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An Update From Our President About Covid-19

*Updated 4/18*

Dear Friends of TCA,

As the global community comes together to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, I wanted to reach out and let you know how TCA is assisting the Thoroughbred community. TCA’s grant recipients represent all facets of our industry. From organizations that provide health and human services for backstretch and farm workers to Thoroughbred retraining and rehoming facilities to equine-assisted therapy programs, TCA works to help all that support our industry. We’ve checked in with our grantees and, while there is uncertainty about the future, they are committed to continuing the incredible work that they do every day.

One concern echoed by many grantees was for lost revenue due to cancelled fundraisers and events. To aid in this concern, TCA hosted a fundraising webinar today that was available for free to our grantees and any interested nonprofits. It offered an educational opportunity to learn about fundraising amid a pandemic and provided tools to pivot to a digital platform.

We are also working to provide emergency grants from our Horses First Fund. Established in 2016 by LNJ Foxwoods, the fund assists Thoroughbreds and their caretakers in need of emergency aid due to large scale neglect, natural disaster, or other catastrophe. The Horses First Fund aided Thoroughbreds at Camarero Racetrack in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, assisted Thoroughbreds and their caretakers affected by the fires at San Luis Rey Downs in California, providing funding in several equine rescue cases, and is now ready to provide relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Horses First Fund has made emergency grants to several organizations that are working to assist Thoroughbreds as well as backstretch and farm workers during this crisis. As of April 18, TCA has provided a grant to three backstretch organizations. Grants were made to the Backstretch Employee Service Team at Belmont Park to support their on-site medical clinic, Sam Houston Race Park Chaplaincy for meal services for backstretch workers at the now closed racetrack, and the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs to continue a food assistance program to more than 100 backstretch workers and their families.

The Horses First Fund has also provided grants to seven aftercare organizations that have taken in additional Thoroughbreds due to the pandemic or are supporting additional Thoroughbreds due to racetrack closures. It is likely that the number of retiring Thoroughbreds will continue to rise without racing.

This week, the Horses First Fund made a donation in support of a grassroots effort at Turf Paradise to provide feed for horsemen in need as described in this Paulick Report article. The donation, made directly to the feed stores, brought the Angel Feed Fund to their desired goal of $5,000.

As more needs are identified, it is expected that additional funding will be distributed to the backstretch and aftercare organizations working tirelessly to help those who need it most. If you would like to join us in this work, please consider a donation to the Horses First Fund for use in emergencies like this, or to our annual grants fund that allows us to provide funding to approved charities each year. To donate, please visit Together we can support those who need us. Philanthropy not only helps the morale of the recipient but also helps the heart of the giver.


Michael McMahon