Program at Parx Racing helps retiring horses find caring new homes

Turning For Home aids horses in transitioning from the world of racing

BENSALEM, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — A racehorse retirement program at Parx Racing In Bensalem is helping horses find a new stage in life beyond the track.

Penny Pearce is the trainer and co-owner of Reach for the Stars, a 4-year-old chestnut-red thoroughbred mare.

“We claimed her, a first-time starter, for $25,000. She is really well-bred, but she just didn’t live up to her breeding,” Pearce said. “She is sound. She just doesn’t want to be a racehorse.”

Pearce could sell Stars, but she said that often, sellers don’t know where the horse will end up.

“You want her to be happy,” Pearce said. “Look at her. She is just a sweetheart.”

Over the years, Pearce has given several horses to the non-profit organization Turning for Home, the racehorse retirement program at Parx Racing funded by the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.

Turning for Home has a network of farm partners throughout the region that help racehorses transition from the world of racing.

Program administrator Danielle Montgomery said that Stars is heading to her new home of Northwestern Stables near Fairmount Park in Philadelphia this weekend.

Reach for the Stars, a horse at Parx Racing in Bensalem being given to Turning for Home, which places retiring race horses with new owners who will give holistic and humane care to them.
Reach for the Stars, a horse at Parx Racing in Bensalem being given to Turning for Home, which places retiring race horses with new owners who will give holistic and humane care to them. Photo credit John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio

“We have a new partnership with them,” Montgomery said. “They have a lesson program, a riding program, and a competition program, and they are a 501(c)(3) that has a therapy program, too.”

Turning for Home, which has an office at the Parx Racing stables, places about 300 horses each year and tracks the animals throughout their lives.

“Our partner farms are special, because they are not just in it to make money themselves. They are not just trying to grab a horse, sell it, flip a horse. Those are not the people we work with,” said Montgomery.

“A lot of our farms are already breeders, owners, and trainers and know how to deal with the special Issues that thoroughbreds have when they are coming off the race track. We pre-vet all of our farms. We help them. We give them a stipend. Every horse that leaves, we give them a stipend and we know that goes to each individual horse. So we know that is going to the horse to feed that horse, to take care of that horse, and those farms are given the charge of finding that second career and doing that transition.”

The adopters of the horses sign a contract that forbids them from allowing the animal to ever be slaughtered.

Turning for Home also assists with emergency veterinary care for horses when necessary.

Click here for more information on Turning for Home.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio