Dan Rosenberg appears to be a laid-back kind of guy. He’s a very thoughtful person to have a conversation with and his soft-spoken manner reflects his even keel. The passion comes out when the topic of the Thoroughbred Charities of America comes up.
The TCA held its 28th stallion season auction and celebration Jan. 7 at the Keeneland Entertainment Center, and Rosenberg, a longtime board member and past president of the TCA, was honored with the Allaire du Pont leadership award. Few have been as deserving.
Started in 1990 with a small group of Midlantic Thoroughbred owners headed by Herb and Ellen Moelis and the late Allaire du Pont with a dinner and auction, Thoroughbred Charities of America was formalized in 1997, and in 2007 was moved from Delaware to Lexington. In 2008 the TCA became affiliated with the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.
Rosenberg, who worked at Three Chimneys Farm as the general manager, and later president and chief operating officer, has been involved with TCA since the beginning and served as president from 2000-06.
“Dan was vital at an important time for TCA when we were transitioning from Delaware to get established in Kentucky,” said Herb Moelis. “The thought was: ‘Everybody knows Dan Rosenberg.’ He had that presence in Kentucky that we needed. He’s really been the heart of the TCA. He was the one who took TCA to the next step and (current president) Mike (McMahon) will take it to the next plateau.”
“I consider him one of the original TCAers. He has been here as long as I’ve heard about the organization,” said Erin Crady, executive director of the TCA. “He’s so giving of his time and talent. There have been countless trade show-type events that TCA has been offered a table at and Dan is always there.”
“He’s been a great mentor, someone who you can really follow,” McMahon said while introducing Rosenberg at the event. “He’s a historian of the Thoroughbred and he knows people from the past and can tell you what they thought. He’s got perspective that helps me: It’s through his experience and his ability to see black and white.”
Rosenberg’s time at the podium was brief, but succinct.
“I was first honored by Herb and Ellen Moelis to be on the board,” Rosenberg said. “That in of itself was a huge honor because it is a cause and a mission that is near and dear to my heart. I am especially honored to be given the award named for Allaire du Pont. She was truly an extraordinary person. She didn’t just love horses—she loved animals.
“At Three Chimneys Farm we were among the first to sound the alarm. I think very few people in the Thoroughbred industry realized there was a problem with what was happening to these horses after they were done racing. Once people started to get focused on it, the industry support was, and continues to be, enormous. They realized this was a problem we had to deal with. We’ve evolved from talking about unwanted horses and horse rescue to aftercare, and that’s huge.
“One day Steuart Pittman showed up in my office and he had an idea and he told me about the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) and immediately TCA jumped on board and has been part of the ‘Thoroughbred Makeover’ project ever since. When I was a teenager and I was showing hunters and jumpers, if you weren’t riding a Thoroughbred, the judges wouldn’t look at you. Over the years, the warmblood breeders out-marketed us and Thoroughbreds fell out of demand. It used to be in the ’60s and ’70s, a decent, good-looking horse that wasn’t very fast…somebody would buy them from you. And that turned into if you had a sound, good-looking horse, you’d have to pay someone to take them.”
Through many organizations, the script is being flipped, but leading the charge would be Rosenberg and the rest of the crew at TCA.
“The idea of philanthropy and giving back was really instilled in him by his parents,” Crady said. “He has such a big heart and he is the guiding force behind TCA; he’s a huge supporter of our mission and what we do. He’s always the first to raise his hand and say ‘I can help.’ We need more Dans in the world.”