LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) announced a full slate of new and returning special awards will be offered at the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. The 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover takes place Oct. 2-5 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky.

The final entry period for the 2019 Makeover is open until Aug. 15. Horses can compete in up to two disciplines at the Thoroughbred Makeover; all horses are Jockey Club-registered Thoroughbreds that raced or had a published work on or after July 1, 2017 provided it did not start retraining for a second career before Dec. 1, 2018.

"These state-bred and other special awards have become a major influence on how and where people source their horses in preparation for competing at the Thoroughbred Makeover," said Jen Roytz, RRP's executive director. "It's also a testament to the Thoroughbred industry that so many of the organizations that work hard to support Thoroughbreds before and during their racing careers, are also investing in supporting them as they transition away from the track. We are profoundly grateful to the KTOB and the other organizations sponsoring awards for their help in expanding the market for Thoroughbreds after racing."

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Trainers will be nominating their horses for a wide array of special awards this year, with some horses likely eligible for more than one award:

▪ Empire State Success Story, sponsored by New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, New York Racing Association, and New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc ($5,000 to highest-placed horse bred in New York)

▪ Turning For Home Award, sponsored by Turning For Home (prizes awarded to highest-placed horse acquired through Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s Turning For Home)

▪ Pennsylvania HBPA Award, sponsored by Pennsylvania HBPA and New Start ($1,000 to any division winner and $500 to second and third placements for horses that came through the PA HBPA New Start Program or were based at Penn National)

▪ Top Pennsylvania-Bred Horse Award, sponsored by Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association ($2,500 to highest-placed Pennsylvania-bred)

▪ CANTER USA Award, sponsored by CANTER USA ($1,000 total to top three highest-placed horses acquired through a CANTER listing)

▪ Iron Horse Award, sponsored by MidAtlantic Horse Rescue ($1,000 total to highest placed “iron horse,” or those foaled in 2009 or earlier, trained by amateur/professional and junior)

▪ Kentucky-Bred Award, sponsored by KTOB ($6,500 to highest-placed Kentucky-bred)

▪ Top Louisiana-Bred Horse Award, sponsored by Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association ($4,000 to highest-placed Louisiana-bred)

▪ Top Maryland-Bred Horse Award, sponsored by Judy Hartman’s Copper Beech Stables ($3,000 to the highest-placed Maryland-bred)

▪ Top California-Bred Horse Award, sponsored by Georgia B. Ridder Foundation in honor of After the Finish Line ($2,500 to highest-placed California-bred)

▪ Wild & Wonderful Awards, sponsored by Charles Town HBPA ($1,000 to any division winner and $500 to second and third placements for horses with a minimum of six starts at Charles Town or one start at Charles Town for West Virginia-breds)

▪ TAA Graduate Award, sponsored by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance ($1,500 split between rider of highest-placed TAA horse and the TAA-accredited organization that rehomed the horse)

▪ Delaware Park Horse Aftercare Initiative Special Award, sponsored by CANTER Delaware, Delaware Park Racing, Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and MidAtlantic Horse Rescue ($1,000 total award to top three highest-placed horses that raced at Delaware Park)

▪ USPC Award in Memory of E. Marilyn Searle, sponsored by Beverly Strauss ($1,000 total to highest-placed and second highest-placed Pony Club member)

▪ Little Orphan Annex Memorial Award, sponsored by Friends of Hillary and Annie ($500 to highest-placed chestnut mare or filly)

▪ Paulus Pony Award, sponsored by Changing Saddles LLC and Friends of Amy Paulus ($500 and trophy cooler to highest-placed horse sourced by Amy Paulus/Changing Saddles LLC)

▪ Thoroughbred Charities of America Award, sponsored by Thoroughbred Charities of America (gift basket awarded to rider of highest-placed horse in each division that was acquired through a 2018 or 2019 TCA grant recipient organization)

In total, $33,000 will be awarded in special prizes at the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover.

Nina Bonnie will once again sponsor the Best Conditioned Award, which will award a trophy halter to the best-conditioned horse in each of the Thoroughbred Makeover’s 10 disciplines.

The Ira Schulman Award will also return for 2019, sponsored by the Virginia Thoroughbred Association. Given in memory of Ira Schulman, who is believed to have rehomed more Thoroughbreds in his lifetime than any other individual, the award recognizes a professional who has similarly devoted their career to rehoming off-the-track Thoroughbreds. Individuals will be nominated for this award, and the winner will be selected by a panel of judges from the top five nominees. Nominations are now open for this award and will close on Aug. 9: nominate online.

The Thoroughbred Makeover Ambassador Award has undergone a shift for 2019, with the award going to a Makeover trainer, official or volunteer who best embodies a spirit of teamwork, cooperation, sportsmanship and inclusivity. Individuals will be nominated for the Ambassador Award during the Thoroughbred Makeover, and the RRP staff will select a winner from the pool of nominees.

For more information about special awards, please visit the dedicated page at the Thoroughbred Makeover website. The Thoroughbred Makeover is the flagship event for the RRP, a 501(c)3 non-profit committed to increasing the demand for and value of Thoroughbred in their careers after racing. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover.

Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization working to increase demand for off-track Thoroughbreds and build the bridges to second careers. It publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, hosts the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, maintains the Retired Racehorse Resource Directory, manages the online Thoroughbred Sport Tracker, and presents programs at major horse expos across the country. Visit RRP online at www.RetiredRacehorseProject.org.

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