The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) announced Thursday that several industry groups, including 13 prominent breeding farms in Kentucky, The Jockey Club, two racetracks of the Stronach Group, the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA), Keeneland Association, Fasig-Tipton, Barretts Equine Limited and Ocala Breeders' Sales Company (OBS), have developed plans to provide funds beginning in 2013 to support the TAA's mission to accredit and raise funds for Thoroughbred aftercare facilities.
"This is an important first step, and we are grateful to these organizations for their commitments," said Jack Wolf, president of the TAA. "We are hopeful other industry stakeholders will follow their lead in this important endeavor."
Based in Lexington, Kentucky, the TAA is designed to serve as both the accrediting body for aftercare facilities that care for Thoroughbreds following the conclusion of their racing careers and a fundraising body to support these approved facilities. The organization is comprised of owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, jockeys, aftercare professionals and other industry groups.
The TAA received seed money from Breeders' Cup Ltd., The Jockey Club and Keeneland Association and some of those funds will be used for initial site inspections and accreditations planned for the last few months of 2012.
"Our objective is to develop sustainable funding from all points on the life cycle of the Thoroughbred from breeding and registration to sales, racing and all points in between, including veterinary care and transportation," TAA Executive Director Mike Ziegler said. "Thanks to the seed capital generously provided by Breeders' Cup, The Jockey Club and Keeneland Association, and ongoing administrative and technical support from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and The Jockey Club, virtually all of our 2013 contributions will be directed straight to the horses -- which is as it should be."
The details of the funding are as follows:
In addition, the TAA board announced that it has met in recent weeks to discuss sustainable fund-raising strategies with a broad cross section of industry organizations including Breeders' Cup, New York Thoroughbred Horsemen Association and owners of stallions standing in New York, California and Florida.
Meetings with racetracks and other trade associations -- representing jockeys, regulators, trainers and owners -- will be held later this year to encourage the broadest possible participation.
"Everything we do in this industry begins and ends with the horse," said Jimmy Bell, president of Darley America. "It's time for the industry to make a tangible, long-term commitment to Thoroughbred aftercare, and I am proud of these 13 stallion farms in central Kentucky that have done just that."
"We are proud to support the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and feel strongly about its mission," said James L. Gagliano, president and COO of The Jockey Club. "These very modest financial commitments at various checkpoints in a Thoroughbred's career will make a significant difference in giving our equine athletes the lives and second careers they deserve after their racing days are over."
"We feel that establishing an automatic mechanism by which to fund aftercare is both the right thing to do and the only way to do it right," President of Fasig-Tipton Boyd Browning remarked. "Our customers on both sides of every purchase share a common love for Thoroughbreds, and this systematic approach makes it easy for all to do their part in a fair and equitable manner."
"The fundamental principle behind this initiative, and our entire industry, should be to do what is best for the horse," stated Bill Thomason, president/CEO of Keeneland Association. "That is truly the impetus behind our willingness to not only provide seed capital to this organization, but also be a sustaining member with the widespread support of our consignors and buyers, to ensure there is a continued emphasis on aftercare, new careers and other programs for our very special athletes."
"We are proud to support the TAA," said Kim Lloyd, general manager of Barretts Equine Limited. "We want to do right by the horses. They are at the heart of everything we do."
"OBS is delighted to join the many industry organizations stepping up on behalf of Thoroughbreds," OBS President Tom Ventura remarked. "We are pleased at the breadth of commitment being demonstrated today."
"As one of the initial funders for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Breeders' Cup supports the development of an industry-wide, annually funded program committed to the placement or second-career retraining of retired Thoroughbreds on a national scale," added Bob Elliston, COO of Breeders' Cup Ltd. "Thoroughbreds deserve to be treated in a dignified manner throughout their lives."
"We believe strongly in the mission and spirit that is guiding the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance," concluded Mike Rogers, president of The Stronach Group. "The TAA represents a unique opportunity for our industry to work together in providing second careers and aftercare to these extraordinary athletes. It also is another step in insuring that every Thoroughbred will be treated with dignity and decency throughout its entire life."
To support the TAA, please visit thoroughbredaftercare.org or call 859-224-2756.