The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) today announced the creation of “TAKE THE LEAD,” a retirement program for Thoroughbreds stabled at New York Racing Association tracks. TAKE THE LEAD will partner with established aftercare programs to provide rehabilitation and retraining placements for racehorses when they are ready to begin second careers.
“New York’s owners and trainers are committed to providing aftercare for retired racehorses,” NYTHA President Rick Violette Jr. said. “NYTHA has always lent its support to organizations like New Vocations and the Exceller Fund, and TAKE THE LEAD will enhance our efforts to ensure safe and happy new homes for our horses.”
In order to be eligible for the program, a horse must be registered with The Jockey Club and stabled with a trainer who is based at a NYRA track for a minimum of six monthsannually. Intact males are not eligible, and are required to be gelded at the owner’s expense. There is no charge to submit a horse to the program, but donations are encouraged.
The owner or trainer of the horse to be retired submits the foal papers, a negative Coggins test and pertinent X-rays or ultrasounds, and completes the required paperwork,
relinquishing ownership of the horse. When the application has been approved, the horse will receive a complete veterinary evaluation. TAKE THE LEAD will then locate an appropriate placement, and arrange for transportation to the horse’s new home.
Down Broadway was the first horse enrolled in the TAKE THE LEAD program. The 4-year-old gelding finished third in a maiden-claiming test at Aqueduct Feb. 24. He exited the race in good order, but his connections made the decision to retire him.
“He’s sound, but his heart isn’t in it,” trainer Rick Schosberg, who also serves as the chair of NYTHA’s Aftercare Committee, said after the race.
Down Broadway arrived at the New Vocations facility in Lexington, Kentucky, on Mar. 2. After a month of retraining, his profile was posted on the New Vocations adoption page, under the heading, “Very willing to please!” He found a new home in just two days.
“Providing the best care possible for our horses is a responsibility that trainers take very seriously, and part of that responsibility is knowing when it is time to retire a horse,” Schosberg said. “But finding a new home is not always an easy task. Aftercare organizations have made adoption a more viable option, and TAKE THE LEAD will serve to expedite the process for our horsemen while making sure that our adoption partners have the funding they need to continue their good work. The hope is that TAKE THE LEAD will encourage owners and trainers to include a retirement plan in their racing programs.”
“We are very honored to be working with the TAKE THE LEAD program,” said New Vocations Program Director Anna Ford. “With so many horses in need of our services, it is great to have NYTHA’s assistance in getting horses into our program and even more importantly raising funds to keep us running. We truly appreciate the ongoing support from NYTHA and hope that by working together we can expand our efforts and help more horses leaving the track find second careers.”
In addition to New Vocations, TAKE THE LEAD will partner with Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue, ReRun and Second Chances Thoroughbreds.
For more information, go to the TAKE THE LEAD website at www.take2tbreds.com, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the NYTHA office.
About the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association: The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) was founded with the objective of serving as a collective voice for the broad interests of the Thoroughbred owners and trainers competing at the New York Racing Association’s three tracks, and to improve and increase the effectiveness of its constituents in the day-to-day activities of racing. NYTHA strives to protect the economic interests of all horsemen and to gain public recognition of horse racing as a vital industry, deserving of support, protection and preservation. The organization also provides benevolence to the backstretch community and supports equine aftercare and research. NYTHA is the New York State Gaming Commission’s recognized representative of NYRA’s owners and trainers. Any owner or trainer who is licensed by the New York State Gaming Commission and has run a horse in the last two years at Aqueduct, Belmont or Saratoga is automatically enrolled as a member of NYTHA.