Retired racehorses will be getting a boost from Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
The thoroughbred’s owners, Zayat Stables LLC, said they will donate a percentage of the superstar horse’s winnings for the rest of his racing career to help “rehab, retrain and rehome” old racehorses.
New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program and Zayat, which sends horses to the facility each year, made the announcement this week. Zayat, along with other racehorse owners, previously committed to handing over a percentage of earnings to aftercare as part of the annual Breeders’ Cup pledge. But now, it has upped the ante.
“The Zayat’s truly care about their horses beyond the track and we are forever grateful for their ongoing support of our program,” Anna Ford, New Vocation’s program director, said in a statement. “We hope their kind gesture will encourage other owners to do the same, as we rely heavily on donations to continue to take in hundreds of retired racehorses each year and ensure their successful second careers.”
This summer, American Pharoah became the first horse since 1978 to take the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes and claim one of the sporting world’s most elusive prizes. Only 12 horses have ever won the Triple Crown.
American Pharoah will race in Saturday’s $1.6-million Travers Stakes and possibly knock off another race before running in the classic $5-million Breeders’ Cup on Oct. 31.
“We feel owning a horse is a lifelong responsibility, which is why we are happy to support New Vocations’ aftercare efforts. We are firmly committed to the care of our horses from the moment they are born, while they are on the track and once they retire,” owner Ahmed Zayat said in a statement.
New Vocations opened in 1992 with a single farm in Ohio, but now has six facilities in Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania, serves at least 40 racetracks and has placed more than 5,500 thoroughbreds and standardbreds in new homes.
The organization now takes in more than 450 animals each year. But those animals need some extra tender loving care since it says most arrive “injured and thin, suffering the normal occupational hazards of racing.”
“Without a useful skill to offer their previous option was often a one-way ticket to the local livestock auction,” it adds.
Photos Zayat Stables