Texas Associations Support Protection of Thoroughbreds

by Raymond Whelan

As the Seabiscuit movie began winning over national audiences, two influential Texas racing associations renewed their commitment to the protection of Thoroughbreds.

After a July 25 story in The Blood-Horse reported 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand had most likely been slaughtered, the Texas Thoroughbred Association board of directors met and adopted a unanimous position against horse slaughter. Officials said the decision would uphold the TTA's long-standing mission to improve the quality of Texas Thoroughbred breeding and racing.

The TTA was founded in 1955 and now has more than 2,000 members.

Meanwhile, the Texas Horsemen's Partnership announced it would support the Community Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses, a national non-profit organization founded in Michigan to find new homes for retired racehorses. Since it was established in 1997, CANTER has placed more than 2,050 horses into non-racing homes after the end of their racing careers. Many retired runners have become show jumpers, dressage mounts or trail horses.

Texas CANTER volunteers are already asking trainers at Lone Star Park, Retama Park, and Sam Houston Race Park to help them find new quarters for old racehorses. CANTER also has representatives working in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, and the New England states.

CANTER said it was "horrified" to hear about the death of Ferdinand. The group has established a special fund in the horse's name.

"Sadly, horse slaughter continues here in the United States, but we are making every effort to help all horses--even those that could not even win a low-level claiming race," a CANTER spokesperson said.