Standardbreds with new careers under saddle will serve as honourary parade marshals on Breeders Crown nights at the Meadowlands Racetrack, October 28 and 29.
On Friday night (October 28), a pair of pacers will lead the older divisions to the post. Nite Train, winner of 11 races in 36 starts, will be ridden by Mary McDermott, daughter of trainer Kevin McDermott.
Nite Train is known by his nickname, ‘Whitey,’ and he and Mary compete in English and Western competition at horse shows and also enjoy trail riding. Mary is a graduate of the Harness Horse Youth Foundation.
Alongside Nite Train will be JR Grin and Joanna Ricci. JR Grin is a daughter of Breeders Crown champion Grinfromeartoear and granddaughter of three-time Breeders Crown champ Jennas Beach Boy.
JR Grin was adopted from the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) by Joanna Ricci, who is also a graduate of the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. JR Grin and Joanna have competed extensively in both English and Western events for two years and have a stack of blue ribbons to show for their work.
Joanna is president of the Allentown (NJ) High School FFA and a member of the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization.
On Saturday, 25 year-old Osbornes Shy Cam, a son of Cam Fella, will take the lead, along with trotter Independent Act, a son of trotter Conway Hall.
‘Ozzy’ was adopted 11 years ago from the SRF. He’s got a busy life with mother and daughter Amanda and Terry Keynton. Ozzy has had a full competitive career in 4H horse shows, along with English, Western and gymkhana competition, hunter paces, parades and trail rides.
Independent Act, ‘Indy,’ and owner Suzanne D’Ambrose are a very busy pair, with Indy serving as an active ambassador for the breed. Aside from an active show career, he and D’Ambrose, a retired law enforcement officer and high school teacher, have appeared at library events for the NJ Month of the Horse, parades and neighborhood trick or treat on horseback.
D’Ambrose also helps other Standardbreds prepare for a new career, as a volunteer trainer and massage therapist with the SRF.
There are currently 212 horses in the SRFs care, all of them looking for a ‘forever home.’ Many, because of age or limited use, are not attractive adoption prospects, but their future is secure with the SRF. The SRF (adoptahorse.org) is the only organization dedicated solely to re-homing Standardbreds, and the only program that follows up every adoption for life.