Brink Point: Overcoming Tough Beginnings to Make Dreams Come True
When Brink Point soared down Belterra Park’s stretch and crossed the wire nine lengths ahead of his competitors, it seemed impossible that he struggled to stand when he was born. Today he is as strong as can be, with all the heart and speed it took to win race after race. In the beginning, however, it was a different story.
Brink Point’s story begins with his breeder Chelsey Wolterman. Chelsey had years of experience re-homing horses; she would assess horses, decide which type of home or owner that particular horse would best be suited for, and then match them with the perfect owner. After some time doing this, Chelsey became interested in “creating her own horse”. She formulated a plan to breed a Thoroughbred for racing and once he or she retired from the track, she would train the horse to become a jumper.
Step one of this plan was executed when Chelsey and her mother Peggy split the purchase price of a broodmare named Ola D, a five-time winner by Grade 1 winner Yonaguska. Chelsey and Peggy chose to breed her to Mixmaster because of his good temperament and nice size.
The resulting foal, a beautiful bay colt with one white sock and a stripe cascading down his nose, was born on February 11, 2017. However, it became clear soon after the foal’s birth that something was amiss. It was discovered that he had tendon laxity, or loose ligaments which could cause his joints to bend more than usual.
“The first 48 hours were super tough,” Chelsey recalled. “I had to go down every hour or so to pick him up to nurse. He really just didn't quite have the strength yet. I just remember being super sick myself and dragging myself out of bed to go check on him all of the time.”
Chelsey and Peggy had to order special shoes that would prevent the colt from walking on his heels. “We did wait a few weeks to put him out on pasture because I didn't want him to rub his heels raw,” Chelsey explained. “Eventually we were able to glue them on but that also proved a bit tricky because of how small he was and the glue wasn't good for a hoof that new.”
The day the colt was finally able to go out to pasture, he celebrated with a joyous gallop. The way he galloped that day was the way he would run on the track in the future.
Despite his tough beginnings, the colt later to be named Brink Point was very sweet. He was so trusting that Chelsey could grab his hoof and pull him one way or another and scratch his belly like a dog whenever he laid down. He would never fight it, just go limp and enjoy his belly rubs.
“I was super adamant about how it takes zero talent to behave,” Chelsey said. “Although we might lose races, which is inevitable, it will never be for lack of manners or good training.”
Chelsey and Peggy knew that owning a racehorse can get quite expensive and it wasn’t something that they were going to be able to afford on their own, so Chelsey took to Facebook to get recommendations for a syndication. Taste of Victory Stables was one of the first to be mentioned.
“I just wanted to believe that we could do horse racing the right way. Ethically. With a solid aftercare program and people that care much more about doing it the right way than about squeezing a horse for a return on investment immediately,” Chelsey explained. “I love horses and this sport could be so much bigger with more education and awareness and really quite frankly, monetary incentives to do the right thing. Syndicates are absolutely the right answer for so many people (even me) that lack the sheer [money] of what it takes to make a racehorse from start to finish.”
Taste of Victory Stables seemed like the right fit for the Woltermans and their colt Brink Point, so they reached out to the syndication and formed a valuable partnership.
“The Woltermans contacted us with the desire to form a Private Stable Management group for their Ohio bred, Brink Point, and we thought it would be a terrific opportunity to open a stable in a new market,” Taste of Victory’s West Coast Managing Partner Brian Richardson recounted. “Peggy and Chelsey had a group of 15 people who were big fans of Brink Point and wanted to be Thoroughbred owners, so we set up their Private Stable and Brian Waltz and Brink Point have done all the heavy lifting from there.”
Brink Point made his debut on June 26, 2020 at Belterra Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the debut anyone had been hoping for. The Equibase chart reads, “Brink Point bothered badly at the start, forced into gap just missing the portable rail and eliminated with no chance.”
The colt’s next start one month later would be much more rewarding. Though he still broke slowly, he was able to rally to break his maiden. From 2020 to 2022, Brink Point won a total of five races and was 2nd or 3rd in four others.
“I've been thrilled that Brink has won 3 of 5 races,” Brian Richardson said early in Brink Point’s career. “He loves to make us all sweat as he walks out of the gate but decides to kick it into high gear down the stretch. This Ohio group has been so much fun and there have been 25-30 people in the winner's circle every time he's won.”
“I know we got lucky with Brink but I honestly bred the horse that I wanted to ride after he was done racing,” Chelsey explained. “I bred for a good mind and good feet and did my best to give him the best chance to succeed. Brian Waltz deserves a ton of credit and I was so pleased to find a trainer that I felt was going to trust to do right by my horse. I've over-publicized a lot of details about our journey with Brink, but I really hope I sparked some interest in other sporthorse enthusiasts to do the same ‘farm to track to arena approach’...and have fun!”
Brink Point’s syndication dissolved at the end of 2022, but Brink Point’s story isn’t over. His owners keep everyone updated on his life on their Facebook page, “Brink Point - Racehorse”.
“What was phenomenal about this story was not that we made millions. Because we didn't,” Chelsey published on Brink Point’s Facebook page at the end of the year. “We did however make enough, even despite covid shutdowns, to never have to ask investors for more money. In fact, we will have a payout. Brink paid his way. He employed people along the way including vets, farriers, grooms, pony people, trainers, exercise riders, jockeys, hot walkers, and many more I couldn't name. He was able to give back to the farm through breeder monies with it we were able to do some small repairs and updates. This story is special because in general things went according to plan. It has been a labor of love and a journey into racehorse ownership. Brink brought excitement to us with every effort and elation with every victory. Regardless of the results I always felt like I had the best horse on the track. He carried quite a lot of small-town dreams to the winner's circle. “
Looking back on Brink Point’s career, it’s hard to imagine a time when those same legs that propel him down the stretch and into the winner’s circle were once too weak to hold him up to nurse. It’s stories of horses like Brink Point that make our imaginations run wild. He was bred by two women that knew before he was even born that they would love him forever. It was this love that got him through his rough beginnings and in return he made their dreams of owning a winning racehorse come true.