LEXINGTON, Ky. – Keeneland and Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) today announced an initiative to provide September Yearling and November Breeding Stock Sales buyers the opportunity to make a voluntary contribution to TCA to assist our industry’s backstretch and farm workers, many of whom have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The voluntary donation will be included in the buyers invoice and equate to one-half of one percent (.05%) of the hammer price of their purchase.
“This partnership with TCA reflects Keeneland’s mission to support worthy causes, and during this time of great need it’s even more important that we take care of our front-line heroes,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “Keeneland is grateful for the tremendous work done by the TCA, and we are pleased to include this donation opportunity on our buyer forms this fall alongside the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) and National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA).”
Since 1990, TCA has distributed more than $24 million in grants to approved charities working to help not only Thoroughbred aftercare organizations but also those that provide health and human services for backstretch and farm workers.
“Without our backstretch and farm employees we wouldn’t have a Thoroughbred industry,” said TCA President Mike McMahon. “Our charities work to provide health and dental services, ESL classes, legal assistance, food pantries, counseling services and so much more to our industry’s workers. In the face of the pandemic and the economic strain it has caused, Keeneland has answered the call. Keeneland’s support for TCA and for horse people everywhere is unprecedented. We are very grateful for the opportunity for buyers to be able to support the people who care for horses.”
Earlier in September, TCA distributed grants totaling nearly $1,070,000. A record 92 grant applications were received during the organization’s annual grant cycle. Ultimately, 70 organizations were approved for a grant, including 45 aftercare organizations, 16 backstretch and farm worker programs, five equine-assisted therapy organizations, three Thoroughbred incentive programs and one research organization. Grant recipients from the last three years can be found on www.tca.org.
Additionally, TCA’s Horses First Fund, an emergency fund started in 2016 by LNJ Foxwoods, provided COVID-19 relief funding to three backstretch organizations and seven aftercare organizations while supporting two feed assistance programs earlier this year. The total expended from the Horses First Fund was $79,900, bringing the organization’s total 2020 grant making to more than $1 million.
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TCA’s mission is to provide a better life for Thoroughbreds, both during and after their racing careers, by supporting qualified repurposing and retirement organizations and by helping the people who care for them. TCA distributes grants to several categories of Thoroughbred-related nonprofits including rehabilitation, retraining, rehoming and retirement organizations; backstretch and farm employee programs; equine-assisted therapy programs; and research organizations. Since its inception in 1990, TCA has granted over $24 million to more than 200 charities. TCA is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).
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 presents online auctions through the Keeneland Digital Sales Ring. Graduates of Keeneland sales 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. In 2020, The Summer Meet at Keeneland presented five days of racing from July 8-12. Keeneland hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in 2015 and will hold the event again on Nov. 6-7 and in 2022. 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.