PHBA’s Focus On Parx Racing’s Turning for Home
The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association is proud to support the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (PTHA) Turning for Home, the model program for Parx Racing’s retired racehorses. In just four years, the program has offered safe retirement to over 730 thoroughbreds, a large percentage of them Pennsylvania-breds who have been allowed chances at new careers off the racetrack.
“Our mission is to take any horse, sound or with physical issues, and guarantee each one a chance at a new career,” said Executive Director Michael Ballezzi. “With the financial support of our jockeys and owners, the PTHA, Parx Racing, and the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, as well as many private donors, we have been able to create a program that has become respected nationally.”
Entry into the program begins with complete evaluations of every horse needing retirement. The only criteria for acceptance into the program is that a horse must be in training and stabled at Parx Racing with a trainer who is based at the track for at least 6 months out of the year.
Horses needing orthopedic surgery for repair of fractures or chips are sent to Dr. Patty Hogan, who has been on board working at cost for the program since its inception. Long term layup and rehab is undertaken by one of the five farms that care for and eventually begin under saddle work with the horses before adoption into approved homes. With its No Auction/Right of First Refusal contracts, and regular follow up on the retirees, Turning for Home continues to protect its retired Thoroughbreds long after they leave the racetrack.
Ballezzi added that Turning for Home’s success stories are varied with former racehorses moving into new jobs as show horses, polo ponies, trail mounts and even therapy horses. “We are thankful to the many Pennsylvania groups, including the breeders, who have helped make Turning for Home one of the best retirement programs in the country,” he said.
Brian Sanfratello noted that the Parx program has been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer and other publications. “Pennsylvania horsemen are fortunate to have such a good program available at Parx and I am pleased that Turning for Home is now one of the national models for horse retirement. Mike and Barbara (Luna) have done a great job with the program,” stated the PHBA president.