April 1, 2010
An organization on the grounds of Philadelphia Park is leading the nation in finding homes for ex-racing thoroughbreds. Race horses take a beating on the track and the average age of one of these animals is four years old, but their life expectancy is twenty to thirty years. What do they do with the rest of their lives? If the horse is a 'sound' horse, no lameness issues or injuries that prevent from jumping, many families adopt them and keep them as riding horses for their children or for companions. These thoroughbreds are high maintenance and require a lot of care – the horses that don’t make the cut are often sold to auctions and then on sent to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered. The U.S. shut down horse slaughter houses as recent as 2007. We'll speak to BARBARA LUNA, the program administrator for Turning for Home, which is the only non-profit organization on the grounds of a racetrack that helps to find homes for retired racehorses; DR. STEVE MCBRIDE, an equine veterinarian specializing in thoroughbred race track medicine; and ERIN HURLEY, who runs South Jersey Thoroughbred Rescue and Adoption, a non-profit organization that tends to about 20 Philadelphia Park retirees at a time.