CANTER Opens New Chapter at Mountaineer

West Virginia racetrack applauds those who find racehorses new careers.

(Edited press release)

CANTER, which stands for the communication alliance to network Thoroughbred ex-racehorses, announced a new chapter at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort. The program offers a free listing service to trainers and owners looking to find new homes for their horses after their racing careers have ended.

“We are pleased to offer this free program to our owners and trainers who are looking to place their race horses in new careers,” said Rose Mary Williams, director of racing at Mountaineer. “CANTER has a proven track record helping trainers to sell and place their ex-race horses.”

Nancy Koch, executive director of CANTER, explained how the program’s volunteers are the driving force behind its success.

“Our volunteer organization is dedicated to helping these horses find new homes, and we are pleased that Mountaineer is offering this free program to its horsemen,” said Koch.

When the racing career of Cedar Top, a Thoroughbred based at Mountaineer ended, he embarked on a new phase of his life. Thanks to his owner, Don Blankenship of New Cumberland, and Rachel Paris, who works with the Exceller Fund, as well as CANTER to find homes for retired race horses, Cedar Top has been placed with junior rider Claire Powell.  It’s proven to be an arrangement that is working well for both horse and owner.

“CT is my best friend and the love of my life,” said Powell.  “He is handsome, smart, and very athletic. The first day I had him on the trail, I fell in love with him.”

Placing retired racehorses has been the passion of Paris for the past four years. During that time, she said, there has only one horse she has not been able to place. That horse is still residing on her farm.

Trainer/owner Don Blankenship, who has been based at Mountaineer since the 1960’s, estimated that he has placed more than 50 of his horses during the past three years working with Paris.

Blankenship said many people might have the misperception that race horses are too high strung to adapt to a life as pleasure horses.

“Actually, they’re very good with riders,” he said. “Nothing spooks them.”

Paris, who will serve as director of volunteers for the Mountaineer CANTER chapter,  will also soon be working with the Ohio chapter of the organization.

Paris said CANTER volunteers will be contacting trainers in person at Mountaineer to list and photograph horses for sale. She may be contacted at (304) 564-5958. Mountaineer horses available for sale or placement is available to the general public at