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Special Awards at the Mega-Makeover


Special awards are sponsored by individuals, organizations, or companies to support their own initiatives and goals.

Thoroughbred Makeover Champion, People's Choice Award, and Ambassador Award are offered every year. Other awards rotate in and out depending on sponsor interest.


Thoroughbred Makeover Champion

Presented by: Churchill Downs

The Thoroughbred Makeover Champion is the overall winner of the event, chosen from the ten discipline winners by the judges from all disciplines. Judges will rank each horse from 10th -1st, with each place having a point value associated (1st ranking highest and worth 10 points and so on) and the horse accumulating the most points is crowned the Thoroughbred Makeover Champion. Judges are asked to consider which horse they believe is the best trained of the ten finalists

Cash prize: $10,000 to the winner

2021 Winner: Forthegreatergood (Laura Sloan)

2020 Winner: Thunderous Affair (Lindsey Partridge)

Past winners:

2019 Winner: Cowboy Swagger (Fallon Taylor)

2018 – Reloaded (Elisa Wallace)

2017 – Old Tavern (Charlie Caldwell)

2016 – Fairway King (Lauren Turner)

2015 – Soar (Lindsey Partridge)

2014 – Icabad Crane (Phillip Dutton)


People's Choice Award

Presented by: Achieve Equine

The People's Choice horse will be selected by text vote by the public. The People’s Choice winner will win the right to direct a donation to the equine-related 501(c)3 of their choosing. The RRP will hold $2,500 in escrow and will issue payment directly to the chosen charity.

2021 Winner: Icarius (Alexandra Beckstett)

2020 Winner: Legend's Hope (Jazz Napravnik)


Thoroughbred Makeover Ambassador Award

Sponsored by: Pyrois Media

Awarded to a Makeover trainer, official or volunteer who best embodies a spirit of teamwork, cooperation, sportsmanship and inclusivity. Individuals will be nominated for the Ambassador Award during the Thoroughbred Makeover at the info desk, and the RRP staff will select a winner from the pool of nominees.

2021 Winner: Dr. Shannon Reed

Honorable Mention: John Roberts

Past winners:

2019 Winners: Alyssa Myatt and Peg Sorenson

2018 – Jen Ruberto

2017 – Kyle Rothfus

2016 – Michelle Craig

2015 – Olivia Dixon


Special Awards Confirmed for 2022

As special awards are confirmed for 2022, they will be listed here. Past offering of special awards by organizations or individuals does not confirm current availability. 

Previous Special Awards

To view past special award results, please visit the Results page.


Top Kentucky-Bred Horse Award

Sponsored by: Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders

Presented to the highest placing KY-bred horse.  Prize will be split in the event of a tie.

$6,500 cash prize


Top Louisiana-Bred Horse Award

Sponsored by: Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association

Awarded to the highest-placed Makeover horse bred in Louisiana. Winnings will be split in the event of a tie.

Cash prize: $5,000


Top Maryland-Bred Horse Award

Sponsored by: Judy Hartman's Copper Beech Stables

Awarded to the highest-placed Makeover horse bred in Maryland.

Cash prize: $3,000


Empire State Success Story Top New York-Bred Award

Sponsored by: New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, New York Racing Association, and New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc.

Awarded to the highest-placed Makeover horse bred in New York.

Cash prize: $2,500


Top California-Bred Horse Award

Sponsored by: Georgia B. Ridder Foundation in honor of the work done by After the Finish Line

Awarded to the highest-placed Makeover horse bred in California

Cash prize: $2,500


Top Pennsylvania-Bred Horse Award

Sponsored by: Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association

Awarded to the highest-placed Makeover horse bred in Pennsylvania. Prize will be split in the event of a tie. 

Cash prize: $2,500


Pennsylvania HBPA Award

Sponsored by: Pennsylvania Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association & New Start

Awarded to any horse that came through the PA HBPA New Start program or were obtained from a Penn National based trainer and wins or places second or third in a Makeover division.

Cash prizes

$1000 for 1st, $500 for 2nd, and $500 for 3rd. Trainers must declare eligibility at time of entry and PA HBPA will confirm eligibility.

Contact Lauren Zagnit at (717) 645-6615 for questions or eligibility requirements.


Wild and Wonderful Awards

Sponsored by: Charles Town HBPA 

$1,000 to any division winner and $500 to second or third placements. To be eligible, horse must have made a minimum of 6 starts at Charles Town OR one start at Charles Town and be a West Virginia-Bred. 

Cash prizes

$1,000 to any division winner,  $500 to any second and third place finisher.


Delaware Park Horse Aftercare Initiative Special Award

Sponsored by: CANTER Delaware, Delaware Park Racing, Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, and MidAtlantic Horse Rescue

Awarded to the three highest placing Makeover horses that raced at Delaware Park. Eligible horses must have either been listed through CANTER Delaware, retired from racing at Delaware Park, or raced at least 50% of their career at Delaware Park.

Cash prizes

$500 to top finisher, $300 to second place finisher, and $200 to third place finisher.



Sponsored by: CANTER USA

Awarded to the highest-placed Thoroughbred Makeover horse that was acquired thorough a CANTER listing.

CANTER affiliates assist racing owners and trainers by listing their horses for sale. Some CANTER affiliates take ownership of vulnerable horses for rehabilitation and training before rehoming.

Cash prize: $1,000

$500 and trophy cooler to highest-placed Makeover horse that was acquired through a CANTER listing; $300 to the second highest-placed CANTER horse; $200 to the third highest-placed CANTER horse. Money will be split in the event of a tie. 


TAA Graduate Award

Sponsored by: Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance

$1,500 cash prize will be divided between the rider of the highest-placed TAA horse and the TAA-accredited organization that rehomed or is in the process of retraining that horse. Eligible horses must have been adopted from or currently with a TAA-accredited organization.

Cash prize: $1,500


USPC Award in Memory of E. Marilyn Searle

Sponsored by: Beverly Strauss and MidAtlantic Horse Rescue in memory of E. Marilyn Searle 

Presented to the highest placing Pony Club Member in good standing.  Prize will be split in the event of a tie.

Cash prizes

$750 and trophy cooler to first highest placed Pony Club Member
$250 and trophy cooler to second highest placed Pony Club Member


Iron Horse Award

Sponsored by: MidAtlantic Horse Rescue

Awarded to the highest-scoring Makeover “iron horse” — those horses who were foaled in 2010 or earlier.

Cash prize: $1,000

$500 and trophy cooler awarded to the highest-placed amateur/professional
$500 and trophy cooler awarded to the highest-placed junior


Top-Placed Horse from Arapahoe Park

Sponsored by: Arapahoe Park

Awarded to the top-placed horse that ran at Arapahoe Park.

Cash prize: $500

Best Conditioned Award

Sponsored by: Nina Bonnie

A trophy halter and $200 will be awarded to the best conditioned horse in each division.


Thoroughbred Charities of America Award

Sponsored by: Thoroughbred Charities of America

A special gift basket will be awarded to the rider of the highest placing horse in each division that was acquired through a 2018 or 2019 TCA grant recipient organization.


Turning For Home Award

Sponsored by: Turning For Home

Trophy cooler and gift basket awarded to the highest-placed Thoroughbred Makeover horse that was acquired through Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s Turning For Home program directly, or from one of its partner farms. 

New Vocations Award

Sponsored by: New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program

Trophy coolers awarded to the top-scoring junior, amateur, and professional mounted on New Vocations graduates. 

Roses of Sharon Memorial Award

Sponsored by: Jen Ruberto and the Ruberto Family

The Roses For Sharon Memorial Award was created to honor the lives of Sharon Ruberto and Rose Arbogast. To be eligible for the award, a horse must have begun and ended their racing careers with the same owner, trainer or both on record. They need not to have had stayed with those connections the entire time (could have been claimed or sold) but they must have returned to them. Minimum of at least 5 starts.

Cash prize: $1,000

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Building Bridges to Second Careers...Increasing Demand for Thoroughbreds
(410) 798-5140

Mailing Address:
3357 Hazelwood Road, Edgewater, MD 21037

 Retired Racehorse Project is a 501(c)3 charitable organization.


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