Beginning riders, even the most intrepid ones, generally get their start on quiet horses, the barn veterans, the ones used to inexperienced equestrians and who sometimes need encouragement to undertake anything more ambitious than a leisurely amble. Beginning riders don’t generally break their riding maidens on the backs of recently retired Thoroughbreds, but don’t tell Kathryn Sharp that.
A Thoroughbred owner and breeder, Sharp and her husband Justin Nicholson are 90 North Racing, an ownership group with horses stabled at Fair Hill and Belmont Park. Formed in 2011, the partnership is the most recent enterprise in Nicholson’s racing career, which began when his father started racing horses in the 1980s and continued with AJ Suited, comprising Nicholson, his father, and close friends and family.
Among Ninety North’s standout horses is Bold Hawk, now 11 years old. Winner of the 2007 Hawthorne Derby (gr. III), he placed in multiple stakes races in a career that spanned five years, much of it spent sidelined with injury. He finished second in his final race, the Red Smith Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct in November of 2011, and he’s now Sharp’s riding horse.
“I call him the Big Comfy Couch,” said Sharp, who only recently started taking lessons. “He used to be a terribly aggressive horse when he was in training, and now he’s so mellow.”
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