The start of another horse racing season means some thoroughbreds are that much closer to retirement.
The Florida Thoroughbred Retirement & Adoptive Care Program (TRAC) takes the horses that are done racing and retrains them for a variety of second careers, giving the star horses new homes in the process.
At a horse stable near Indiantown in Martin County, Toni Foudy's new horse just got a new name: Belmont. He's the grandson of Triple Crown winner Secretariat and now a retired racer himself. Soon, Belmont will have a new job and home.
“As much as I am going to love him and give to him, he's going to give me that much more back in return,” said Foudy.
Belmont is one of 100 horses that will be adopted out by the Florida TRAC this year. Gulfstream and Calder Race Courses partner with the volunteers to give the sprinters rest, rehabilitation and retraining before starting their second careers.
”Everything from police horses to trail horses, show horses, hunter-jumpers. They pretty much go on to do just about anything,” said Barbi Moline with the Florida TRAC.
Maiysha Wimmer adopted 6-year-old Cat for $500 a year and a half ago.
”They can't race anymore because they are too old for that, but they are too young for retirement and they need a job,” said Wimmer.
She’s teaching Cat to be a jumper.
”They are very smart. They are easy to retrain. They understand the process. A lot of people get nervous that they're too high strung and a lot of them are not,” she said.
Florida TRAC does a thorough application process to match horses with owners.
”We will look into people’s financials, we look into references. We look for lifelong homes for these horses. It's a serious commitment,” said Celia Fawkes.
At this point, as Foudy is getting ready to take Belmont home, Foudy's not quite sure who's adopting whom.
”People say they rescue a horse but in a sense the horse rescues the people, some people,” said Foudy.
She is going to start an Equine Therapy Program out of her home.
If you would like to see the thoroughbreds in action, The Heritage Horse Show is December 8 and 9th at the Plantation Equestrian Center.