04/12/2013 2:26PM

New York horsemen form Take The Lead, a Thoroughbred retirement program

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Horses based at New York Racing Association tracks who are no longer able to race but could be trained for second careers now have a place to go.

The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association on Friday announced the creation of “Take The Lead,” a retirement program for Thoroughbreds stabled at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga.

Take The Lead will partner with four established aftercare facilities that will provide rehabilitation and retraining for horses that are ready to begin second careers.

In order to be eligible for the program, a horse must be registered with the Jockey Club and must be stabled with a trainer who is based at a NYRA track for a minimum six months out of the year. All male horses must be gelded.

There is no charge to submit a horse to the program, but donations to the aftercare facilities are encouraged.

The four aftercare facilities that these horses will be placed with are New Vocations in Lexington, Ky., Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue, ReRun, and Second Chances Thoroughbreds.

Three horses have already been entered into the program, including Down Broadway, a horse trained by Richard Schosberg who finished third in a maiden race on Feb. 24 and was subsequently retired. After arriving at New Vocations on March 2 and being retrained, he was adopted.

“Providing the best care possible is a responsibility that trainers take very seriously, and part of that responsibility is knowing when it is time to retire a horse,” Schosberg said. “But finding a new home is not always an easy task. Aftercare organizations have made adoption a more viable option, and Take The Lead will serve to expedite the process for our horsemen while making sure that our adoption partners have the funding they need to continue their good work.”