Huge step forward for thoroughbred aftercare

Courageous Comet and Becky Holder.
OTTB Courageous Comet and US event rider Becky Holder. © Horsesports Photographic

The Jockey Club in the US has made a massive step in caring for thoroughbreds after their racing career is over.

From January 1, 2013, it is increasing almost all its registry transactions by $25 to fund the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), an accrediting and fund-raising body for aftercare facilities.

The Jockey Club’s board of stewards made the decision based on its determination that the TAA’s mission and activities are consistent with The Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred aftercare objectives.

In coordination with The Jockey Club of Canada, funds raised from Canadian customers of The Jockey Club will be directed to Canadian Thoroughbred aftercare organizations to supplement on-going aftercare activities for Canadian Thoroughbreds.

The TAA received seed money from Breeders’ Cup, Ltd, The Jockey Club and Keeneland Association and some of those funds will be used for initial site inspections and accreditations planned for the last few months of 2012.

TAA Executive Director Mike Ziegler said the group’s objective was to develop “sustainable funding from all points on the life cycle of the Thoroughbred from breeding and registration to sales, racing and all points in between, including veterinary care and transportation”.

“Thanks to the seed capital generously provided by Breeders’ Cup, The Jockey Club and Keeneland Association, and ongoing administrative and technical support from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and The Jockey Club, virtually all of our 2013 contributions will be directed straight to the horses—which is as it should be,” he said,

Additionally, The Jockey Club will contribute $300,000 in 2013 to the TAA from its commercial companies and will maintain the voluntary retirement checkoff option on foal registrations for owners and breeders to continue those Thoroughbred aftercare contributions.

“We are proud to support the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and feel strongly about its mission,” said James L. Gagliano, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Jockey Club. “These very modest financial commitments at various checkpoints in a Thoroughbred’s career will make a significant difference in giving our equine athletes the lives and second careers they deserve after their racing days are over.”

In addition to the retirement checkoff program, The Jockey Club’s other retirement initiatives include Tattoo Identification Services, Thoroughbred Connect and the Thoroughbred Incentive Program.

The change from $200 to $225 to register foals of 2013 will be the first change since 2000 when the standard, or on-time, registration fee changed from $175 to $200. At that time, DNA typing replaced blood-typing and the entire breeding stock population was retested. Foals of 2012 registered within one-year from their actual foaling date will be grandfathered at the $200 level.

Funded initially by seed money from Breeders’ Cup Ltd., The Jockey Club, and Keeneland Association, the TAA is composed of owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, jockeys, aftercare professionals and other industry groups.

This week 13 prominent Kentucky breeding farms pledged to the TAA 25% of each of their stallions’ advertised stud fee from the 2013 breeding season.

“Everything we do in this industry begins and ends with the horse,” said Jimmy Bell, President of Darley America. “It’s time for the industry to make a tangible, long-term commitment to Thoroughbred aftercare, and I am proud of these 13 stallion farms in central Kentucky that have done just that.”

The California Retirement Management Account (CARMA), founded in 2007 to raise money for retired California racehorses, also confirmed that it is directing funds earmarked for California-based organizations and facilities that meet the TAA’s accreditation guidelines. In 2013, CARMA expects to grant in excess of $400,000.

The Stronach Group and its tracks, Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, and Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, are earmarking funds for organizations in California and Florida that meet the TAA’s accreditation standards. In 2013, it is expected that more than $200,000 will be granted.

And Keeneland, Fasig-Tipton, Barretts and, OBS, beginning with the 2013 sales calendar, will enable buyers and consignors to automatically contribute .05% of their respective purchases or gross sales directly to TAA. The sales companies will contribute an additional .05% from their gross sales receipts as well. For those who do not wish to participate in the program, there will be a voluntary opt-out provision.

“We feel that establishing an automatic mechanism by which to fund aftercare is both the right thing to do and the only way to do it right,” said Boyd Browning, President of Fasig-Tipton.

“Our customers on both sides of every purchase share a common love for Thoroughbreds, and this systematic approach makes it easy for all to do their part in a fair and equitable manner.” 


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