The New York Times

March 17, 2011


One of the largest private organizations in the world dedicated to caring for former racehorses has been so slow or delinquent in paying for the upkeep of the more than 1,000 horses under its care that scores have wound up starved and neglected, some fatally, according to interviews and inspection reports.

The group, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, is based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., just miles from the famous racetrack that annually hosts one of thoroughbred racing’s premier meets. For years, it has received millions in donations from some pillars of the industry. But over the past two years, according to the foundation’s financial disclosure documents, it has been operating at a deficit, and as a result has not reliably been paying the 25 farms it contracts with to oversee the retired horses.

For example, at the 4-H Farm in Oklahoma, inspectors last month could find only 47 of the 63 retired horses that had been assigned to it. Many of those were starving. The rest had died, probably of neglect, inspectors concluded. Last week, at a Kentucky farm that is also supposed to receive money from the foundation, 34 horses were found in “poor” or “emaciated” condition, inspectors found. One horse had to be euthanized because of malnutrition.

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