Behind at the Scenes at the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center: How to Adopt a Thoroughbred


For the next few months, will be giving readers a behind-the-scenes look at the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center (MMSC) in Lexington, Ky. Following three horses throughout their time at the center, readers will find out how Thoroughbreds end up there, some of the retraining techniques they undergo while learning skill sets necessary for a second career and more. This article is the third installment in the series. Read the rest of the series here:



At any time while the Thoroughbreds at the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center are progressing through the Horse Centered Reschooling Program, they are available for adoption. Each horse deserves a happy, welcoming home, and the staff at the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center is eager to help facilitate that. For people who are interested in possibly adopting a horse, understanding the process is essential.

The first step in taking home a Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center Thoroughbred is filling out the application form, which can be downloaded at The document can be emailed to, faxed to (859) 246-3082, or mailed to the Center at 4089 Ironworks Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511. Along with the application, MMSC requires veterinarian, equine specialist and personal references and photos of where the horse will be living if adopted. This helps the staff to get to know who you are, your intentions for ownership and your capability to care for the horse, ensuring that MMSC Thoroughbreds end up in the best homes possible.

Once the approval committee accepts the application, the potential adopter works with the MMSC staff to find the horse that best suits her or needs and wishes. This is conducted with pictures and videos as well as discussions relating to each horse’s personality and second career paths.

Next, the adopter schedules a time to visit the Center and meet the horses. MMSC requires all potential adopters to be introduced to the horses because no matter how right the adoption seems on paper, the truth of a successful future relationship can only be felt and observed in person.

Once someone has decided to take home an MMSC horse, the adoptions fees are negotiated with Director Susanna Thomas. A suggested donation fee will be discussed based on the condition and potential of the horse, as well as how long the horse has been in training.

Final step: taking your new friend home! Each MMSC horse owner is given a “baby book,” which includes all necessary background information about the racing career, veterinarian records, and documents relating to the stay at the Center. Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center staff keeps track of their horses throughout their lives following adoption, welcoming updates and photographs from adopters and making sure that the partnerships remains successful for years to come.

Adoption is a big decision that should not be made lightly, but giving an OTTB the chance for a fun, fulfilling life after racing is an incredibly rewarding adventure.

Liked this article? Here’s more on off-track Thoroughbreds.
Off-Track Thoroughbred Resources
Slideshow: A Day at the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center


  1. Thank you very much for this article. And a very big thank you for letting people know about this program. jackie baker

  2. I think it is really cool what you are doing with these horses and give them a second chance at a new life we would love to do that but no chance for that we now have 20 horses and four of them we purchased because they were starving to death and all four are registered paints to 2 mares and 2 geldings of course now so you see our hands are full now but who ever adopts theses how do you know they are getting a good home we had the last mustang we had he was 39 years old went the lord took him and he was as fat as he could be to the end he was a gorgeous horse to just like all horses thbreds are a very special animal they take a lot of patiences and love they are a very nervous breed of horse we have one of our paint mares she is quarter and thbred both very nervous animal so we handle with care. well I better close now wrote enough I think. sincerely virginia


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