By Bill Finley
Before you get any further into the story of Breanna Carsey and the undefeated Ohio Sire Stakes champion MJB Got Faith, you first must know this: 10-year-old Carsey really does own the horse. She makes all the decisions, has turned down lucrative offers to sell the trotter, decides what to do with the money she has earned and has told trainer Steve Carter to put the son of Trainforthefuture away for the winter and rest him up until next year. This is not one of those “wink, wink” situations where the horse is merely listed under the name of a child while the parents really own the horse and call the shots.
“At first, we thought, ‘Ok this is your horse, but maybe in reality it isn’t going to be your horse,'” Breanna’s father, Brian said. “We didn’t think she could really manage the horse. But my daughter had so much faith in this horse. My wife (Debra) and I had conversations about this and decided we needed to teach her that you can’t always get everything you want out of life and sometimes you need to make tough decisions, and that is what would be best for her. We decided she is going to be in charge, she is going to make the decisions.”
She may be a 10-year-old managing the career of an undefeated horse who has earned $192,500 after the win Saturday at Scioto in the $225,000 Ohio Sire Stakes Championship for 2-year-old trotters. But that doesn’t mean she still isn’t very much a little girl at heart.
The story actually begins when Breanna was eight and she told her parents she wanted a horse for her birthday. Not just any horse but a “mommy horse.”
Brian Carsey went to a Blooded Horse mixed sale in Delaware, Ohio to find his daughter a birthday present. She had picked out three from the catalogue but two were out of the sale and the third sold for more than Brian Carsey had in his budget, which was $2,000. Carsey thought he was going to come home empty-handed and disappoint his daughter but he was able to reach her after her school day had ended. There were a handful of horses left to be sold. Breanna told him to buy a horse named Imageofasweetgirl.
“She opened up the sale book and she picked out Imageofasweetgirl,” Carsey said. “She didn’t know anything about the pedigree or even if it was a racehorse or a broodmare. It was a broodmare, in foal to Trainforthefuture, so I told her she made a good pick. Were able to buy her for $1,700.
“She was just reading the names. She just went through the catalogue and saw ‘Imageofasweatgirl’ and said, ‘Daddy, I want to grow up to be a sweet girl. This is a perfect match.'”
Nine-hundred ninety-nine times out of 1,000, the story pretty much ends there. Imageofasweetgirl had had four previous foals and they had combined to earn $25,700. Foal number five didn’t figure to amount to anything, either.
The dam returned to Indiana, where the Carsey family lives, and Breanna made sure she was there to see the foal born, even though it was 2:30 in the morning. She loved him and played with him and insisted the horse was going to be something special.
Her parents had been in the business a long time and knew the odds were stacked against the colt ever amounting to anything, but they didn’t want to do anything to burst their daughter’s dreams. Her favorite phrase when it came to the horse was “you’ve got to have faith.”
When it came time to name the foal Breanna came up with MJB Got Faith. The “M” is for her sister Mackenzie, the “J” for her brother Jordan and the “B” for her. “Got Faith” came, of course, from her favorite saying.
As the family and Carter started to prepare the colt for the races it was quickly apparent that he was, at the very least, above average. Others noticed, too, and started to offer the Carseys money. Understanding the virtues of making a quick and easy profit, Brian encouraged his daughter to sell MJB Got Faith. Each time, she said no. No matter what figure was offered, she told her father that the horse would make much more racing. After all, you’ve got to have faith.
“I got a call three weeks ago someone called me up asked if MJB Got Faith was for sale,” Carsey said. “I said, ‘I don’t know, I’ll let you talk to the owner.’ I handed her the phone, they had a discussion. I don’t know if she got the numbers mixed up or not but she said she turned down $150,000. I have never second guessed her.”
When asked if there were any price she would take for MJB Got Faith, even $1 million, Breanna replied: “No way. He’s not going to be sold.”
MJB Got Faith won his first four starts, all of them in Ohio Sire Stakes company. But he didn’t appear to be the best horse in his division. Chris Beaver had a colt named Kanthaka, who was also undefeated and winning everything very impressively. Brian Carsey knew beating Kanthaka in the final would be a huge challenge.
“Absolutely, I was worried,” Brian Carsey said. “I had had many conversations with her about Chris Beaver’s colt and told her is a really nice horse and I don’t know than anybody can beat him. Coming into the final we had never raced (against) him and there were some other nice horses in there. It was going to be tough to win. I told her that if he were third she should still be very proud of him. She said she would be proud if he were third but added, ‘He’s not going to be third. He’s going to win. God’s got this.’ It wasn’t that she was cocky. It’s just the faith she has in the horse.”
Breanna was right. With Peter Wrenn driving, MJB Got Faith won by a neck over Emerald Chip. Kanthaka was third. The 10-year-old’s horse had just earned $112,500.
After the race, something even more remarkable happened. When asked what she was going to do with the money, Breanna didn’t say anything about going to Disney World or buying the most expensive toys should could think of. She said “I’m going to give it to the people who need it.”
That was all her own doing. No one told her to say that or prepped her in any way beforehand. The next day she made a $2,000 donation to a fund set up for driver Brad Hanners and his family. Hanners passed away Tuesday night after a battle with kidney cancer. She also donated money to a local family who was struggling to come up with the money for funeral expenses for their child who had just died.
“My wife and I truly believe you have to pay it forward, that you have to give to receive,” Carsey said. “That has been instilled in her, but it’s truly in her heart. She wants to help people. That’s just who she is.”
Her biggest concern after being interviewed for this article was that she had forgotten to thank Wrenn.
“I just want everyone to know how much I appreciate Peter Wrenn for driving this horse and how much faith he has in him,” she said.
She’s still got a lot of money left, more than any 10-year-old could imagine. She has decided to put some away for a college fund, but her real dream is to buy a proper farm where MJB Got Faith can live.
“I’ve been taking her around the last two weeks looking at farms,” Brian said. “She wants to buy a farm and I told her you could sell MJB and have enough to buy a farm. She said, “No, MJB going to buy the farm for us. She wants to keep making money with him and her ultimate dream is to buy a farm for him.”
Brian Carsey thought it might be a good idea to supplement into some open stakes the remainder of the year to give the horse a shot against tougher competition and in bigger money races. His daughter said no, that MJB Got Faith had done enough and deserved a break.
So the story will not resume until next year. Will the fairy take come to an end?
Come on. You’ve got to have faith.