Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show Draws Record Participants, Scores of Horses Shine in California Sun

Photo Donated by: Andrea Kaus

The 10th installment of the highly popular Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show (TCHS), sponsored by the Siegel CARMA (California Retirement Management Account) Foundation was held at Galway Downs near Temecula, CA, this past weekend and the two-day event was a smashing success, drawing a record number of Thoroughbreds who competed in various equine disciplines. A total of 87 Thoroughbreds, most of which had previous careers as racehorses, showed in the numerous classes and disciplines, from hunters and jumpers and dressage, to pole bending and barrel racing and even cross country over Galway’s CCI3*cross-country course.

Competitors came from all over the state, as well as Utah, Nevada and Montana were on site to participate, something CARMA executive director Lucinda Mandella was elated to see.

“I’m thrilled with the outpouring of support we received for this show especially since we drew competitors from out of state to showcase their Thoroughbreds with us,” Mandella said. “Combined with the traditional local support I am so happy we were able to host our largest show to date. The success from this weekend sets us up perfectly for our next event, the traditional holiday classic at the end of the year at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Hopefully by then we’ll be able to attract at least 100 Thoroughbreds.”

Amanda Gomez and her horse Snapchat won this year’s $1,500 Jumper Stakes and Kiri Baldi won the $1,500 Hunter Derby aboard her horse, Terascon Diligence. Melissa Thorson and her OTTB Montana Soul won the $1,000 Event Challenge, while the $1,000 prize for the Dressage Challenge went to Ashlin Gayken and her horse, Leonard.

One of the best aspects of this year’s Galway event was the number of spectators and that this year it literally was a family affair. Twelve-year-old Jacqueline Reyes brought her entire family from Eastvale, CA – both parents, both sets of grandparents and various aunts and uncles — to watch her in her first OTTB show, which also was her first show jumping with her OTTB, Trinity. The pair earned two blue ribbons and four additional second-place red ones.

Trinity was actually discovered when Rivas’ parents, Julie and Brandon, were searching for a popular show-bred Warmblood.

“Our first thought was Warmblood,” Julie Reyes said. “But I found this Thoroughbred adoption site on Facebook and I already liked the Thoroughbreds, so we contacted them. And we found the right match for our daughter with Trinity. At first he wasn’t the warmest horse, but now he’s a total pet. The best thing is that they will learn and grow together and I never have to worry about him. He loves her as much as she loves him.”

Judge James Waldman, a successful clinician and trainer in the hunter/jumper show world now surrounded by Warmbloods, said he had a fantastic time judging and considers himself someone who believes the versatile Thoroughbred can return to prominence in the mainstream show rings.

“I used to gallop racehorses, so my experience with Thoroughbreds goes pretty deep. I definitely know the breed well,” Waldman said. “I had such a great time judging. All levels of skill were there, from the beginner to the seasoned champions from the “A” shows. And it’s nice to see again what Thoroughbreds are capable of; they can really do anything. I even judged my first barrel racing and pole bending.

“I was encouraged by the turnout and am excited for the future for these horses.”

The next TCHS show is tentatively scheduled for December 9 and 10 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, CA. The Holiday Classic is always popular and features the exciting jockey/trainer jumping Calcutta.

For more information about the Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show and CARMA, go to or CARMA. And for complete results for all the divisions and disciplines from the weekend’s Galway show can be found at


(California Retirement Management Account (CARMA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization founded in 2007 to raise money for retired racehorses. It is responsible for hosting fundraising events, educating owners and trainers on equine retirement, raising awareness and working to unify the racing industry in support of its equine athletes. Ways in which this is accomplished include facilitating the transition of racehorses off the track through its Placement Program and showcasing the breed’s versatility as equestrian mounts at its Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show.)

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