NY Groups Team to Aid Retired Thoroughbreds

The program, called TAKE2, will work with the horse show world on second careers.

Three organizations in New York are teaming up to develop second career opportunities for retired Thoroughbred racehorses.

The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, New York Racing Association, and New York Thoroughbred Breeders announced March 16 creation of TAKE2, which is designed to expand options for retired racehorses and expand the demand for the breed in the horse show world.

As part of the TAKE2 program, the organizations will co-sponsor Thoroughbred-only divisions for hunters and jumpers at the Skidmore College Saratoga Classic Horse Show and Saratoga Springs Horse Show in 2012. The AA-rated horse shows will be held at Saratoga racetrack this spring.

New Jersey horsemen are also on board, and will sponsor Thoroughbred-only classes at the AA-rated Garden State Horse Show in May.

Promoting the Thoroughbred in the horse show world is part of the TAKE2 campaign to highlight the value of the breed beyond the racetrack. In addition, the New York THA, NYRA, and NYTB have signed on to contribute to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s new program to retrain and adopt out as many as 100 horses per year retired from the three NYRA tracks.

The New York THA and NYRA said their financial commitment to those efforts totals more than $250,000.

“The welfare of our equine athletes, both during and after their racing careers, is of the utmost importance to the owners and trainers competing at NYRA’s tracks,” New York THA president Rick Violette Jr. said in a statement. “The New York THA and NYRA have long offered financial support to organizations such as the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, but we are now expanding our initiatives.

“We want to give our retired racehorses the opportunity to find new vocations in different equestrian disciplines. This is our ‘Jobs Program.’ Thoroughbreds are healthier and happier when they have jobs to do.”

NYRA president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward said he hopes the initiative “will encourage horsemen in our industry, and in the horse show world, to recognize the fulfilling possibilities that exist to provide Thoroughbred with long and happy lives after their racing careers.”

“Two decades ago, Thoroughbreds were utilized much more in the hunter/jumper community,” NYTB executive director Jeffrey Cannizzo said. “The incentives of the TAKE2 program should help to turn back the clock by creating a fresh demand for Thoroughbreds on the horse show circuit in New York.”

Saratoga Spring Horse Show I will run from May 2-6, with Saratoga Springs Horse Show II set for May 9-13. The Skidmore College Saratoga Classic I will be held June 12-17; Classic II is scheduled for June 20-24.

The Garden State Horse Show is set for May 2-6 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, N.J.

To be eligible for TAKE2-affiliated events, Thoroughbreds must be registered with The Jockey Club. Proof of registration is required at time of entry.