$2.48 Million in Grants Awarded for Aftercare of Retired Thoroughbreds
By Victor Ryan
One of the major bright spots in horse racing in the last decade-plus has been the increased attention and care given to retired Thoroughbreds. Today there are dozens of organizations across North America that support nearly 200 facilities for horses whose racing career has come to an end. Last week, it was announced the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance - an umbrella organization funded by various industry stakeholders - would award $2.48 million in grants to 56 accredited aftercare organizations.
The number of organizations receiving grants was up from 42 in 2014. Jimmy Bell, president of the TAA and Darley America, said the goal this year was to increase awareness and that's exactly what's happened. Last year, the grant-winning organizations supported 130 facilities. This year that number has risen to 180 aftercare facilities.
Bell said he is pleased with the progress in Thoroughbred aftercare, but more funding is still needed in this area.
“The demand continues; the awareness continues; the sustainable funding is now a blinking light as the growth in that department is not keeping pace with demand and awareness,” Bell said. “As an organization and an industry we must continue to develop and evolve. We are making great strides thanks to all of the support we have received to date. Obviously, we need to do more.”
Thoroughbred aftercare organizations that receive grants are evaluated in a variety of areas by the TAA. These include operations, education, horse health care management, facility standards and adoption policies. Additionally, periodic site inspections are conducted to ensure TAA standards are being met.
It's great to see the Thoroughbred industry continuing to make strides in this area, which for too long was treated as horse racing's dirty little secret. The TAA was started by seed money from Breeders' Cup Ltd., The Jockey Club and Keeneland Association, but since then financial support has been expanded to included owners, racetracks, trainers, breeders and more.
If you would like to help in this area, the TAA is in the midst of a Holiday Giving campaign. Folks who make a donation will receive a holiday e-card that can be given as a gift to clients, colleagues, friends, family etc. The e-card features a spectacular photo by Barbara Livingston of a Thoroughbred in the snow. You can click here (https://donations.thoroughbredaftercare.org/checkout/donation?eid=63989) if you would like to make a donation to the TAA and receive a holiday e-card.