Ellis Park is teaming with the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance to promote the industry-wide venture that provides funding for rehabilitation and retraining of retired racehorses to make sure they have good homes and often second careers after the racetrack.
Ellis Park has made July 17 its Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Day, created to bring attention to the TAA, which accredits racehorse retirement, retraining and adoption organizations – and then provides grants to those programs. In its fourth year of existence, the TAA has contributed more than $5.7 million to 56 accredited organizations.
“Ellis Park is already a supporter of the TAA through their per-start matching contribution, and we are pleased to partner with them for Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Day to provide a public venue to gain additional exposure for the TAA mission,” said Jimmy Bell, president of the Godolphin and The TAA. “TAA Day is a wonderful idea that we hope more racetracks will embrace in the future.”
The TAA is one of the shiniest examples that the disparate factions of the thoroughbred industry can work together for a common goal. The brainchild of Louisville horse owner Jack Wolf, founder of Starlight Racing, the TAA gets funding from owners, breeders, racetracks, sales companies, stallion farms and other industry professionals.
Horse owners at Ellis Park contribute a per-start donation, with the track matching every dollar.
“Racehorses are good to us, and we owe it to be good to them once their racing days are over,” said Ellis Park racing secretary Dan Bork. “Ellis Park is proud to join forces with its horsemen to contribute to the TAA. Many horses who raced at Ellis Park and in Kentucky now are enjoying successful second careers in eventing, horse shows, trail and pleasure riding and sometimes just as a beautiful lawn ornament living the life of leisure in a pasture.
“While many owners and trainers already were finding post-racetrack homes for their horses, it’s a massive undertaking when you consider the sheer numbers involved and the size and energy of these amazing animals. The industry, in rallying behind the TAA, is striving for the goal of having no horse slip through the cracks. The care of the horses after racing is just as important as the care they received while racing.”
The TAA and most of its accredited organizations in Kentucky will set up by the track’s main entrance near the clubhouse with information, with representatives talking to fans about thoroughbred aftercare. Accredited programs committed to appearing include the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption, Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center, Friends of Ferdinand, Old Friends and Our Mims Retirement Haven.
In a joint venture with the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the TAA will have goggles signed by riders available for a donation to be split between the TAA and the PDJF. The fifth race is named after Louisville-based Papa John’s Pizza, which will present a check for $24,570 to the TAA, the result of its highly successful online ordering promotion in the spring that netted $1 from every order to the aftercare initiative via TAA promo code from all participating Louisville and Lexington corporate locations.
“A lot of good goes on behind the scenes in racing that never makes the headlines, things owners and trainers do on a daily basis out of the limelight to take care of the horses who took care of them,” said Marty Maline, executive director of the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, which represents more than 6,000 owners and trainers in the commonwealth. “It’s terrific that Ellis Park is having a special day to showcase the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and bring awareness to what the industry across the board is doing to to ensure our racehorses have good homes for the remainder of their lives.”
For more information on the TAA, go to thoroughbredaftercare.org.
For Ellis Park media inquiries, contact Jennie Rees at [email protected]