Several industry groups, including 13 prominent breeding farms in Kentucky, have developed plans to provide funds beginning in 2013 to support the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance's mission to accredit and raise funds for Thoroughbred aftercare facilities, it was announced Oct. 11.
Adena Springs, Airdrie Stud, Castleton Lyons, Darby Dan Farm, Darley, Gainesway, Hill 'n' Dale, Millennium Farms, Pin Oak Stud, Taylor Made, Vinery, Walmac Farm, and WinStar Farm have pledged 25% of their stallions' advertised 2013 stud fee to the TAA, while The Jockey Club will increase fees by $25 for nearly all registry-related transactions in 2013, including foal registration, naming, and import and export applications.
"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."
In coordination with The Jockey Club of Canada, funds raised from Canadian customers of The Jockey Club will be directed to Canadian Thoroughbred aftercare organizations to supplement ongoing aftercare activities for Canadian Thoroughbreds. The Jockey Club will also contribute $300,000 in 2013 to the TAA from its commercial companies.
"We are proud to support the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and feel strongly about its mission," said James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer 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."
Two racetracks owned by The Stronach Group, the California Retirement Management Account, Keeneland Association, Fasig-Tipton, Barretts Equine Limited, and Ocala Breeders' Sales Company have joined the farms in supporting the aftercare organization.
The Stronach Group and its tracks, Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., have confirmed that they are earmarking funds for organizations in California and Florida that meet the TAA's accreditation standards. In 2013, it is expected that in excess of $200,000 will be granted. CARMA also confirmed that it is directing funds earmarked for California-based organizations and facilities that meet the TAA's accreditation guidelines. In 2013, CARMA expects to grant in excess of $400,000.
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," said TAA executive director Mike Ziegler. "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."
Breeders' Cup Limited will facilitate the collection of fees contributed by all stallion owners. Breeders' Cup will also implement a fan contribution initiative surrounding the Nov. 2-3 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park.
Keeneland, Fasig-Tipton, Barretts, and OBS, beginning with the 2013 sales calendar, will enable buyers and consignors to automatically contribute .05% of their respective purchases or gross sales directly to the TAA.
The sales companies will contribute an additional .05% from their gross sales receipts as well. For those who do not wish to participate in the program, there will be a voluntary opt-out provision.
"The fundamental principle behind this initiative, and our entire industry, should be to do what is best for the horse," said Bill Thomason, president and chief operating officer of the 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 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," said Boyd Browning, president of Fasig-Tipton. "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."
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, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's 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.
"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, 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 TAA is comprised of owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, jockeys, aftercare professionals, and other industry groups.
"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," said Bob Elliston, chief operating officer of Breeders' Cup Ltd. "Thoroughbreds deserve to be treated in a dignified manner throughout their lives."