Jockey Club steps up racehorse aftercare efforts

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The Jockey Club in North America is improving its systems to help thoroughbreds into new homes after their racing career is over.

Contact information of those interested in providing aftercare or assistance for a thoroughbred is now able to be added to a horse’s digital certificate of foal registration, which can be accessed through the Jockey Club Registry’s Thoroughbred Connect program.

Thoroughbred Connect enables anyone with an Interactive Registration (IR) account to express their willingness to be contacted by someone in possession of a Thoroughbred in the event the horse is in need of aftercare or assistance. It is also a resource for horse owners to list a Thoroughbred that is in need of aftercare or assistance.

Since its introduction in May 2011, more than 3500 users have signed up for Thoroughbred Connect, and there are currently more than 8600 horses in the system that have at least one customer who has provided contact information to indicate their willingness to provide aftercare assistance.

Contact information for those who would like to help a specific Thoroughbred is displayed by default on a horse’s digital certificate page. Thoroughbred Connect users can elect to opt-out of this setting at any time. Contact information associated with horses born before 2018, and who might not have a digital certificate, can still be shared with a successful connection made via the Thoroughbred Connect link after logging into IR.

An example digital registration certificate.
An example digital registration certificate.

“Adding contact information from Thoroughbred Connect to a horse’s digital certificate page ensures that a horse’s emergency contact will never be lost or removed and will always be easily accessible to its current digital certificate manager,” said Matt Iuliano, executive vice-president and executive director of The Jockey Club.

“We believe this change will facilitate connections to transition Thoroughbreds to new homes when their racing or breeding careers are over.”

Racing stables have applauded the move, including Graham Motion of Herringswell Stables, which has attached contact information to physical copies of foal papers for several years. “We are excited to take advantage of The Jockey Club Registry’s update to Thoroughbred Connect, which replicates the purpose of stickers and stamps in the age of digital certificates,” Motion said.

Staci Hancock of Stone Farm commended The Jockey Club for its aftercare initiatives and efforts to help horses transition to careers beyond the racetrack or breeding shed.

“From the Thoroughbred Incentive Program and “Transferred as Retired from Racing” designation to this most recent update to Thoroughbred Connect, we thank The Jockey Club for looking out for the welfare of Thoroughbreds and promoting their potential as sport, pleasure, and therapy horses,” Hancock said.

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