Thoroughbreds = racehorses. Thoroughbreds are bred for the track. But what happens when a racehorse stops racing and heads off to retirement?
In this industry it should be our responsibility to care for the well-being of retired horses. Fortunately, there are organizations that provide services to care for the second careers of thoroughbreds. The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) is leading the charge to provide official accreditation and funding to qualified organizations that rehabilitate and re-train racehorses.
The TAA has provided assistance for more than 7800 racehorses since its founding in 2012. There are now more than 70 accredited organizations across the country. Each one of these organizations have met strict requirements to receive accreditation.
The racing community received exactly what they needed when the TAA formed. It has allowed the possibility for prospective owners to find retrained thoroughbreds, continually supported by owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, corporate sponsors, and even racing fans. Initially funded by Breeder’s Cup Ltd., The Jockey Club, and the Keeneland Association, Inc.
Bloom Racing Stable Managing Director Jeffrey Bloom recently was appointed to the Board of Directors of the TAA. Jeffrey is extremely passionate about racehorses and their overall welfare, both on and off the racetrack.
Thoroughbreds make fantastic mounts after their racing days are over. They are used to being handled, tied, shod, ridden, washed, and hauled. They’ve been exposed to many different situations and for a lack of a better word have become well-mannered professionals. Once a racehorse has been “let down” from the intensity of race training, most embrace a slower pace of life and are eager to find a new way to be productive.
In this industry, horses are big parts of our lives and we consider them extended family. Their safety and well-being are of the utmost importance and their transition to a safe and productive off the track future.
Here are just a few of the organizations that are doing their part to help: Hope for Horses, Inc., which offers sanctuary, rehab and adoption services in Galt, California. Kentucky Equine Humane Center in Lexington, Kentucky offers rehab, adoption and equine-assisted programs. As far north as Toronto, Ontario the LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society helps provide sanctuary, rehab, adoption and equine-assisted programs.
Our own success stories for retired runners include Dream Police, Thundering Lady and Sassy Ashley who have all excelled in a myriad of different missions. Both Dream Police and Sassy Ashley are San Luis Rey Downs Fire Survivors, making their chance at a relaxing retirement even more important.
Dream Police retired from racing spring 2017 and went through the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA.) He was placed with CJ Marinaccio of Win Place Home. He made his second-career debut at CARMA’s Thoroughbred Holiday Classic Horse Show in Burbank, California.
Dream Police now goes by “Fawkes,” after Marinaccio felt his surviving the fire deserved a new name. The new name is after a Harry Potter character in the popular series. Marinaccio felt he deserved a new name for surviving the fire, “Rising from the ashes…” He is now available for adoption as sport horses through Win Place Home.
Thundering Lady is thriving at the TAA accredited Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center (MMSC) in Lexington, Kentucky. She retired from racing and went off to be a broodmare, but had difficulty with pregnancy. Bloom Racing then sent her to the MMSC for a new career. She has done exceptionally well jumping, a natural when it comes to learning the grid work and is a favorite for the trainer’s at MMSC.
Sassy Ashley recently completed the Retired Racehorse Thoroughbred Project at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. She finished top 10 in Polo and 13th out of 55 in Ranch work. Sassy Ashley has since been retired by owner Kalley Krickeberg and living on their family farm in Illinois, living every horse’s dream of having an entire field to themselves and all the attention she could ever want.