The recently signed agreement between the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and The Stronach Group will provide $1 million for the Beyond The Wire program over the next few years as well as a continued financial contribution in subsequent years.
The company has pledged $250,000 each year from 2020 through 2023 and thereafter will match the $11-per-start owner contribution to Beyond The Wire. The money will provide continuity for the program and also allow Beyond The Wire to assist its accredited partner farms with infrastructure improvements as needed.
“We are extremely grateful to The Stronach Group for the money it has pledged annually to Beyond The Wire,” said Jessica Hammond, who administers the program. “This will give Maryland Thoroughbreds even more security in regard to a safe and enriching retirement from racing. This is especially comforting in light of the uncertainties we face with COVID-19. This huge win for our racehorses also wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of MTHA Executive Director David Richardson.”
Beyond The Wire from mid-March until late May lost its primary funding source—the per-start contributions—because live racing was suspended in Maryland because of COVID-19 restrictions. The program, however, continued to accept horses. In 2019, the per-start contribution generated more than $150,000 for Beyond The Wire operations.
“This money will allow us to better support our Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance-accredited facilities, many of whom have interest in expanding to take on more horses,” Hammond said. “More money will also mean that we are better able to compensate facilities for horses that require more care to reach the point of being adoptable. Our partners should not have to rely on their own fundraisers to take care of our horses.
“With continued donations from owners at the time of their horses’ retirement, coupled with the funding already in place from the MTHA, Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Horse Breeders Association, and small per-start charges to owners and jockeys, this additional money from The Stronach group will make Beyond The Wire a great example of what is possible when all members of the racing industry make our Thoroughbred racehorses the priority.
Hammond also suggested that horsemen retire horses “one race too soon instead of one race too late.” She said horses that are in good condition are easier to move and “have better, more comfortable futures. We owe that to them.”