Last year the RRP instituted the Arrival Exam at the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, which required each horse to have proof of current vaccinations, vitals (temperature, respiration, etc.) within a normal range, be scanned for a microchip that has been registered with The Jockey Club, pass a walking soundness exam and score a four or higher on the Henneke Body Condition Scale (the industry standard for assessing a horse’s condition and fat coverage).
Building upon the success of the Arrival Exam, the RRP will institute a jog for all Thoroughbred Makeover Finale qualifiers, in which the top five finishers from each of the ten disciplines offered will be asked to present their horses in-hand at the jog for a ground jury consisting of at least two veterinarians and the chief steward the day prior to competing in their respective discipline championships.
“So much time, effort, patience, skill, money and more goes into bringing a young Thoroughbred, whether it’s leading up to their first race or after their final start as they are being retrained for a new career,” said Jen Roytz, executive director for the RRP. “Keeneland and the Retired Racehorse Project are committed to setting the standard for equine welfare and safety of these athletes in their on-track careers and off, and initiatives like these will continue to help us raise the profile of Thoroughbreds in the sport horse world.”
To help participating trainers prepare their horses for the Thoroughbred Makeover, the RRP provides educational resources throughout the year leading up to the event, including interactive webinars with veterinarians and nutritionists and educational videos and articles. The RRP’s consulting veterinarian, Dr. Shannon Reed, also makes herself available as a resource for trainers throughout the year, answering questions and helping to connect competitors with appropriate resources and support in their local equestrian communities.
“Keeneland is pleased to support the outstanding work of the Retired Racehorse Project and the Thoroughbred Makeover in showcasing these talented horses,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “Keeneland is committed to the safety and welfare of horse and rider, not just on the race track but in all disciplines. We applaud the Arrival Exam and the Finale Jog, two industry-leading initiatives that promote healthy second careers for these equine athletes.”
The 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium is scheduled for Wednesday, October 7 through Saturday, October 10 at the Kentucky Horse Park. The RRP announced earlier this year that 616 entries from 41 states and five Canadian provinces have been accepted into the competition for 2020, and their training journeys with their recently retired racehorses will be chronicled on the RRP website and social media platforms, as well as in racing, equestrian and mainstream media outlets nationally.
In addition to the competition, the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium will feature the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace, a unique horse shopping experience in which more than 150 of the well-started young Thoroughbreds competing in the event will be available for purchase or adoption. The Retired Racehorse Project also offers several seminars during the Makeover on topics pertinent to those training Thoroughbreds after racing or who work in Thoroughbred aftercare.
About the Retired Racehorse Project
The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization working to increase demand for off-track Thoroughbreds in the equestrian world. In addition to putting on the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, the world’s largest retraining competition for recently retired racehorses, the organization also publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, hosts off-track Thoroughbred retraining clinics around the country, maintains the TB Sport Tracker (thethe internet’s only user-driven database tracking second career talent and accomplishments of registered Thoroughbreds) and presents programing at major horse expos across the country. Visit RRP online at retiredracehorseproject.org.
For more than 80 years, the Keeneland Association has devoted itself to the health and vibrancy of the Thoroughbred industry. The world’s largest Thoroughbred auction house, Keeneland conducts four sales a year, in January, April, September and November, and its sales graduates dominate racing across the globe at every level. In April and October, Keeneland offers some of the highest caliber and richest Thoroughbred racing in the world. Keeneland hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in 2015 and will hold the event again on Nov. 6-7, 2020. Uniquely structured, Keeneland is a privately held company with a not-for-profit mission that returns its earnings to the industry and the community in the form of higher purses and millions of dollars donated in support of horse industry initiatives and charitable contributions for education, research and health and human services throughout Central Kentucky. Keeneland also maintains the Keeneland Library, a world-renowned public research institution with the mission of preserving information about the Thoroughbred industry. To learn more, visit Keeneland.com.