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2012 Summer Olympics: Ex-Race Horse War Buckaroo Is Canadian Olympic Hero

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Jessica Phoenix of Canada riding Exponential in action in the Show Jumping Equestrian event on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Park on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Melissa Bauer-HerzogCorrespondent IJuly 31, 2012

After a tough few days for the Canadians in eventing, they found a shining star in a dark bay gelding named Exponential.

One of the few full-blooded thoroughbreds in the Eventing discipline at the Olympics, Exponential was the only Canadian mount to enter the last phase of the three-day event on July 31. The horse ultimately finished 22nd in the overall individual standings out of over 70 horses, with the Canadian team finishing last in the team standings.

But, Eventing hasn't been the horse's only career. He also raced 44 times on Canadian race tracks.

Exponential was known as War Buckaroo back then (his registered name, according to the Jockey Club of Canada) and was trained by Anne Cameron. Out of 44 starts split between Fort Erie and Woodbine, the horse won three times and hit the board eight others for earnings of $55,599.

Exponential was born on February 16, 1997, in Ontario, bred by Terdik Farms Limited and out of the mare Misspent Bucks. The mare had six other foals in her times as a broodmare, but Exponential would prove to be her best of the bunch both on and off the track.

As a racehorse, Misspent Bucks one-upped her son. The Florida-bred mare won four races out of 45 starts, including an allowance win—something Exponential never had the chance to do.

Exponential's sire War Deputy only raced nine times but won three of those starts, including the G3 Brown and Williamson Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at two years old.

As a sire, one of his biggest accomplishments was producing Forever Grand, another Ontario-bred that won the G3 Highlander Handicap among other ungraded stakes.

Exponential raced from 2000 to 2003, and Jessica Phoenix got the horse when he was eight years old from Sandra McDonald.

The gelding made a big splash with Phoenix in 2010 when they were long listed to the Canadian Eventing Team. In 2010, Exponential appeared on the big stage, showing in the World Equestrian Games for Canada. However, after nearly falling at a jump on cross-country, the horse had to be withdrawn before the stadium jumping.

In May of this year, the pair finished sixth at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event CIC3* class in New Jersey.

While Canada had many disappointments in the first few days in London, it took one off-the-track gelding to put a positive spin on the situation. But, not only did he bring a positive spin to Canada, he also shined a deserving spotlight on the versatility of ex-racehorses.

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