12/07/2011 5:23PM

Lakow named CEO of Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation


Former New York Racing Association official Mike Lakow has accepted the chief executive position at the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, the charity announced late Wednesday.

Lakow joined the TRF’s board last month. He has worked in the Thoroughbred business since 1977 and has held a variety of positions in racing and breeding, including serving as general manager of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Lexington.

“I am looking forward to putting all of my experience in the racing and breeding industry to work on behalf of the horses, and I would like to thank the TRF board for putting their trust in me,” Lakow said. “I have long admired TRF’s innovative programs and their mission as a lifetime retirement home for retired racehorses. One of my goals will be to substantially expand TRF’s prison-based farms.”

Lakow will be based at the organization’s Saratoga Springs, N.Y., headquarters.

The TRF’s departing chief executive officer, Rob Hinkle, has been elected to the organization’s board. Hinkle was named CEO in May at a turbulent time for the TRF, which cares for an estimated 1,100 former racehorses at numerous farms and satellite facilities around the country.

Hinkle’s appointment came two months after a New York Times article alleged horses in the group’s care had been neglected and that its payments to satellite farms were inadequate and behind schedule. The New York attorney general’s charities bureau subsequently opened an ongoing investigation into the foundation. The TRF had acknowledged funding shortfalls that it said were related to the economic downturn and a large herd of aging horses, but denied that there was a pattern of neglect at its farms, citing whole-herd veterinary inspections.

The TRF’s executive committee chairman, John Moore, called the TRF herd’s current condition “excellent” and added that “our relationships with satellite farms and prisons have never been better.”

Moore said Hinkle will serve on the TRF’s Herd Committee and also will chair a new committee created to expand corporate sponsorship.

“My tenure at the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation has been immensely satisfying,” Hinkle said. “I plan to work with the board on a variety of matters.”