The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) announced today that Keeneland has returned as the sponsor for the Arrival Exam and Finale Jogs at the combined 2020 and 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover. The Arrival Exam and Finale Jogs are the most prominent equine safety and welfare initiatives at the Makeover.
First instituted at the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, the Arrival Exam requires each horse to have proof of current vaccinations, vitals (temperature, respiration and heart rate) within a normal range, be scanned for a microchip that has been registered with The Jockey Club, pass a walking soundness exam, and score a four or higher on the Henneke Body Condition Scale (the industry standard for assessing a horse’s condition and fat coverage).
The Finale Jog was originally intended to debut at the 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover, which was postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Now instituted for the first time for both the 2020 and 2021 competition years, the Finale Jog will ask the top five finishers in each of the ten disciplines offered to present their horses in-hand at the jog for a ground jury consisting of at least two veterinarians and the chief steward the day prior to competing in their respective discipline championships.
“Keeneland has long been a global leader in Thoroughbred racing and sales, and through their support of aftercare and welfare initiatives like the Arrival Exam and Finale Jog, they demonstrate their dedication and commitment to the breed,” said Jen Roytz, executive director of the RRP. “Their support offers credence to our hundreds of competitors who invest their time, effort, money and skill in transforming these former racing athletes into viable sport horses.”
To help participating trainers prepare their horses for the Thoroughbred Makeover, the RRP provides educational resources throughout the year leading up to the event, including interactive webinars with veterinarians and nutritionists as well as educational videos and articles. The RRP’s consulting veterinarian, Dr. Shannon Reed, also makes herself available as a resource for trainers throughout the year, answering questions and helping to connect competitors with appropriate resources and support in their local equestrian communities.
“Equine safety and welfare remain a top priority for Keeneland, and our sponsorship of the Arrival Exam and Finale Jogs is another opportunity to strengthen that commitment,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said. “We are proud to support the Thoroughbred Makeover and its work to showcase the talents of former racehorses who have entered the next phase of their careers.”
The 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium will be a double competition, with horses from the postponed 2020 event competing in their own classes alongside the regularly scheduled 2021 competition year. The combined event will take place October 12 through 17 and will include two Finale days on Saturday and Sunday. In total, over 800 trainer applications were accepted between 2020 and 2021, and as many as 900 horses could be competing this October.
In addition to competition, the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium will once again feature the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace, a unique horse shopping experience in which more than 150 of the well-started Thoroughbreds competing in the event will be available for purchase or adoption. This year, the Marketplace is also open to listings for 2022 Makeover prospects from non-profit aftercare organizations. The Makeover will also include seminars on topics pertinent to transitioning racehorses to new disciplines, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit, the Master Class (a racehorse retraining clinic), and a vendor fair.
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