The bay gelding saved his best for last on the racetrack, but Lauren Millet believes the best is yet to come for Belentime.

His racing life, which consisted of 18 starts, yielded three wins, a trifecta of consecutive triumphs to cap off the final three races of his career.

Belentime, whose final win came on January 26, 2023, at Penn National, eventually made his way to LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society.

The Ontario-bred with the big, bright eyes became a fast favourite of LongRun staff.

“He is quite a character,” said Millet, farm manager of LongRun, one of horse racing’s most respected and successful horse retirement and adoption organizations. “He is very sweet and kind, but he is not your typical super-cuddly, in-your-pocket type of Thoroughbred.”

“He likes attention, but on his terms. He wants you to do certain things, but he doesn’t want you to love on him, groom him and brush him up. He is kind of funny that way.”

Six-year-old Belentime is, however, all business when it comes to his affinity for a good challenge.

Millet hands out top marks for his eagerness to embrace new tasks.

“Anything you throw at him – he is so willing to learn. It’s almost as though he is the kid in the classroom who is smarter than everybody else. It’s as if he’s saying, ‘I am so bored. Why are we still doing this? I want to be up a grade.’

“He goes out in the paddock and after two hours, he’s pacing the fence, calling that he is ready to do something. It’s as though he is asking what is next for him to do.” ​

A slow starter on the racetrack – he finished ninth, seventh, eighth and tenth in his first four races – the Ontario-bred eventually hit his best stride and became a consistent, competitive performer.

Over his final 14 starts, he finished in the top five 12 times and hit the top three on nine occasions.

While his purse earnings total was modest, just shy of $65,000, his work ethic in the mornings and afternoons was impeccable.

A horse in a field looking over the gate.

Belentime in the pasture at LongRun.

Millet believes the same characteristics and performance he showed when the gates opened will serve Belentime well in another arena.

“I think he would suit a low-level Eventing home because they are training in three disciplines. He will never be bored, it’s very athletic and it requires a lot of thinking from the horse.

“The different fences he is going to see, ditches, water – the questions that will be asked of him will require him to be thinking and using his brain. That’s the type of job, one that asks a lot of him, he is suited for.”

The objective for now is to keep Belentime engaged.

So far, it’s been a win-win for both the horse and his handlers.

That said, there have been a few small hurdles to overcome.

“It’s just been trying to get him to chill and be a horse that has been a struggle because he is always wanting to do something.

“We did have a first ride on him, but we weren’t sure what to expect. Would he be that Thoroughbred who doesn’t know what to do, or will his work ethic come out?”

Belentime delivered an emphatic answer.

“He was such a workhorse – it was so nice to see. He took everything in stride. He stood at the mounting block – a lot of the horses have no idea what that is – and as soon as Sam, our rider, got in the saddle, he just felt at peace. He had that sense of, ‘This is where I belong.’

“He was so good. He did walk/trot and there were no issues at all. He was happy, his ears were forward, and he was happy to be out, working, thinking, and figuring something out.”

Millet sees a bright future for Belentime.

“He’s a horse that doesn’t require a lot of work before he goes to a new home. He’s at a stage now where someone can get on his back and start the training process. He’s a very willing participant.

“Physically, he is a very nice mover, so he wouldn’t have any significant limitations for a low-level Eventer.”

A new calling that Belentime would, pun intended, jump at.

Wherever he happens to move on to, Millet expects the former racehorse to make a strong first impression.

He has already created a lasting one with those at LongRun.

“This is a horse who wants a job and needs a job. Sometimes the ones that need a job don’t always want the job. Luckily with him, he’s the type that needs a job and really likes a job.”

A horse, Millet noted, who doesn’t mind working overtime. ​

Yet another example of why tedium will never be part of Belentime’s world.

“He wants to work, and he wants to do something. Whoever adopts him will be getting a very special horse.”