Standardbred Retirement Foundation Announces Win*Win Program

The Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) has announced a new program to allow Standardbred owners to share in racehorses' earnings with noncompetitive Standardbreds in need of a home.

The SRF has partnered with numerous racetracks to accommodate owners, trainers, and drivers in the Win*Win Program, making it easy to authorize any percent of winnings they choose as an automatic tax-deductible gift to SRF.

Showing the way for owners to help these animals transition off the racetrack in a dignified manner are Fran Azur, United States Harness Writers Association's 2010 Unsung Hero award winner, and Jeff Gural, Standardbred owner, lessee of the Meadowlands (in East Rutherford, N.J.), and owner of Tioga Downs, in Nichols, N.Y., and Vernon Downs, in Vernon, N.Y.

Azur, owner of some of harness racing's top horses including Hypnotic Blue Chip, Noble Falcon, and Blue Ridge Western, is the first owner to step up and set the pace for others to join the program.

"I would be pleased to donate 2% of any winnings my horses earn to such a good cause," says Azur.

Azur has also generously guaranteed a minimum gift, should his current stable fall short of the $1.9 million in earnings his horses won last year.

Gural, a longtime supporter of SRF, jumped right in to support the program both as an owner of horses while also pledging the assistance of the tracks he owns. Among others who quickly signed on are Arden Homestead Stables; a newly formed partnership, All Together Now; and Patricia Hogan, VMD, Dipl. ACVS, who responded with, "I'm in!"

Trainers have pledged to reach out to their owners to encourage their support of the program.

"It's a great way to give back," explained Paula Campbell, SRF's president. "We all benefit from racing, from these tough miles these horses go. With no endowment to speak of and the need for our work growing in leaps and bounds, we are depending on this program. We will no longer be here if we can't raise more support for the horses that make it all happen for us."

Every month the cost of care for the organization's 175 Standardbred horses ranges from $40,000 to $60,000. While most horses placed with the SRF find an adoptive home, the program's lifetime follow-up feature means that many also return for care and replacement when their adopters lose interest, suffer financial difficulties, or fail to properly care for the horse.

The SRF is currently caring for 102 Standardbreds that are unattractive to potential adopters due to age or injuries. The mandatory follow-up program ensures that every horse in the SRF program receives lifetime care, a financial challenge in serving animals that routinely live to age 30 or more.

SRF has high hopes for this voluntary program.

"For the average race horse owner, a 1% donation can equate to a meal, even a cup of coffee, hardly an amount that will be missed in a purse check," said Judy Bokman, SRF's co-founder. "But they add up and that will fill a hay rack, exactly what we need."

Gifts are tax deductible and can be canceled or adjusted up or downward at any time. The authorization card is on SRF's website at

Presently, most New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania tracks are supporting the program, and support from others is in the works as SRF services horses from as far away as California, Ohio, Florida, and Canada. Other tracks and owners who would like to participate can also call the SRF at 609/324-1500. Information and authorization cards as inserts for those who wish to encourage support by including them in their mailings are also available by contacting SRF.

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