Saratoga Springs, NY – On Sunday (Dec. 12) Saratoga Casino Hotel hosted its annual racehorse retirement ceremony. This year, eight seasoned campaigners were honored before a very appreciative crowd. Many of the horses who participated stopped racing years ago, and seeing them in the winner’s circle brought back fond memories for owners and fans alike.
Saratoga Harness Program Director/Charter, Nancy McAssey, rode HI HO STEVERINO to the winner’s circle. Nancy and “Steverino’s” connection dates back ten years when her sister, Kelly Lancaster, claimed the pacing gelding. Nancy was Steverino’s caretaker for eight months while he raced in Pennsylvania and New York until another trainer claimed him. Years later, Nancy’s husband, Jaymes, became Steverino’s trainer. “He was eventually claimed,” Nancy said, “but I kept following him wherever he was.” When Steverino came up for sale in 2020, Nancy bought him knowing she would be providing a retirement home for him soon.
Officer Glenn Barrett of the Saratoga Springs Police Department accepted a blanket for pacing gelding, MOST FUN YET, now known as Officer Apollo. Former owner, Charles Harrison, donated “Apollo” to the PD in 2016. “During the last five years with the Mounted Unit, Apollo has grown into a great equine partner and proven himself to be a valuable asset to the Police Department,” said Sergeant Jenna Hiltz. “He can be seen working outside the Saratoga Racecourse in the summer, at community and school events around the city and performing crowd control on busy weekends. We are so lucky to have him.”
Winner of over $1M in purses, RAZZLE DAZZLE was ridden to the winner’s circle by his new owner, Dana Cochrane. Dana met “Razzle” when he was racing at Saratoga with his trainer Amy Dowd and immediately fell in love with the pacing gelding’s sweet, goofy personality. In 2016, when Razzle stopped racing, Amy contacted Dana with the opportunity to work with him. Dana immediately accepted and brought him home to a farm in Troy, NY. Razzle rides both English and Western and has been started over rails. “He is a fast and willing learner,” Dana said. “I’m so proud of how far he has come, and I look forward to seeing where our journey together takes us.”
Of the eight horses retiring, ARUBA VACATION is the only one who is still racing in 2021. Bred, owned and trained by Guy Howard, “Aruba” is a multiple stakes winner, and held a former Saratoga track record for three-year-old trotting geldings. He has $657K in career earnings. At the end of the year, he will retire to the Howard farm in Binghamton, NY, where he will be pastured with his old friend and stablemate, Grey Ice.
Since leaving the track in 2015, EL RINGER has been enjoying retirement at Mark and Sue Anne Miller’s farm in Schuylerville NY. The Millers are part of the House Of Cards Racing Stable ownership along with Al Buzanowski. “’Ringer’ was a once in a lifetime horse,” Buzanowski said, recalling the pacing gelding’s 2011 campaign where he amassed 18 wins and 11 seconds in 31 starts. “The thrills he gave us were unbelievable.”
Pacing gelding and 2010 Saratoga Harness Horse of the Year, KELLY’S NOAH, is living at the farm of his breeder, owner and former trainer, James Harvey. “He’s enjoying life being fat and happy,” said Harvey’s daughter, Patti. “We tried to use him to train with younger horses, but he didn’t have much patience, and it was discouraging to the younger horses trying to keep up.” The Harvey’s plan to start training “Noah” under saddle next year.
LUCKY TIMES was walked to the winner’s circle by owner, Sarah Carter. Sarah met “Lucky” while helping in owner/trainer Michael and Cheryl Bartlette’s barn. She started riding the pacing gelding while he was still racing and says he loved it. “We bonded pretty quickly,” Sarah said. “I knew almost right away he was going to be with me forever.” When Lucky retired from racing in 2020, the Bartlette’s gave him to Sarah.
Fred and Alexa Scheigert stopped racing RUSS N US in November of 2015. The trotting gelding had earned over $338K on the racetrack. After leaving the track, “Russ” received formal training under saddle. According to trainer, Amanda Kelley, “while he does enjoy the occasional ride, he primarily enjoys being out in the pasture with his longtime stablemate and fellow retiree, Predator DVM.”