The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association created TAKE THE LEAD, a retirement program for Thoroughbreds stabled at New York Racing Association tracks, to facilitate the search for rehabilitation and retraining placements for retiring NYRA racehorses. Owners and trainers who would like assistance in finding a retirement home for their horse can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Executive Director Andy Belfiore at (732) 673-2855, or President Rick Schosberg at (516) 528-1360.
THE RETIRING RACEHORSE MUST UNDERGO A VETERINARY EVALUATION AND BE APPROVED AS SUITABLE FOR A SECOND CAREER TO BE ACCEPTED INTO THE TAKE THE LEAD PROGRAM.
The Owner/Trainer Donating the Horse will:
- Fill out and sign the TAKE THE LEAD Intake Form and provide relevant information about the horse;
- Submit The Jockey Club foal papers, a negative Coggins test, and pertinent diagnostics, including post-op reports, X-rays and ultrasounds;
- Be responsible for castration, if necessary;
- Relinquish ownership to the aftercare program;
- Provide for the care and upkeep of the horse until it leaves the NYRA grounds.
TAKE THE LEAD will:
- Collect and review the Intake Form;
- Arrange for a comprehensive evaluation of the retiring racehorse by a licensed veterinarian, and provide a report of the evaluation;
- IF APPROVED, contact partner rehabilitation and retraining programs to find a placement, and serve as a liaison between the program and the horse’s owner and/or trainer;
- Provide one-time funding for the horse’s aftercare when necessary, as negotiated with the partner program;
- Arrange for transportation to the rehabilitation or retraining placement;
- Maintain a website that offers information and news regarding TAKE THE LEAD, links to the partner programs, a photo gallery/slide show of horses up for adoption following rehabilitation and retraining, and a donation page;
- Tour the partner programs on a regular basis to ensure that AAEP standards at the facility are maintained.
The Partner Rehabilitation or Retraining Program will:
- Enter into a signed agreement with the owner of the retiring horse to accept the horse as a donation;
- Negotiate any monetary donations from the owner of the retiring horse;
- Provide a placement for the horse that adheres to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance accreditation requirements or AAEP Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue and Retirement Facilities;
- Provide photo(s) of the horse for inclusion on the TAKE THE LEAD website;
- Provide links to the TAKE THE LEAD and NYTHA websites on their websites.
In order to be eligible for TAKE THE LEAD, a horse must be registered with The Jockey Club and stabled at a NYRA track with a trainer who is based at a NYRA track for a minimum of six months annually. Intact males are not eligible, and must be gelded at the owner’s expense. There is no charge to submit a horse to the program, but donations are encouraged.
TAKE THE LEAD Aftercare Donation Criteria: TAKE THE LEAD ensures that our TAA-accredited partners receive a donation to assist in covering the expenses for rehabbing, retraining and rehoming of every horse that passes through our program. These donations are based on several criteria, including the horse’s physical condition, the veterinary recommendation for time off prior to retraining, the prognosis for second career options, and any additional factors that might impact the ability to find an approved adopter, such as stable vices, behavioral issues, or cosmetic flaws that do not affect soundness. We also take into account the private donations made by the connections of the horse. Every horse goes with a minimum donation of $1,000. The maximum donation from TAKE THE LEAD is $4,000, which may be in addition to donations from the horse’s owner and/or trainer, in the most challenging cases. The average donation per horse is $2,600, of which 70% is donated by TAKE THE LEAD.
About NYTHA: For over half a century, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association has represented the interests of owners and trainers at the New York Racing Association racetracks. NYTHA serves as the New York State Gaming Commission’s recognized representative of NYRA’s 5,000-plus owners and trainers. The organization was founded with the objective of serving as a collective voice for the broad interests of Thoroughbred horsemen, increasing the effectiveness of its constituents in the day-to-day activities of racing and safeguarding their financial interests. NYTHA also provides benevolence to the backstretch community and supports equine aftercare and research. More information is available at www.nytha.com. You can also follow NYTHA on Facebook and Twitter.