It’s All About Aftercare!

August 2, 2023

NYRA, NYTHA and NYTB to host third annual New York Thoroughbred Aftercare Day at Saratoga on Thursday, August 17

NYRA Press Office

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.  – The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA), New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA), and New York Thoroughbred Breeders (NYTB) will host the third annual New York Thoroughbred Aftercare Day on Thursday, August 17 at Saratoga Race Course. 

Free with paid track admission, the celebration will include a variety of events and demonstrations to highlight the work of the New York State aftercare community. 

The featured race on Thursday’s card will be the $125,000 Rick Violette, a 1 1/16-mile turf test for New York-bred sophomores named for the late trainer and NYTHA President who spearheaded the creation of the TAKE2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program and TAKE THE LEAD Retirement Program. 

Violette was a founding member of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), the non-profit organization that accredits, inspects, and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retire, retrain, and rehome Thoroughbreds. Based in Lexington, Kentucky, the TAA is supported by owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, aftercare professionals, and other industry members.

Representatives from TAA-accredited organizations will be on-site at Saratoga on August 17 to educate both racing fans and the general public about the importance of responsible aftercare efforts, including Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue, ACTT Naturally, Equine Advocates, Lollipop Farm, Lucky Orphans, New Vocations, Old Friends at Cabin Creek, ReRun, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, and Therapeutic Horses of Saratoga. 

Fans can visit the Community Booth behind the jockeys’ quarters to learn more about the participating organizations. 

“Thoroughbred Aftercare Day reflects our ongoing commitment to protecting and re-training equine athletes when their racing days are done,” said Dave O’Rourke, NYRA President & CEO. “New York is the national leader when it comes to supporting and investing in meaningful aftercare efforts, and we are thrilled to host the third annual New York Thoroughbred Aftercare Day at Saratoga Race Course on August 17.”

New York Thoroughbred Aftercare Day will begin with an on-track demonstration of retired racehorses showcasing the skills learned in their second careers. New Vocations will be the first to demonstrate the Thoroughbred’s athleticism with a jumping display prior to the day’s races, and ReRun will follow after the second race with flatwork/dressage exhibition.

The Horse Sense stall, located just outside of the Saratoga grandstand, will feature retired racehorses from Old Friends at Cabin Creek between 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) afterwards between 1:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.

“We are so excited to present our third annual NY Aftercare Day,” said Rick Schosberg, the New York-based retired trainer who serves as Vice President of NYTHA and President of TAKE2/TAKE THE LEAD. “It is so important to be able to provide safe and purposeful retirements and second careers for these wonderful equine athletes, and to showcase all of the fine work to the public is so gratifying and rewarding. It’s a massive combined effort of the horsemen, NYTHA, the TAA and the many accredited aftercare organizations, the NYTB, and the New York Racing Association. It’s a full team effort! Enjoy the demonstrations and learn about the great work being done here in New York to provide safe and meaningful lives for our racehorses when their racing days are over.”

NYRA, NYTHA, NYTB, and New York owners contribute more than $1.2 million per year to aftercare support. New York’s racing community contributes more financial support to Thoroughbred aftercare than any state in the country. 

In 2013, NYTHA’s TAKE THE LEAD (TTL) Thoroughbred Retirement Program was launched with NYRA and NYTB’s support and has placed over 1,000horses retiring from the NYRA tracks with TAA-accredited organizations.

In 2014, NYTHA adopted a per-start fee for owners of $5 that provided funding to the TAA. In July 2019, NYRA and NYTHA increased the per-start fee to $10. NYRA matches those contributions, and then donates the proceeds to the TAA at the conclusion of each race meet conducted at NYRA. 

TAA founding member, Rick Violet. (Janet Garaguso)

In 2019, NYRA and NYTHA launched an aftercare assessment program that requires owners claiming a horse subject to contribute a 1.5 percent aftercare assessment on top of the claiming price of the horse with funding allocated to the TAA and TTL. For example, an owner claiming a horse for $50,000 will contribute an additional $750 toward aftercare. This program generated over $245,000 in 2022, and over $100,000 this year through June 30. 

“We’re proud to partner with NYRA and NYTHA once again to highlight and bring awareness to Thoroughbred Aftercare in New York,” said Najja Thompson, Executive Director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders. “The efforts undertaken by each of the participating Thoroughbred Aftercare accredited organizations to care, retrain and develop second careers for retired racehorses deserves to be featured. Being able to do so in front of racing fans at Saratoga speaks to the support our industry as a collective is providing to assure the long-term care of our equine athletes.”

Racing fans will be able to donate to TAKE THE LEAD by texting AFTERCARE2023 to 44321 to make a contribution, or by opting to make a donation to the TAA when cashing a winning ticket on an AmTote International self-service betting terminal. All donations are tax deductible.

There will also be a raffle on NY Thoroughbred Aftercare Day for an Exmark Radius-S Series 60” Zero Turn Mower, valued at $10,000. 

“Exmark has been a longtime supporter of our industry, and with this donation they are providing a big boost to the great work that the NYTHA does for the New York equine community,” said Steve Andersen, founder of Equine Equipment. “We are proud to help facilitate this generous donation, and we are very thankful to have a partner like Exmark who gives back to the racing industry in so many ways.

“Equine Equipment is always available to help horsemen get discounts on a wide range of products and equipment, but if you are in the market for a new Exmark commercial mower, we encourage you to support this fundraiser or simply make a donation to the NYTHA,” added Andersen. 

All proceeds from the raffle will be donated to TAKE THE LEAD. 

About TAKE2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program:

Started in 2012, TAKE2 was created to provide second career opportunities for retired racehorses in the show ring and to increase the popularity of Thoroughbreds as Hunters and Jumpers. The program has grown from eight horse shows in three states and now partners with over 500 horse shows in 23 states. More than 2,500 Thoroughbreds have competed in the TAKE2 Hunter and Jumper divisions across the country.

TAKE THE LEAD works with owners and trainers to find placements for the horses retiring from the NYRA tracks with TAA-accredited aftercare organizations. TAKE THE LEAD is co-funded by members of the Thoroughbred industry around the country: New York Thoroughbred Breeders; New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund; Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Associations in Maryland (through Beyond the Wire) and Pennsylvania (through Turning for Home); Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company; and members of the racing and horse show communities across the country, For more information on TAKE2 and TAKE THE LEAD, go to

@Jonathanstettin Very well written article. The sport will be missed by many...The time is now

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