Delaware showcase to find retired racers new homes
by Doug McCoy
The racing industry is built on the horse, whether it be the racehorses for which we cheer (and on which we bet) or the work ponies that play such an important part in making the business run on a daily basis.
That’s why, when these gallant animals come to the end of their careers, they deserve to live out their lives in decent surroundings and be treated with dignity and kindness.
Delaware Park, the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, MidAtlantic Horse Rescue, and CANTER (Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses), have joined together to help retiring horses in the industry. This Sunday they will present the second “End of the Meet Showcase” where retiring thoroughbreds, Arabians, and lead ponies will be offered for sale.
According to Bev Strauss from MidAtlantic Horse Rescue, about three dozen horses are listed for the sale, although she pointed out that there may well be additions and subtractions, and some of those on the list may be sold before Sunday.
Strauss said that everything is done to protect the horse’s future through these sales.
“We strongly advise the sellers to require references from prospective buyers and that while all sales are privately negotiated, all bills of sale will include ‘no auction’ and ‘no slaughterhouse’ clauses in those documents. We want these horse to go to good homes, and do everything we can to insure this happens” Strauss explained. “In the event that for some reason things don’t work out, we give the buyers all the contact information they need to contact someone with our organizations that can work with them” to find a better spot for the horse.
Strauss was also quick to point out that the involvement of the racetrack is an important component in making the effort a success.
“It’s encouraging that Delaware Park has been so supportive in this venture,” she pointed out, “It’s good to see that the track isn’t turning its back on these animals now that their careers are over.”
Janet Ritchey, treasurer of the DTHA (and wife of trainer Tim Ritchey), said the showcase is another example of the progress being made in the area of welfare for retiring thoroughbreds.
“They talk about the ‘good old days’ but a lot of things weren’t so great back then. I can remember the sales in Pennsylvania every Tuesday, sales where you knew where those horses were going after being sold, and it wasn’t to a good home,” Ritchey recalled. “Fortunately most states and tracks are taking a much more proactive approach to helping to make the retirement process for thoroughbreds a positive one, and Delaware Park is one of those tracks.”
Ritchey also pointed out that horses not sold on Sunday would be listed on the websites of both CANTER and MidAtlantic Horse Rescue.
“We will, along with the owners of these horses, do everything we can to find them a good home,” she said. “Thoroughbreds give you their all when they run, and we should do all we can do to see that while their racing days may be over, they should still be able to enjoy their golden years just like humans.”
All sales are private and the Showcase will run from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. The horses will be housed in the Lasix and Receiving barns on the Delaware Park backstretch.
Access will be through stable gate 4, which is adjacent to the owner/trainer parking lot.