Saratoga Springs Pledges to Help Racehorse Retirement

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The City of Saratoga Springs, New York, under the leadership of Mayor Joanne Yepsen, will become the first city to address responsible racehorse stewardship in an official city pledge. Beginning in 2015, in recognition of the impact that horse racing has on the economic vitality and quality of life in Saratoga Springs, the City will join Racehorse Aftercare Charities of Saratoga, an alliance of local charities involved in racehorse aftercare and retirement.

Through this initiative, the City of Saratoga pledges to increase awareness of racehorse aftercare among its residents, businesses and tourists and foster ways that these groups can engage with and support the local retired racehorse organizations. Among the ways the City will advance this initiative will be to include racehorse aftercare as part of the tourism draw to the city, encourage local events to promote racehorse aftercare, and to encourage beneficiaries of racing in Saratoga to develop sustainable plans to assist local charities with aftercare. The City will also encourage the Saratoga Springs public school system to include racehorse aftercare as part of a humane education curriculum.

“There is no question that Saratoga’s economic vitality is strongly influenced by horse racing,” said Mayor Yepsen. “Saratoga Springs is proud to be a racing community and grateful to the Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds who enhance our quality of life. The least we can do for the horses that work so hard for us is embrace the cause of aftercare. The City is honored to lead this charge.”

“The New York Racing Association is fully committed to equine advocacy and aftercare for our all-important and beloved thoroughbred athletes,” said New York Racing Association Community Relations Manager Joanie Omeste. “We are proud to support the charitable programs most closely aligned with our industry and encourage all those who benefit from this great sport to support these magnificent athletes in their retirement years.”

On Friday, September 4, the New York Racing Association has invited the five aftercare charities who are collaborating in this initiative to join together at the Community Outreach Booth at Saratoga Race Course to educate thousands of guests and collect donations to support their causes. On September 5, the 5K “Run for the Horses” to benefit participating local racehorse retirement charities will take place in SPA State Park.

“Racehorses are a part of the fabric of Saratoga all year--not just in the afternoons during August,” said Suzie O’Cain a board member of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. “Saratoga is home to breeders, owners, retirement and retraining organizations and horse lovers who are actively engaged with these wonderful horses every day. We all want to be sure that racehorses have great homes after racing. So we applaud the efforts of Mayor Yepsen and we are excited to see where it leads.”

Racehorse Aftercare Charities of Saratoga is a coalition of charities based in Saratoga dedicated to providing quality off the track life alternatives for retired racehorses. Participating groups include ACTT Naturally, contact Valerie Buck at 570-578-6377 or www.acttnaturally.org, Heading for Home Racehorse Retraining and Adoption, contact Joe Battaglia at 518-265-3539 or www.hfhrrc.org, ReRun at North Country Horses contact Amanda Vance at 518-441-5959 or www.rerunottb.com, Old Friends at Cabin Creek, contact JoAnn Pepper at 518-698-2377 or www.oldfriendsatcabincreek.com, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, contact Diana Pikulski at 518-226-0028 or www.trfinc.org, and Saratoga War Horse contact Katherine Pelham at 518-886-8131 or www.saratogawarhorse.com. Contact Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne D. Yepsen at 518-587-3550 or www.saratoga-springs.org.

For more information contact Diana Pikulski at the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation 518-226-0028.