West Point Thoroughbreds: Racing ownership and responsibility

by | 12.20.2011 | 12:05pm

At the West Point Thoroughbreds website, associate Shannon Castagnola discusses the racing partnership company's approach to Thoroughbred retirement and aftercare.  It's an issue many Thoroughbred industry players are discussing with horse slaughter a hot topic of discussion lately.  Castagnola says existing ownership adopts some West Point horses.  Others are found homes through a database of potential adopters or through rescue facilities.

“Although these thoughts usually aren't first on the radar in the exciting times of new racehorse ownership, what will happen to the horse at the end of its career is something to think about when you become an owner. I think we all have a responsibility to each and every runner we own, the fast ones and the slow ones.”

“And just because they're done racing doesn't mean your responsibility ends.”

  • Greg Jones

    Boulder Creek broke down today at Turf Paradise, running for a $3,000 tag, former West Point Horse.  Their words in is posted link, “We’ll also retire a horse if they wind up running in low-level claiming races uncompetitively. A horse like this isn’t close to paying its way and is in danger of falling into hands that won’t provide the level of care we would. We make every effort to follow horses that have been claimed away from us to ensure they are cared for following their racing careers.”  Words ring hollow to me right now.  Boulder Creek was one of their bright young stars, and is in plenty of photos on West Point’s Facebook page, just wish they were looking out for him today.  Pray Boulder Creek survived…

  • FourCats

    Generally, I commend what West Point Thoroughbreds does with their horses (if they actually follow through).  However, I do have a few points of disagreement.
    When they say that you should breed the best to the best, I would add that you should also breed the sound to the sound.  If you feel that there is an obligation to improve the breed, then you should not be breeding unsound horses (even if they were very fast).
    My other point of disagreement concerns their third option of horses going to a “rescue/placement facility”.  They said that they ask for a donation from their owners to offset costs.  Shouldn’t the owners be paying ALL the costs to place their horse?  Why is an offset sufficient?  After all, it’s their horse.  They, and all owners, should be paying all after racing costs, at least until they can find a good home for the horse.

  • Terry

    Greg – Hi Terry Finley here.  Not sure how you can conclude our “words ring hallow” regarding Boulder Creek.  We have tracked his status since he was claimed away from us earlier this year. Greg, we share your dismay regarding the fact that Boulder Creek was pulled up in a race. We are trying to contact his current connections to see if we can provide assistance.  This is a very difficult part of our industry.   We have a responsibility to the horses that carry our silks (and all the rest of the horses that compete in our industry).  We take this responsibility very seriously.I understand you are deeply compassionate when it comes to the care of Thoroughbred racehorses. We are both on the same side here.  What suggestions do you have to help us (and the industry as a whole) do a better job in the area of horse retirement and aftercare?

  • Dawn

    I work for West Point Thoroughbreds. We communicated with his current trainer, who was very receptive to our contact, and were told he will be retired from racing after bowing a tendon. The trainer is working with another responsible organization who stepped in to help take care of him. We confirmed this. He was “one of theirs” once too and is in a good spot.

  • DawnP

    Would micro-chipping all foals at birth make it easier to track them as adults?

  • Satchel

    Terry, how about a mandatory tax on every stud fee?

  • Satchel

    …Guess the point of Terry’s responding to Greg was to just put him on the spot, not actually follow up on this.  Ah, well, that’s the thoroughbred industry!  Optics, not purpose.

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