughout.”

While his rehab has had some setbacks, Cooper says that overall the 4-year-old has changed for the better since his arrival in January. 

“His coat is now very normal, he’s gained weight, he’s keeping weight on well,” she explained “His coat condition is glossy and shiny, he looks good. His overall appearance looks a lot better. He has just matured a lot, especially through his face where people who are not in the barn often but knew him before don’t recognize him.”

When I visited to check in on his riding progress in early September, Money Moves was back to walking and trotting under saddle. Both the changes in his temperament and his physical appearance were obvious from my last visit in July. The gelding was acting more confident in himself and showing the class clown tendencies that Cooper had reported he’d displayed over the last few months.

The most impressive thing about Money Moves, however, was watching his behavior in the ring. A pop up thunderstorm was rolling in as Cooper was riding and “Money” never blinked. Even as we chatted at the end of his ride, the gelding stood calmly and just watched it raging in the distance. 

Next up for Money Moves if all goes well is learning how to conquer trot poles as he prepares for his next career. The gelding tried them out a few times during his ride and after tripping the first time, found his feet the second in a first step toward possibly learning to jump in the future.

To learn more about New Vocations and other horses in the program, visit

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