Colonial Downs and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at James River are joining together to host the first-ever "Mr. TRF" Second Chances Stakes, a competition of ex-racehorses on the Ladies Night program June 29 at the Virginia track.
Open to the public, on-line voting will take place June 20 through June 28 and conclude June 29, with trackside voting on the top three fan favorites to find which horse will be named "Mr. TRF." Fans can cast their votes at http://colonialdowns.com/mrtrf/.
The competition showcases nine geldings from TRF's 27-horse herd at James River Work Center, a Virginia correctional facility located in Goochland County. It highlights each equine competitor's race record, personality, and relationship with their caretakers.
"The 'Mr. TRF' Second Chances Stakes is about winning the hearts and minds of people who love Thoroughbreds, on and off the track," Anne Tucker, president of TRF at James River and a Thoroughbred owner and breeder, said in a release. "Contributing a vote or making a donation to the stakes purse is a way for people to raise their hand and say 'I believe in second chances' for horses and men."
Covert Action, who earned $87,652 during three years of competition, will serve as "celebrity host" and make several trackside appearances along with the competition's three finalists before the final vote by racing fans.
The size of the "stakes purse" will be determined by the amount of money raised through on-line and trackside donations to support the TRF herd, and all of TRF's horses will share in the take.
Additional purse-raising activities at the event include "Mr. TRF Second Chances Stakes" 50/50 split tickets, silent auction of saddlecloths worn by competitors in the Buckland Stakes, and the sale of Macy's shopping passes and TRF "I Believe in Second Chances" shirts.
The TRF James River program is one of 10 TRF correctional facility-based programs in the U.S. that exchanges herd care for vocational training for non-violent offenders. The expense of caring for one horse at TRF James River is approximately $2,500 per year. Since its establishment in 2007, TRF at James River has been a sanctuary for 56 horses, 29 of which have been successfully rehabilitated, retrained, and adopted out as performance and pleasure horses or pasture companions.
Donations to the stakes purse to support the TRF herd, can be made on-line at the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation website.