Frank Stronach, chairman of MI Developments and owner of Adena Springs, announced today the formation of the Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred After-Care Program.
MI Developments Inc., the parent company of Gulfstream Park, said the After-Care Program will help match horses with loving owners who will make a lifelong commitment to their health, safety and well being.
Stronach said he will seed the After-Care Program by matching the money currently taken from purses (one-third of one percent) at Gulfstream and distributed to retirement programs by the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association (FHBPA).
“This is not a solution to the problem, but we feel it is another step in the right direction,” Stronach said. “While we believe it is the responsibility of every owner to find safe, after-race programs for all thoroughbreds, we also believe in taking the initiative to develop retirement, rehabilitation and retraining programs for these equine athletes who give so much to all of us.”
Stronach set an industry precedent seven years ago by developing the first in-house retirement program, Adena Retirement. Under the direction of a full-time, in-house staff of professional trainers, riders, grooms and veterinarians, Adena Retirement carefully evaluates and retrains horses owned by the Stronach family and Adena Springs before matching them with owners who will provide suitable lifelong adoptive homes. Many of the horses retrained at Adena Retirement have flourished in other disciplines, including hunter, jumper, dressage and pleasure.
The Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred After-Care Program will be directed by a committee: Michael Rogers, Director & Vice President of Operations, Gulfstream Park; Tim Ritvo, VP of Racing, East Coast, MI Developments Inc; Stacie Clark, Adena Retirement; Dan Bork, Racing Secretary, Gulfstream Park; Nicola Kuzoff, Adena Retirement.
The committee will outline the board’s responsibilities and procedures in a constitution. There will be an application process for Florida Thoroughbred Charities with 501c status. Applications will be voted on by the committee and funds distributed accordingly.
“This program shows that Mr. Stronach is a strong supporter of these fine athletes after their careers on the track are over,” Ritvo said. “He still believes the owners are mainly responsible for their own horses, but he’s always willing to contribute toward the betterment of the horse industry.”