Kathy Ritvo to speak at Gulfstream Park ThoroFan Awards Breakfast

Heart transplant recipient Kathy Ritvo, the first female to train a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, will be the keynote speaker Friday morning at the ThoroFan Awards Breakfast in Gulfstream Park’s Ten Palms Restaurant.

Presented by the nonprofit Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association, the breakfast will honor Michael Blowen, founder of Old Friends, the thoroughbred retirement organization with farms in Kentucky and New York. HRTV personality Caton Bredar will serve as host.

Diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a degenerative disease that weakens the heart muscle, Ritvo, 45, underwent 17-hour heart transplant surgery in November 2008 and six months later was back at the barn. In 2011, she guided Mucho Macho Man through the Triple Crown.

Campaigned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing , Mucho Macho Man had nine wins and more than $5.6 million in purse earnings from 25 lifetime starts, capped by a victory in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, voted the 2013 NTRA Moment of the Year. He was retired last summer and stands at Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs Farm near Paris, Ky.
“I’ve been very blessed,” said Ritvo, who is based year-round at Gulfstream Park. “I’ve had a very blessed life, career, everything. I’ve been able to do what I love at the highest level, with the support of Patti and Dean Reeves and, of course, Mucho Macho Man. He’s my man. We miss him here.”
Following Ritvo’s speech, the program will honor Blowen and reveal the winner of the 2014 NTRA Moment of the Year.

“I don’t know Michael well, but to do that kind of work is amazing. We train the horses and those guys figure out what their second jobs are. That’s really important work,” Ritvo said. “ThoroFan represents fans of racing, so that’s great. I love to tell people that are fans what happens. It’s so great to talk to people like that. This is a great business. I’m glad to still be a part of it.”

 

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