R Samurai is a beautiful chestnut now thriving and loved in his second career as an off-the-track-Thoroughbred. He didn't do badly in his first career either. Purchased by Ron and Rosalie Warren at the 2007 WTBOA Summer Sale, he went to the Jim Penney barn.
He got one start in at age two and then promptly won his three-year-old debut.
"He was great around the barn, easy to gallop, loved to train," said Bryson Cooper, Penney's son-in-law. "He showed a lot of ability, a lot of potential."
Six of his eight wins came at Emerald Downs and he had a great stretch in 2010, winning three of four starts.
Claimed in 2010, he made in back to Emerald Downs for his final start, a winning effort in 2012 in the barn of trainer Charlie Gibson. Enter Lea Wilson.
An accomplished equestrian, Wilson won numerous awards with horses as a youth and more recently purchased Chalice Farms in Port Orchard to further her lifelong passion for horses. Last year, she won a United States Dressage Federation bronze medal. Wilson is goal oriented and is thrilled to have R Samurai as her primary partner.
"I got him from Charlie Gibson and have had him for two years now," said Wilson. "We're working on both dressage and eventing, he loves both. He has a super heart."
"He's also got an eccentric personality and a very large ego and lets everybody know that! He has a lot of presence and is proving to be a star in any arena he wants to show in."
Anni Grandia's worked with over 30 off-the-track Thoroughbreds including Olly Blast, subject of a recent retired race horse story. She's Wilson's instructor.
"We took Samurai to California this spring for events," said Grandia. "The first event was at a race track and when he saw the other horses, he thought he was going to race. I was sure I was going to get bucked off in warm-ups!"
"He's really coming into his own. He'll be with Lea until he doesn't want to compete anymore or until he wants to jump bigger than she wants to."
"We have suitable personalities," said Wilson. "We adore each other and hope to go up the ranks of dressage or eventing, whichever way he wants to go."