NYRA and NYTHA Partner To Sponsor Thoroughbred Rewards Program

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) are partnering to sponsor a program that will reward participants competing Thoroughbreds on the Eventing circuit in New York in 2012.
Called Career2, the initiative will promote the retraining of retired Thoroughbred racehorses for second careers in Eventing, a sport best described as an equestrian triathlon featuring dressage, cross-country and show jumping. The New York circuit is comprised of 10 Horse Trials, competitions in which the three disciplines are completed in one-to-three days. The circuit kicks off with the Genesee Valley Riding and Driving Club Horse Trial on June 10 in Geneseo, N.Y., and culminates with the Millbrook Horse Trials, the largest Eventing competition in New York, in August.

“We are excited to join NYTHA in highlighting the participation of off-the-track Thoroughbreds in the sport of Eventing,” said NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward. “By sponsoring the New York circuit, we will bring the potential of a second career in Eventing to the attention of our horsemen. We will also underscore the success that Thoroughbreds enjoy in the Eventing world.”

NYTHA President, NYRA Board member and Thoroughbred trainer Rick Violette added, “A second career in Eventing is a natural fit for the Thoroughbred. The sport showcases perfectly the versatility, quick mind, athleticism and stamina that are the hallmarks of the breed. Our sponsorship will not only introduce our horsemen to the retraining opportunities available in Eventing, but also reinforce the valuable qualities that the Thoroughbred offers to the Eventing community.

“There are a significant number of Thoroughbreds in need of second careers,” Violette added. “By working on this and other initiatives, we can underscore the value of the Thoroughbred to a wide variety of equine disciplines, including Eventing and the horse show world.”

NYRA and NYTHA have committed more than $30,000 for prize money and promotion to the Eventing initiative. At each of the 10 events, the highest scoring Thoroughbred in each level will receive $300 and a saddle pad, with $100 for the second-place finisher. The Jockey Club’s TIP program is contributing $100 to the first-place prize money. There will be ribbons pinned for places 1-6.

In addition, NYRA and NYTHA will fund $6,000 in prize money for the New York Circuit Thoroughbred Championship at Millbrook. The highest scoring Thoroughbred on the circuit in each level will receive $700, with $300 in prize money for the runner-up. Ribbons will be pinned for places 1-6. The Millbrook Trials are scheduled this year from August 2 – 5 in Millbrook, N.Y.

As it currently stands, almost 15,000 Thoroughbreds have been registered with the U.S. Eventing Association (USEA) since 2000. In 2011 alone there were 3,727 Thoroughbreds competing on the USEA circuit. Nearly one-third of the USEA’s 11,500 members compete Thoroughbreds. The 2011 USEA “Horse of the Year” was Neville Bardos, an Australian Thoroughbred who had no success on the track, and survived a fire in May of 2011. The 13-year-old now has his sights set on berth on the U.S. Eventing team for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Of the 70 horses entered for the prestigious Rolex Three-Day Event, which begins tomorrow in Lexington, Ky, no fewer than 25 are former racehorses, according to research done by the Retired Racehorse Training Project.

Jo Whitehouse, CEO of the USEA, stated “The USEA is thrilled to be working with NYRA and NYTHA to promote and celebrate second career Thoroughbreds in Eventing. Thoroughbreds are important to the USEA, with over 32% of our members competing them at all levels of competition from novice to advanced.”

Ten-event New York Eventing Circuit

June 10 – Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club, Geneseo, NY
June 17 – Larkin Hill Horse Trials, North Chatham, NY
June 23 – Great Vista Horse Trials, Fort Plain, NY
July 7-8 – Genesee Valley Hunt Horse Trials, Geneseo, NY
July 8 – ENYDCTA/Old Chatham Horse Trials, Old Chatham, NY
July 12-15 – Cosequin Stuart Horse Trials, Victor, NY
July 21-22 – Fitch’s Corner Horse Trials, Millbrook, NY
Aug. 2-5 – Millbrook Horse Trials, Millbrook, NY
Aug. 19 – Great Vista Horse Trials, Fort Plain, NY (start of 2013 circuit)
Aug. 25-26 – Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club, Geneseo, NY (start of 2013 circuit)

Career2 is the second initiative sponsored by the NYRA and NYTHA to promote second careers for retired racehorses. The TAKE2 program, which offers prize money in hunter and jumper classes restricted to Thoroughbreds, was unveiled last month.