The World’s Largest and Most Lucrative Thoroughbred Retraining Competition in the World

 The Retired Racehorse Project’s $100,000 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, will return to Lexington Ky, at the Kentucky Horse Park on October 4-7, 2018. The event features approximately 500 recently retired Thoroughbreds competing in 10 different non-racing disciplines. Spectators on-site and those watching via livestream can vote via text for the overall winner among the 10 discipline champions, and that horse with the most votes will be crowned America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred.

Each horse competing in the Thoroughbred Makeover has 10 months or less of retraining since its last race or published workout. Trainers can enter their horses in up to two of the 10 disciplines offered, which include barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunters, freestyle, polo, ranch work, show hunters and show jumpers.

In addition to the equestrian competition, the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium includes a large vendor fair, seminars on topics pertinent to restarting Thoroughbreds off of the track, a party for competitors and spectators after the Championship is awarded on Saturday and a robust silent auction filled with equestrian products, racing memorabilia and more.

New for this year is the Makeover Master Class. Scheduled for 10AM on Sunday, October 7th,  the Makeover Master Class will feature noted professional trainers Tik Maynard, Rosie Napravnik, Elizabeth James, and Tom and Clare Mansmann. Each will work with a Thoroughbred that has recently retired from racing and is available for adoption through one of our equine adoption partners. Each trainer will demonstrate for the audience what their initial training session with such a horse would entail, and offer tips and advice they have found helpful in restarting young Thoroughbreds after racing.

Also included in this year’s schedule of events is the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace, which will feature all horses competing in the Thoroughbred Makeover that are available for sale or adoption. Those shopping for a new equine partner will have the opportunity to inspect, test-ride and schedule veterinary pre-purchase exams on more than 200 available horses, all in one place.

“Entries for this year’s Thoroughbred Makeover are up over last year’s record numbers by nearly 40 percent, making this the largest retraining competition for ex-racehorses in history,” said Retired Racehorse Project executive director Jen Roytz. “Lexington is the epicenter of all things Thoroughbred in North America, and it’s only natural that running concurrently with the world-class racing at Keeneland this October will be an elite competition for horses in their careers after racing. If you’re involved with Thoroughbreds, Lexington is the place to be next weekend.”

Among the entries for this year’s Thoroughbred Makeover is Cosmic One, the first son of Champion race mare Zenyatta. He will be ridden by Isabella DeSousa, who has won championship honors in the show jumping division for the past three years. Also competing will be General Relativity, who was recently announced as the model for James Cameron’s Avatar 2. Scheduled for release in 2020, the movie will utilize the likeness of General Relativity to create the horse-like creature for the second installment of this blockbuster movie.

“On average, Thoroughbreds retire from racing around five years of age, which means they have decades of life left to live. They are incredibly athletic, have often traveled extensively and enjoy having ‘a job,’ all of which makes them great candidates for riding and showing as their second career after racing,” said Roytz. “These trainers put such a good foundation of training into these horses in preparation for the Thoroughbred Makeover, and watching them perform in a new capacity, so different from racing, is remarkable and inspiring.”

Entrants for this year’s Thoroughbred Makeover ran an average of 20 times during their racing career and collectively they earned nearly $35 million on the track. While the largest number of horses entered in this year’s competition were bred in Kentucky (219), this year’s class of horses represent 29 states, four Canadian provinces, plus Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Mexico. See a full rundown of demographics and data on this year’s Thoroughbred Makeover entries here.

Most events at the Thoroughbred Makeover are free to attend, however tickets for Saturday’s Thoroughbred Makeover Finale and Afterparty are required and can be purchased here.

About Retired Racehorse Project:
Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization working to increase demand for off-track Thoroughbreds and build the bridges to second careers. It publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, hosts the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, maintains the Retired Racehorse Resource Directory, manages the online Bloodline Brag, and presents programs at major horse expos across the country. Visit RRP online at