The spotlight was on We Miss Artie after he won the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes March 22 at Turfway Park, but retired Thoroughbreds across Kentucky also were winners that day as the Northern Kentucky track presented checks from the Turfway Aftercare Program (TAP) to four Kentucky racehorse adoption groups.
Established in 2011 in cooperation with the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, TAP is funded by horses' owners, who contribute one dollar for each of their starters, and by Turfway, which matches the owners' contribution. For 2013, TAP funds totaled $8,818 and were apportioned among New Vocations of Lexington, Second Stride of Crestwood, CANTER Kentucky of Georgetown, and Kentucky Equine Humane Center of Nicholasville.
All four agencies are registered 501(c)3 non-profits that take in retired and sometimes injured racehorses, rehab and retrain them, and work to find them adoptive homes. Most horses go on to second careers in the show ring or as pleasure, trail, companion, or therapy horses.
In the three years TAP has operated, $34,376 has been apportioned to agencies with operations in Kentucky. To receive funds for 2013, recipient agencies must have been accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) or had an application in process. Established in 2012 by a consortium of industry organizations and with seed money from Breeders' Cup, The Jockey Club and Keeneland Association, the TAA confirms agency compliance with standards addressing operations, education, horse management including euthanasia policies, facility services, adoption policies, and status as recognized charitable organizations.
Turfway has been continually accredited by the NTRA's Safety and Integrity Alliance since that program's inception in 2009. The track's own efforts to transition racehorses off the track began a year earlier with its surrender stall program, through which, provided certain conditions were met, Turfway personnel cared for a donated horse and arranged transportation to an agency. For the past two years, however, as education and awareness increased, owners who donated horses either contacted the agencies directly or paid the trainer to keep the horse in familiar surroundings while arrangements were made.
“It's been extremely satisfying to see the increased attention across the industry to the aftercare of horses,” said Turfway Park general manager Chip Bach. “I'm proud of the horsemen who base their operations at Turfway and appreciate the effort they make to do what's right by their horses.”
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