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Jun 05, 2012 - NTRA
Bay gelding by Chester House out of Migrate by Storm Bird
Born: April 21, 2004
Race Record: 16 starts, 4 wins, 3 seconds, 1 third, $342,810
Mr. Prospector has been hailed as the world’s greatest producer of top quality race horses. Thanks to the exploits of “Ozzie”, we may now be able to add show horses to that resume as well!
There are many well known world class athletes that have achieved a stellar career in one discipline but rarely can they ever cross over to another. However, in the equine world such feats are possible and racing champion Warning Zone (barn name “Ozzie”) is now well on his way to reaching new heights and successes in the show world after conquering the racing world. Ozzie’s transition from race horse to show horse started when he joined the off-track rehab-retrain-re-homing program at the California non-profit Neigh Savers Foundation, Inc. organization.
Warning Zone earned almost $350,000 at the track in 16 lifetime career starts. He raced and won graded stakes races that in racing amount to performing at the highest level (Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup races are rated as Grade 1 stakes). Warning Zone’s biggest win came in the Sunset Breeders’ Cup Handicap in which he won almost $100,000 and was ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. Warning Zone ran fourth along the inside almost all the way and had all the room he needed when Smith asked him to go. Said Smith: “So I went for it and it worked out. (Warning Zone) was sitting on a big race and he really looked the part, too. You can’t go far enough for him. A mile and one-half, a mile and three-quarters, he loves it.”
In his last start on opening day at Santa Anita on December 26, 2008 he faltered, was injured and then was sent to a farm to be rehabbed. A little more than a year later, it was determined that Warning Zone should no longer race, although he was cleared for other disciplines. It was then that trainer Kristin Mulhall asked Neigh Savers Foundation to take him. Kristin felt he might have a second career in the show ring and when delivering him said: “Good luck with him! I am so happy that you got him and guarantee you will love him!! He has the smoothest canter and is an incredible mover as well.” His hidden skills and talent were not oversold by Kristin.
Neigh Savers Foundation is a certified 501c3 California non-profit corporation that has been in operation for five years. In the last five years Neigh Savers has rehabbed, retrained and rehomed over 135 off track Thoroughbred horses. Operating in three locations and a scattering of fosters, Neigh Savers keeps its expenses down by partnering with existing facilities. The southern California facility is conveniently located in Somis, CA at a Warmblood breeding facility. It has been run for over 30 years by Kim von Disterlo and her husband Mike, and is aptly named Kimberlee Farms. Although Kim raises the highest quality Warmbloods for sale to the show world, she has become enchanted with off-track Thoroughbreds, as it was thoroughbreds that both Kim and Mike owned and showed “back in the day.” They have been assisting Neigh Savers for a few years in boarding and retraining.
When Ozzie arrived at Kimberlee Farms, Kim immediately took to him. Kim contacted Neigh Savers founder Karin Wagner and asked to take Ozzie under her wing, pay all of his expenses and not make him available for general adoption. From the moment Warning Zone arrived at Kimberlee Farms in April 2010, he walked off the trailer like a true gentleman and took in his new surroundings with interest.
After a few months of settling in, Ozzie started working with dressage and natural horsemanship trainer Amelia Newcomb, who is the resident trainer at Kimberlee Farms. Typical of an off the track thoroughbred (OTTB), Ozzie was rather one-sided and needed a lot of bending and suppling exercises on the ground. The exercises continued under saddle and he gradually learned to accept the bit and get round and relaxed through his body. His beautiful gaits really started to show, and when he had about nine solid months of flat work it was time to incorporate a little jumping into his program. Long time friend of Kimberlee Farms, Shauna Pennell, a hunter/jumper trainer with much experience re-training OTTB’s and fortunately located just a short trailer ride away, was engaged to teach Ozzie to jump.
Ozzie proved to be a smart and naturally talented student. With a very light jumping training schedule of 1 to 2 sessions a week, Ozzie went from cross poles to full courses at 2’6” in just a matter of a couple months. In July, Ozzie showed in his first horseshow in the baby green hunters and received good placings despite being a little “up” with all the activity similar to the environment of the race track.
His next horseshow was at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center on October 20 and 21st, 2011. Ozzie was taken to Shauna Pennell’s Silvercrest Stables a few days before the show to get in a couple of good schooling sessions. Ozzie arrived at the show grounds much more relaxed than his first show outing. He again showed in the Baby Green Hunters. He won every class entered and was Champion Baby Green Hunter. He beat all the fancy Warmbloods including one that ironically Kim von Disterlo had bred! At the show Ozzie became a minor celebrity as many people commented on him and Shauna relayed his story to anyone who would listen.
As Kim says: “Ozzie has been an absolute joy. He is smart, sensible, sensitive and immensely talented. He has gone from the winners circle to a champion in the show ring. He is going to his first “A” rated show in November. I couldn’t be more proud of our boy.” When contacted, former trainer Kristin Mulhall said: “He was always so nice to ride and such a pretty mover I knew he had it him. Hopefully he will be a super star again!!!!”
Warning Zone was bred by the late Edward P. Evans who ran the racing and breeding program at Spring Hill Farm in Casanova, Virginia. He produced numerous stakes winners in his time and last year his stable earned $3.6 million. Mr. Evans owned and bred 1981 Kentucky Derby winner Pleasant Colony. Mr. Evans was known in the racing world for his philanthropy and his business ethics and honesty.
Warning Zone is a Virginia bred and is out of the Storm Bird mare Migrate. His sire is the great Chester House and his grand-sire is Mr. Prospector who has been hailed as the world’s greatest producer of top quality race horses. We may now be able to add show horses to that pedigree as well.
“Neigh Savers Foundation, Inc. has been incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit since 2007. We have rescued-rehabbed-retrained-rehomed over 150 Thoroughbreds. Currently we have 40 horses in our program. Twelve of those are permanent retirees. Last year we rehomed 23 horses, and this year we have already rehomed 18 to date! We are northern California based although we have a satellite operation in southern California. Because we are northern based we do not have the reach and sponsors of our sister rescues down south. We don't have big races or big stars or large donors but we have taken a foothold nonetheless. We are extremely proud of our program that stresses quality over quantity. Although I quoted numbers, it's not a numbers game to us. We take impeccable care of each of our horses and have an individual rehab-training plan for each and every horse. When they leave us they do look as though they stepped out of a show barn although we do not train for show. We start the horses and let the adopters take on the time and expense to finish these horses, as we feel it should be. Many of our horses are not show material as we do take all horses’ sight unseen into our program, regardless of injury, looks, pedigree, track earnings, conformation or sponsorship. We take horses based simply on space available and finances. Recently we have taken quite a number of feed lot horses and will continue to do so. In calendar year 2012 thus far we took 12 horses from feedlots and auctions and one from a no sell that might have gone to auction for a total of 13 extremely high at risk horses. To our surprise one of our feed lot horses turned out to be "Racketeer" a winner of over 412K! Racketeer's story has a happy ending as compassionate breeder Adena Springs learned of his plight and will retire him back home in Florida after he is cleared for cross-country travel. We are always so happy when former owners, breeders and others help us to do this job and give horses that have given their all a second chance.” - - Karin Wagner, CEO & Founder, Neigh Savers Foundation, Inc.
For learn more about Neigh Savers contact: Karin@neighsavers.com or (925) 980-7588
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