America’s Best Racing’s Fan Choice Awards returns for 2022 better than ever with exciting, fresh categories and a sweepstakes that will whisk one lucky fan and a guest to a marquee race of their choosing. Also new for 2022, America’s Best Racing will make a donation on behalf of each Fan Choice Awards winner to a horse-racing related charity of their choosing.
Of course, the most important component of the Fan Choice Awards is you, the horse racing fan, who determines the winner of each of the 10 categories. So, be sure to make your voice heard when the voting opens Nov. 10. One of the categories we are most excited about for 2022 is “Favorite Retired Racehorse” and in soliciting nominations America’s Best Racing was blown away by the volume of worthy candidates.
In an effort to narrow down the field to a select group of finalists as decided by you, the fans, we are presenting each of the nominees with a photo and description and allowing voters to select the finalists. Please use this form to select up to five retired Thoroughbreds that you would like to see on the final ballot in November. Voting for the finalists concludes at noon ET on Wednesday, Sept. 28. Read on for more information about each of the nominees for Favorite Retired Racehorse.
Please note: All images were provided by those who submitted the nominee for inclusion.
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Another Taste
Second career name, barn name, etc.: second career name Marrying Kind, barn name is Annie
New Career: Annie now does the three-foot jumpers and some equitation classes at C-rated shows.
About Nominee: Although I started riding horses seven years ago, I did not get my first OTTB, Annie, until two years into the sport. In fact, when we found her, we were not even looking for a horse for me, but one for my mom. Her racing days took place in Pennsylvania, but my mom tried her at a nearby barn in Aiken, S.C. After that, my mom thought that the 6-year-old chestnut off-the-track mare best suited her 11-year-old more than her. I know what you're thinking, and trust me, I was thinking it, too. Two years later, Annie was injured with a suspensory injury. While rehabbing her, I ended up falling off and breaking my arm. Having to come back from an injury together made our relationship even better and she has taught me so much from that experience. From starting out in the short-stirrup ring to flying through a three-foot jumper course, my first OTTB could not have been a better teacher and companion to me.
Submitted By: Emma Hill
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Benny Time
Second career name, barn name, etc.: “Benny”
New Career: Hunter shows, trail rides, cross-country schooling
About Nominee: “Benny” is my 15.3 hands chestnut Thoroughbred. He started his racing career as a 2-year-old in 2013, accumulating 30 starts, along with winning more than $100,000. I was given Benny right off the track, and he was trying at first but all of the challenges and opportunities we got through together made us the pair we compete in the ring today. Benny and I have worked our way up to showing the meter jumpers, but he is a horse that loves to try anything. He loves trail rides, cross-country schooling, and even some hunter shows here and there. Benny is always a barn favorite and has such a friendly personality. He is truly an amazing horse that proves the amazing lives these Thoroughbred athletes can have after their racing careers.
Submitted By: Savannah Lacey
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Cee's for Clever
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Cecil
New Career: Square Peg Foundation, Sonoma satellite facility, Cadence Farm
About Nominee: Cecil can smile, bow, and count, but his real skills lie in the dressage court. He is a fantastic mover and has found his niche helping people develop their posting trot on the lunge line. Cecil enjoys calm, attentive riders, and building relationships with his students. — Square Peg Foundation website
“He makes me feel happy. He is very fun to ride, because his trot is very bouncy and fun. When I walk him, he always walks extra fast; he always coughs when I ride him. He lets us color his mane and tail.” —Joell Dunlap
Submitted By: Joell Dunlap
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Charley — not formally named, carried her mother’s name, Honest to Betsy, 2016
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Uptown Girl – Charley
New Career: Just about anything and everything – probably hunters
About Nominee: Having Thoroughbreds most of my life, my definition of a spectacular second career does not include the glitz and glamour of competition that many use to gauge success. My mare Charley is the epitome of spectacular. Since her adoption a few years ago, she has developed a laundry list of jobs that make her amazing. At 6 years old, Charley has cantered along the Hudson River, babysat small children for their first rides, hunter paced throughout the Hudson Valley, dabbled in cross-country schooling, was a champion in the hunter ring at local shows and is now on target to make a debut in rated shows, follows me through obstacle courses, modeled for local companies, and has developed quite the following. Many remark I’m lucky to have this spectacular horse. The reality is, I am the lucky one because Charley chose me. I get to do ALL these spectacular things thanks to her.
Submitted By: Jen Corti
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Conquest Neighpalm
Second (or third) career name, barn name, etc.: “Quest”
New Career: Wheelchair Lift-trained Therapy Horse
About Nominee: Quest is a new addition to the Central Kentucky Riding for Hope herd, arriving in late May 2022. This 9-year-old bay is one of three horses currently trained to use our wheelchair lift and has become a real favorite with riders, barn staff, and volunteers alike due to his loving, calm demeanor. Quest entered his third career as an equine-therapy partner by way of New Vocations after his post-racing career of dressage competition ended. He can usually be found hanging out with his “bestie,” Teddy (a 16-year-old Thoroughbred mare named Bear Canyon, another retired racehorse) when he’s not in programming.
Submitted By: Jeannie Brewer
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Cozmic One
Second career name, barn name, etc.: “Coz”
New career: 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover graduate (5th place in Show Jumper with Isabela de Sousa), now show jumping with Sergio de Sousa
About nominee: The first-born son of the legendary racing mare Zenyatta did not follow in his mother’s footsteps on the track, but his journey into a second career as a show jumper introduced a massive fan following to the unique challenges of transitioning an ex-racehorse into riding sports. “Coz” served as a great ambassador for off-track Thoroughbreds in his preparation for the 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover by bringing Zenyatta’s fanbase along for the ride as he prepped for the event with talented then-junior Isabela de Sousa. He’s now primarily ridden by Isabela’s father, Sergio, and competes in show jumping.
Submitted By: Kristen Kovatch Bentley
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Crazed
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Crazed (registered with T.I.P. and USEA) – he is basically like Madonna and only has one name
New Career: Eventing – Crazed currently is in his first "full" season of eventing with me. He is currently going Beginner Novice (2 feet 6 inches) and we are looking to potentially move up to Novice (3 feet) in October.
About nominee: I met Crazed when I became a working student at Akindale while finishing up my master’s degree in engineering during the Covid-19 pandemic. I fell in love with Crazed the first time I brought him in from the pasture to begin his re-training for his second career. He was the definition of a classy horse and there was something about him that made me look at him and believe he was going to do great things. After watching the horse get passed over for six months, I decided to adopt him myself. It was the best decision of my life. Two years later, the horse has brought me back into eventing and competing after seven years of a break. He has packed me around cross-country tracks when I was so nervous, I would freeze, and he would have to do all the work. He is an old soul. My eventual goal is to run Prelim with him; however, even if we never make it, he has a home with me for life. My mother has dubbed him “Saint Crazed.” He is the definition of being the opposite of his namesake, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Submitted By: Hannah O’Brien
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Crush Davis
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Crushin’ It (Show), Crush (Barn)
New Career: Eventer
About nominee: I am, and always have been, legally blind. I’m also an event rider who enjoys training young horses. When I got Crush three years ago, he was a 4-year-old Thoroughbred who never actually raced – maybe because he’s kinda slow, maybe due to injury – who knows? He’d been restarted on the flat, but never jumped. With the help of my wonderful trainer, I taught him to jump. I have vivid memories of him bucking, hard, every time we hit a rail. We’ve worked through a lot together, and now we’re successfully competing at the Novice level at rated events. Thanks, Crush, for helping me live out my crazy dreams!
Submitted By: Sarah Weingarten
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Danebury
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Dane or Great Dane of Lucky Orphans
New Career: Equine-assisted therapy, Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue
About nominee: Dane was bred locally, right in Millbrook, N.Y., just a few miles from the sanctuary and born in 2013. Dane was bred to be a racehorse, and earned $253,000 in his career. When Dane started tripping, his trainer retired him before he became seriously injured. Thanks to Take The Lead, Dane found his way to Lucky Orphans. The mission of Lucky Orphans is “People Helping Horses Heal People” and Dane has jumped right in. Dane is an ambassador for Thoroughbreds. Despite his impressive stature, he is kind and gentle. Today, Dane steps into the therapy arena, conducting equine-assisted psychotherapy sessions for veterans, clients on probation, and clients in recovery. He also participates in equine-assisted Reiki and Bowen sessions, where a massage table is placed in front of him and he is able to breath on and help human clients struggling with a variety of afflictions. Dane is leading by example for how we all should live. He was a successful athlete as a racer and now gives back to the community. Everyone that gets the opportunity to meet him just loves him. When he's not helping people, Dane enjoys spending time with his stablemate and paddock buddy, retired Thoroughbred Tiz He's The One.
Submitted By: Deanna Mancuso
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Daredevil Carl
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Smooth Criminal (Show), Jackson (Barn)
New Career: Hunter/Jumper
About nominee: Jackson retired from racing in March 2021. Upon retiring, he was purchased by a junior rider, Karlie Dennis, as a hunter/jumper prospect. It was evident from day one that Jackson is a very special horse with a heart of gold. He quickly adapted to his new career and has already achieved a high level of success in a very short amount of time. In his first year of showing, he placed fourth nationally in the Jockey Club T.I.P year-end awards for all Thoroughbreds that had last raced in 2021. In 2022, Jackson has continued to excel, winning multiple champion and reserve champion awards over the summer show season. He ended his summer by winning the Erie Hunt and Saddle Club Overall Summer Show Series Champion and Thoroughbred Champion. Jackson also participated in the USHJA Emerging Athletes program with Karlie this summer.
Submitted By: Sarah Dennis
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Enduring Honor
New Career: Show hunter, adopted by Joy Nakrin in Atlanta, Ga.
About nominee: He is such an old soul … he raced then was a pony horse and now is a show hunter and loves his new life!—Elizabeth Macdonald
When I adopted Enduring Honor from Blue Bloods Thoroughbred Adoption, my only hope was to have a kind, loving equine companion to enjoy backyard rides and trails, family time with fellow pets and loved ones … and to make a positive impact through rescue. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that he would get me back into show jumping for the first time in 20 years and blossom into a champion. We are now leading our division on our local circuit, within just our first year together (even beating imported Warmbloods who cost several times his price). We are looking forward to taking our partnership to new heights taking on bigger challenges, bigger jumps, and bigger shows in the years to come. Because of our success together, I’ve now petitioned to make Thoroughbred Hunter a state recognized division with Georgia Hunter Jumper Association here in Georgia, hoping to create a space for many more Thoroughbreds to flourish and thrive in lives after the track. It’s all inspired by my wonderful boy who turned out to be so much more than I ever dreamed: a loving pet, a loyal friend, and a winning show horse. As I often say, I adopted a companion and wound up with a champion.— Joy Nakrin
Submitted By: Elizabeth Macdonald, Blue Bloods Thoroughbred Adoption and Placement
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Executive Cat
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Rohan (Barn)
New Career: Low level Dressage/Western
About nominee: I met Rohan through CJ Wilson, founder of Win Place Home, a charity that gives retired racehorses like Rohan an opportunity to be rehabilitated, retrained, and re-homed. Rohan is simply the best. He’s smart, willing, kind, loving, and pretty darn handsome. When I first met him, he came right over and chose me. We started out doing simple Western Pleasure riding in the arena and quickly discovered that Rohan has a liking to being “fancy.” He loves to please and I’ve noticed that he likes to show off just a little when people are watching. We’re starting to work on learning some low-level Dressage and I think he really enjoys it. When I adopted Rohan, it changed both of our lives for the better. We’re not out to win ribbons – just to learn and grow together as a team. Who knows, maybe you’ll see us at this year’s Thoroughbred Classic.
Submitted By: Kris Salter, adopter of Executive Cat/Rohan
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Hapiboy
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Hapi
New Career: Hunter/Jumper and Eventer
About nominee: On the track, Hapiboy “toiled fruitlessly,” but once he retired he excelled in the show ring. Hapiboy was sired by the late, great A.P. Indy. In retirement, Hapi added Hunter/Jumper and Eventing to his resume. He loves his new job and his rider. Hapi is very animated when doing his lead changes. Hapi loves attention and being with people. His favorite treats are watermelon and carrots. Hapi also competes in the T.I.P. (Thoroughbred Incentive Program) at local shows as well as horse trials.
Submitted By: Bella Anne Park
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Hurricane Sergio
Second career name, barn name, etc.: “Sergio”
New Career: Youth Teacher
About nominee: Not every horse can shape the lives of youth like Hurricane Sergio. He is a resident of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Second Chances Juvenile Program at CSI-Ocala, a youth detention center in Florida. Here, youth have the opportunity to learn life skills from these unique teachers. Sergio is a gentle giant especially equipped to teach youths with his patient manner and ability to mirror the youth's emotions – teaching them appropriate behavior and responses. A youth (or anyone) can lie to people, but you cannot lie to Sergio. His positive nature helps the person reflect upon their actions. Sergio teaches the youth self-control when they learn to ask him to take the bit or to walk forward on the long line; the young people learn that you cannot be a bully to get your way. Sergio changes their demeanors the second they walk into the barn – he is a unicorn.
Submitted By: Chelsea O’Reilly
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Icabad Crane
Second career name, barn name, etc.: “Icabad”
New career: 2014 Thoroughbred Makeover graduate (winner of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred title with Phillip Dutton); successfully evented through the CCI2* level with Dutton and daughter Olivia; now on his third career as a pony horse for his racetrack trainer, Graham Motion
About nominee: Icabad Crane finished third in the 2008 Preakness Stakes, but six years later, he returned to Pimlico Race Course and won America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred at the second-ever Thoroughbred Makeover. His incredible adjustability within the gaits and his technical skill over fences impressed the crowd, as well as his ability to coolly and calmly perform on the very track where he had raced years earlier. Piloted by Olympian Phillip Dutton, "Icabad” went on to a successful career in eventing through the CCI2* level, then brought other members of the Dutton family through the levels before retiring from regular competition. When it became clear that Icabad still wanted a job, Dutton sent him back to his trainer, Graham Motion, who now rides him in the mornings as his pony horse at Fair Hill Training Center.
Submitted By: Kristen Kovatch Bentley
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Imperative
Barn name: “The Mayor”
New career: 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover graduate (competed in Dressage with Louise Atkins)
About nominee: Imperative earned more than $3.3 million over a 50-race career that included multiple graded stakes wins, a Breeders’ Cup appearance, and races on two continents. He was placed by National Thoroughbred Welfare Organization (NTWO) with Louise Atkins, a veteran makeover trainer who specializes in dressage, to prepare for the 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover, and upon the postponement of that year’s event due to the pandemic he formally became her horse permanently. Atkins likens her relationship with Imperative to that of “an old married couple,” and is moving up the levels of recognized dressage competition with the horse she calls “the Mayor.”
Submitted By: Kristen Kovatch Bentley
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Killenaule’s Best
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Killian’s Red (Show), Remi (Barn)
New Career: Hunter/jumper
About nominee: Killenaule’s Best (Remi) is a 13-year-old Thoroughbred by Killenaule out of Eskimo Babe, by Northern Baby. Remi’s grandsire is 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus. Remi raced 19 times with a record of one win, four seconds, and five thirds and earnings of $28,396. He retired in 2014 and began his second career as a hunter. Remi won the 2021 Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) English Pleasure Championship and was second in the T.I.P. Special Hunter Championship. Remi will compete in Kentucky in late September at the TAKE2 Finals. Remi received a second chance after the racetrack and now is able to continue to show his athleticism.
Submitted By: Julia Buytenhuys
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Liquid Aloha
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Aloha
New Career: Aftercare representative, education at expositions, and therapy horse (Aloha visits nursing care facilities)
About nominee: Liquid Aloha is a permanent sanctuary resident at Thoroughbred Aftercare, Rescue, Rehabilitation & Sanctuary (TRRAC) and was retired from racing in 2020 after sustaining an injury that required rehabilitation. Aloha healed soundly and was retired by his owner to TRRAC for permanent residence. During his time at TRRAC, Aloha travels as an ambassador to horse expos and demonstrations to help provide education to the public about the Thoroughbred breed. He has exhibited in the parade of breeds and enjoys meeting children and adults alike. Aloha helps to teach new volunteers how to handle horses who may not have horse experience. Aloha’s biggest accomplishment was being cleared as a therapy horse to visit elderly residents in nursing communities that were unable to have family visit during the pandemic.
Submitted By: Nina Lyman
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Moonshine Martini
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Martini
New Career: Hunter/Jumper
About nominee: Moonshine Martini (Martini) joined the Park family from Thoroughbred Athletes Inc. in Guthrie, Okla. He began training for his new job as a Hunter/Jumper. Martini loves his people and is interested in everything they do. He is quite a character. He is a gentle soul who loves his farm’s black lab and orange tabby. His favorite treat is (all of them!) apples, carrots, peppermints, sweet potatoes, watermelon. This year, Martini began showing in local shows and represented the OTTB in the T.I.P (Thoroughbred Incentive Program) divisions.
Submitted By: Bella Anne Park
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Mythical Storm
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Hermes
New Career: Changing lives at Square Peg Foundation
About nominee: Mythical Storm, aka Hermes, came to us through California’s CARMA (California Retirement Management Account) program. He works at Square Peg. Five days a week, he shows up to help people with autism, depression, and anxiety feel safe, honored, and heard as well as to develop a sense of freedom and humor. He's beautiful, kind, and, oh, so talented. He also jumps bridleless. He’s basically – a Rockstar!
Submitted By: Joell Dunlap
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Patrona
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Patty
New Career: Eventing
About nominee: I adopted Patrona, Patty, in January 2022 from Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue. Patty is an 8-year-old OTTB mare who raced 47 times! She’s a true war horse in her attitude and hard-working spirit. We’re now pursuing a career in eventing and are competing at the Thoroughbred Makeover at the Kentucky Horse Park in October. Patty is exceptionally talented and well-loved in our area. She has taken to the sport like a fish to water and is working on the beginner novice and novice levels of eventing. I plan to take Patty through the Novice and Training levels of eventing next season and can’t be more excited to continue working with this special mare.
Submitted By: Madeline Hatt
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Phlash Phelps
Second career name, barn name, etc.: “Phlash”
New career: 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover graduate (competed in Show Jumper and Dressage with Sabrina Morris)
About nominee: “Phlash” and his now-owner Sabrina Morris have a long history together: she galloped Phlash from his 2-year-old season until his retirement in 2019. In that time, Phlash won the Find Stakes and the Maryland Million Turf (twice!), earning 2016 Maryland-Bred Turf Horse of the Year along the way. Morris then got the opportunity to transition Phlash to a second career and made the Thoroughbred Makeover their first-year goal. Phlash continues to serve as an ambassador for OTTBs, competing with Morris in this year’s Real Rider Cup in Maryland.
Submitted By: Kristen Kovatch Bentley
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Scooby Dude
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Scooby Dude (Show), Scoob, The Dude, Giraffe, Bubbs
New career: Prelim/Intermediate Eventer
About nominee: Scoob and I met in 2016 when I was a working student in Aiken S.C. I am thankful every day that we crossed paths because he has made many of my riding and competition goals become achievable. We have moved up the eventing levels in the past seven years, with a first-place finish to start it off in 2016 and many more to follow. We have earned a personal best dressage score at prelim level of 24.0 from Peter Grey. He has earned many T.I.P awards, including a reserve eventing performance award in 2018. We have been lucky enough to travel to Florida and the northern states for training and competitions. He always gets compliments about his attitude and work ethic. Scooby has a one-of-a-kind personality, but it’s his huge Thoroughbred heart that really shines when it comes to competitions or just liberty work.
Submitted By: Reagan Douglas-Noyes
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Smokin' Six
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Sixpence None the Richer (Show), Six (Barn)
New career: Show Jumping
About nominee: Sixpence None the Richer, aka Six, is an 8-year-old Thoroughbred who last raced in 2018. I bought him in May 2020 and we started his second career together. In two short years, we have grown to know and love each other. Six would do anything he can to please me, and I would do anything in return for him. We started doing cross rails, flat work, and a lot of groundwork to build his trust and our bond together. Now, in just two short years, we have shown at T.I.P. Championships and just this summer we competed in our first meter ten at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala. Owning Six has been one of the best parts of the past two years, and he is what I look forward to seeing at the end of the day. Thoroughbreds are some of the best horses you could ever own with their big hearts and their want to please.
Submitted By: Emmie Stevens
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Talk Show Man
Second career name, barn name, etc.: “Riley”
New career: 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover graduate (competed in Show Hunter and Field Hunter with Lindy Gutman)
About nominee: Another favorite of the Maryland racing circuit, Talk Show Man is a multiple stakes winner and winner of the Maryland Million Turf Stakes. Race owned and bred by Dr. Michael J. Harrison, D.V.M., Talk Show Man was connected with his Thoroughbred Makeover trainer, Lindy Gutman, a client of Dr. Harrison’s, and prepped for both Show Hunter and Field Hunter, finishing in the top 15 in Show Hunter and top 10 in Field Hunter. Since the makeover, “Riley” and Gutman have not only continued to compete in the hunter ring but also serve as an ambassador for Thoroughbreds and stakes horses in second careers. Talk Show Man even has a beer named after him at Dr. Harrison’s microbrewery!
Submitted By: Kristen Kovatch Bentley
OTTB’s Jockey Club Name: Tizno
Second career name, barn name, etc.: Affectionately nicknamed Tiz-notouch by a local photographer because of his jumping style.
New career: Show jumper who dabbles in the hunters and equitation on occasion
About nominee: Fate and a little bit of good luck brought Tizno and I together almost three years ago! He has an exuberant jumping style that would cause him to sometimes scare himself. We spent the first year jumping small jumps to build his confidence (and my leg strength!). Tizno has since blossomed into a brave jumper who is very competitive in the .90 jumpers. Our goal is to do the meters division next year. He humors me by playing in the hunters and equitation rings on occasion and even did a horse trial this year. He’s a true example of a Thoroughbred’s heart, good mind, and their aim to please. A once-in-a-lifetime partner.
Submitted By: Bernadette Graham