December 2015 Issue - page 6

Page 6
December 2015
Repurposed Racehorse is First
Plantation Field Thoroughbred
Competition Series Winner
By Lisa Thomas
This is a story about an un-
usual alignment of relationships
within a Pennsylvania horse com-
munity and one particular retired
race horse who has flourished
as a result of these connections.
Perhaps this wasn’t the path that
his breeder envisioned, but it is
the beginning of his promising
MK’s Concord Dawn, reg-
istered with the Jockey Club as
Mason, was born in 2009 at Tim
F. Ritchey Racing Stables. Tim,
who previously evented at the
top level of the sport in the 70’s,
is a 5 time leading race trainer at
Delaware Park. He and his wife
Janet have a well-known training
and bloodstock business, and in
2005 trained Grade I Belmont
and Preakness winner, Afleet
“Mason was bred to be a
racehorse. His mother, whom
we also bred, Della Street, had
earned over $100,000 for us,
and his daddy Smart Guy was
bought by us for $10,000 as a
yearling and went on to earn
over $500,000 including win-
ning the Pennsylvania Derby.
Mason was always very friend-
ly, good with other horses, easy
to break and to train, so when
he won his first race quite easily
we really were not surprised,”
Janet said.
“What did surprise us was
his subsequent racing career
through 2012 and part of 2013,
which can only be described
as lackluster. He trained well
but went through the motions
in his races but never returned
tired. We decided he was not the
racehorse we had hoped he would
be but he was handsome and his
attitude pointed to being a useful
show horse in the right hands
and luckily that’s what he found.
Although financially it’s not what
we had planned we couldn’t
be happier to see our ‘Mason’
The Connections
Enter Molly Kinnamon of
MK Equestrian, whose long time
working student, Hannah Metz,
was rising up through the levels
of eventing at the age of 18 two
years ago. She and her horse
Zhen were competing at the 1*
level when Zhen was injured.
Dr. Kathy Anderson, MK Eques-
trian’s primary veterinarian,
treated Zhen. She was also a
vet for the Ritchey’s race stable
and knew of Mason’s poten-
tial retirement from the track.
Since Tim had a background in
eventing, he favored his horses
being repurposed into quality
eventing programs. Knowing
that Molly’s young rider was in
need of a potential project horse,
Dr. Anderson made the initial
Dr. Anderson thought MK
Equestrian could be the perfect
retraining facility for Mason.
Molly had previously re-trained
many OTTB’s in California and
spent considerable time breaking
and exercising race horses once
she came east. Molly felt her
time working with these young
horses gave her a better under-
standing of how to bridge the
gap from track to the XC course.
Having gained so much from the
experience she encouraged many
students, including Hannah, to
gallop race horses.
Break Away Farm, located
near Molly’s facility in Kirk-
wood, Pa., was Molly’s starting
point with race horse training
on the east coast. Many of her
students have gotten experi-
ence there as well. Luck would
have it that Mason was initially
backed at Break Away Farm by
owner/trainer Travis Kinnamon,
who is also Molly’s brother-in-
Hannah Metz did a won-
derful job working with Mason
during his first year off the track,
introducing him to the sport of
(Continued on page 11)
From left, Janet Ritchey, breeder, Kathleen Comp-
ton, sponsor, Molly and Bruce Kinnamon, owners,
and Hannah Metz, former rider, participate in
the awards ceremony for MK Concord Dawn, the
winner of the first $5,000 Plantation Field Thor-
oughbred Competition Series.
Photo credit: Amy
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