Breeders’ Cup trainers, owners pledge percentage to Thoroughbred retirement group

by | 10.13.2011 | 2:03pm

Some of horse racing's biggest stars are stepping up to the plate to support New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program by pledging a percentage of their purse earnings from this year's Breeders' Cup World Championships it was announced today.

For the third consecutive year, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program is working with trainers and owners of Breeders' Cup contenders to pledge a percentage of their earnings to support the program's mission to rehab, retrain and rehome retired race horses.

“What makes New Vocations stand out from the rest of Thoroughbred Retirement organizations is their commitment to retraining and adopting out these equine athletes, many of whom go onto to enjoy successful careers in various disciplines of horse sports,” said trainer Todd Pletcher.

Pletcher, along with trainers Kiaran McLaughlin, Nick Zito and Eddie Plesa and owners Mike Repole, Rick Shanley and West Point Thoroughbreds have made early commitments to support this year's pledge.  Pletcher has eight potential starters in this year's Championships, including the Repole-owned Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty, who are pointed towards the Breeders' Cup Classic, and Stopshoppingmaria,  who is headed to the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.  McLaughlin will send out juveniles Alpha and Miss Netta in the Juvenile races, It's Tricky in the Ladies' Classic and Trappe Shot in the Sprint or Dirt mile.  The McLaughlin-trained Rattlesnake Bridge may run in the Classic.  Plesa trains the Shanley-owned filly Say A Novena who won the Oct 1 Brandywine stakes at Parx Racing in preparation for a start in the Juvenile Fillies.  West Point Thoroughbred's Awesome Gem is expected to start in the Dirt Mile or the  Classic.  The Zito-trained colt Jackson Bend is a probable starter in the Dirt Mile.

New Vocations will continue to seek pledges from additional owners and trainers leading up to the November event.

“It is our responsibility as owners to make sure these horses find good homes after their racing careers are over,” said owner Mike Repole. “New Vocations, like many other great horse rescue organizations do a great job  at making sure our equine friends have a great life beyond the track and we are happy to support them at this year's World Championships.”

In 1992 New Vocations first opened their barn doors to retired racehorses looking for new careers. Starting with a single farm in Dayton, Ohio the program has grown to have six facilities, which are located in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  Serving over 40 racetracks, New Vocations works directly with owners and trainers in need of an aftercare program for horses leaving the track. Currently the program adopts out more retired racehorses than any other program in the nation. The program has a sound adoption system in place that is proven to move a large number of horses in a rather short period of time. Their focus is on adoption verses retirement, believing that each horse deserves to have an individual home and purpose.

“The amount of early support we've received from owners and trainers for this year's campaign has been amazing,” said New Vocations Program Director, Anna Ford.  “We are going to adopt close to 400 retired racehorses this year, which is more than we have ever done before. The number of horses needing our services is huge and the funds raised from the pledges will help us continue to grow and reach more horses.”

For more information on New Vocations and how you can help support the program visit

  • scooby do

    Good for Mike Repole,….Last year Repole gave $50,000 of Uncle Mo’s Breeders Cup winnings.

    Of course, his jealous haters out there would never acknowledge such a kind gesture.

    Well done!

  • SixteenK Claimer

    VERY well done!

  • Slim

    Nothing wrong with buying a little Karma. Great cause

  • Joe

    Thank you very much! Now if Bob Baffert and his owners could join the party or even better yet, donate 1% of what their horses have earned for them this year alone and if all other owners and trainers with BC starters could step up to the TB retirement plate it would be fantastic!

  • jack

    why only a few do this

  • To adopt out 400 this year is phenomenal! Hats off to Anna. Way to set the bar for the other organizations!

  • Gaile

    I’m an avid supporter of New Vocations and have been involved with them for years. Over 50% of the horses they take in from the track have some type of injury and require rehabilitation. The earlier comment concerning them only taking sound horses is not correct especially considering that there are not that many horses retiring 100% sound. Since they are an adoption program they do only take in horses that can go on to a second career once fully rehabilitated. They never claim to take in horses that can only be pasture ornaments nor do they claim to take all horses as they are limited by the funding that is raised each year. Their mission is to rehab, retrain and rehome horses, this includes a variety of horses with injuries. As for follow up they have a full time staff person that follows each horse that is adopted out. If at any time the horse needs a new home or is found to be in a bad situation the program will take the horse back. Their adoption contract is on their website and explains all these details clearly I think it is sad to bash a program that is definitely doing so much for the racing industry. Sure everyone is allowed to have their opinion but shame on you for bashing such a worthy cause.

  • JACK

    asking the questions and bashing are two different things. guess you don’t have all the answers .

  • concerned

    have owned and raced horses for years, not many winning years. Why keep going after the owners.??
    how about TVG and HRTV etc they are likely candidates to support the cause.

  • KT

    Wow Jack. What do you do for a living??? Sounds like you have waaaay tooooo much time on your hands!!! What have you done for Thoroughbred rescue/retirement/adoption? Are you a tree hugging PETA loser? Sure the heck sounds like it!!! LOOOOOOOOOSER!!!!!!!!!!

  • KT

    PS….Concerned …I agree…everyone who has a stake in the game should contribute to the aftercare of these great creatures and until it’s MANDATED that EVERY person who breeds, trains, owns, sells (bloodstock agents, sales agencies, etc.) and the tracks who profit/survive off these athletes contributes, we will continue to face MAJOR problems. If you can’t afford to be in the game GET OUT! No one has a gun to your head! There must be euthanasia policies in place (HEEELOOOO…4 millions dogs and cats are put down each year) and an accreditation program mandatory for anyone who receives funds from TCA and anyone else who contributes to these programs and facilities!!!

  • Taylor

    Wow Jack.. you’re so right. Someone should take those New Vocations people out behind the woodshed and beat them.

    I don’t THINK they claim to be doing anything other than what they do. Take in horses that can reasonably be rehabilitated and moved on to nonracing homes. Kudos to them for running a compassionate program.

    Do they only get to be compassionate if it is run on your definition of the word?

    How about instead of whining about how New Vocations doesn’t measure up in your eyes, put your $$ where your mouth is and go start your utopian compassionate program.

    What’s that? Crickets chirping…?

  • Jo Anne Normile

    I do question why these funds are not donated to Blue Horse Charities, After the Finish Line, or Thoroughbred Charities of America who could distribute their funds to New Vocations AND ALSO to multiple other charities across a wider geographic area?
    So very many rescues far from New Vocations are in dire need of help for horses they rescue that are on their way to a bush track in Mexico or a horse tripping rodeo BEFORE they hobble back on the slaughter truck to die in a Mexican slaughterhouse. I wish the funds could be more widely distributed. The publicity and mention of all the rescues that benefited across the country would also be picked up by their local media in those other areas raising more awareness for those rescues and racing.
    Also agree with KT # 11

  • Ann M. Marini, Ph.D., M.D.

    According to USDA statistics and posted by Patty Hogan, half of the Thoroughbreds are sent to slaughter for human consumption. Is there going to be enough money to help all of these horses, over 20,000 of them?

  • caroline

    Ann Marini – former US slaughter plants had stats pulled from their records (via the freedom of informatiom act) showing that roughly 12-15% of the horses they slaughtered (in Texas) were TBs. That is an under-estimate since many TBs are mis-identified at auctions where they are originally purchased for slaughter as without breed/registration (based on my own experience at auctions over a period of 4.5 years). In 2010 (as in 2006, before US slaughter plants were closed) 140K US horses were slaughtered for human consumption. So, yes, roughly 20K TBs are slaughtered a year. That represents more than 50% of the annual foal crop. That’s the significant statistic. That is why TBs are viewed as “high risk” – the % of the foal crop that is slaughtered annually is very high (relative to other breeds).

    And where is the funding to prevent that? It’s a mystery. Despite a significant increase in owners’ purses this year – will there be any more support for owners’ and breeders’ retired TB stock?

    Nice to see a fundraiser for some horses. How about 20K of them?

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