Features

Domain’s Rap held on to win a 2-year-old maiden special weight Oct. 27, 2018 at Hawthorne Park. The win came in his second start and although this was the beginning of his race career, little did anyone know the race would shape his future off the track years later.

Ciara Bowen, who graduated from the State University of New York at Morrisville with a degree in Thoroughbred management, was watching races that day. Every year she would pick a few horses to follow, add them to her virtual stable, and place a small bet when they ran. On that day at the end of October she wasn’t watching a specific horse, but she did notice a beautiful bay that crossed the finish in front. She quickly took note of his name and added him to her virtual stable.

From that day forward Bowen watched every race he ran. 

“[After he ran third in the Black Tie Affair Handicap], I felt so proud of a horse I had never met,” she said. 

In 2014, emails stopped notifying Ciara that Domain’s Rap was entered to run and she wondered what happened to the beautiful bay that she’d followed for four years.

Bowen continued to follow other horses and write articles for racehorse publications, but her heart longed to find out the fate of Domain’s Rap. 

“I figured something happened to him, as I didn’t see any updates on him,” she said. 

About a year later she received an email notifying her Domain’s Rap was entered in a race. Not only was he running again but he was going to be at Remington Park in Oklahoma with a new trainer, Federico Villafranco. The trainer’s exercise rider just so happened to be a close friend with Bowen. 

Bowen immediately reached out to her friend, Amanda Villafranco, and asked for the opportunity to meet Domain’s Rap. 

Bowen met Domain’s Rap in February 2016, almost six years after the first race of his she watched and she was hooked on his gentle personality. She tried to attend every one of his races at Oaklawn Park from that moment forward and she spent hours in the Villafranco barn by his stall. 

“I always had to go see him,” Bowen said. “I honestly don’t even know how many hours I spent by his stall or close to it, just watching him.”

In October 2018, a post showed up on Bowen’s timeline from Horse and Hound, a racehorse rescue. Domain’s Rap had been retired and was looking for a forever home. As much she wanted Domain’s Rap, she already had a horse and affording two horses’ rent wasn’t in the budget. She knew that if it was meant to be it would find a way, but more than anything she wanted him to have a good home.

A few weeks later Bowen’s mare passed away. She reached out to Horse and Hound and asked about Domain’s Rap. 

“I was told he was pending adoption,” she said. “I was so crushed.”

As it turned out Tory Egerton adopted Domain’s Rap. Tory was very close with Ciara and when Christmas rolled around, Ciara received the greatest gift of all, to bring home her favorite racehorse and call him her own. 

Domain’s Rap now spends his days grazing in a field with his two best friends, Sindhu and Malleable. Bowen spends as much time as she wants with her new horse, and that’s exactly what she does. Six years felt like a long time to wait for the horse of Ciara’s dreams, but six years isn’t too long when they have forever to go.