At Pimlico last month, more than 600 people attended a two-day exhibition produced by the Retired Racehorse Training Project. Dozens of retired Thoroughbreds performed in a variety of disciplines, showing off newly learned skills in hunting, jumping, polo, and even police work.
The weekend provided an opportunity for retired Thoroughbreds to demonstrate their adaptability and usefulness beyond the racetrack. Many of the horses who performed were available for sale, promulgating the idea that taking care of the retired racehorse can be an investment as well as a financial commitment; ideally, the horses can also generate funds through adoption fees and sales, when potential owners see their capabilities.
The horses that participated at Pimlico were sound, healthy, athletic, well-funded—if such exhibitions were graded, this one would have been a Grade 1, even though none of the horses had raced at that level. But at farms across the Mid-Atlantic, the daily aftercare experience can be more like a claiming race, as trainers, owners, and advocates deal with a lack of funding, lame horses, and no guaranteed spot for horses.
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