For recreational riders and competitive equestrians, buying a horse is like searching for a long-term friend or athletic partner. They likely intend to have that horse be a companion and a big part of their day-to-day life for years to come. But that’s not always the case with racehorse buyers.
While the racing industry wants to encourage new owners to get involved with the sport, there has been a big push over the last several years to get those within the industry to take more responsibility for what happens to Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds once their racing days are over.
The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC), which regulates horse racing in that state, has created a short video that provides an introduction to aftercare options for retired racehorses. Starting February 1, all owners, trainers and assistant trainers of Thoroughbred and Standardbreds in New York will be required to view the video.
The video touches on several topics relevant to racehorse owners: providing a financial safety net for a horse; keeping veterinary records to provide to the horse’s next owner or retraining facility; finding a qualified retraining or retirement organization; and donating to aftercare organizations.
The video will also be sent to racetracks in New York to be aired before, during, or after the races.
The NYSGC has an ongoing project to locate New York-bred Thoroughbreds that raced between 2010 and 2012, but haven’t raced since. The goal is to determine the scope of the ex-racehorse population in the state. The project began in 2015, and in conjunction with the release of the aftercare video, the NYSGC is also opening the project up to the public to help find these “lost” Thoroughbreds.
If you have or know of any New York-bred Thoroughbreds, you may be able to help. Visit the NYSGC website to download a spreadsheet with a list of all of the Thoroughbreds whose whereabouts are still unknown. The spreadsheet includes the horse’s name (as registered with The Jockey Club), their sex, year of birth, the date of their last race, and at which track they last raced. If you are familiar with a horse’s current location, contact the NYSGC to update their records. The spreadsheet and contact info is available at www.gaming.ny.gov.
For more on racehorse aftercare, check out our off-track Thoroughbred resource center.
Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lesliepotterphoto.com