Updated: Oct 15, 2020
When you see Brink Point soaring down Belterra Park’s stretch and crossing the wire nine lengths ahead of his competitors, it seems impossible that he couldn’t even stand up when he was born. Today he is as strong as can be, with all the heart and speed it takes to win race after race. Three years ago, however, it was a different story.
Chelsey Wolterman spent many years working with horses, managing facilities, teaching lessons, and working with future or retired racehorses. Eventually, Chelsey decided that she wanted to see what kind of racehorse and riding horse she would have if she was there from start to finish. She planned to breed a Thoroughbred to race and once he or she retired from the track, Chelsey would train the horse to become a jumper.
To start, Chelsey and her mother Peggy split the purchase price of a broodmare named Ola D. Old. D is sired by Grade 1 winner Yonaguska and won five races during her time on the racetrack. They decided to breed her to a stallion named Mixmaster, who never won a race but was chosen because of his good temperament and nice size.
The resulting foal, Brink Point, was born on February 11, 2017. He was a beautiful bay foal with one white sock and a stripe cascading down his nose. However, it quickly became clear that something was amiss. Brink Point had tendon laxity; he had loose ligaments which could cause his joints to bend more than usual.
“The first 48 hours were super tough,” Chelsey recalled. “I had to go down every hour or so to pick him up to nurse. He really just didn't quite have the strength yet. I just remember being super sick myself and dragging myself out of bed to go check on him all of the time.”
Chelsey and Peggy had to order special shoes that would prevent him from walking on his heels. “We did wait a few weeks to put him out on pasture because I didn't want him to rub his heels raw,” Chelsey explained. “Eventually we were able to glue them on but that also proved a bit tricky because of how small he was and the glue wasn't good for a hoof that new.”
When young Brink Point was finally able to be turned out to pasture, he celebrated with a joyous gallop. The way he ran that day is the way he still runs today.
Despite his tough beginnings, Brink Point was a very sweet foal. He was so trusting that when he laid down, Chelsey could grab his hoof and pull him one way or another and scratch his belly like a dog. He would never fight it, just go limp and enjoy his belly rubs.
“I was super adamant about how it takes zero talent to behave,” Chelsey said. “Although we might lose races, which is inevitable, it will never be for lack of manners or good training.”
Chelsey and Peggy knew that owning a racehorse can get quite expensive and it wasn’t something that they were going to be able to afford on their own, so Chelsey took to Facebook to get recommendations for a syndication. Taste of Victory Stables was one of the first to be mentioned.
“I just wanted to believe that we could do horse racing the right way. Ethically. With a solid aftercare program and people that care much more about doing it the right way than about squeezing a horse for a return on investment immediately,” Chelsey explained. “I love horses and this sport could be so much bigger with more education and awareness and really quite frankly, monetary incentives to do the right thing. Syndicates are absolutely the right answer for so many people (even me) that lack the