Kentucky Downs and the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which represent owners and trainers at the state's five tracks, have each pledged $5 per start at the 2018 Kentucky Downs race meet to go to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, it was announced.
The TAA accredits, inspects, and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations that retrain, retire, and rehome thoroughbreds. Currently 64 organizations hold TAA accreditation and receive funding from the TAA in the form of annual grants earmarked for equine care. Among the accredited facilities is Old Friends, the equine retirement farms that include a satellite operation at Kentucky Downs.
“The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance is grateful to Kentucky Downs and the Kentucky HBPA for supporting our equine athletes. These funds will help the TAA support our 64 accredited organizations that retrain, rehome, and retire thousands of Thoroughbreds,” said TAA president John Phillips.
Kentucky Downs president Corey Johnsen said the racetrack is proud to support accredited Thoroughbred aftercare.
“As we celebrate Old Friends Day, our foremost message is that thoroughbred aftercare is the responsibility of every person involved in horse racing,” Johnsen said. “Kentucky Downs is proud of its role in this important program coordinated by the TAA, which accredits and helps fund so many excellent rehabbing, retraining, and retirement facilities for our former racehorses, including Old Friends.
"More than 500 horses will run this meet at Kentucky Downs, and that’s $5,000 just in five days with our track and horsemen’s contributions. We also support the Old Friends at Kentucky Downs satellite operation, with 10 notable retired horses and Fonzi the miniature horse on display year-round that affords people an up-close look at the magnificent Thoroughbred.”
Kentucky HBPA executive director Marty Maline echoed the support for accredited aftercare.
“Racehorses are good to us, and they deserve to be taken care of once their racing days are over,” Maline said. “The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance is the ideal mechanism to ensure our equine athletes go to good homes, whether it’s being retrained for second careers, including as pleasure horses, or as classy lawn ornaments living out their days eating grass in a safe environment.
“The brilliance of the TAA is that it not only accredits aftercare and retraining facilities after an extensive vetting process, but it then helps fund them. The TAA shows what is possible when all areas of the industry work together toward a common goal, and none is more important than aftercare for our horses. We are proud to team with our racetrack partner to send a total of $10 to TAA for every horse running at Kentucky Downs.”