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Program Will Give Retired Thoroughbreds A New Job

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Crossing the finish line at Pimlico may be the end of the line for a thoroughbred’s career. But for some former racehorses, a new program is designed to give them a second occupation.

Gigi Barnett has more on the thoroughbred makeover.

Four-year-old thoroughbred Thane is used to the fast track. He’s a former racehorse sidelined by physical conditions. Back in June, he met trainer Nuno Santos in a thoroughbred makeover program aimed at retraining horses like him for second careers.

“He’s enjoying the work instead of being more hyper,” Santos said.

Santos is one of 26 trainers paired with a thoroughbred in the summer program. After years of drilling thoroughbreds to run at high speeds, he’s teaching Thane to gallop and do dressage. Santos says the makeover begins at a slower pace and ends when the horse can see the new image of itself.

“They can do what the other horses can do,” Santos said.

“The very visible Kentucky Derby events are what people think about when they think about thoroughbred racing,” said Carolyn Karlson.

Karlson is vice president of the Retired Racehorse Training Project, which sponsors the program. Karlson says thoroughbreds like Thane can live up to 25 years and after a couple of years on a track, their purpose could get lost.

“There’s wonderful success stories of these horses working all the way up to the Olympic level, working in Hollywood,” Karlson said. “This is allowing them to live happily into the next chapter of their lives.”

Thane and the other horses in the program will be featured in the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium at Pimlico on Oct. 5 and 6. To find out more, click here.

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