A recent article in the Saratogian highlights an important point that often goes disregarded in racing circles:
What happens to a horse once it is done racing?
An owner of a race horse has an obligation to make sure that the animal does not end up in the kill pen once its racing days are done. Those horses that earn enough money or have the breeding can either go to stud or become broodmares. This does not take into account the overwhelming number of horses that either are gelded or cannot breed by virtue of their production on the track.
Fortunately there are some wonderful retirement agencies that will take care of the horses. Thoroughbred Retirement Fund (TRF) is a national organization that adopts out horses and runs programs nationwide. Old Friends is in Kentucky and Saratoga taking care of those pensioned stakes winning horses that otherwise have no home. Purple Haze at Finger Lakes has an adoption program where it will find the horse a suitable home.
The problem is most of these places are over booked. That said, the owner who retires the horse is still responsible if not legally but morally to find the horse a suitable post racing home. The time to consider that is while the horse is racing so that the owner knows where the horse could go at the end of its career.