TAKE THE LEAD Retires 1000th Horse


Fight On Lucy became the 1000th horse retired to the TAKE THE LEAD Thoroughbred Retirement Program when she boarded  van out of Belmont Park on New Year's Eve 2022.

Bred by the Bongard Family's Bojan Farm, Fight On Lucy amassed earnings of $315,000 in a 39-start career over five seasons. She was trained by Pat Kelly, a founding member of TAKE THE LEAD and its sister program TAKE2.

Cindy Norton, who served as Rojan Farm's manager for many years, said, “The owners were never going to run her in a claiming race, and we wanted to see her retired while she was sound and happy.”

“Rick Violette started the program when he was president of NYTHA, and it has really blossomed,” the organization's president, Rick Schosberg, said. “The word has spread; we get calls pretty much daily about horses that need retirement homes, and we go to work. Our team is small–myself, our Executive Director Andy Belfiore, our Aftercare Coordinator Kristen Mason and our bookkeeping guru Dionne Johnson–but we are all dedicated to making sure our horses have the very best chance of happy and healthy lives beyond the track.”

Fight On Lucy was vanned to New Vocations in Gansevoort, New York, not far from where she was foaled. Waiting to greet her was New Vocations' Amanda Vance, who helped arrange for a nurse mare for Fight On Lucky at two weeks of age, as her dam succumbed to colic.

“The pony's name was Bella–she was retired from riding, and she'd had foals in the past,” Vance said. “I thought, 'we can give it a try.' We shipped her over and at first she was not so sure about Lucy, but then she accepted her, and they were together until Lucy was weaned. Bella's last job in life was to bring up Lucy–and she did a good job of it.”

Lucy is now enjoying a little break before a decision is made on what comes next.

“We're giving her a little time to hang out,” Vance said. “She's turned out with other mares, and she thinks that's the best. She loves her girl gang.

“When she's ready, we will get her started and evaluate her under saddle,” she continued. “We see what type of rider would best suit her and what she might want to do for a second career. She's willing and brave and she could go in any direction, but we will tell us what she wants to do. When she's ready, she will be available for adoption by one of our approved adopters.”

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