At the 2022 U.S. Trotting Association (USTA) annual meeting in March, the USTA directors overwhelmingly voted to increase the fee for horse transfers by $5 starting on June 1, 2022, with all of the additional revenue earmarked to provide financial support for the Standardbred Transition Alliance (STA).
The STA is an industry-led charitable 501(c)(3) organization established in 2018 to advance the scope of Standardbred aftercare. The STA mission is to inspect, accredit and award grants to approved organizations that acquire, rehabilitate, train and rehome Standardbred horses.
“The fee increase for transfers is another example of the USTA’s support of aftercare for the horses that make harness racing possible,” said Mike Tanner, USTA Executive Vice President and CEO. “It is critical for our industry to support the STA and this is an excellent way for USTA members to assist with that.”
Funding is generated across the spectrum of the Standardbred industry, including regulatory agencies, horsemen’s groups, tracks, sales companies, farms and individuals who participate as trainers, drivers, owners and breeders.
“Developing a consistent, broad-based stream of financial support for the STA has been the board’s goal from the very beginning,” said David Reid, STA President. “We greatly appreciate this new source of funding that should generate more than $100,000 annually to help us support accredited organizations providing essential aftercare for our Standardbreds.”
The STA provides partial funding to groups serving Standardbreds, ensuring donor confidence by examining the equine care and business practices of groups applying for accreditation.
“The STA is dedicated to raising money for the care, retraining and rehoming of racehorses once they leave the racetrack, and then disbursing those funds to inspected and accredited 501(c)(3) Standardbred aftercare organizations,” added Tanner. “That last part is crucial, because in a field that is largely unregulated, it is imperative that donors have confidence that their money is being put to its highest and best purpose.”
In 2021, there were 23,313 horse transfers, including 5,183 from claims made in races, which would have resulted in $116,565 for the STA if this program had been in place.