LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 27, 2017) –
Closing day of Keeneland’s Fall Meet traditionally marks the popular appearance of the Headless Horseman, who at 9 a.m. ET on Saturday will ride through the Saddling Paddock during the special Halloween edition of Sunrise Trackside and that afternoon will gallop through the stretch after the third race (post time 2:23 p.m.).
The horse is a retired Thoroughbred racehorse named Private Son.
Now 19, Private Son began his career at Keeneland during the 2000 Fall Meet. He was second in his debut and next became a winner when trained by Kenny McPeek. The dark bay gelding by Miesque’s Son eventually continued his career for trainer Sally Schu and became a stakes winner at Arlington Park. Overall, Private Son made 25 starts, including the 2003 Maker’s Mark Mile (then a Grade 2 race) among his seven races at Keeneland. He won five races and earned $274,000.
Now known as “Poppi,” Private Son takes an occasional trail ride but mostly spends his time in a pasture with fellow retiree and two-time winner Dockmaster.
“Poppi loves being the Headless Horseman’s horse,” Schu said. “He likes to go trail riding with Dockmaster and he likes coming back to the track, but he is very impressed with himself and absolutely loves being in front of a crowd.”