At an awards dinner held at Keeneland Racecourse on Saturday, January 4, the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry gave the Retired Racehorse Training Project (RRTP) one of its highest honors by awarding it the Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) Industry Service Award.
The TCA's mission is to "provide a better life for Thoroughbreds, both during and after their racing careers, by supporting retirement, rescue and research and by helping the people who work with them." The TCA's Industry Service Award is given yearly to an organization that exemplifies that mission.
"We feel humbled to be a part of the amazing group that has received this honor in the past," said RRTP President Steuart Pittman. "Our market-based approach to facilitating the placement of horses is different from what the industry has supported in the past, and to be honored in this way confirms for us that we are on the right track." Past recipients include such organizations as Old Friends, New Vocations and Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue.
In 2013, the RRTP hosted the first of its kind Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, MD. The event featured two full days of educational seminars, industry meetings and off-track Thoroughbred demonstrations. It was also the culmination of the summer-long Thoroughbred Makeover which showcased 26 trainers from 15 states retraining Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in disciplines as diverse as police work, eventing, ranch work and vaulting. Future plans for the organization include a second edition of the National Symposium as well as an expansion of their educational resources for both on-track and off-track Thoroughbred owners.
TCA President Dan Rosenberg attended the RRTP event at Pimlico and described it in his remarks as "…overwhelming. It was extraordinary. It was awesome. It was all the words that you can possibly think of for the ultimate." Rosenberg's comments were followed by a presentation about RRTP's work that included an inspiring video titled "I Love My Racehorse," produced by Eclipse Award-winning writer Glenye Oakford.
The TCA Award was received during the TCA's annual dinner that features a live auction of stallion seasons for some of the premier stallions in North America and has become a hallmark event for the Thoroughbred breeding industry. Over $818,000 was raised during this year's event to support over 70 charitable organizations that work to uphold TCA's mission. Over the past 23 years, TCA has distributed nearly $20 million to over 200 organizations.