TARA Seeks 'Social Security System' for Horses

Its ranks swelling as new groups form and apply for accreditation, the Thoroughbred Adoption and Retirement Associations is proposing a "social security system" for racing Thoroughbreds in the form of a registry that would recognize Thoroughbreds suited for a second career as sport or show horses.

TARA leaders were scheduled to meet with The Jockey Club executive director Gary Carpenter in early November to lay the groundwork for access to records and pedigree information, said TARA president and ReRun executive director Shon Wylie at the coalition's second annual convention in Lexington Nov. 3-4. Representatives of TARA groups from throughout the United States attended the meeting.

Gary Biszantz, chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and a Jockey Club board member, assured those at the session the registry has his support. He said he will speak with fellow Jockey Club board members on its behalf.

TARA's registry would differ from the Performance Horse Registry by restricting eligibility to horses that are 100% Thoroughbred. Details are yet to be worked out, but owners possibly would nominate horses to the registry, and the resulting funds would be used to pay TARA-accredited groups for expenses while the horse is let down from the track.

If deemed sound for a second career, the horse would jump to the head of the list for placement into an adoption program; if not, the horse would take the usually lengthier route of placement into a retirement program.

"Our phone is ringing off the hook with people wanting to donate horses," Wylie said. "That's not a good thing when you've got limited funding."

In another facet of TARA's efforts to raise awareness of the Thoroughbred's athletic versatility and increase marketability of the breed, TARA-accredited groups are planning to host an All-Thoroughbred show circuit in 2002. An All-Thoroughbred horse show at Turfway Park Memorial Day weekend raised $8,000 that was split between ReRun and the New Vocations program.