As a result of the overwhelming success of 2012’s Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue TB Show, the Totally Thoroughbred Show at Pimlico Race Course and the Fair Hill Furlongs to Fences TB Show organizers formed the Thoroughbred Alliance Show Series. The series consist of several TB only horse shows in the Mid-Atlantic region including a year-end awards banquet to be held at Laurel Park.
Fran Burns, the Alliance Coordinator recently encouraged me to attend one of these shows and speak with the gals from one such TB Rescue Group, EHM Stables, which I did this past Sunday at St. Timothy’s School in Stevenson.
Betty McCue, a 2nd grade school teacher for the past 35 years in the Baltimore County School system, started EHM Stables for retired thoroughbreds (aka TBs) circa 1998. Betty, her sister Evelyn Martin and three (3) of the most energetic, young ladies I have met in quite some time work tirelessly to care for numerous retired TBs in order to transition them after racing to new careers as show jumpers, fox hunters or recreational trail horses. They also have a handful of ponies which they race and show.
From Left: Evelyn Martin, Meredith Miller, Sydney Parker, “Giant Talent” with Anastasia Vialov in the irons, Betty McCue
All three (3) young ladies, Sydney Parker, Meredith Miller and Anastasia Vialov are freshmen at Baltimore County High Schools when not spending time at EHM Stables, located on a farm in Whitehall, MD. When talking about the horses on the farm, their faces light up like proud mothers boasting about their “babies” accomplishments and cute mannerisms, which make each unique. I was AMAZED at their racing and breeding knowledge of each of the horses they are retraining.
Sydney shows Saratoga Jet (out of Pierpont Account by A.P. Jet) and points out, “He won over $100,000 in his career… now he loves to jump over water, from a small puddle to a wide stream, he’ll take a huge leap over it. I also ride and work with Caymen Condo who is a beautiful bay who is coming along.” Beaming from under her pink EHM Stables cap, is a child-like excitement seldom seen on a teenagers face as she proclaimed, “I LOVE TBs! So rewarding… all they want to do is please.”
Meredith rides Big Deal (out of Song of Dixie, by Petitionville). She has a soft spot in her heart for this 5-year-old who, “… never raced and just stood idle in a field for more than half of his life. We broke him (i.e. teach a horse how to allow humans near/on them) 2 years ago and just started showing him.”
Both Sydney and Meredith started helping McCue four (4) years ago. Under Mrs. Betty’s tutelage, they learned to ride in return for performing the daily tasks required on a horse farm… feeding, bathing, mucking out stalls, walking and riding. All which must begin at the ungodly hour of 4:00am. That’s right, 4:00am!!! How many teenagers do you know are willing to get out of bed at 3:00am in order to start their day at 4:00am?
Anastasia rides Prideland (out of Tequila Sheila, by Lion Hearted) pointing out, “He’s a MD-bred from Dark Hollow Farm who earned over $150,000 and was stakes placed during his racing career.” She added, “I also ride Giant Talent (out of Lady of Talent, by Giant’s Causeway). He was given to us by the Gaudet’s (Edmond and Linda). We love picking up horses straight from the track and turning them into our show horses. I started riding with Mrs. Betty while in 7th grade and fell in love with what she does with racehorses.”
On Sunday, April 7th at Pimlico, the Maryland Jockey Club presented the second annual Chasin’ for Children Pony Races between the thoroughbred races. Forty-eight runners took part in the six races. Anastasia “Nastya” Vialov guided EHM Stables’ Count Chocula to victory in the Mikey Smithwick Memorial Dash Medium Pony Flat Race.
Nicely done Nastya! Look out Rosie Napravnik. Bytheway, Count Chocula competed in a show 24 hours prior to winning this race. Pretty impressive little guy!
Mrs. Betty has a close working relationship with top Maryland-based trainers Hugh McMahon and Linda Gaudet. Hugh and his wife Demelza McMahon have been great friends of McCue. In addition to TB retirees, she takes his “lay-ups” (active racers who need some time off from training) and babies to break.
McCue finds new homes for her equine retirees simply by word of mouth, which has no geographical limits, as she shared one story. “I discovered through a friend, there was a young girl in Massachusetts who lost her father. She always wanted a horse, and her mom thought if she could have one now, it would help with her healing process. We had one available and she got a horse. It was truly amazing.”
Other trainers should consider EHM Stables for their “lay-ups” because McCue’s crew obviously does a great job with them. For example, a 5-year-old mare named Too Clever by Half who spent time at EHM Stables made her first start in 9 months last Sunday at Pimlico for trainer Hugh McMahon. The result was a convincing victory at odds of 15-1 to return $32.80 to WIN, $10.60 to PLACE and $7.40 SHOW.
What better endorsement could you ask for when talking about top-notch care for a thoroughbred? If you have a horse, looking for a horse or interested in riding lessons, I encourage you to contact (text) Betty McCue at (410) 404-0857 or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For those who frequent facebook, check out the EHM Stables group page.
Frankie Lovato’s JockeyWorld.org racing term of the day #115, “Fractional Times”
Selections for the Day 13 Pimlico Thursday, April 25th card are on Page 2.