In 1990 a number of state horsemen’s organizations, unaffiliated with a national organization, began informal meetings to discuss issues of mutual concern and to explore strategies to have their voices heard on a national level. The discussions, facilitated by well-known industry lawyer and Maryland racing leader Alan Foreman, led to the formal creation of Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Associations Inc. in 1994.
The member organizations were the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Benevolent Association, Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Philadelphia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. Prominent New York horse owner Michael Martin, an advertising executive and former vice president of the World Football League and New York Jets, was selected as the first president of the THA.
Martin retired for health reasons in 2001 and Rick Violette, Jr., a NYTHA board member and moving force in the formation of the THA, was elected his successor. Violette has continued to serve as THA president by acclamation.
Today, the THA is a highly regarded and influential voice on all issues affecting horsemen locally, regionally and nationally. THA member organizations in Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania include more than 20,000 owners and trainers. Together with owners and trainers racing throughout North America, they are the backbone of the racing industry.
Collectively, they represent the largest investment in our industry and drive the economic engine of racing. They purchase horses and pay to care for them, employ tens of thousands of workers, and support thousands of small businesses connected to the racing industry.
THA members are devoted to ensuring the health and welfare of our equine athletes and their riders. They strongly support and promote uniform medication regulations, safety and welfare programs, and policies designed to ensure a level playing field for our participants and the integrity of our sport.
The THA was instrumental in the formation of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. It is a member of the American Horse Council and the Racing Officials Accreditation Program and is a supporting member of the Association of Racing Commissioners International.
THA member organizations have pioneered aftercare programs for our retired horses and actively support local and national programs.
The THA affords its member organizations the opportunity to discuss and collaborate on issues of mutual concern to its membership and to provide strong representation for horsemen on local, regional and national issues. The Board of directors, which meets three times a year, is comprised of the presidents and executive directors of its member organizations.