Top names in Thoroughbred racing like Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Graham Motion will team up with top eventers like Rio Olympic individual bronze medalist Phillip Dutton to showcase second careers for former racehorses.
Steuart Pittman, president of the Retired Racehorse Project, said he is thrilled to be involved in this new multi-year partnership with Plantation Field, which has steadily grown to be one of the most prestigious horse trials on the fall eventing calendar.
With the horse trials held annually three weeks prior to the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, which this year will take place Oct. 5-8, 2017 at the Kentucky Horse Park, partnering with Plantation Field provides an ideal platform for the Retired Racehorse Project to not only promote second careers for off-track horses but also reach a new group of fans for eventing.
“We want to use our network within the racing community to attract people to Plantation Field. What we’ve seen is that racing people love eventing when they take the time to go watch the sport. They get to see horses galloping on cross country, which is something they can get excited about,” Pittman said.
“We hope this will be a real coming together of the racing world with eventing so we can have a positive impact that will support the sport in the long run. The goal is to bring the mid-Atlantic racing community out to enjoy everything Plantation Field has to offer. Maybe we’ll even get some racing people buying event horses.”
There will be a slew of Thoroughbred-centric activities scheduled throughout the weekend to captivate both the racing world and local community. With more than 40 Thoroughbred Makeover trainers based in Pennsylvania, a demonstration featuring multiple horses heading to the Makeover will take place on Sunday during the horse trials.
“We are particularly hoping to showcase horses that will be available for sale at the Makeover,” Pittman said. “That way people can see horses they like at Plantation Field and then go on to the Makeover to shop. There will be a number of really nice horses ready to start second careers, and we are excited to show them off at Plantation Field.”
In addition to horses aiming for the Thoroughbred Makeover, the demonstration will also feature several celebrity Thoroughbreds, including Makeover graduates from prior years. Fan favorite Icabad Crane, who was named America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred at the 2014 Makeover, will make a special appearance with Phillip Dutton.
“Icabad is a perfect example of what Thoroughbreds can do in second careers if given the chance. He raced in the Preakness Stakes in 2008 and won over half a million dollars as a racehorse. Then he retired from the track and started competing in eventing, and he won the CIC* at Plantation Field in 2015,” Dutton said.
“We are continually grateful to Icabad’s owners, Graham and Anita Motion, for giving him that opportunity. Our hope is that when people see Icabad at Plantation Field they might be inspired to give a Thoroughbred a second career, whether as a rider or an owner.”
In addition to three days of exhilarating competition, spectators at Plantation Field will enjoy a country fair atmosphere. The Vendor Village features more than 50 businesses offering unique wares from jewelry, boots and outerwear to antiques, artwork and furniture. The Food Court has treats for every taste, from decadent burgers and barbecue to organic smoothies and salads.
There’s something for the whole family at Plantation Field, with the Kids Corner providing entertainment for children of all ages on Saturday and Sunday. A rock wall, mechanical bull, face painting, petting zoo and carnival games will keep kids smiling the whole weekend.
Admission to Plantation Field Horse Trials is free on Friday, with general admission on Saturday and Sunday just $20 per carload. Cheshire Land Preservation and the Retired Racehorse Project are the beneficiaries of this year’s event.
For more information or to become a sponsor, vendor, volunteer or place an ad in the event program, please visit www.plantationfieldht.com. Tickets and tailgate passes can be purchased in advance on the website. Follow Plantation Field on Facebook for news and updates.