On Wednesday, Joe Drape wrote an article in the New York Times highlighting the alleged difficulties of the Thoroughbred Retirement Fund. In the article, Drape claims that TRF has not taken care of the horses that are under its care and has run at a financial deficit for the last two years.
I have no direct knowledge of the management of TRF assets or the horses. However, I do know Diana Pikulski, the Executive Director of TRF. In difficult financial times, I have known her to be a diligent fundraiser who has the interests of the horses solely at heart. To see her work marred in the New York Times without truly reporting the TRF side is disturbing and is showing an inherent anti-racing bias by the Times.
According to the TRF, procedures are now in place to work through and manage the finances to make sure money gets to those caring for the horses, contrary to what Drape alleges. In addition, fundraising continues to be sought. in order to maintain the horses presently in care.
The TRF is the gold standard for Thoroughbred Retirement. Without this organization, many horses would come off the track and potentially be sold to meat processing plants in Canada, or overseas. Additionally, the therapeutic programs undertaken by TRF has been extremely beneficial to prisoners in New York, Kentucky and elsewhere as these programs offer the opportunity to allow prisoners to learn horse husbandry which is good for both the prisoner and the retired horse.
I am hopeful that despite the Times article, TRF will be able to right its course and continue the good work it does on behalf of retired thoroughbreds.
The New York Times Article:
The Saratogian Article