The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Responds to the New York Times

On May 3, the New York Times reported that the New York State Attorney General is suing the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, alleging financial mismanagement and neglect of the horses in its care.

I have long been a supporter of the TRF and link to the organization several places on this site; in the summer of 2010, I visited the organization’s Wallkill facility and wrote about the program’s care of retired Thoroughbreds for The Blood-Horse. I’ve donated to the organization and attended its fundraisers, and I don’t intend to discontinue my support.

Last week, I received a copy of an open letter from the TRF board of directors, responding to the Times‘ article and Attorney General’s allegations. An excerpt follows.

I know no more about what’s going on at TRF than what I’ve read, and publishing the letter is not an endorsement of all or part of its contents; I publish it in order to offer the organization an opportunity to respond to the allegations leveled against it. As with any charitable organization, those interest in supporting it should do their own research and make their own decisions.

In March of 2011, the TRF was the subject of a front-page story in the New York Times, in a position and size normally reserved for the start of a war or a terrorist attack on American soil.

We now know that that factually incorrect and misleading story, and its equally prominent follow-ups, were the first salvo from the paper of record on the horse racing industry, and have now led to the Attorney General of the State of New York filing a lawsuit against the foundation and its board of directors.

The wording of the most recent New York Times story on the TRF, like all of those in its front-page horseracing series, is designed for the appearance of truth with the absolute intention of misleading the reader.

That intent is clear from the moment you look at the picture accompanying the latest attack on the TRF, which shows two horses in a field, and reads, “An emaciated horse under the care of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at Wallkill Correctional Facility, in Ulster County, N.Y., in February.” The photo credit is from the Ulster County SPCA.

Makes you think the TRF is not feeding its horses and that the Ulster County SPCA has swept in to save them. Right?

Want to know the true story?

Click here to read the full text of the TRF’s response and for links to vets’ reports on the horses in the organization’s care.


6 thoughts on “The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Responds to the New York Times

  1. Rob likes to say there are two sides to every pancake. Thank you for presenting TRF’s side of the pancake. No question TRF has had its share of difficulties but the NYT seems to have another agenda here with the ‘slant’ of their recent articles about horse racing.

  2. I, too, have been a supporter of the TRF since it’s inception. I have donated my own money to the TRF every single year. I strongly believe in their original concept of prisoner rehabilitation and thoroughbred retirement. They are both areas in which our country is quite lacking. Like many corporations they probably grew too quickly too soon. People should not bash an organziation that has done so much good work, but instead should talk about ways to help them continue!

  3. I agree, Matt. Their prisoner program is excellent. Last summer here in VA, the James River program held a “Miss TRF” pageant at Colonial Downs. The entrants were all beautiful, shiny, and obviously well cared for and loved.

  4. Political agendas? What political agendas? It ONLY took nine years for the New York politicians to approve and set up an Aqueduct casino operator but, that doesn’t really describe in any manner the political corruption involved. Political agenda? What agenda? A Aqueduct casino was approved nine years before a casino operator could be decided on. Did politicians have an agenda when it was decided to give the casino operation to the Aqueduct Entertainment Group? Did the politicians stand to directly benefit from who received the casino operatorship? When the Aqueduct casino bid-rigging scam was uncovered, which politicians were found to be involved? What did the Chief Investigator Joseph Fitch, who was selected to investigate the scam, find? Agendas? What political agendas? Fitch was appalled that the politicians involved chose to abandon their sworn oath to the state and it’s citizens, to try and enrich themselves and their cronies – causing a fiasco which ended up costing New York State and it’s citizens millions of dollars. What’s been done since Fitch issued his scathing report on the Aqueduct Entertainment Group scam, and the politicians directly involved in it? Asolutely nothing. No one got indicted. No one got impeached. Cuomo did nothing as the Attorney General, under who’s watch it occurred. As the governor, he’s done nothing, except appoint David Paterson, one of the main political players involved in the casino scam, to the MTA Board. Agendas? What political agendas? Did Joe Drape and the Times do an expose’ on this? Agendas? What political agendas do you mean? New York is full of corrupt politicians. They lie. They cheat. They steal. And, they try to make sure that they get away with it, too. Agendas? What political agendas?

  5. It is off-topic, but what is going on with Joe Clancy’s NYT’s story about Arcadius, a Steeplechase horse who recently died? It is currently on the top of the sports page on the website. I find it odd that the NYT’s covers Steeplechase racing.

  6. Jon, it does seem an unusual story to include, but I’m glad that Joe Clancy had a place to tell the story — his article was wonderful. Through his Twitter timeline, Joe Drape (@joedrape) yesterday responded to some questions about the article and why it was published.

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