Linsey Toole Adopts Retired Thoroughbred, Focuses on Sport
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - When Linsey Toole was crowned Ms. Racing Queen seven weeks ago, the 29-year-old native of Plant City, Florida wanted to get involved in Thoroughbred aftercare, learn as much as possible about racing, and help those less fortunate with the $100,000 first-place prize that came with the title.
Toole hasn't wasted any time. Not only has she adopted a retired Thoroughbred, but she's also learning the intricacies of handicapping and spending time on the backstretch while helping out those less fortunate.
"It's the least I can do," said Toole as she prepared to serve as an ambassador for The Stronach Group at the 139th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico this week. "I want to learn everything I can about this sport. I grew up around horses, love horses, and being at Gulfstream has been great. I want to dig in and do whatever I can for the sport."
Just 24 hours after being awarded her crown, Toole put her title to good use. She was approached by a teenage girl while eating dinner on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. The girl was trying to raise money to attend a talent show in Orlando later in the week by singing at tables. Toole said to the girl, 'Show me what you got.' After singing a gospel song, Toole told the girl, 'It's your lucky day. I just happen to have come into some extra money,' and financed the girl's trip to Orlando.
Just a few weeks later, Toole, who has spent considerable time on the backstretch at Gulfstream learning about how Thoroughbreds are trained, fed and cared for, adopted a lightly-raced, 3-year-old gelding named Serafino from the barn of Peter Walder.
"One of the things I connected with most during the pageant was the aftercare side of horse racing," Toole said. "I thought what wonderful programs these are. We were fortunate to have Celia Fawkes talk to us from Florida Thoroughbred Retirement and Adoptive Care (TRAC). My family had a farm in Plant City and I've ridden horses all my life, but they were quarter horses so I'd never been around Thoroughbreds until now. They're so beautiful and smart. When I started reaching out to people about possibly adopting one, Peter said he had the perfect one for me. Serafino has been great and she's so sweet."
Toole is doing all she can for aftercare. She started an instagram account over the weekend (thoroughbred_aftercare) and in less than 24 hours she had more than 100 followers. "The program here with Gulfstream and Florida TRAC is great," Toole said.
After starting the instagram account, Toole was learning the intricacies of handicapping Saturday afternoon and was back at Gulfstream Sunday helping with Mother's Day Festivities.
"There's a lot of information to learn and a lot of people to meet," she said. "But I'm willing to do whatever to help the sport, Mr. (Frank) Stronach and Gulfstream Park."