Baltimore trip will include ranch sorting |

Baltimore trip will include ranch sorting

When this set of Thoroughbred race horses-come-ranch horses arrives at Pimlico, they will be matched with their riders and participate in a team sorting event. Photo courtesy Dale Simanton

Dale Simanton and Dorothy Snowden, Newell, S.D., have been working all summer at preparing their Thoroughbred gelding Drake’s Dancer for the Retired Racehorse Training Project (RRTP) being held in Baltimore, Md, at Pimlico Racetrack Oct. 5-6. With 100 days from the time he was chosen to get Drake’s Dancer, aka Duck, ready for the competition, Dale’s plate was full (see the June 4, 2013 issue for the story).

The plot thickened, so to speak, when Simanton was invited to bring his ranch trained Off Track Thoroughbred (OTT) geldings along on the trip to do a demonstration of cattle working. Not one to turn down an opportunity to get his good horses before the public, Dale readily accepted. However, no thought was given by anyone at that time as to who was going to ride them for this event.

“That was when we conceived this idea of inviting a group of jockeys to take the mounts on these horses,” said RRTP President, Steuart Pittman. “We can’t imagine anything more fun than having some of America’s most well-known riders taking the reins on this group of ‘cow horses’ for this event.”

So, the event called “Who Let The Cows Out” was on, full steam. Simanton and Snowden, in the mean time, had to decide who was going on the trip to Baltimore. The decision finally came down to which ones might be sold during the event and who absolutely was coming home again. Finally, the lineup was announced. The Horse Creek Thoroughbreds stallion, Finn McCool, would be Dale’s mount, along with Race With A Plum, Drake’s Dancer, Swingn Slew, and Marcade. Race With a Plum, also known as Lucky, is coming home again, along with Finn McCool, no matter what. The other fine geldings may find new homes while there or they may not, it matters not at all to Dale and Dorothy.

A crisis occurred just recently, though, when Marcade was sold. A replacement had to be chosen out of the remaining string of horses. An often overlooked horse on the ranch, Jadens Runner, is a favorite of both Dale and Dorothy. His sweet disposition, kind nature, gentleness and willingness to do anything asked has overcome his less than perfect Thoroughbred looks. Though pretty, he is small and very refined and just doesn’t catch the eye like the bigger horses. So, having little time to prepare the replacement horse, Jaden was chosen due to his eagerness to do things right no matter what.

Once this excellent set of Thoroughbred race horses-come-ranch horses arrives at Pimlico, they will be matched with their riders and participate in a team sorting event. Each team will have a maximum of two minutes to sort a small herd of numbered cattle into a corral in numeric order. Each team will be two horses/riders. The fastest team with the correct sorting order wins the event. Working cattle will not be a new experience for any of the ranch’s Gate To Great geldings but could be a brand new experience for the riders!

In addition to the team sorting event, Dale Simanton and Kentucky Derby winning owner Bill Casner will do a team roping demonstration, showing more of the versatility of the Thoroughbred.

Also joining the Gate to Great team will be Annise Montplaisir, 2013 Jockey Club TIP Young Rider of the Year Winner on her gelding Cyclone Larry. Cyclone Larry, a son of Finn McCool, was born and raised on the Horse Creek Thoroughbreds ranch and went on to fame as one of the horses that portrayed the racing age Secretariat in the movie that came out in 2010. Hollywood didn’t lay much of a hold on Cyclone Larry as he has adapted readily to the good life of being Ms. Montplaisir’s favorite trail and English mount.

Baltimore’s a long way from the plains and rugged hills of western South Dakota, but the Gate To Great geldings are sure to make a good showing and prove once again that a Thoroughbred horse can do anything that any other horse can do, and some things even better.

For more information on the Gate To Great OTT program at Horse Creek Thoroughbreds, go to

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