Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program

Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program

Old Army, a 2011 graduate of the Finger Lakes program, shows in dressage.


Services: Adoption

Location: Farmington, NY

Founded: 2006


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Average Number of Thoroughbreds: 45



“Giving horses a second chance to be winners” is the noble credo that the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program lives by.

FLTAP was founded in 2006 when Finger Lakes racetrack management and the local Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association division decided something must be done to protect at-risk runners, most notably those headed down the claiming ladder. This award-winning retraining and adoption program has helped more than 400 horses find new homes.

FLTAP was the first adoption organization located on racetrack grounds. Delaware North, the parent of Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack, donated the two-acre site upon which a 10,000-square-foot, 16-stall barn now stands, built with state funding, a grant from the American Humane Association, and contributions from donors such as Wanda Polisseni, for whose Purple Haze Stables the center is named. The facility also includes a riding arena, turnout paddocks, and round pens.

Local horsemen help fund the program by contributing $2.50 for every start a horse makes, an amount matched by the Finger Lakes Racing Association. FLTAP also hosts fundraising dinners, polo matches, benefit horse shows, golf tournaments, and holiday events, with money going directly to the program. Volunteers donate time, talent, and product in addition to cash.

Horses entering FLTAP must be reasonably sound and have the potential for a second career, whether in the show ring or for pleasure riding. Successful adoptions have included I B a Babydoll (aka “Pepper,” jumper), Five Aces (“Ace,” trail riding), and City Mint (barrel racing). Most FLTAP horses ended their racing careers in lower-level claiming races at Finger Lakes.

Prospective adopters undergo an in-depth screening process, including an interview, to determine if they are able to provide a good home for an ex-racehorse. When accepted, they are matched with horses appropriate for their skill level, experience, and goals.