The horses in “Olivia’s Herd” are the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s horses that are most in need of special care or feeding because of age or other physical condition. Care for these horses is funded by gifts made to the TRF in memory of Olivia Saylor, who died January 1, 2011 in Charleston, SC.
Olivia was very involved with her father and siblings in the Thoroughbred racing business. She is credited with naming Ashado, two time champion filly raced by the Saylor family in partnership with Starlight Stables. This partnership also campaigned Grade I winners Purge and Monba. Olivia with her siblings and father also owned and raced champion Fleet Indian.
“Olivia would have wanted to care for the horses most in need,” said Paul Saylor. “Protecting racehorses and protecting the TRF as an ongoing entity to help racehorses should be a priority for everyone who is racing.”
The OMS Starting Gate
In 2013, the Race for Education’s New York after-school program will be renamed the “OMS Starting Gate”, in memory of Olivia M. Saylor and sponsored by her father Paul Saylor. Previously Saylor sponsored an annual college scholarship for a NY students through the Race For Education. This new endeavor will provide a much needed service in the racing community and the Saylor family believes it will impact many more young people in need of support services at a critical time in their education.
The OMS Starting Gate is a college readiness and reading program designed to engage middle school students to improve grades, study skills, and post-secondary preparation while also imparting the value of continued education through college or vocational training. The program was originally established in Elmont, NY in 2009 to educate and mentor 7th and 8th graders through a study hall program involving community volunteers, educational field trips and lectures given by inspirational community speakers. The OMS Starting Gate will also provide all participants with a backpack and school supplies that will be distributed at Saratoga racetrack.
The Race For Education will continue to offer its college scholarship program for New York students.
“The transition from the sponsored scholarship to sponsoring the Starting Gate Program in New York was made to maximize the benefit of the funds committed by providing a basis for learning skills that will aid program participants throughout their educational years. For the previous five years, the Olivia M. Saylor Scholarship has been presented at Saratoga on her birthday (July 31st) after the Olivia M. Saylor Stakes Race. The tradition of the Olivia M. Saylor Stakes Race will continue,” stated Mr. Saylor.
Mr. Saylor has been an Race For Education board member since 2005. Top horses owned and campaigned by Mr. Saylor include Fleet Indian – 2006 New York Horse of the Year and Older Mare 2006 Eclipse Award Winner, Phil the Grip – 1999 New York Older Horse of the Year, stakes winner Katy Kat and graded stakes-placed A. P. Five Hundred. In partnership, Mr. Saylor owned and campaigned Ashado – Three Year Old Filly 2004 Eclipse Award Winner and Older Mare 2005 Eclipse Award Winner, Grade 1 Winners Purge and Monba, and Grade 2 Winner Keyed Entry.
The OMS Starting Gate Program Coordinator is Barbara Wilcox of Baldwin, NY. Ms. Wilcox has her Master’s of Education in Personnel Services in Higher Education as well as professional diplomas in Educational Administration in Supervision and Marriage and Family Counseling.