The 2019 NBHA Youth World Championships are underway at the Georgia National Fair Grounds and Agricenter in Perry, Georgia. Hundreds of youth and teen competitors travel from all over the country to participate in this grand event. While most of the qualifiers are mounted on Quarter Horses and other stock breeds, a handful of these talented young riders gallop down the alleyway on Thoroughbreds. Since the inaugural Youth World in 1993, Kate Keeney’s second-place finish in the 2005 Teen Finals aboard her off-track Thoroughbred mare Hope to Burn may have been the best representation of the breed at the event. We caught up with three teen contestants – Ashton Brown, Sarah Mazzarella, and Kylie Dunford – who are running Thoroughbreds this week!
Ashton Brown and Valid Sense
Ashton Brown is from Brooksville, Florida. She qualified for Youth World in the 3D on her Quarter Horse mare. Unfortunately, her mare had to have surgery, so her off-track Thoroughbred gelding Valid Sense, also known as “Tanner,” had to step up to the plate. Tanner was bred by Carrol J. Castille in Louisiana. He is by Unbridledsensation and out of Valid Vidage. His pedigree also includes Unbridled’s Song, Valid Expectations, and Northern Dancer. He started three times and failed to earn a single dollar on the track. His best effort was a sixth-place finish at Evangeline Downs. Tanner retired from racing in 2016 and found a home with Ashton.
In addition to competing in NBHA shows, Ashton and Tanner also run barrels and poles at Little Britches Rodeos. He has only been competing for about five months, but he is already placing in the 1D and 2D at local events. Ashton and Tanner are draw #276 in the Teen. They will run the morning of Tuesday, July 23rd and in reverse order later in the week.
Sarah Mazzarella and Secret Yacht
Sarah Mazzerella is from Palm Beach, Florida. She qualified for Youth World on her off-track Thoroughbred mare Secret Yacht, also known as “Roxanne.” Roxanne was bred by Francis McDonnell in Florida. She is by graded stakes winner Cimarron Secret and out of stakes winner Yacht to Pay For. Her pedigree also includes Crafty Prospector, Alydar, and Secretariat. She started eleven times and earned $1,195 on the track. Her best effort was a 5th place finish at Calder Racecourse. Roxanne made her final start in 2010 and her first post-track career was as a polo mount! She was a high goal horse before she retired from polo and found a home with Sarah.
Roxanne was started on the barrel pattern in January of 2018. Sarah won a buckle with her last season. She says this playful mare likes to throw things to get her attention! Sarah and Roxanne are draw #394. They will run on Tuesday, July 22nd and in reverse order later in the week.
Kylie Dunford and Carry That Weight
Kylie Dunford is from Bristol, Tennessee. She qualified for Youth World on her Quarter Horse mare and her Thoroughbred gelding Carry That Weight, also known as “Bubba Gump.” Bubba Gump was bred by Stephen R. Baker in Texas. He is by Rahy Rahy and out of Mile High Lover. His pedigree also includes Rahy, Favorite Trick, and Great Above. Although he was bred to race, he never made a start on the track. Bubba Gump was originally Kylie’s stepfather’s project horse, but her good horse was injured and needed a year of rest. Kylie took over his training and started working on the barrel pattern with him. She says that he had a nice handle, but it was a struggle to even clock in the 4D at first. With time and hauling, Bubba Gump has hit his stride. He has won numerous 1D awards.
Kylie and Bubba Gump are draw #682 in the Teen. They will run on Tuesday, July 23rd and in reverse order later in the week.
Best of luck to Ashton and Tanner, Sarah and Roxanne, and Kyile and Bubba Gump! You can watch the NBHA Youth World Championships Live Stream at http://www.RideTVGo.com