Photo Credit: Susie Raisher/NYTHA
For over half a century, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) has represented the interests of Thoroughbred owners and trainers at New York Racing Association (NYRA) tracks. NYTHA was founded with the objective of serving as a collective voice for the broad interests of New York’s horsemen, and to improve and increase the effectiveness of its constituents in the day-to-day business of racing. Today, NYTHA serves as the New York State Gaming Commission’s recognized representative of owners and trainers, striving to protect the economic interests of all horsemen and to gain public recognition of horse racing as a vital industry, deserving support, protection and preservation.
The membership of the organization is comprised of any owner or trainer who is licensed by the New York State Gaming Commission and who has run a horse in the last two years at Aqueduct, Belmont or Saratoga.
NYTHA’s mission falls into three main areas:
- Providing benevolence to the Backstretch Community
- Safeguarding horsemen’s financial and political interests
- Supporting equine aftercare, research, and medication reform
The organization addresses the issues that impact owners and trainers, including purse levels, distribution of gaming revenue, racetrack operations and capital improvements, racing dates and all other concerns important to the future of horse racing in New York. NYTHA works in conjunction with the NYRA, the NYS Gaming Commission, the State Legislature, the Executive Branch, racing industry groups and academic institutions to achieve its goals.
NYTHA is a leader in medication reform, spearheading the National Uniform Medication Program, which brings a uniform medication policy and a standardized penalty system to New York and the other states in the region. The Program specifies medications to be included on the Controlled Therapeutic Substances List and approved for use in training; all other medications are classified as Prohibited Substances. The Program outlines the appropriate withdrawal times for each of the Therapeutic Substances. The only medication approved for raceday use under the National Uniform Medication Program is Furosemide (Lasix).
NYTHA places great emphasis on the Benevolence Program for backstretch employees, which accounts for the organization’s largest single expenditure. It includes health, counseling and social services; eyeglass and dental coverage; recreation programs; education including English as a Second Language classes, computer labs and the Groom Development Program; scholarships and college financial aid consultation; and numerous other activities aimed at improving the quality of life on the backstretch.
NYTHA also earmarks funds for equine aftercare, most notably for the two NYTHA-sponsored programs, TAKE THE LEAD Thoroughbred Retirement Program and TAKE2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program. The organization works to promote equine health and safety and to support equine research as well.
In addition, NYTHA:
- Mediates problems and horsemen’s concerns at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga on behalf of owners, trainers and backstretch employees.
- Provides lobbyists to promote and protect horsemen’s interests and the future of racing and to initiate positive legislative solutions to industry problems.
- Represents horsemen as a voting member of the NYRA Board.
- Represents owners and trainers through its appointments and leadership to the New York Jockey Injury Compensation Fund (NYJICF), which provides workers’ compensation insurance for jockeys and exercise riders in an efficient manner at a low cost.
- Works with the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (THA) on regional matters that affect New York horsemen.
- Works with national organizations to resolve industry-wide problems.
- Makes available a supply of condition books, stakes books and stall applications for most major racetracks throughout the country, along with sales catalogues and a file of major racing journals.
- Publishes newsletters and news bulletins that provide its constituents with news and features on New York racing and horsemen, as well as offering regular updates via Facebook and Twitter.
- Provides free notary public services to NYTHA members.