ASPCA to Support Thoroughbred Makeover Marketplace

The Retired Racehorse Project announced that the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) will provide a grant to support the Thoroughbred Makeover Marketplace, a marketing opportunity for retrained Thoroughbred racehorses that are offered for sale while competing in RRP’s $100,000 Thoroughbred Makeover.

The Thoroughbred Makeover, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, is a training competition that takes place at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, Oct. 4-7. The competition will feature 400-500 off-track Thoroughbreds, each with less than 10 months of retraining, competing in 10 different non-racing disciplines for a share of $100,000 in prize money.

Approximately 200 of the Thoroughbreds competing in the Makeover are for sale, having been restarted on the path to new careers by professional trainers or talented juniors and amateurs. The ASPCA Thoroughbred Makeover Marketplace provides a platform to promote these horses, and allows buyers interested in purchasing an off-track Thoroughbred to evaluate dozens of them in one location. The ASPCA grant funding will eliminate the fee to use the Marketplace for any horse competing in the Makeover who is with a nonprofit rescue and shelter.

“The ASPCA Makeover Marketplace is a great opportunity for buyers and sellers,” said Rosie Napravnik, former top jockey, RRP board member and 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover competitor. Napravnik, who now focuses her efforts on retraining Thoroughbreds for second careers, will have two horses available for sale. “RRP has done a fantastic job, not only increasing demand for these horses, but providing education, support and a positive experience for people interested in off-track Thoroughbreds.”

The Makeover has grown exponentially since its first incarnation at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2013. Now in its fourth year at the Kentucky Horse Park, the event has become the world’s largest showcase for the versatility of off-track Thoroughbreds and has boosted demand for retiring racehorses across a variety of sports and for recreational riding.

“The Marketplace portion of the Thoroughbred Makeover has become the primary driver for many of the people who attend the event as spectators. From internationally competitive riders looking for their next upper-level prospect to adult amateurs and families looking for their next equine partner for themselves or their kids, no other place in the world can they observe and test-ride so many excellent Thoroughbreds for sale and adoption and with a solid foundation of retraining,” said RRP Executive Director Jen Roytz. “The Thoroughbred Makeover is just the beginning for these horses. With the ASPCA’s support, which includes additional marketing resources for all Makeover horses being presented for adoption by aftercare organizations, I’m confident we’re going to see more horses being adopted or sold after the Makeover than ever before.”

The Makeover Marketplace is not an auction, but rather a venue for private resellers to promote their horses to multiple buyers in an informal setting, with added promotion from RRP and the ASPCA. Horse sale listings are featured on the Thoroughbred Makeover website and social media, and RRP will produce a printed sale catalog that will be available to horse shoppers at the competition. Sale horses can also be featured on the Jumbotron in the main arena, with the ASPCA sponsoring that opportunity for all horses offered via a non-profit rehoming organization.

“Their racing careers may have ended, but these retirees still have much to offer as they transition into new and varied careers,” said Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of ASPCA Equine Welfare. “Helping horses transition seamlessly to new careers and safe homes is vital to helping us achieve our goal of ensuring good welfare for all equines, and we are proud to be supporting the Thoroughbred Makeover Marketplace.”

Neither RRP nor the ASPCA is involved in the actual sale, and neither receives any commission, but RRP does stipulate that the sales contract for every horse placed through the ASPCA Thoroughbred Makeover Marketplace include a no-slaughter provision. Veterinarians from Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, located just across the street from the Kentucky Horse Park, are on-call to provide pre-purchase exams, and an arena at the Horse Park is set aside for interested buyers to use for trial rides.

At the 2017 competition, approximately one-third of the 300 horses competing were for sale. Twenty-two of those were confirmed as sold within a month of the competition, with prices ranging from $3,000 to $21,000. To date, the average reported sale price of 2017 Makeover horses is $9,800, up from $8,000 in 2016.

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