Racing to help OTTBs: PETA drives funding for thoroughbred aftercare

Gun Runner. © Mathea Kelley

Animal advocacy group PETA is behind the development of a new initiative to help raise funds for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) via wagering terminals.

The technology is the first of its kind for horse-racing wagering terminals, and has been developed by AmTote International. It involves a pop-up screen for wagering terminals asking bettors to donate a portion of their winnings to the TAA.

The technology will soon be tested on betting terminals at a Stronach-owned track. The concept was announced by the TAA last Sunday at the annual Jockey Club Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing.

PETA, whose 2011 Thoroughbred Lifecycle 360 Fund proposal for a retirement program became the funding model for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, has been concerned that insufficient funds mean that some Thoroughbreds will end up sold at auction and sent to slaughter in Canada or Mexico. The new wagering terminal technology has the potential to generate an ongoing source of additional revenue. PETA approached the Stronach Group — which owns Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park, Pimlico, and other tracks — because of its commitment to improving conditions for horses used in racing.

“The racing industry is done with most Thoroughbreds before their fifth birthday, and they need good homes,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo.

“This new technology interface has the potential to provide millions of dollars for the horses’ care, and we’re delighted that the Stronach Group has embraced it.”

As the TAA’s Stacie Clark stated: “PETA did not seek compensation, monetary or otherwise, for the concept. Their only request was that 100 percent of the money donated through these terminals would support Thoroughbred aftercare. We would like to thank AmTote, the Stronach Group, and PETA for their joint leadership in horse care. The TAA is thrilled with the potential of this technology to help Thoroughbreds beyond their racing careers.”

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