10/11/2012 2:46PM

Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance gets millions of dollars in industry-wide commitments


LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance has put together contributions agreements with a range of industry companies and organizations that could funnel several million dollars toward retirement and retraining of former racehorses, the TAA announced Thursday. The funds will “support the TAA’s mission to accredit and raise funds for Thoroughbred aftercare facilities,” the announcement said.

The groups committing to fund TAA in 2013 include the Jockey Club; 13 Kentucky breeding farms; Santa Anita in California and Gulfstream Park in Florida; major Thoroughbred auction houses Fasig-Tipton, Keeneland, Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company, and Barretts; and the California Retirement Management Account.

There could be more to come: the TAA, whose president is Starlight Stables principal Jack Wolf, also has met with other industry organizations, including Breeders’ Cup, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, and stallion owners outside Kentucky. The group plans to approach other trade associations, including those representing regulators and jockeys, as well as racing-related businesses and groups in the coming months.

The Jockey Club announced Thursday that it will contribute to TAA by raising fees for “most registry-related transactions,” including foal registration, by $25. Foal registration will go from $200 to $225 under the plan, although 2012 foals registered within a year of their foaling date will be grandfathered in at the $200 fee. The Jockey Club also has pledged $300,000 next year from its various companies, and it will continue to offer its voluntary check-off option on foal registration.

The 13 Kentucky stud farms have agreed to pay 25 percent of each of their stallions’ advertised stud fees, starting with the 2013 breeding season which opens in February. The farms are Adena Springs, Airdrie Stud, Castleton Lyons, Darby Dan, Darley, Gainesway, Hill ’n’ Dale, Millennium Farms, Pin Oak Stud, Taylor Made, Vinery, Walmac Farm, and WinStar Farm. The Breeders’ Cup will handle collecting those pledges and also plans to promote fan contributions in connection with the Breeders’ Cup championships this year, set for Nov. 2-3 at Santa Anita Park.

Adena Springs owner Frank Stronach also has pledged support through the Stronach Group’s racetracks Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park, which will earmark funds for aftercare organizations in California and Florida that meet the TAA’s accreditation standards. The TAA expects that the two tracks’ funds could total more than $200,000 in 2013. Also in California, the CARMA program will point its funds designated for California aftercare programs to those meeting TAA accreditation standards. CARMA, established in 2007 as a fundraising method for California racehorses’ aftercare, expects to provide “in excess of $400,000,” according to the TAA announcement.

Participating auction houses have pledged .05 percent of their gross sales in 2013 and also will offer buyers and consignors the same percentage of their gross purchases or sales. There will be a voluntary opt-out option for buyers and sellers not wishing to contribute to the program.

The pledges could result in as much as $4 million in TAA funds, TAA executive director Mike Zeigler said, in what he called “a rough estimate.” In the announcement, Ziegler said that “virtually all of our 2013 contributions will be directed straight to the horses, which is as it should be.”