The New York Racing Association (NYRA) and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA) have joined forces to create an aftercare initiative that assesses a 1.5 percent fee on a New York-raced horse's claiming price. Proceeds from this fee will go directly to NYTHA's Take The Lead (TTL) program and to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA).
In addition to this increase, the beginning of the Saratoga meet launched an increase in NYTHA's existing owners' aftercare contribution to the TAA from $5 to $10 per horse, per start. The claiming fee and increased contribution by the per-start fee, in conjunction with monies from the New York breeding fund, are expected to increase aftercare funding raised in New York to around $1 million each year.
That $1 million was needed yearly to help horses retiring from New York tracks was determined by polling the state's aftercare partners and reviewing records from Take The Lead, said NYTHA president Joe Appelbaum. Currently about $650,000 is taken in each year for equine aftercare efforts.
The concept of this revenue stream was first put forth by Rick Violette, who was NYTHA's president from 2008-2017. Violette was a huge proponent of racehorse aftercare; he co-created the Take The Lead program in 2013 and was a founding member of the TAA board. Violette also helped found the TAKE2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program to promote the use of retired Thoroughbred racehorses in hunter and jumper competition.
Many of the horses that are re homed through TAA-accredited organizations are claiming horses, which is why the assessed fee on horses being claimed has been instituted. Horses running in claiming races are also the ones that tend to need the most rehabilitation once they enter an aftercare program. While many owners will make a tax-deductible donation with their horse, it's often not enough to provide for the horse's care for the length of time he stays in the aftercare organization's possession. The assessed fees will allow TTL to send a larger pool of money with each claiming horse that goes to an aftercare organization.
Read more at Thoroughbred Racing Commentary.
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