Edited Press Release
It was the happiest of holiday seasons for the TAKE2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program. Thanks to the support of Thoroughbred lovers across the country, TAKE2 was just shy of its goal of raising $100,000 in celebration of the Program’s 10th Anniversary, and a most generous holiday gift of $25,000 from the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund (NYSTBDF) brought the campaign across the finish line. A total of $117,744 was raised during the 10 months of the drive.
“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who made a contribution, and blown away by the generosity of the Fund,” said TAKE2 Executive Director Andy Belfiore. “Our Program is a labor of love, and it means the world to know that so many people share our commitment to retired racehorses. This funding will help us continue the work started by Rick Violette 10 years ago, putting the spotlight on the Thoroughbred in the show ring and creating second career opportunities to ensure happy and healthy lives beyond the racetrack.”
The NYSTBF long has been a staunch advocate for TAKE2, which offers Thoroughbred Hunter and Jumper divisions at more than 400 horse shows. TAKE2’s sister program, TAKE THE LEAD, works with New York’s owners and trainers to find homes for the horses retiring from NYRA tracks. The promotion of responsible Thoroughbred retirement is at the top of the agenda for NYSTBDF, a mission that has grown in the last 10 years.
“I’ve been with the Fund since about 2010, and the commitment to aftercare has changed a great deal in that time,” explained NYSTBDF Executive Director Tracy Egan. “I think 2011 was the first year we used promotional funding to support aftercare, but back then I had to justify the spending and convince people it was the right thing to do. That’s not the case any longer.
“I’ve always believed we need to create the reality that we are taking care of our horses even after they leave the racetrack,” she added. “Their racing careers are so brief, and they have long and productive lives after the track.”
Egan not only champions retired racehorses through the Fund, she herself is the proud owner of more than one off-the-track Thoroughbred.
“For 20 years, my riding horse was a retired racehorse named Sovereign Address,” she said. “He raced four times, then injured a tendon. I brought him home and he was just the most wonderful horse. I also have older mares, retired broodmares, the oldest is now 26.”
Personally and professionally, Egan is behind the promotion of organizations like TAKE2. “Programs that showcase the Thoroughbred are vital to aftercare efforts, and TAKE2 is leading the way,” she said. “I’m so thankful to Rick Violette for getting the ball rolling. For a while now, people have been favoring Warm Bloods to take them around the hunt course, but in my opinion, there is nothing better than a Thoroughbred to take you there. They are so amazing, so ready to go. There really is nothing like partnering with a Thoroughbred with a good brain.”
In addition to promotional initiatives, the NYSTBDF works with TAKE2 and TAKE THE LEAD on projects including equine rescue efforts.
“We know we can count on TAKE2 and TAKE THE LEAD to team up with the Fund in times of crisis to help save horses who are in harm’s way,” Egan said. “There are so many organizations and individuals who step up during those times, and [TAKE2/TAKE THE LEAD President] Rick Schosberg is instrumental to our joint success. We have seen our team in action, and it is a beautiful unifying effort – everybody acting on behalf of the horses.”
The NYSTBDF will host a ceremonial check presentation and a reception with aftercare organizations and state legislators at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, NY, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023.
“We have a new Board Chairman, Brian O’Dwyer, and it was his idea to have the check ceremony, to bring together the aftercare community and the lawmakers from Albany,” Egan said. “We want our lawmakers to learn about and understand our commitment to aftercare.”
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