American Quarter Horse Tailor Fit to Find New Home at the Kentucky Horse Park

Multiple World Champion Racing American Quarter Horse Tailor Fit will find a new home on June 10 – as the newest member of the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions.

“All of us at the Kentucky Horse Park are looking forward to Tailor Fit taking his rightful spot at the Hall of Champions,” said Kentucky Horse Park Executive Director John Nicholson. “We believe he will enjoy the adulation of his many fans and will prosper in his new Kentucky home. I am personally grateful to Betty Jane Burlin for sharing her special horse with the world and allowing us to tell his remarkable story.”

Earlier this month, Tailor Fit’s owner, Betty Jane Burlin received confirmation that the 9-year-old gelding by Strawfly Special out of the stakes-producing On A High mare Silk Skirt, had been accepted by the Kentucky Horse Park Commission to take the place of American Quarter Horse Sgt Pepper Feature. The 1982 world champion, Sgt Pepper Feature was euthanized October 13, 2003 due to colic. At the time of his death he was 25 and had greeted visitors to the Horse Park since 1988.

“This is a great tribute to Tailor Fit,” said Burlin of Navasota, Texas. “I am going to miss him, but I am so proud of him and know that he is going to live in a beautiful place where millions of people will have the chance to enjoy this great horse.”

The first world champion sired by a son of Special Effort, Tailor Fit was bred by the late Jens List, whose daughters stand Strawfly Special at their Double Bar S Ranch outside Moreno Valley, California. Trainer Janet VanBebber purchased Tailor Fit for $24,000 at the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Yearling and Mixed Stock Sale on behalf of Tom Ward, an Oklahoma City oilman who raced the gelding to win the Los Alamitos Futurity Consolation in 1997.

In 1998, Tailor Fit won six of eight races and bankrolled more than $138,500. In December of that year, Burlin purchased the gelding for $130,000. Tailor Fit rewarded the energetic Burlin by earning $369,822 and winning the world champion title in 1999. That year, Tailor Fit’s seven starts each came in stakes company and all at the classic American Quarter Horse racing distance – 440 yards.

During his 2000 racing season, Tailor Fit seemed to struggle, winning two of five races. Nonetheless, he never finished out of the money, and his earnings for the millennium year were $193,954.

It was a different story – and a different horse in 2001. That year, the gelding’s excellence was obvious when he clicked off four wins, a second and a seventh in six starts in some of the toughest competition ever. During his 6-year-old campaign, Tailor Fit won the Grade 1 MBNA America Challenge Championship and the Champions of Champions at Los Alamitos Race Course in California, and the Grade 1 MBNA America Oklahoma Challenge and Remington Park Championship in Oklahoma. Tailor Fit also earned world champion honors for the second time that year and with his Champion of Champions win, became the breed’s 33rd million-dollar earner.

During the 2002 season, Tailor Fit finished second four times earning nearly $70,000. Following a sixth-place finish in the MBNA New Mexico Challenge Championship (G1) in April of 2003, Burlin decided to retire the gelding. Tailor Fit went to pasture with earnings of $1,296,752 and a record of 20 wins 11 seconds and one third in 40 lifetime starts.

“We are proud to have Tailor Fit as the American Quarter Horse representative at the Kentucky Horse Park,” said AQHA President Scoop Vessels. “I had the pleasure of watching him run several times and know he will be a great ambassador for American Quarter Horses everywhere. I also believe we owe a big thanks to Betty Jane for her generosity.”

A special ceremony will take place at Kentucky Horse Park on Thursday, June 10 at 3 p.m., during which Burlin will hand over ownership of Tailor Fit to Kentucky Horse Park officials.

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