LEXINGTON, Ky. – Thoroughbred Charities of America has named Raina Chingos Gunderson, Gulfstream Park’s horsemen’s liaison, as the 2017 TCA Award of Merit recipient in the State of Florida. Award of Merit recipients are nominated by the leadership of state Thoroughbred owners and breeders associations and are presented at each state association’s annual awards ceremonies.
Gunderson was presented with the award at the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Black and White Gala event on Monday, March 13 in Ocala. A former exercise rider, Gunderson is a passionate advocate of Thoroughbred aftercare. She has spent many hours on the backstretch watching for Thoroughbreds that may be nearing the end of their racing careers. Over the years, Gunderson has developed a large informal network of people from various equine disciplines that are available to assist in rehoming racehorses. She has also worked with organizations including Florida Thoroughbred Retirement and Aftercare (Florida TRAC) and Florida Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation to find suitable post-racetrack homes for retiring Thoroughbreds.
Originally started in celebration of TCA’s 25th anniversary and now its third year, TCA Award of Merit recipients represent those individuals and organizations working to uphold TCA’s mission among state breeders association’s constituencies. TCA Award of Merit nominees consist of individuals or organizations working to provide a better life for Thoroughbreds or the people working with them, either on the backstretch or on the farm. Both achievements are reflective of TCA’s all encompassing mission to help Thoroughbreds and the people who care for them. Subsequent award of merit winners will be announced monthly.
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 $21 million to more than 200 charities that successfully meet the criteria set forth in its annual grant application. From 2000-2015, more than 95% of TCA’s expenditures were allocated to program services including direct grants. TCA is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).