Standardbred Arctic Warrior, who earned $716,047 on the track, has found a second career after racing at Maymont Park in Virginia. Born on April 30, 2006 in Lewistown, PA, the Blissfull Hall gelding was owned by the Wahoo Stable, Paul Eyerly, Carl Vizzi, and James Novinger with Sam Beegle as trainer. 

Arctic Warrior started his career finishing third in a $1,000 Baby Race at Harrah’s Chester (now Harrah’s Philadelphia) with Tim Curtin driving. He finished his two year old campaign with 6 wins in 10 starts, highlighted by three wins in the PA Sire Stakes. 

His three year old season would be his richest, earning $367,389 that year. Highlights of that year’s campaign were wins in the North America Cup Consolation, the Battle Of The Brandywine, and a second place finish in the Cane Pace. 

Over the course of his seven year racing career, Arctic Warrior went behind the gate 147 times with 19 wins, 22 seconds, and 25 thirds adding up to earnings of $716,047 and a lifetime mark of 1:49:3. 

Armistead Wellford is the Carriage Collection Manager for the Maymont Foundation in Virginia. In 2016 he was looking for a horse to pair with Maymont’s clyde/Hackney mare to pull a carriage at the estate. Other horses he looked at either had issues or were not the right size and that’s when his predecessor suggested a retired Standardbred. Wellford’s predecessor had a retired Standardbred years ago and said they were level headed and hard workers. Wellford also said that they liked the idea of giving a horse a second career.

Once Arctic Warrior, affectionately known at the estate as “Artie”, arrived at Maymont he had to be taught to pull a carriage with their other mare, Danielle. Along with having to pull with another horse, Artie had to learn to park and stand while waiting for brides and grooms at weddings. “Fortunately they liked each other right off the bat and Danielle helped get Artie acclimated with his new routine. It took Artie about 10 minutes to figure things out.” Armistead said. 

Although he was fast on the track, Artie was quickly able to understand that when pulling the carriage he was supposed to go at a relaxed pace. He walks faster naturally than Danielle, but does slow is pace to accommodate her. 

Armistead explained that Artie very quickly adapted to his new lifestyle. “I can remember the second or third time we drove on one of our longer rides down to the Japanese Garden, I was working the ground about 10 yards ahead of him. When I turned around to check on the pair, Artie had a very proud look on his face as if to say, “this is easy, I’ve got this”.” Wellford said. 

Artie now spends time in his pasture across from the farm. Everyday he and the other horse are walked to the side of the park where the carriages and their two stalls are. There they are fed, groomed, and have their hooves cleaned. 

Armistead said that “Arctic Warrior has a wonderful personality and is a delight to be around. He is great with kids as well as people in general. Everybody that comes in contact with him falls in love with him. Upon arrival to Maymont he wasn’t used to getting treats, being a retired racer. He’s accustomed to it now and all the Maymont carriage staff is guilty of spoiling Artie rotten.

There’s no question, he’s adorable.”

The pair gives rides on Tuesdays and Fridays from noon until 3pm and on the weekends in between weddings. Rides can also be given any other day of the week as well as long as a spot is reserved at or by calling 804-358-7166 extension 340. 

Maymont Park is one of Richmond, Virginia’s greatest treasures. The estate and park spans 100 acres and has been transformed into a public wonderland or all ages. While at the estate, guests can stroll through the gardens, tour the mansion, feed goats, enjoy special programs and picnics, and of course, get a tour via carriage pulled by Artie and Danielle. 

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