- Published: Tuesday, 01 November 2022 07:36
The 1.5% assessment on claims at Maryland racetracks enacted earlier this year to support the Beyond The Wire program was discussed during an Oct. 27 meeting of Mid-Atlantic region aftercare representatives who shared ideas on funding and other issues.
The assessment is used to cover the expense of shipping horses to partner retirement facilities, surgeries, and for their care while they reside at Thoroughbred Aftercare Association-accredited retraining and rehabilitation facilities. The average cost to put a horse through the program has increased to about $3,600, and the $16 per-start charge paid by owners barely covers shipping in most cases.
“We have many owners and trainers that are retiring their horses in good condition—especially lately—but we have too many horses that should have been retired earlier,” said Beyond The Wire Executive Director Jessica Hammond. “Horses that have injuries and physical issues take longer to place than sound horses, and they are more costly to retire.
“Beyond the Wire has to send bigger stipends for limited horses and horses that need stall rest, not to mention the cost of surgery if necessary. It’s also not fair to the horses to retire them with limitations and possible physical discomfort that may have potentially been preventable.”
Beyond The Wire has retired an average of 125 horses a year but is on course to retire more than that for 2022, according to the numbers through the end of October.
The claiming assessment in Maryland is automatic unless an owner opts out. At the New York Racing Association tracks, there is a mandatory 1.5% assessment on claims, according to comments made during the Oct. 26 aftercare meeting.