Turning For Home Moves into Fifth Year of Retiring Parx Horses
Nearing its fifth anniversary, the PTHA’s racehorse retirement program Turning For Home currently boasts 870 retirees, and continues to accept four horses a week for rehabilitation, retraining, and eventual adoption.
“We have made a huge impact on the racing industry since PTHA Executive Director Michael Ballezzi started this program,” said Barbara Luna, who, as administrator, oversees the day to day tasks involved in moving horses into programs which work closely with her to hasten each Thoroughbred’s chance at a new career. “At various symposiums and seminars in 2012, we were greeted with praise for Turning For Home’s success, and inquiries as to how other tracks could set up a similar program.
The lastest additions to the program, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, are the nine-year-old former Louisiana stakes winner, Sum Fun, Awyn’s Forte and Howmuchthebestishe, who each needed surgery for condylar fractures, and a noncompetitive three-year-old gelding named Halfbloodprince who could potentially become a top eventing candidate.
“Turning For Home has built a base of supporters like Hogan Equine Clinic, New Jersey Equine Clinic, and MidAtlantic Equine Hospital which have donated tens of thousand of dollars worth of surgery which has allowed over 40 of our retirees to have a second chance at a new career,” said Luna. “We are always thankful that Dr. Patty Hogan was the first to support our cause, and that Drs. Scott Palmer and Mike Karlin have added their expertise to help horses which otherwise, would have little chance of adoption.”
The program is currently looking for new groups to help with retraining and finding homes for the Parx horses. Each group or farm must adhere to the AAEP’s Guidleines for Equine Rescue and Retirement Facilities, as well as secure a site approval and reference check by Luna.
“We have certainly been blessed with the dedication and support of the men and women who run the six farms and organizations we have now,” she said. “But with the popularity of the breed growing, the new all-Thoroughbred shows scheduled on the East coast in the upcoming year, and the increasing number of horses coming into our program, we’d like to invite anyone who shares the Turning For Home mission to join our team.”
Turning For Home’s mission is to prevent injured or noncompetitive Thoroughbreds from Parx Racetrack from ending up at slaughter by providing new careers through rehabilitation, retraining and safe adoptions.