The Thoroughbred Charities of America held its 28th stallion season auction and celebration Jan. 7 at the Keeneland Entertainment Center. Dan Rosenberg, a longtime board member and past president of the TCA was honored for his service with the Allaire du Pont Leadership Award, while Kelley Stobie and Shelley Blodgett of the Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare were bestowed the Ellen and Herb Moelis Industry Service Award for their work caring for Thoroughbreds caught at Hipodromo Camarero in Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Some 200-250 horsepeople were in attendance at the event that serves as the main fundraiser for TCA. The auction included seasons to horses such as Medaglia d'Oro , Into Mischief , and California Chrome as part of a live auction, as well as several silent auction items. TCA president Mike McMahon noted the overall stallion season auction raised more than $700,000, while last year some $500,000 was raised.
Begun in 1990 with a small group of Mid-Atlantic Thorougbred owners, headed by Herb and Ellen Moelis and the late Allaire du Pont with a dinner and auction, Thoroughbred Charities of America was formalized in 1997, and in 2007 the annual stallion season auction was moved from Delaware to Lexington. In 2008 the TCA became affiliated with the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.
Rosenberg, who worked at Three Chimneys Farm as the general manager, and later president and chief operating officer, has been involved with the TCA since the beginning and served as president from 2000-06.
"He's been a great mentor, someone I can really follow," McMahon said. "Dan is nothing short of a freak in our business. He's a historian of the Thoroughbred and he knows people from the past and can tell you what they thought. He's got perspective that helps me: It's through his experience and his ability to see black and white."
"I was first honored by Herb and Ellen Moelis to be on the board," Rosenberg said in accepting his award. "That in of itself was a huge honor because it is a cause and a mission that is near and dear to my heart. I am especially honored to be given the award named for Allaire du Pont. She was a longtime client of Three Chimneys Farm and we became very close. She was truly an extraordinary person. She didn't just love horses, she loved animals.
"At Three Chimneys Farm we were among the first to sound the alarm. I think very few people in the Thoroughbred industry realized there was a problem with what was happening to these horses after they were done racing.
"Once people started to get focused on it, the industry support was, and continues to be, enormous. They realized this was a problem we had to deal with. We've evolved from talking about unwanted horses and horse rescue to aftercare, and that's huge.
"In addition to providing for horses after they're done racing, another thing that I'm very proud of (with) the Thoroughbred Charities of America is the aid we give to backstretch workers and farm personal.
"One day Steuart Pittman showed up in my office and he had an idea, and he told me about the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) and immediately TCA jumped on board and has been part of the 'Makeover' project ever since," Rosenberg said. "When I was a teenager and I was showing hunters and jumpers, if you weren't riding a Thoroughbred, the judges wouldn't look at you. Over the years, the warmblood breeders out-marketed us and Thoroughbreds fell out of demand. It used to be in the '60s and '70s, a decent, good-looking horse that wasn't very fast, somebody would buy them from you. And that turned into if you had a sound, good-looking horse, you'd have to pay someone to take them."
Stobie and Blodgett described the plight of the Thoroughbreds at the track in Puerto Rico following the hurricanes. While quick to thank all of groups and individuals who lent a hand, they were the ones on the frontline organizing the care on the grounds.