04/01/2015 2:47PM

Kentucky tracks, horsemen form partnership to benefit Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance

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The Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Keeneland Race Course, and Churchill Downs have formed a partnership to generate funds for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance through a per-start donation from participating owners.

The agreement signed by the 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 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance is a non-profit organization that serves as an accrediting body for facilities that care for Thoroughbreds at the conclusion of their racing careers, as well as a fundraising engine to support approved aftercare facilities.

“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.”

The program will begin with the opening of Keeneland’s spring meet on Friday, April 3.

Participation in the program is voluntary, and owners who wish to opt out can do so by contacting the horsemen’s bookkeepers at the tracks.

“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,” said Jimmy Bell, president of the TAA. “We hope horsemen and racetracks in other parts of the country follow their example.”