NYRA, NYTHA Match Projected Aqueduct Aftercare Contribution

Breaking from the gate at Aqueduct Racetrack

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) announced April 21 they will match the per start owners’ aftercare contribution to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance as projected through the end of the now cancelled Aqueduct Racetrack spring meet.

New York’s owners donate $10 per start to the TAA, and NYRA matches that donation at the conclusion of each meet. Based on a projection of 1,200 starters through the end of April at Aqueduct, NYRA and NYTHA will contribute $24,000 to the TAA.

“It is important that we continue to support the TAA and the individual accredited farms who care for our retired equine athletes during this difficult time,” said NYRA CEO and President Dave O’Rourke. “The care we provide our retired horses is essential and we encourage our fellow racetracks to contribute to the TAA to the best of their ability.”

Live racing on the NYRA circuit was last conducted March 15 at Aqueduct. The Big A winter meet was scheduled to run an additional six racing days through March 29 until NYRA suspended racing on March 19 due to changing circumstances in the racing community relative to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April, NYRA was expected to run 13 days of racing at the now canceled Aqueduct spring meet, which had been slated to run April 2 through April 19.

The TAA is a nonprofit organization that accredits, inspects, and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retire, retrain, and rehome thoroughbreds using industry-wide funding. The TAA is supported by owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, aftercare professionals, and other industry members.

“NYRA and NYTHA have shown their sincere understanding and genuine commitment to aftercare. It is so meaningful to the TAA and our accredited organizations to receive this funding especially under the circumstances. We cannot thank them enough,” said TAA President John Phillips.

In 2013, NYTHA’s TAKE THE LEAD Thoroughbred Retirement Program was launched, and has placed hundreds of horses retiring from the NYRA tracks with TAA-accredited organizations.

In 2014, NYTHA adopted a per-start fee for owners of $5 that provided funding to the TAA. Two years later, NYRA began matching contributions to the TAA, and from 2016-18, NYRA generated in excess of $230,000 for TAA funding.

In July 2019, NYRA and NYTHA increased the per-start fee to $10.

Led by NYTHA Aftercare Committee Chairman and TAA Board Member Rick Schosberg, who is also a prominent New York-based trainer, TAKE THE LEAD provides hands-on assistance for owners and trainers in finding a retirement home for their horse. The process includes veterinary exams and medical treatment, covering the cost of transportation to the rehabilitation or retraining placement, and one-time funding for the horse’s aftercare when necessary.

On July 11, 2019, NYRA and NYTHA launched an aftercare assessment program that would see prospective owners claiming a horse subject to a 1.5 percent aftercare assessment on top of the claiming price of the horse with funding allocated to the TAA and TAKE THE LEAD. By example, an owner claiming a horse for $50,000 will contribute an additional $750 toward aftercare.

“The loss of revenue felt by those in our aftercare community during this pandemic is real. Now, more than ever, it is imperative we step up as best we can to support the wonderful programs that care for our horses,” said Joe Appelbaum, President of NYTHA. “We are proud of our commitment to supporting the safe and healthy retirement of New York’s racehorses and we encourage those in a position to help to step forward.”

There are currently eight TAA-accredited organizations in New York including ACTT Naturally, Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue, Equine Advocates, Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program, Lucky Orphans, ReRun, Second Chance Thoroughbreds, and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

NYRA/Coglianese Photo