Second Career Star: Baileys First Oak
A royally-bred filly is burning up the barrels.
By Andrea Caudill | July 20, 2014
A racehorse’s career, no matter how brilliant, only lasts for a portion of its lifetime. These intelligent, athletic animals then move on to a new career – maybe in the breeding shed, or maybe as a beloved companion or riding horse.
In June, Remington Park hosted the Sport of Kings Challenge to highlight the versatility of retired racehorses for sport. There, Thoroughbred Athletes Inc. hosted a variety of horse show classes, complete with prize money, open only to former racehorses. Classes included barrel racing, dressage, jumping and flat classes. They also provided educational seminars, a dinner and fundraising auction.
One of the stars of the event was Baileys First Oak and her owner and rider Jennifer Schmidt.
Baileys First Oak is a 5-year-old daughter of PYC Paint Your Wagon out of the First Down Dash mare First Down Oak. Bred by Adams/Cradduck Running Horses of Decatur, Texas, “Bailey” earned a career high 84-speed index during her five-race career.
Sire PYC Paint Your Wagon has already made a place for himself as a sire with only five crops to race and has already sired the earners of more than $15 million. The son of Corona Cartel earned $889,581 on the track and stands alongside his sire at Lazy E Ranch at Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Dam First Down Oak is a daughter of all-time leading sire First Down Dash. She is a half sister to world champion Oak Tree Special (by Special Task, $628,470) and Stoli Oak, dam of stakes winner Comal Blue ($109,487). First Down Oak is herself unraced, and Baileys First Oak is her first foal.
Schmidt knows a few things about fast horses. She is a Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse jockey, who since 2006 has ridden the earners of more than $1.7 million in Quarter Horse races. Among her mounts are Canterbury Park Derby (G3) winner First Class Smarty and stakes winners Strawfly Rhythm, Gunpowder Kid, Fame Fatale, Toast Freedom Flyer, Dashing Big Bud and Lien On Me. The horsewoman is also a licensed EMT and soon-to-be nursing school student, and also rides barrel horses.
“For years before I got (Bailey), I was wanting to try a ‘PYC’ on the barrels, just because I love them on the track,” she said. “They’re extremely fast, that’s evident. I just think they’re incredibly intelligent. All the (PYC) babies I’ve worked with on the racetrack, they’re just so smart about things and so willing and eager to learn.”
Schmidt bought Bailey in 2011, and she didn’t even have her off the track before transitioning her to her new lifestyle.
“I had her stabled at the track in Iowa,” she says. “Me and the outrider would go trail riding. She technically wasn’t off the track (yet), but she was just so much fun. So smart and willing.”
Schmidt knows fast horses – and she also knows fast barrel horses. She also owns Laser Fire (“Paris”), with whom she partnered to win the 2010 senior barrel racing world championship at the Palomino World Show. Schmidt took her time and conditioned Bailey slowly, but she quickly saw the horse’s future potential.
“(Paris) is a pretty nice horse, but I thought even if they’re the same speed, Bailey’s going to end up better because she’s so relaxed and quiet,” Schmidt said.
At the Sport of Kings Challenge, Bailey won both the open and amateur barrel racing and was awarded the AQHA “Second Go” trophy blanket, awarded to the high scoring second-career racing Quarter Horse. They also won the “suitability for trail” class and were second in Western Dressage.
The same week, the mare also earned a buckle at a regional series – and earned more money in a single week’s time then she had during her career on the racetrack.
“She’s so much fun, you can do anything on her,” Schmidt said. “We go trail riding a lot, and she’ll go through anything. She loves going in the lake, goes right in and starts splashing.”
Schmidt is staying busy with her work on the track and in medicine, but is also filling her mare’s dance card with events in Oklahoma.
“I’m excited to start taking her to the big shows,” Schmidt said of their future plans. “My other mare spoiled me, and I wanted to wait until I was sure (Bailey) was ready to fire. She’s been doing really, really good. … I’m real pleased with her.”
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