The ongoing quest to provide better care for Thoroughbreds following their racing careers took a step forward Thursday when a group of industry stakeholders announced the establishment of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
The Alliance will serve as both the accrediting body for aftercare facilities that care for Thoroughbreds following the conclusion of their racing days and a fund-raising body to support these approved facilities.
Funded initially by seed money from Breeders' Cup Ltd., The Jockey Club and Keeneland Association, the TAA is comprised of owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, jockeys, aftercare professionals and other industry groups.
"It is our responsibility as owners, tracks, breeders, trainers, jockeys, bloodstock agents, and anyone who has a stake in the game to take responsibility for the aftercare of these great animals who are the keystone of our sport," said TAA board president and Thoroughbred owner Jack Wolf. "Securing support and funding from Breeders' Cup, The Jockey Club, Keeneland and so many other great organizations speaks to the credibility and importance of our effort and is so greatly appreciated."
The TAA will accredit aftercare facilities based on a Code of Standards covering operations, education, horse management, facility services and adoption policies. Simultaneously, the TAA will raise funds on behalf of accredited facilities via institutional contributions that are to be directed 100 percent to program services rather than to fund-raising or general administrative costs.
"The Jockey Club's involvement and support of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance is a natural extension of our other ongoing efforts in the area of Thoroughbred aftercare," said James Gagliano, president of The Jockey Club. "The accreditation and proper funding for aftercare facilities will greatly enhance the well-being of our equine athletes, and we encourage other groups and individuals from all segments of our sport to support this Alliance."
"Thoroughbred aftercare is something that touches us all," added Keeneland president Nick Nicholson. "We are proud to do our part, and I know that virtually everyone else will be equally proud to do theirs in order to make the TAA an ongoing success."
The TAA offices will be based in Lexington.