Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding: Cheers to Chocolate Martini

Chocolate Martini. Photo courtesy Retired Racehorse Project

Every Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world. Today, we’re recognizing the owners of Chocolate Martini, Double Doors Racing LLC, for their pledge for the Retired Racehorse Project.

Chocolate Martini did not, perhaps, seem destined to be a star. She finished last and second-to-last in her first two starts in maiden special weight races, then dropped to the maiden claimers where she won just one race. The majority of horses running in the US run in conditioned claiming races if they break their maiden, such as non-winners of two, and some horses struggle to capture that second or third win to help them move up the ranks. Chocolate Martini’s story could have been like most of these.

However, the filly was claimed on February 2 by trainer Tom Amoss and Double Doors Racing LLC in her next start for $25,000 — a humble price for a racehorse. Since that claim, Chocolate Martini has improved, winning an optional-claiming allowance in a tight turnaround on February 18; she then captured the Fair Grounds Oaks at 14-1 and paved her way to the Kentucky Oaks.

This kind of Cinderella story — from claimer to graded stakes in just a few weeks — is unusual, and to add to the fairy tale, Chocolate Martini is the first “big time” horse for owners David Walker and Amanda DaBruzzo of Double Doors Racing. Recognizing that they have an opportunity to give back as much as enjoy the ride, Walker and DaBruzzo have pledged to donate 5% of any purse money Chocolate Martini may win in this afternoon’s Kentucky Oaks to the Retired Racehorse Project.

The Retired Racehorse Project’s mission is to increase the value and demand for ex-racehorses through a variety of ways, most notably with the annual Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium where in 2018, a record 794 trainers will compete with horses recently off the track to demonstrate the OTTB’s versatility and athleticism.

“Our love of horse racing stems from our love for the horses,” DaBruzzo stated. “As such, we recognize and appreciate that the real stars in horse racing are these tremendous athletes. Double Doors Racing is committed to ensuring that all horses, not just the champions, have a bright future after their time on the track. We hope that our commitment to the Retired Racehorse Project will further their mission and this cause.”

Jen Roytz, executive director of the Retired Racehorse Project, points out that Chocolate Martini’s story could be any horse’s story: “Chocolate Martini’s story is so relatable and inspirational. Just like so many of the horses that compete in our signature event, the Thoroughbred Makeover, or those that are owned by our members, she came from the claiming ranks. Now, she’s poised to perform on racing’s biggest stage and we are so thankful to Double Doors Racing for taking the thousands of Retired Racehorse Project members and supporters along for the ride.”

To help spread the word about Chocolate Martini’s quest for the Kentucky Oaks and her pledge to the Retired Racehorse Project, the RRP is holding a contest, today only. Find details below:

Cheers to Chocolate Martini, and to her generous connections who recognize the importance of aftercare for the Thoroughbred racehorse!

Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.

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