the NTRA’s Safety & Integrity Alliance launched a new microsite on NTRA.com devoted to aftercare. Click here or
go directly to the microsite at www.ntraaftercare.com. This site
is the work of a lot of important people in racing, many of whom you probably
don’t know because you rarely if ever read about them. For years, there
has been little knowledge of or understanding about the vast network (1000+ and
growing) of retirement and retraining facilities for retired Thoroughbreds and
other breeds of horse. That is all changing for a number of reasons, not
the least of which is because more and more industry participants are becoming
sensitive to the importance of aftercare.
formed the Safety & Integrity Alliance back in 2008, some were confused
when we included as one of the central tenants of the Alliance Code of
Standards a requirement that Alliance accredited tracks have a relationship with
a local retirement or retraining group and assist trainers and owners who race
at their tracks in placing retired Thoroughbreds off the track. We
quickly learned how little we knew about the area and so we formed an advisory
Subcommittee known as the Alliance Aftercare Subcommittee. This Subcommittee is comprised of leaders in the
aftercare world. More importantly, they are some of the brightest minds
and most caring individuals in racing. The new NTRA.com aftercare
microsite showcases their efforts on behalf of the industry.
exactly will you find on the pages of the aftercare microsite? A lot, including
an internet-based resource designed to be a one-stop shop to educate owners,
fans and other interested persons on the process of retiring racehorses.
is geared toward three main groups of individuals:
People looking for information about how to place a retired racehorse.
There you will find answers to questions about how to retire a horse and
how to help fund retirement organizations;
People looking for information about how to adopt a retired race horse,
including a list of questions someone should ask before they adopt a retired
who are involved with aftercare organizations and looking to improve
their operations by acquiring information ranging from the calendar for
upcoming gelding clinics to grant writing.
there is a searchable map to find retirement and retraining organizations located
near where you live and a listing of liaisons at
Alliance-accredited (and even non-accredited) racetracks around the country.
highlights “Best Practices” from racetracks and aftercare organizations across
the country. The first featured Best Practice is the outstanding Finger
Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption program, which Alliance Executive Director Mike
Ziegler termed “the best program the Alliance has ever reviewed”.
Alliance Aftercare Subcommittee is just getting started. With their help,
the Alliance hosted a day-long seminar for aftercare organizations designed to
give them advice from leading authorities in areas such as tax issues, legal
matters and marketing, all free of charge. The seminars were part of
NTRA’s 2010 Professional Education program, supported by Pfizer Animal Health
and Keeneland. These 2010 aftercare seminars are posted on the site
and we are already planning our 2011 agenda. We are excited to expand the
offerings to include a discussion of new opportunities for retired
Thoroughbreds in the show world.
Aftercare Subcommittee is also helping the industry solve one of its most
vexing problems – aftercare funding. All the good intentions in the world
will be for naught if we can’t or won’t fund aftercare. With the
Subcommittee’s input, the Alliance is leading the way creating and sustaining a
regular funding stream for equine retirement and adoption groups. Several
states, including California, Illinois, Florida and Pennsylvania, automatically
deduct either a fixed percentage or a flat fee from horsemen purse accounts to
support equine retirement programs. Tracks and horsemen,
along with breeders and owners through their participation in programs
like The Jockey
Club’s retirement check off program, are raising well into the
seven-figures annually for equine retirement and retraining programs. As our
strategies mature and more come on line, we will see even more funding for
retirement and retraining of horses for their second careers.
industry is uniting around a common purpose to give our horses a secure future
in a caring environment.
Harry Truman once said, "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who
gets the credit.” This spirit of selflessness and devotion to the cause
typifies each and every Alliance Aftercare Subcommittee member.
It’s also true of countless others in the aftercare world. They don’t
seek the limelight. They don’t demand recognition. All they want is
for this industry to do the right thing for our retired racehorses. You
have to respect that commitment. Better yet, all of us in racing need to
honor that commitment by doing what is best for our retired athletes, whether
that be finding them a good home or helping support those who provide those
great stories out there of people and organizations working tirelessly on
behalf of retired racehorses. Progress has definitely been made in
aftercare on a number of fronts but much more work needs to be done. If
you haven’t already, now is the time to get involved. Do what you can to
help. Give your time. Donate what you can afford. Be a part of the
what you think about the site? Is there more information you think is
needed? What else can we provide to those in need of help with a retired
racehorse? Let me hear from you.