McCarron Chooses TRF Retirees for Racing Academy

Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron has entered into an agreement with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) to supply horses for the North American Racing Academy, a riding school McCarron will open later this year.
McCarron's academy will be the first of its kind in this country and will mirror the many successful riding schools that have churned out polished, experienced jockeys in other countries, most notably in South America. McCarron hopes to base the academy at the Kentucky Horse Park (KHP) in Lexington.
The students will learn aboard retired racehorses, most of which will come from the Maker's Mark Secretariat Center, also on the grounds of the KHP. The TRF runs the Maker's Mark Secretariat Center, which is a retraining location for Thoroughbreds just off the track which are sound and suitable for adoption.
The NARA will start off slowly, with about 10 students. Eventually, as many as 20 could be enrolled. McCarron believes it is a must that the students learn not just to ride but the horsemanship skills that will serve them well in their future careers. That's the way McCarron learned his trade when apprenticing under trainer Odie Clelland.
"He made you work your butt off in the barn; he made you do everything," McCarron said. "You walked hots, you mucked stalls, you were a groom. You started at the bottom of the ladder and worked your way up and you didn't get promoted until you had learned the skill and paid your dues. You'd learn everything about the horsemanship aspect before you ever got a leg over a horse. That way, you can come back after a race, and, if you felt something funny about a horse, you can tell a Bob Baffert or a Bobby Frankel that there might be a problem, with an ankle, a knee, whatever."
In the TRF, McCarron believes he has found the perfect organization to provide sound horses which fit his school's needs.
"Over the last 20 years or so years the TRF has done a marvelous job with taking care of retired race horses by giving them a good home and making every attempt to place those horses that can go on to become involved in other activities," he said. "Thoroughbreds are incredibly adaptable and versatile. They make terrific companions for those who love to be around horses. I am very pleased the TRF takes such good care of these wonderful creatures that bring us so much pleasure. I am also happy to be able to partner with the TRF to place some of the retirees into our program at the North American Racing Academy, the soon-to-be established first-class school for race-riding and horsemanship. I look forward to a long and productive relationship."

McCarron retired in June 2002 with 7,141 wins, sixth on the career list, and $264.4 million in earnings, the most ever by a jockey. McCarron, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989, rode two Kentucky Derby winners, Alysheba in 1987 and Go for Gin in 1994.

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