Successful Runner Enjoys the Peaceful Retired Life 

Today we bring you the story of CARMAGrad Successful Runner,  celebrating his 15th birthday this year, thanks to the loving care at Harmony and Hope Horse Haven, an Aftercare Charity Partner of CARMA. After years of racing, Successful Runner found his forever home where he could enjoy a peaceful life (and lots of love!).  His journey from the fast-paced world of racing to a serene retirement showcases one aftercare journey we hope to make possible for all retiring racehorses.

We’ll let Successful Runner take the stage and tell you the story from here:  


I was born in Kentucky on February 2, 2009. In September 2010 at 19 months of age I was entered in the Keeneland Yearling Sale and sold for $80,000. And the next morning, my first day of a racing career began. I was a big colt, and my owners took their time getting me ready for my first race.  

My first race on January 14, 2013, Maiden Special Weight, I finished third. On February 17th,  I finished Second. After three more races at Gulfstream Park with 2nd and two 3rd, I transferred to New York.  On June 20th, at Belmont Park, I came in second. THEN, on July 11, 2014, I won my first race. That was the last Maiden Special Weight I would ever be able to run.   

Photo Provided Courtesy of Barbara D. Livingston


At Saratoga September 1st I weakened a little, but I still came in 3rd. I took some time off from racing. On July 29, 2015, I ran in a Claiming, came in Second, and now had new owners. Once more, I was given time off, and on April 23, 2016, in another Claiming I won my second race.  

In June 2016, at Churchill Downs, another Claiming, I won my third race and once more, I had new owners. And just like that, one day I was in Kentucky, and the next I was in California. July 16, 2016, opening day at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, was my last race.     

Photo Provided Courtesy of Barbara D. Livingston


X-rays revealed fractures in the left and right front sesamoid with other fractures in the left and right front. Out of ten horses in that race, I still came in 7th. From January 1, 2013, to my last race, July 16, 2016, I ran in 12 races …. 3 Wins, 4 Seconds, and 4 Thirds; my total earnings:  $132,685.00  

My owners spoke with CARMA, California Retirement Management Account, who took me to their Placement Program lay-up facility and would find me an aftercare home once I completed my recovery.

My future activities were to be very limited. After nine months of lay-up, now without pain medications, I had graduated from a 12×12 stall to roaming freely in a larger paddock. CARMA Placement Program felt Sanctuary placement was my best option.

Just like claiming races, I was about to have a new owner. Monday, June 12th, at 3:20 that morning I arrived at Harmony and Hope Horse Haven. By nine, I felt like I’d lived there forever.  

I learned the human was called ‘The Old Mare.’ At about 6 AM she came back to my paddock, looked at me for a couple of minutes, then said …“Hello, Handsome”. That afternoon when she said she’d been told I would need some ground schooling to learn how to behave like a gentleman, I said, ‘No, that’s not true’.  

All these years later, she still says “Hello, Handsome” and rubs my face.  And, then, she tells me, ‘you are such a gentleman’.  I wait for those words before I start eating my hay and grains she has just brought me. I’m great having my annual leg x-rays, great with the farrier; a bit fussy about vaccinations, but “The Old Mare’ says ‘ stop that ‘ so I do just what she says.  

After all, I’m Handsome and such a gentleman.


A special thank you to ‘The Old Mare’ for narrating Successful Runner’s Journey.