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Totally Thoroughbred Horse Show Coming to Pimlico

2013 Totally Thoroughbred Horse Show at Pimlico.
Betty McCue is an elementary teacher by trade but her passion is re-training Thoroughbreds. Seven years ago, she and her sister Evelyn Martin founded Baltimore County-based EHM Stables, which gives Thoroughbreds a new life after retiring from the race track.

 

At next Saturday’s second annual Totally Thoroughbred Horse Show in the infield at Pimlico Race Course, EHM Stables will be represented by twelve horses and ten riders. Part of the Thoroughbred Alliance Show Series (T.A.S.S.), the July 13 event is one of a handful of shows for Thoroughbreds where each horse shows under its Jockey Club name. Traditional show horses have their names altered often when they change owners or circuits.

 

“There is a need for someone to help work with them,” said McCue, the wife of Maryland Jockey Club photographer Jim McCue. “That is why we started with lessons and we have grown to have some wonderful riders and students who love Thoroughbreds.”

 

Among those McCue will be bringing are Baltimore Raven, Cayman Condo, Powered by Love, Prideland, Oregon Ridge and Saratoga Jet.

 

“We show almost every weekend during the summer but this event is more meaningful to me personally,” added McCue. “Bringing the Thoroughbreds to the all Thoroughbred show is really exciting.”

 

“She is psyched,” said Maryland Jockey Club Director of Racing Georganne Hale, who came up with the idea of the event along with Stacie Clark-Rogers, manager of the Adena Springs Retirement program. “I know she would love just to teach riding as a career but she has to make a living. Betty is more excited about having the summer off than most of the students. She looks forward to it so she can devote all her energy to the horses and kids. The girls love her and don’t come over just to ride, they are there to help around the barn.”

 

One of McCue’s top students is Anastasia Vialov, a 15-year-old rising sophomore at Dulaney High School, who would like to eventually get into a veterinarian program and become an equine vet.

 

“We don’t have a big group, about 12 that are dedicated to coming out all the time,” McCue added. “When you come to our barn, it is everything. You learn to do the stalls, you learn to do your tack, you learn to put on bandages with the vet and the blacksmith. It isn’t a camp but they seem to come early and stay late. Anastasia has taken it to the next level. She is excellent. She will ride any horse and loves to talk about what we are trying to do.”

 

Vialov will ride Prideland in multiple events next weekend. The son of Lion Hearted was a winner of six races for nearly $160,000 during his 24-race career, which included a third place finish in the Maryland Juvenile Championship at Pimlico in 2004.

 

“In 2008 Hugh McMahon was an assistant to Scott Lake and called me to say they had a horse (Outcashem) to give us. I walked by Prideland’s stall and wanted him, too, so Hugh called owner Robert Cole, who said ‘sure’. Prideland won a lot but was going down the ladder in his racing career. It took him awhile to wind down and relax. We gave him a year without touching him. He has come back to be wonderful. Anastasia loves him dearly. In our hunter show ring he is not always the winner because he is not the most beautiful mover but he is the dearest, kindest, most-honest horse.”

 

“The more I ride him, the better our bond is,” added Vialov. “I can gallop him on the field, bareback or jump him on the side without a saddle. He is really sweet and attentive to me. I know his pedigree and his breeder (Joanne Hayden of Dark Hollow Farm) sent me pictures when he was a baby.”

 

This is not the first time this year that McCue’s crew has been heavily involved in an event at Pimlico. During Preakness week, they were part of the Sunrise at Old Hilltop Tour, a free, behind-the-scenes look at racing.

 

“We were the last stop on the tour because we are the last stop for Thoroughbreds after their racing career,” Vialov said. “It was really cool being able to educate people on what happens to them because most people don’t know what happens. Most think they go to a farm in Kentucky and lead a happy life. We told them that is not always the case. They can end up at a slaughter house. Our goal is to stop that and give them a happy life after racing.”

 

“They set up a table and explained to the groups about the off-track Thoroughbreds,” added McCue. “We had pictures of them both racing and showing. The girls made a brochure that they handed out. By all accounts they were impressive. These are all kids that live in sub-divisions and didn’t grow up on a farm, so it gives me a tremendous amount of pride.”

 

McCue just completed her 12th year teaching second grade at Timonium Elementary School. She believes her teaching background does help in the transition of the Thoroughbred into a second career and the development of her young riders.

 

“Teaching elementary school for 35 years and having a full background in horse racing because I was raised on a horse farm is important,” McCue said. “I have patience as the horses learn a new career and the children work with them and learn to ride. I carry that back and forth because just like some horses need to learn in a different way, so do some children in the classroom.”

 

The Totally Thoroughbred Horse Show, which begins at 9 a.m. Eastern, will include eight classes with six ribbons awarded for each class and nearly $10,000 in prize money paid to the owners of the first three finishers in each class (60%-winner; 30%-second place; 10%-third).

 

The inaugural event featured nearly 800 entries and raised $16,500 for the official charitable beneficiaries.

 

 

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