Thoroughbred care plan launched

Looking to raise money to care for unwanted retired Thoroughbreds, The Jockey Club announced a new "checkoff" program of voluntary contributions beginning in January.

The issue of unwanted horses has become an acute public relations problem for the racing industry; several racetracks, including those owned by Magna Entertainment, have implemented rules to ban horsemen caught shipping horses to slaughter.

The new Jockey Club program, which will work through the Thoroughbred Charities of America and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, was jointly announced on Tuesday by the three organizations.

Through the checkoff, breeders will be able to designate to Thoroughbred "aftercare" programs a set $25, $50, $75 or $100, or an amount of their choice, when they file foal registration applications.

The Jockey Club promised to match up to $200,000 in checkoff funds in 2009. The matching money will come from the breed registry's four commercial subsidiaries.

The funds will benefit the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation's vocational training at correctional facilities and the Thoroughbred Charities of America's ex-racehorse retraining and adoption programs.

The TRF also operates the Maker's Mark Secretariat Center at the Kentucky Horse Park. The facility accepts horses from various rescue organizations.