MyRacehorse was excited to announce to our owners when we acquired a majority ownership stake in Big Mel, a strapping son of Quality Road purchased by Spendthrift Farm for $800,000 out of the 2018 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Needless to say, at that purchase price Big Mel was a gorgeous physical specimen and a had pedigree to match. 

Unfortunately, after just four starts, Big Mel required veterinary care for an injury. Despite showing plenty of promise in those four tries–three of which were on-the-board finishes in maiden special weight company–it was determined by multiple top vets that Big Mel’s issues would likely be recurring and it was decided by the team that, in the best interest of the horse, he should be retired from racing. 

Big Mel was adopted from New Vocations in Lexington, KY by Jill Marks and we’re happy to report they have been having a ton of fun! 

“He is so athletic and brave and has started to really love jumping, especially out cross country,” Jill told us. “It’s apparent he is having fun out there and feeling proud of himself after every jump.”

The duo has competed in Show Jumping, Dressage and Eventing, even traveling out their home state of Michigan to compete at the Kentucky Horse Park! 

“He definitely has times where I have to remind him that he is no longer a racehorse,” she said. “But as long as I ask him softly, he is very willing to collect himself.”

Mel’s newest and youngest fan is Jill’s 7-year-old daughter! He has taken a strong interest in her and even enjoyed dressing up as beauty and the beast for a Halloween contest. 

“We simply love Big Mel,” Jill said. “He is very happy with his new career, but I think his favorite activity is napping in his hay in the sunshine.” 

We are thrilled to see our ex-racer thriving in his new home, and hope you enjoy these photos as much as we do!