ARCADIA, Calif. — Santa Anita Park announced on Tuesday that MI Developments Chairman Frank Stronach, a Thoroughbred industry leader in the retraining and rehabilitation of Thoroughbred racehorses, will oversee the formation of the Santa Anita Park After-Care Program.
Stronach, a five-time Eclipse Award winning breeder and four-time Eclipse winning owner, is also an advocate and supporter of several other equine retirement programs in North America.
As Chairman and CEO of MI Developments Inc., parent company of Santa Anita Park, Stronach said that Santa Anita’s After-Care Program will help match horses with loving owners who will make a lifelong commitment to their health, safety and well being.
Stronach also said that Santa Anita would support the After-Care Program by matching the money currently taken from purses (one third of one percent) at Santa Anita and at Santa Anita’s recently announced Autumn Meet. The monies will be distributed to retirement programs throughout California by the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA).
“This is not a solution to the problem, but we feel it is another step in the right direction,” said Stronach. “While we believe it is the responsibility of every owner to find safe, after-race programs for all Thoroughbreds, we also believe in taking the initiative to develop retirement, rehabilitation and retraining programs for these equine athletes who give so much to all of us.”
Stronach set an industry precedent seven years ago by developing Adena Retirement, the racing industry’s first in-house retirement program, located in Florida. Under the direction of a full-time, in-house staff of professional trainers, riders, grooms and veterinarians, Adena Retirement carefully evaluates and retrains horses owned by the Stronach family and Adena Springs before matching them with owners who will provide suitable lifelong adoptive homes. Many of the horses retrained at Adena Retirement have flourished in disciplines, including hunter, jumper, dressage and pleasure.
The Santa Anita Park Thoroughbred After-Care Program will operate under the auspices of a committee: Michael Rogers, Vice President, Operations, Santa Anita, Stacie Clark, Adena Retirement, Nikki Kuzoff, Adena Retirement, George Haines, President, Santa Anita and Scott Daruty, Vice President, Santa Anita.
The committee will outline the board’s responsibilities and procedures in a constitution. There will be an application process for California Thoroughbred charities with 501c status. Applications will be voted on by the committee and funds distributed accordingly.
“This program again demonstrates that Mr. Stronach is committed to supporting our equine athletes after their careers as racehorses are over,” said Haines. “He believes that racehorse owners are mainly responsible for their own horses, but he’s always willing to contribute toward the overall betterment of the horse industry and the welfare of the individual horses that comprise it.”
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