May Madness - Horse History Edition

Gold Medals, 3 WEG Gold Medals, 1 WEG Silver Medal for Germany), local favorite Officer Barney narrowly made it through to Round 3. He earned 53.4% of the votes over National Velvet’s steeplechaser Te Pie. It seemed the 279 voters in this round felt

Kudos to Officer Barney! When sporting events throughout the coun-

try came to a complete standstill in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Te Equiery staff be- gan brainstorming ways to create some sort of live-action competition for the Maryland horse community. Playing off the canceled NCAA March Madness tournament, we came up with a list of 64 horses to compete in a May Mad- ness – Horse History Edition tournament. Our stable of entries includes sporthorses, racehorses, horses from history, and even a few fictional fa- vorites from television, movies and books.

Round 1: Seabiscuit Takes the Lead On May 1 we launched the first round of

competition with 282 people voting, narrowing the field down from 64 to 32 horses. Many of the match-ups caused voters some distress as they had a hard time deciding between favorites. Wrens Nest posted on Te Equiery’s Facebook page, “Cisco vs Denny in round 1? Not fair!” while Lia McGuirk added, “RIGHT! And being an Olney bred myself, the Ge- peto/Seabiscuit was unfair!” One of the early favorites was 1938

American Horse of the Year, the race- horse Seabiscuit. Te relatively small in stature Toroughbred became a popular figure during the Great De- pression as he took on the 1937 Tri- ple Crown winner War Admiral in the famed Match Race, held here in Maryland at Pimlico in 1938. Seabis- cuit won by four lengths that day. In Round 1 of May Madness, he earned 90.8% of the votes over Maryland Shetland stallion Olney Gepeto.

Round 2: Barney Nearly Gets Knocked Out

While Seabiscuit continued to gain momen-

tum, earning 86.7% of the votes in a match up with dressage great Rembrandt (4 Olympic

30 | THE EQUIERY | JUNE 2020

the pressure as well with Deloise Noble- Strong sharing our post with this comment, “An equally difficult second round for you to stress over. Such great animals making it up the tiers.” Heidi Lippy Spinkle posted, “Love it! But the Secretariat matchup? Not even fair! #manfromsnowyriver is my favorite!” Sgt. Russ Robar of the Baltimore City Po- lice Mounted Unit added a bit of history to May Madness by posting, “And one other cool piece of history for the Trig- ger vs Native Dancer matchup.

Trigger’s owner Roy Rogers once donated a horse to Baltimore Police Mounted Unit. And our current retired horse Hercules lives at Na- tive Dancer’s home Sagamore Farm.”

Round 3: Touch of Class takes out America Pharoah

In Round 3 of May Madness, the closest match- up was between Toroughbred racehorse Ameri- can Pharoah and show jumper Touch of Class. MP Panos posted, “you put American Pharoah up against Touch of Class. Tat was probably the hardest decision I’ve made this year.”

Quarter Finals: Seabiscuit Continues to Charge Forward

Just like that, we were into the Quarter Finals with just eight horses left and the tournament had gone viral with 462 votes coming in from all over the U.S. Morgan foundation sire Figure (more com-

Misty vs Bucephalus? How cruel. Like choosing which is your favorite grandma. - Debby Lynn

monly known as Justin Morgan) was pitted against Seabiscuit, who came into this round as the popular vote. Te Morgan community across the country came out in force with one fan, Sherri Wilson sharing our post with this comment, “Figure is in the top 8, Morgan peo- ple go vote for him!” Tat matchup ended up being the clos- est of the grouping with Seabiscuit mov- ing on with

only 54.8% of the votes. Te big red racehorse Secretariat was matched up against Touch of Class where the 1973 Tri- ple Crown winner won with 75.8% of the votes. Secretariat ended up being the highest scoring horse of this round. Super eventing pony Teo- dore O’Connor had dominated in Round 3 over Canadian show jumper Big Ben but lost in the Quarter Finals to children’s book legend Misty of Chicoteague. In the final Quarter Final matchup, police

horse Officer Barney crushed British show jumper Milton to move onto the semifinals. His fan base seemed to be expand- ing as supporters for the former Amish plow horse turned Baltimore Police horse shared our tournament with plugs for his votes. Days End Farm Horse Rescue, where Barney currently lives commented, “Wow! Team Officer Barney, we did it again! Our big, deserving guy is in the Top 8 of May Madness! As a horse who had dedicated his life to the service of people, we can think of no horse more deserving of your vote. Be sure to vote again and let’s get Barney into the Final 4. GO Barney, GO!”

Semifinals: Match Race Version 2.0

Te Semifinals of May Madness saw two legendary racehorses in a

On the morning of the last day of voting,

the Maryland-bred Touch of Class held 50.4% of the votes while 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah held 49.6%. In the end, af- ter 281 people voted, Touch of Class held on to advance with 50.5% of the votes. Joe Fargis rode the famed mare to double Gold Medals in the 1984 Olympics.

match race on one side of the tournament while two local legends faced off on the other side. Momentum was clearly growing as 622 people voted to send their two favorites into the finals! In what was probably the closest matchup of the whole tournament, racehorses Seabiscuit and Secretariat were neck and neck throughout this round’s voting period. Early on the last day continued...

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Katherine O. Rizzo

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