The Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (“HBPA”), Keeneland Racecourse and Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”) will join in a unique partnership designed to generate funds for the work of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (“TAA”), the non-profit organization that serves as both an accrediting body for facilities that care for Thoroughbreds at the conclusion of their racing careers and a fundraising engine to support aftercare facilities approved by the alliance.
A partnership agreement signed by leaders of the three organizations calls for Kentucky HBPA member owners to contribute $5 to the TAA for each of their horses that start in races at the two tracks. Churchill Downs and Keeneland would then match each contribution generated in their respective races. The owner contribution and matching racetrack donations will begin on the opening day of each track’s spring racing sessions.
Keeneland is set to open its 15-day Spring Meet on Friday, April 3, and the first of 38 days of Spring Meet racing at Churchill Downs is set for Saturday, April 25.
Participation in the partnership by Thoroughbred owners is voluntary. Owners who wish to opt-out of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance funding partnership can do so by contacting the Horseman’s Bookkeepers at the tracks.
The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, a Lexington, Ky.-based 501(c) (3) non-profit organization created in 2012, awarded more than $2.4 million in grants to 42 accredited agencies in 2014.
“Churchill Downs, Keeneland and the Kentucky HBPA have all demonstrated their deep commitment to Thoroughbred aftercare through this initiative and they are to be commended for doing so,” said Jimmy Bell, president of both Darley America and the TAA. “We are immensely grateful to the owners who will be paying the $5-per-start fee and sincerely appreciate Churchill Downs and Keeneland matching those donations. We hope horsemen and racetracks in other parts of the country follow their example.”
“A quality life for all of our horses at the end of their racing days is an important issue for all horsemen, and the Kentucky HBPA believes this opportunity to provide vital funding for the work of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance will be embraced by our members,” said Marty Maline, Executive Director of the Kentucky HPBA. “The effort to create this partnership that links our members, Keeneland, Churchill Downs and the TAA has been very gratifying. This is a voluntary funding mechanism that will work for horsemen and tracks at every level of competition, and our members look forward to working with the TAA as its work continues to grow and thrive.”
“First and foremost, we must always do what is in the best interest of our horses; they are our No. 1 priority,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance is providing a critical service to our industry, and Keeneland is proud to support their important work.”
“The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance has done remarkable work in its very brief existence and Churchill Downs is excited to be a part of this partnership that will create important new funding for this non-profit organization,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “This fundraising partnership provides a wonderful opportunity for our organizations to work together to help move the necessary work of the still very young Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance forward.”
Based in Lexington, Ky., the TAA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization designed to serve as both an accrediting body for aftercare facilities that care for Thoroughbreds following the conclusion of their racing careers, and a fundraising body to support these approved facilities. Funded initially by seed money from Breeders’ Cup, Ltd., The Jockey Club, and Keeneland Association, the TAA is comprised of and supported by owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, aftercare professionals and other industry groups. In 2013, TAA awarded $1,000,000 to 23 accredited organizations and gave out an additional $2,400,000 to 42 accredited organizations in 2014.