Birthdate: March 25, 2011
Pedigree: Belgravia-Legally Insane, by Tabasco Cat
Career Race Record: 3-0-0-0 for $375
Last Race: March 29, 2014 at Parx Racing
Partner: Maui Meadow Farm
Adopter: Damian B. of Kennett Square, PA
“First of all, I really appreciate the opportunity to write about the topic that is my passion – horses. I will take this chance and tell this community of horse lovers the inner side of Altoid Girl’s story.
I have been a professional polo player since I was 18 years old, and I started training horses when I was 6 (I started riding before I learned how to walk).
When I am in the United States, I train and play for a kind man. He and his fiancee always thought about taking on a summer venture of training an OTTB. His fiancee lost her mom while I was there last year; she was an excellent rider and a true horsewoman. The three of u were at lunch in a random bar in Pennsylvania when we sat next to two horse trainers. Typical of someone who shares a passion, we started chatting about horses. It came up that they had recently started training an OTTB who would be a good polo prospect.
A very wise person told me that causality is god’s pseudonym when he doesn’t want to sign. This is how we decided to look at this special situation. It seemed like fate, as we had recently talked a lot about the idea of doing this project, and a couple days after we lost this passionate horsewoman, the opportunity to start this venture appeared in a very random situation. It showed us in a very clear way that god is everywhere.
Well, my godparents (this is how I think of them) and I decided to go look at this filly. It was only 30 days after she came off the racetrack, and she had not yet been ridden at the farm, so we were a little bit concerned about her possible reaction. With a natural way of being, Altoid Girl’s reaction was unbelievable: she was very flexible and willing in every moment to satisfy my commands. We fell in love with her and brought her home with us.
I been training horses for 15 years in Argentina, Jamaica, England and the U.S. and I am completely sure that there is no OTTB with better and more placid manners than the American Thoroughbred. They are natural, with an incredible plasticity and harmony in their movements and their body conformation. If their trainer understands that the key to success is patience, these OTTBs’ capacity and predisposition to learn is inexhaustible.
After two months of working on her leads and neck reining, I decided to stick and ball her, and again Altoid Girl (Ode for Joy, in our barn) was a natural, so I ended up playing her in two exhibitions and a league match.
My best friend, an Argentinian polo pro who is now training for one of the top 20 polo players in the world, has the same opinion. She was amazingly natural, and I truly believe that is the best adjective we can use as a compliment for a horse. As trainers, we are just passengers and the chance for our horses to shine in polo is when they take us to the play and not when we have to work to get there.
Ode for Joy was the first “green” horse I ever rode that has those comfortable lateral movements of a mature horse despite being just a baby. I believe that the percentage of this is in some point related to this specific mare, but I am also sure that it is a characteristic of the American Thoroughbred. They have the virtue of being easy to handle and natural athletes, which makes them appropriate for any type of sport or activity.
Furthermore, I really recommend that any horse trainer or horse lover give them a chance. It’s hard to fail with them and I truly feel that they deserve a second opportunity in their careers.
Finally, I would like to thank Brian Griffin and Lisa Scott who gave me the confidence and the pleasure of training and playing with our spoiled girl, Ode for Joy.” -Dami B.