History Channel 4 Part Series

The History Channel features FL TRAC's racehorse aftercare and re-homing program as a component of their 4 part series. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 2:30PM

Competing At The Highest Level

Todd Minikus adopts two thoroughbreds from Florida TRAC in an attempt to give them a second chance at an athletic career.

Positive Attitudes at Florida TRAC

 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 11:19 am | ThoroughbredAdoption.com

By Diana Pikulski

When you visit Florida TRAC (Florida’s Thoroughbred Retirement and Adoptive Care) in Indiantown, Florida, you feel the energy and hum of a very busy place where many horses are being ridden and trained in an efficient manner. But what stands out most is the relaxed and friendly attitude of the Thoroughbreds and the people who are caring for them. Because of the warm climate, the horses are kept in the stalls during the day, lazily enjoying the surroundings beyond their stall guards. It was easy to meet just about every horse available for adoption. Walking down the shedrow with farm manager and trainer Katie Schmit and board Vice President Jena Antonucci, I learned each horse’s individual preferences and personality quirks. What struck me was their knowledge of each horse as an individual.

“We have fun. There are not a lot of frowns around here,” says Schmit, a successful horse show competitor and exercise rider. “Every day the horses make the staff and volunteers smile. These horses do something for people. Their energy is contagious.”

Today, more than 35 years after the birth of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, horse racing’s first aftercare organization, solutions to the complex facets in aftercare continue to evolve. More individuals from the thoroughbred racing industry and other backgrounds have become active in the cause, bringing new perspectives and ideas. The result is an evolving landscape of talented people, programs and ideas on a national, regional and local level addressing the issue of Thoroughbred aftercare.

Florida TRAC started in 2010 by Gulfstream Park, The Stronach Group and the Florida HBPA, retrains and re-homes horses retired from racing in South Florida. Recently, Florida TRAC saw changes in its board and management team. The new team, made up of a small active board and three experienced staff members, has a unique approach to fulfilling its mission. The effectiveness of this team is in large part because Antonucci, a hands-on board volunteer, is a successful high-profile trainer and she is passionate about making sure that racehorses are trained and managed in a way that gives them the best chance for a long and happy life after racing. Like many conscientious trainers, she insists that her racing stable owners make the right decisions for the whole life of the horses in her barn and strives to make that the norm for all owners and trainers in the business. Owner responsibility is the center of Antonucci’s philosophy and goal of viable transition plans for all thoroughbreds racing in Florida–the pool from which Florida TRAC gets its horses. It is up to owners and trainers to responsibly re-home their racehorses in Florida if the horse is not eligible for Florida TRAC.

“It is ultimately the owner’s responsibility to do the right thing for their racehorse,” said Antonucci. “Every horse has a second career that suits it. I like to see them find not only a second job but their swagger in doing something that they really like.”

Florida TRAC is particular about which horses it accepts and is organized in a way to make the transition process as seamless and individualized as possible, maximizing the organization’s success rate in placing horses in the right second career. If they succeed in that realm, they make room for more retiring racehorses. With the help of equine vet Dr. Bonnie Comerford of Teigland, Franklin and Brokkem, another dedicated board member, every horse’s physical condition and potential transition plan from a physical point perspective is identified immediately so that the team at the farm knows exactly what the issues are, if any.

The Florida TRAC board manages all the operations and business. The training team focuses on keeping the horses happy and working with the potential adopters to make the best match. Successful adoptions depend on Schmit’s ability to match the right horse to the right adopter. FL TRAC doesn’t post adoption fees for their horses, many of which are 100% sound for any discipline, because a fee could discourage the best adopter for that horse. Horses adopted from TRAC can be sold by their adopters.

“We believe strongly in positive energy, positive people and a positive message,” says Antonucci. “We are not a rescue. We are a transition and a way for these horses to go on and flourish in their next career. We give Katie and the team the time and opportunity to do that.”

Diana Pikulski is the former executive director of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. She now works as a non-profit consultant and operates the Thoroughbred Adoption Network.

On Aftercare: Florida TRAC Brings Happiness Back to a Special Boy

Friday, December 7, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Back to: On AftercareShared News

Updated: January 23, 2019 at 1:59 pm

When you visit Florida TRAC (Florida’s Thoroughbred Retirement and Adoptive Care) in Indiantown, Florida, you feel the energy and hum of a very busy place where many horses are being ridden and trained in an efficient manner. But what stands out most is the relaxed and friendly attitude of the Thoroughbreds and the people who are caring for them. Because of the warm climate, the horses are kept in the stalls during the day, lazily enjoying the surroundings beyond their stall guards. It was easy to meet just about every horse available for adoption. Walking down the shedrow with farm manager and trainer Katie Schmit and board Vice President Jena Antonucci, I learned each horse’s individual preferences and personality quirks. What struck me was their knowledge of each horse as an individual.

“We have fun. There are not a lot of frowns around here,” says Schmit, a successful horse show competitor and exercise rider. “Every day the horses make the staff and volunteers smile. These horses do something for people. Their energy is contagious.”

Today, more than 35 years after the birth of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, horse racing’s first aftercare organization, solutions to the complex facets in aftercare continue to evolve. More individuals from the thoroughbred racing industry and other backgrounds have become active in the cause, bringing new perspectives and ideas. The result is an evolving landscape of talented people, programs and ideas on a national, regional and local level addressing the issue of Thoroughbred aftercare.

Florida TRAC started in 2010 by Gulfstream Park, The Stronach Group and the Florida HBPA, retrains and re-homes horses retired from racing in South Florida. Recently, Florida TRAC saw changes in its board and management team. The new team, made up of a small active board and three experienced staff members, has a unique approach to fulfilling its mission. The effectiveness of this team is in large part because Antonucci, a hands-on board volunteer, is a successful high-profile trainer and she is passionate about making sure that racehorses are trained and managed in a way that gives them the best chance for a long and happy life after racing. Like many conscientious trainers, she insists that her racing stable owners make the right decisions for the whole life of the horses in her barn and strives to make that the norm for all owners and trainers in the business. Owner responsibility is the center of Antonucci’s philosophy and goal of viable transition plans for all thoroughbreds racing in Florida–the pool from which Florida TRAC gets its horses. It is up to owners and trainers to responsibly re-home their racehorses in Florida if the horse is not eligible for Florida TRAC.

“It is ultimately the owner’s responsibility to do the right thing for their racehorse,” said Antonucci. “Every horse has a second career that suits it. I like to see them find not only a second job but their swagger in doing something that they really like.”

Florida TRAC is particular about which horses it accepts and is organized in a way to make the transition process as seamless and individualized as possible, maximizing the organization’s success rate in placing horses in the right second career. If they succeed in that realm, they make room for more retiring racehorses. With the help of equine vet Dr. Bonnie Comerford of Teigland, Franklin and Brokkem, another dedicated board member, every horse’s physical condition and potential transition plan from a physical point perspective is identified immediately so that the team at the farm knows exactly what the issues are, if any.

The Florida TRAC board manages all the operations and business. The training team focuses on keeping the horses happy and working with the potential adopters to make the best match. Successful adoptions depend on Schmit’s ability to match the right horse to the right adopter. FL TRAC doesn’t post adoption fees for their horses, many of which are 100% sound for any discipline, because a fee could discourage the best adopter for that horse. Horses adopted from TRAC can be sold by their adopters.

“We believe strongly in positive energy, positive people and a positive message,” says Antonucci. “We are not a rescue. We are a transition and a way for these horses to go on and flourish in their next career. We give Katie and the team the time and opportunity to do that.”

Diana Pikulski is the former executive director of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. She now works as a non-profit consultant and operates the Thoroughbred Adoption Network.

Daily Racing Form Presents the Fourth Annual TAA Magazine

 

Lexington, KY – January 22, 2019: Daily Racing Form (“DRF”), today announced that the fourth annual Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance magazine, which is published by DRF, is now available on ThoroughbredAftercare.org and promos.drf.com/taa. Printed copies of the magazine will be available starting January 2019 at various race meets, sales and equestrian events across the country and through TAA-accredited organizations.

 

“On behalf of all of us at the TAA, I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to DRF for producing the TAA magazine,” said Erin Shea, TAA Marketing and Communications Manager. “We are so proud of the 2019 edition, which highlights all of the TAA-accredited organizations as well as our accomplishments during the past year. This magazine is an extremely valuable marketing tool to highlight the growing aftercare movement and the diversity in TAA-accredited programs.”

 

This year’s edition features 96 colored pages, highlighting all 70 TAA-accredited organizations and also includes in-depth articles about aftercare networks across the country, the healing power of thoroughbreds, and expansion of TAA-accredited organizations. Further, the 2019 issue features aletter from TAA President John Phillips, a map of TAA-accredited organizations and a list of TAA’s industry stakeholders.

 

“We are proud to publish this year’s edition of the TAA Magazine,” said Don Ryan, Daily Racing Form’s Chief Executive Officer. “The TAA highlightsan important issue for all industry stakeholders, and we salute those on the front lines at each of the TAA-accredited organizations. We are pleased to provide this resource that showcases the significant commitment to thoroughbreds following their racing days.”

 

To kick off distribution, the magazine will be available at the 48th annual Eclipse Awards and the Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park. The TAA is the official charity of the Eclipse Awards and is an official charity of the Pegasus World Cup.

 

About the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance

Based in Lexington, Ky., the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that accredits, inspects, and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retrain, rehome, and retire Thoroughbreds using industry-wide funding. Along with continued funding from its original partners Breeders’ Cup, The Jockey Club, and Keeneland Association, the TAA is supported by owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, aftercare professionals, and other industry members. Since inception in 2012, the TAA has granted more than $13.8 million to accredited aftercare organizations. Currently 70 aftercare organizations supporting approximately 160 facilities across North America have been granted accreditation. To learn more about the TAA, visit ThoroughbredAftercare.org.

 

About Daily Racing Form

Daily Racing Form LLC is a part of the Sports Information Group, and is a national, multi-platform media and e-Commerce company providing premium data and authoritative editorial coverage to horse racing and sports enthusiasts in North America. The 123-year old flagship brand Daily Racing Form, is referred to as "America's Turf Authority since 1894", and is horse racing’s dominant media company. Daily Racing Form is the only daily publication in the U.S. dedicated solely to the coverage of a single sport, publishing up to 2,000 unique pages of statistical and editorial copy every day, in as many as 20 daily editions. The company has aggressively expanded its digital platforms to reach a new breed of technology-driven horseplayers, creating what Fast Company called “A Bloomberg Terminal for Horse Racing.” On DRF.com, the leading online horse racingdestination, and through its digital apps, Daily Racing Form now offers an integrated digital experience that seamlessly combines data, proprietaryhandicapping tools, premium content, video, wagering and tournament play for horseplayers and dedicated coverage to the breeding industry.

 

Contacts

Stacie Clark

859-224-2781

sclark@thoroughbredaftercare.org

 

Erin Shea

859-224-2743

eshea@thoroughbredaftercare.org

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Farm Address: Florida TRAC at Sunlight Saddle Club
6650 SW Kanner Highway, Indiantown, FL 34956

 

Mailing Address: Florida TRAC at Gulfstream Park
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