512 Trainers Accepted to 2023 Thoroughbred Makeover

February 15, 2023

The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) announced today that 512 trainers have been accepted to the 2023 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. The world’s largest and most lucrative retraining competition for recently-retired racehorses takes place on October 11-14, 2023 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, awarding over $100,000 in prize money.

The flagship event of the RRP, the Thoroughbred Makeover is open to professionals, juniors, amateurs and teams, all of whom compete with Thoroughbreds who raced or trained to race within the past two years and who have no more than 10 months of retraining. With the horses serving as the equalizing factor, all trainers compete on even footing, with juniors, amateurs and teams enjoying great success at the Makeover. (Last year’s Thoroughbred Makeover Champion, She’s a Bold One, was trained by junior Jenna Denver, the second junior in the event’s history to win top honors.) New for 2023, the Former Broodmare Division, sponsored by Claiborne Farm, will include former broodmares who recently retired from the breeding industry as well.

2022 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion She’s a Bold One. L-R: Kirsten Green, RRP executive director; Cathy Shircliff, Churchill Downs director of community relations; Jenna Denver and She’s A Bold One; Erin Halliwell, TCA executive director. Photo by CanterClix

“On behalf of TCA, we congratulate all of the trainers accepted into the 2023 Thoroughbred Makeover,” said Erin Halliwell, executive director of TCA. “We appreciate the time and resources trainers dedicate to transitioning Thoroughbreds into their next careers, and we appreciate the impact that the RRP and the Thoroughbred Makeover has made on the lives of thousands of Thoroughbreds over the years.”

Competition at the Thoroughbred Makeover is available in ten disciplines, and trainers can choose to compete in up to two: barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunter, polo, ranch work, show hunter, show jumper, and freestyle (a free-form discipline to demonstrate skills of the trainer’s choice).

While trainers did not need to declare their entry intentions for their individual horses on their applications, they did need to provide a horseman’s resume that detailed their training and competition experience, including riding video in their disciplines of declared expertise. Applicants also furnished letters from their veterinarians starting that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to appropriately care for a horse transitioning from the track. An application committee considered each applicant’s ability as described in their application to bring along a recently-retired Thoroughbred and compete at a national venue in a big environment.

Accepted trainers are encouraged to register their horses with the RRP as soon as they acquire them; horse registration closes on July 28, 2023. As horses are registered and approved, they will appear on the entry list at TheRRP.org/entries. Trainers have signed up bring a total of 536 horses. (Late applications will also be considered through June 30, 2023.)

Thoroughbred Charities of America is the Thoroughbred Makeover’s title sponsor. Photo by CanterClix

“The 2023 Thoroughbred Makeover marks ten years since the event’s pilot, a showcase of 23 horses on the homestretch of Pimlico Racecourse in 2013,” said Kirsten Green, executive director of the RRP. “While the Makeover still serves as a showcase for the breed, it has evolved to become an integral part of the aftercare industry, driving demand for Thoroughbreds who are completing their racing careers and offering participants the community and support needed to ensure they’re successful with their horses.”

The 2023 Thoroughbred Makeover will once again include The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) Western and Central Region Dressage Championships, adding more opportunities for Thoroughbred enthusiasts to enjoy the week at the Kentucky Horse Park. The ASPCA Makeover Marketplace and ASPCA Right Horse Adoption Barn will also return, offering horse shoppers the unique opportunity to watch a horse compete, trial ride, and complete a pre-purchase exam all in one location. Other opportunities at the Thoroughbred Makeover will include a vibrant Vendor Fair running all week long, plus interactive educational seminars.

The Thoroughbred Makeover is the flagship event of the RRP, a 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to increasing the demand for and value of Thoroughbreds in careers after racing. Sponsorship opportunities are available for the 2023 Thoroughbred Makeover: contact joughton@therrp.org for more information.

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