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.
Founded in 1955, and franchised to run Thoroughbred racing at New York’s three major tracks through 2033, NYRA boasts a lineage that actually stretches back almost 150 years. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of the state’s Thoroughbred business which contributes more than $2 billion annually to New York State’s urban, suburban and rural economy. In 2011, more than 1.8 million people attended the live races at NYRA tracks. Factoring in nationwide off-track wagering, the average daily betting handle on NYRA races totals more than $8.1 million. NYRA has a vast network of websites, includingwww.nyra.com, www.belmontstakes.com, and www.nyragroupsales.com. You can also follow NYRA on social media platforms Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube.
For over half a century, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA) has represented the interests of horse 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 Thoroughbred owners and trainers and to improve and increase the effectiveness of its constituents in the day-to-day activities of racing. Today, NYTHA serves as the New York State Racing and Wagering Board's (NYSRWB) recognized representative of owners and trainers and has taken a primary role in the New York horseracing industry. NYTHA strives to protect the economic interests of all horsemen and to gain public recognition of horseracing as a vital form of entertainment, deserving support, protection and preservation. More information is available at www.nytha.com. You can also follow NYTHA on Facebook.
About Millbrook Horse Trials
Millbrook Horse Trialsis conducted under the auspices of the United States Eventing Association (USEA) and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). The Millbrook email address is Eventing@millbrookhorsetrials.com. In a Horse Trials, the rider and horse, competing at the division level appropriate to their experience, must participate in three different phases: Dressage, Cross Country, and Stadium Jumping. Penalty points from each of these phases are totaled for a final standing. The lowest score wins the division. Eventing is a sport which demands boldness, courage and athleticism as well as discipline and focus for rider and horse.
The USEA is a non-profit 501 C (3), educational organization committed to providing Eventing enthusiasts with a competitive level suited to their individual skills. By assisting and educating competitors, event organizers and officials; maintaining responsible safety standards; and registering qualified competitions and clinics, the USEA offers a strong and continuous training opportunity for an ever-expanding field of world-class competitors. The USEA (formerly the USCTA) was founded in September, 1959, the vision of Alexander Mackay-Smith, who felt that in addition to the AHSA and USET, a third organization was needed to promote the fledgling sport of combined training in the United States. On December 1, 2001 the USCTA became the USEA when the Board of Governors decided to follow the FEI’s adoption of the term ‘Eventing’ for the international sport formerly known as combined training. The mission of the USCTA in 1959 and of the USEA today remains much the same–to advance the sport of Eventing through education of riders, trainers, officials, and organizers, with the health and well-being of the horse of paramount importance. The USEA recognizes more than 250 events throughout the U.S. that host nearly 42,000 entries per year. The USEA has more than 11,500 members and strives to provide riders from Beginner Novice to the four-star level with an exceptional Eventing experience. For more information visit www.useventing.com