Little Brown Jug winner finds new fans during retirement
Standardbreds are consistently showing their versatility, whether it’s for riding or driving, for show or pleasure. Hoof Beats is happy to share stories from readers about their favorite retired Standardbreds. This month, Megan Rider writes about former racing pacer Limelight Beach, who is now learning the ins and outs of trail riding.
Time and time again, Standardbreds keep us on our toes on and off the track. Limelight Beach is the perfect example of the durability, excellent temperament, and willingness to please Standardbreds possess as the 2014 Little Brown Jug winner embarks on a second career.
A son of Somebeachsomewhere – Benear, Limelight Beach is the second foal out of his world champion dam and a full brother to Manhattan Beach ($804,862), Momas Got A Gun ($509,844), and Southport Beach ($104,210).
He was purchased under the name Marblehead Johnson for $25,000 at the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sale as a yearling by Charles Wingfield, Milt Leeman, and James Stambaugh.
Conditioned by Brian Brown, Limelight Beach made 10 pari-mutuel trips to the gate his freshman season, compiled a record of 6-1-0, and banked $210,192. He competed primarily in Pennsylvania and was fourth in the $260,000 sire stakes final at Harrah’s Philadelphia before traveling to Red Mile. The gelding ended his season with two victories in Lexington, Ky., as he came home first in a $77,750 division of the Bluegrass Stake and a $68,750 division of the International Stallion Stake.
After his first season of racing, Limelight Beach’s connections had high hopes for his second year on the track. The gelding, however, had a bit of a slow start as a 3-year-old. It required 13 trips to the gate for Limelight Beach to hit the winner’s circle, but when he did finally get his picture taken, it was at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in his $103,600 Little Brown Jug elimination heat and the $310,800 final.
Two months prior to the Jug, Limelight Beach was purchased privately by Burke Racing Stables, Weaver Bruscemi, and M1 Stable. Leeman and Stambaugh sold their shares in the horse, but Wingfield Brothers LLC, who had joined the ownership group in January of that year, decided they wanted to remain partners in the new ownership group.
Limelight Beach was transferred to trainer Ron Burke’s barn and his first start for his new connections was in a $50,000 Adios elimination at The Meadows on July 19 where he failed to make the final. The gelding was then placed into Pennsylvania company where he had a second and a third wrapped around a second in the Carl Milstein Memorial Consolation at Northfield Park, before finishing second in the $260,000 sire stakes final. When Limelight Beach arrived in Ohio he was peaking at the perfect time.
Obviously, the Little Brown Jug is a pacing classic and is special for anyone associated in the sport to win, but the Wingfields, who had been on the grounds for five decades to watch the race, had never done so as owners.
With his 1:51 and 1:50.4 triumphs in Delaware, Limelight Beach not only collected his first victories of the season, but also provided both his trainer and Yannick Gingras, his driver, with their first wins in the event. And the Wingfields captured the race in their first attempt.
The gelding captured three more races to close out his 2014 season, including a $92,600 division of the Bluegrass Stake and his $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination. He was scratched sick from the Breeders Crown final.
Limelight Beach finished the season with a record of 19-5-8-1 and earned $620,368 in purse money.
The gelding returned to the races at 4 and 5. As a 4-year-old, he performed on 21 occasions, won two races, and banked $228,686. At 5, he started 34 times with six wins and earned $150,713.
The following season, Limelight Beach made 27 starts. He won four of them and earned $98,550 before coming up lame in December. An examination revealed the gelding had a broken coffin bone, so he was given the time to recover.
Limelight Beach returned to the track in the fall of 2018 and continued to compete until the summer of 2019. The gelding sustained another broken coffin bone and his connections determined it was time to retire him. He ended his career with a record of 131-26-25-22 and earnings topping $1.3 million.
That is when Charlie Wingfield introduced Limelight Beach to Alyce Scott to begin his second career.
Scott has owned and ridden horses for as long as she can remember. She has participated in parades, rodeos, gymkhanas, open shows, and trail riding. She started traveling with a rodeo drill team at age 9 and became the captain of her own drill team in 2017. Scott’s skill set in the arena is eclectic and unique, as she has mastered the hippodrome (standing up on one horse at a run) and Roman Riding (standing on two horses at one time).
She and her mother have been friends of Charlie and Judy Wingfield for more than a decade and stable their horses with the Wingfields at their Kenton, Ohio, farm.
Scott’s two horses from her rodeo drill team days live there along with her Roman Riding team, Sadie and Kota.
When the Scotts heard Limelight Beach needed a new home, they immediately volunteered to take him.
“My mother told Charlie that it was his barn, and she knew that Limelight Beach was very special to him,” Scott said. “She said we would make it work and to bring him home.”
The Wingfields were elated with the new arrangement for their Jug winner and had the horse shipped back to their farm later that week.
Limelight Beach came off the trailer standing tall with his ears pricked that summer day in 2019. Farrier Diana Youngerman fitted the gelding with corrective shoes and pads for eight months so he would have proper support for the coffin bone to heal.
When the shoes and pads were removed, Limelight Beach remained in the paddock for another month to make certain he would be sound without shoes. He eventually transitioned to a full-sized pasture where he has made a forever friend with Kota.
Scott waited about a year before she started working with Limelight Beach. She is currently breaking him under saddle and using him on trail rides.
“On our first trail ride, I threw so much at him that I wouldn’t have blamed him if he acted horrible,” she said. “I had confidence, though, that I had developed a strong enough relationship with him that he would trust me if we came to a rocky situation. He spooked at some logs and the shadows of trees at first, but not long after that, I found us leading the line of horses on the trail and he walked with such confidence.”
Limelight Beach is still owned by the Wingfield brothers, Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and M1 Stable. The Wingfields hope their grandchildren can eventually ride Limelight Beach and this is one of the primary objectives Scott has as she works with him.
“He is very green broke, so he needs a lot more time to be safer in the saddle for the grandkids,” she said. “But I know between his heart and will to try, we can do it.”
Scott would like to begin showing Limelight Beach in 2021. She is also interested in participating in horse expos and parades with the gelding.
“It all kind of hit me pretty fast just how much of a celebrity this giant bay is,” she said. “I still look at him and can’t believe how lucky I am to work with him. It is such an honor to be trusted to train him.
“He walks with confidence and looks so wise. When you look into his eyes, you can tell he is the sweetest boy ever. His personality is as big as he is. He is a joy to take care of and ride, and I have a feeling he will be in our lives for a long time.”
Megan Rider is a freelance writer living in New York. To comment on this story, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.