The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association distributed a total of $1,738,859 in benevolence last year for programs that benefit the backstretch workers, retired racehorses and our communities.
NYTHA’s largest single expenditure is for the Backstretch Employee Service Team, which provides health care and social services to the members of the backstretch community. Last year, BEST’s two free primary care clinics, at Belmont Park year-round and seasonally at Saratoga, handled 3,721 appointments and saw 1,337 individual patients. BEST also offers substance abuse counseling through a fully licensed program, as well as assistance with everything from translation services, to transportation, to tax preparation. NYTHA contributed $669,226 to BEST in 2017.
“BEST would barely be able to function without NYTHA`s support,” BEST Executive Director Paul Ruchames said. “With NYTHA`s steadfast support, BEST has been able to provide some of the most comprehensive medical and social services available at any track in the U.S.
How important is BEST to the well-being of the backstretch community? Ruchames explained, “Our organization is indispensable to the health and social welfare of the backstretch workers. If a worker gets sick, needs health insurance, has a drug or alcohol problem, needs clothing, food, help with their taxes or help in securing benefits for which they are entitled, BEST will be there for that worker, and our bilingual staff will be relentless at supporting that worker until their problem is resolved.”
The New York division of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America received $185,637 from NYTHA last year. The funds were utilized primarily for the Backstretch Recreation Program, with activities ranging from soccer and bowling leagues to trips to the theater, amusement parks and sporting events; from crafts and fitness programs to seasonal festivals and parties.
Equine aftercare and welfare are an important focus of NYTHA’s benevolence efforts. In 2017, our organization donated $488,865 to ensure that our retired racehorses have long and happy lives when they leave the track. NYTHA’s TAKE THE LEAD Program helped to find placements with accredited aftercare programs such as ReRun and New Vocations for more than 100 horses last year. NYTHA is also a supporter of the TAKE2 Program, which promotes second careers for retired Thoroughbreds as hunters and jumpers; the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance; the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation; the Exceller Fund; and ACTT Naturally.
“The welfare of all of the members of our backstretch community are paramount, and that includes the horses,” exclaimed NYTHA Trainer/Director and Aftercare Chair Rick Schosberg. “We have an obligation not only to ensure their health and well-being during their careers, but beyond the track to see that they find safe haven and hopefully a ‘second career’ once their racing days are over. Our TAKE THE LEAD program does exactly that. Partnering with TAA-accredited aftercare organizations, we see that these retirees receive the rehabilitation, retraining and rehoming for a long active life beyond the races.”
For more on NYTHA’s Benevolence Program, click here.