Members of the Massachusetts equestrian and agricultural communities, veterinary and agricultural educators, and Thoroughbred racing leaders today announced a vision for the planned Massachusetts Equestrian Center that would bring together equestrian activities including Thoroughbred racing, horse shows, competitions, and clinics, and veterinary care and education, providing a physical home for the Commonwealth's equestrian community and a premier destination for visitors from across New England and around the nation.
“We've made great progress toward developing a comprehensive plan for an equestrian center in Massachusetts,” said Anthony Spadea Jr., president of the New England Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (New England HBPA). “By bringing together advocates for Thoroughbred racing, equestrian activities, agricultural and veterinary education, the New England HBPA is working tirelessly to ensure that Thoroughbred racing, breeding, the associated agricultural network and all the related jobs will be restored and thrive in Massachusetts.”
A study conducted by the Center for Economic Development at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, commissioned by the New England HBPA, found that an equestrian center in Massachusetts could generate millions of dollars in annual economic impact through visitor and participant spending. Plans for the non-profit Massachusetts Equestrian Center include a racetrack for Thoroughbred racing; an indoor/outdoor equestrian center for year-round horse shows, competitions and clinics; grandstands with restaurants and shops; a Thoroughbred retirement facility, a veterinary research and care hospital; a model farm operated by agricultural schools and colleges, and direct links to riding trail networks.
“Combining Thoroughbred racing with other equestrian activities and veterinary education in a non-profit structure is a model that we believe will work not only here in Massachusetts but on a national level, helping to sustain an industry with thousands of jobs for stable workers, veterinarians, blacksmiths, jockeys, and local businesses across the state,” said Lou Raffetto, a national racing industry expert and former vice president of racing at Suffolk Downs.
According to Spadea, “The preservation of the Thoroughbred racing industry in Massachusetts and the agricultural network – breeding farms, layup farms and farms that grow hay and grain – that supports and depends on racing revenue is critical for open-space preservation and job creation here in Massachusetts.”
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