Horse Who Changed Everything

Rick Abbott’s Horse Who Changed Everything

Bloodstock agent, sales consignor and breeder Rick Abbott gives credit to broodmare Christmas Strike for changing everything. She produced nearly $1 million worth of horses to sell at auction – helping fuel Charlton, the sales consignment business Abbott owned with his wife Dixie. The Abbotts retired last year, and expected to enjoy at least a few more years of Christmas Strike and her foals. She died this month at 19.


Dixon Stroud’s Horse Who Changed Everything

An amateur steeplechase rider, polo player, owner and race meet director, Dixon Stroud has worn more than his share of hats in the horse industry. He won the 1984 Maryland Hunt Cup aboard Bewley’s Hill, a horse Stroud trained for his wife Lisa. But, Stroud’s Horse Who Changed Everything is a polo pony who came to Pennsylvania by way of Montana. His name was Snort.

Michael O’Callaghan and Bogini

In 2011, my dad and I bought Bogini as a 2-year-old from Tracey Collins. I was 22, still preparing breezers and didn’t have a trainers license, so we left her in training with Tracey. She won an average maiden for us in Down Royal, which got her a rating in the low 70s, then I brought her home to Millgrove Stud, where I was operating at the time, and gave her the winter off.

Lacey Gaudet & Smarty Jones

The attraction to Smarty Jones was nearly unavoidable in 2004. Even if you tried it was next to impossible not to root for the Pennsylvania-bred colt with the catchy name, humble connections and powerful running style.

Lacey Gaudet, who saddled Marabea to victory in last weekend’s $125,000 Claiming Crown Tiara at Gulfstream Park, grew up in a racing family in Maryland and was very much caught up in the craze for Smarty Jones.

Kurt Becker and Karen’s Look

The Horse Who Changed Everything for me never ran in a stakes race and I never cashed a ticket on him. He finished in the money a lot (32-for-56) in his Midwest pari-mutuel career, but I never saw any of those races.

I met Karen’s Look in August of 1975 at the Effingham County Fair in my hometown of Altamont, Illinois. He was a 6-year-old Illinois-bred, and so was I.

Todd Pletcher and 2 important horses

Todd Pletcher’s spot in the Hall of Fame is as close to an absolute lock as there is in racing. He’s won seven Eclipse Awards, three U.S. classics, three Canadian classics, 10 North American earnings titles, nine Breeders’ Cup races and 145 Grade 1 stakes. Yes, 145.

Kelly Wheeler and Fourstardave

“Dad why did I like Fourstardave so much?” Kelly Wheeler asked her father, laughing because she couldn’t quite remember how she got hooked on the big chestnut gelding.

“OK, this is good,” Wheeler, an assistant to Eddie Kenneally, hangs up with her father and begins to recount the story of her Horse Who Changed Everything.