06/11/2015 3:18PM

New Vocations to break ground on new facility


New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program will hold a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the construction of its new racehorse adoption facility at Mereworth Farm in Lexington, Ky., on Wednesday, June 24 at 11 a.m. Eastern.

Among those scheduled to speak during the ceremony will be Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning, WinStar Farm CEO Elliot Walden, and Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day. A light lunch will follow.

Last month, New Vocations launched a $2-million capital campaign in an effort to build a Thoroughbred retraining and adoption facility on the Mereworth Farm property under the direction of the Susan S. Donaldson Foundation.

Mereworth Farm is a 1,200-acre tract of land used as a sanctuary for unwanted equines and retired racehorses. The foundation was founded in 1989 to preserve the farm after Donaldson’s death as a home for unwanted animals in perpetuity.

New Vocations’ relationship with the foundation includes a free, long-term lease of 85 acres, on which there will be a pair of 15-stall barns, an indoor arena with viewing area, an outdoor arena, an office, and ample paddocks with pastures. The foundation will donate all grain for New Vocations horses, cover water expenses, and mow all green spaces. An additional 20-stall barn and paddocks will be provided for horses in need of rehabilitation before they begin retraining.

“We are very excited to get the construction started,” said Anna Ford, New Vocations Program Director. “New Vocations, in combination with Mereworth Farm, will be the largest rehabilitation, retraining, rehoming and retirement facility in the nation. 

“The relationship is the first of its kind, ultimately helping hundreds of horses each year and greatly impacting the racing industry,” Ford continued. “Once complete, the farm will showcase all facets of equine aftercare and will be a destination for the public, as well as for the racing and equestrian communities.”