Posted: Feb. 25, 2017
For calendar year 2016, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association distributed a record $1,996,200 in benevolence.
NYTHA’s largest beneficiary is the Backstretch Employee Service Team, which provides health care and social services to the backstretch community, including two primary care health clinics at Belmont Park (year-round) and Saratoga Race Course (April through October). The health clinics are open five days a week, and are completely free of charge.
More than 1,800 individual backstretch workers visited the clinics last year. NYTHA donated $800,022 to BEST in 2016.
NYTHA provides $185,573 in college scholarships and grants to backstretch workers and their immediate dependents, $168,810 for the dental care program, and $154,791 for the Race Track Chaplaincy of America, New York division. RTCA-NY offers spiritual guidance, as well as contributing to a better quality of life through the Backstretch Recreation Program, with activities that include trips to sporting events and museums; backstretch soccer, softball and bowling leagues; crafts, cooking and fitness classes; and seasonal parties and carnivals.
“There are so many ways we can work together with organizations like BEST and the RTCA to give the backstretch workers a helping hand,” said NYTHA Vice President Pat Kelly, chair of NYTHA’s Benevolence Committee “Our benevolence program is invaluable to the community—not only on the backstretch, but to the local communities that might otherwise bear the cost of providing these services.
“This is just another example of the Thoroughbred industry supporting its own. Without the backstretch workers to care for the horses, there would be no racing—and we’d lose the tax revenue and economic benefits our industry provides to New York State.”
NYTHA is also dedicated to taking care of the race horses when they’ve retired from the track. Total expenditures for equine research and retirement reached $367,100 last year.
Said trainer Rick Schosberg, chair of NYTHA’s Aftercare Committee: “Our TAKE THE LEAD Retirement Program has been a true success. We have found placements for more than 250 horses, and it is truly rewarding to see how our owners and trainers have embraced the concept of ensuring secure retirements for our horses.”
(Photo courtesy of NYTHA)