(Many former racehorses can be taught to become lead ponies later in life / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Fair Grounds Media Team:

The Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (LAHBPA) and Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots (Fair Grounds) have united to partner in an initiative that will expand efforts made by parent company Churchill Downs, Inc. to financially support race horse aftercare.

For the entirety of the Fair Grounds’ 2019-2020 Thoroughbred racing season (Nov. 28 thru March 29), consenting Louisiana HBPA member owners have contributed $5 per starter to race horse aftercare. At the conclusion of the meet, the track will then match that dollar amount. Efforts made during the Fair Grounds’ 12th annual, ten-day summer Quarter Horse Race season resulted in a total race horse aftercare donation of $6,580.

Each year, thousands of racehorses are retired from racing. Many go directly on to second careers as stallions or broodmares while others are retired to organizations that work towards finding new homes and other types of second careers for retired racehorses. This fund-raising effort is geared toward financially supporting groups such as these.

“The Louisiana HBPA thanks Fair Grounds for matching our members’ donations to help with horse aftercare,” said Edwin Fenasci, executive director of the LAHBPA. “Our members care deeply for our equine athletes and want to help find a place for them after their racing career. The LAHBPA has provided financial grants to great charitable organizations like NTWO and New Vocations. Their efforts in Louisiana have been transformative and we look forward to their continued good work. Fair Grounds matching those funds is vital for the success of aftercare in Louisiana and shows their commitment to help this great effort.”

The NTWO works to place Thoroughbreds in the hands of sport horse trainers and owners. They pull from all available resources to be a comprehensive welfare organization that protects racing’s greatest asset, the horse, for the overall benefit of the sport.

New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program was founded in 1992 to offer retiring racehorses a safe-haven, rehabilitation, and continued education through placement in experienced, caring homes. Their focus is on adoption versus retirement, believing that each horse deserves to have an individual home and purpose.

New Vocations currently has locations in five different states: Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York and Louisiana.

“Fair Grounds is proud to be a part of such a worthwhile and supportive funding mechanism that will add resources to assist retired racehorses” said Doug Shipley, president of Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots. “We look forward to working with all of our industry participants and organizations to continue to make a difference.”