United States

Fast Facts

Principal organization: The Jockey Club
Racecourses: 66 approx.
Registered thoroughbred foal crop of 2019: 19,225 (The Jockey Club)
Thoroughbred racehorses in training: 45,180 (The Jockey Club)
Most famous race: The Kentucky Derby, run in May
Learn more:
The Jockey Club 2020 Fact Book
The Jockey Club Directory of National Industry Organizations
Economic Impact of the Horse Industry in the United States, by the American Horse Council Foundation

Thoroughbred-related college programs:

University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program

The Race Track Industry Program offers a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree centered on the racing industry with two paths of study; one preparing students for race track management, regulation or pari-mutuel racing organizations, the other preparing students for employment in areas dealing with racing and breeding animals. Learn more through this informative feature by BloodHorse.

University of Louisville Equine Business Program

The University of Louisville in Kentucky offers an undergraduate equine program located in an AACSB-accredited college of business, with core business administration classes that focus on equine enterprises and event management. Learn more through this informative feature by BloodHorse.

University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs

The mission of the University of Kentucky Ag Equine Program is to discover, share and apply new knowledge on the health, performance and management of horses, enhancing the signature status of Kentucky’s equine industry. Learn more through this informative feature by BloodHorse.

Kentucky Thoroughbred Association – Locust Trace AgriScience Center Project

This project links central Kentucky thoroughbred breeding farms with LTAC to provide high school-aged students with opportunities for hands-on work and learning. The LTAC is the newest career and technical high school in Lexington, Kentucky which includes an equine pathway, expansive equine barn and arena and an on-site veterinary clinic.

North American Racing Academy at Bluegrass Community & Technical College

NARA is a college-level racing school specializing in the training and placement of students in horseracing and breeding careers, through certificate, two-year degree and apprenticeship programs. Learn more through this informative feature by BloodHorse.

State University of New York – Morrisville Racetrack Program

The SUNY Morrisville Associate of Applied Science degree in equine racing management provides a direct entry into the many exciting fields associated with the thoroughbred horseracing industry. The program emphasizes hands-on participation in the breaking, care, training, conditioning and racing of racehorses through requisite courses such as equine anatomy and physiology, stable management, breeding management, nutrition and training.

Educational initiatives:

Amplify Horse Racing

An initiative to provide thoroughbred industry newcomers with education, career information and connections with learning opportunities.

Keeneland 5th Grade Tour Days

A week in which 5th graders from public and private schools around Lexington, Kentucky visit Keeneland Racecourse for an interactive tour to expand their knowledge of the thoroughbred industry. Students also receive a special Thoroughbred Racing and Sales educational workbook to encourage further learning.

Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI)

The KEMI program is dedicated to improving opportunities for college students wishing to pursue a career in equine management. Through the internship, students integrate academic studies with practical experience, leadership and responsibility as a contributing participant on a Central Kentucky commercial thoroughbred farm. Aside from farm commitments, students are introduced to an extensive network of equine professionals.

Kentucky Derby Museum Education Programs

From science to social studies and arts and humanities, the Kentucky Derby Museum offers programming designed to supplement and introduce core curriculum standards taught in the classroom.

National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Youth & Family Programs

The home of the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame in the US is also a center of education and community engagement for all ages. From youth learning curriculums applied to the thoroughbred industry to interactive tours and exhibits, the National Museum of Racing welcomes racing fans, students, educators and anyone interested in learning more. Read about its unique Foal Patrol program, which shares the miracle of thoroughbred mares and foals with the world. Visit the case study for more information.

National equine initiatives:

Pony Club

Pony Club teaches riding and the proper care of horses to young people. It aims to develop character, leadership, confidence and a sense of community as they learn about the care of horses and ponies, riding and mounted sports.

4-H

The 4-H ‘Horse Project’ is one of many sectors of 4-H for young people to participate, with activities ranging from equine knowledge bowl and hippology, to horse riding and showing, speech, demonstrations and horse judging. 4-H is delivered by Cooperative Extension — a community of more than 100 public universities across the US – and welcomes young people of all beliefs and backgrounds, giving them a voice to express who they are and how they make their lives and communities better.

American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHYA)

A subsidiary of the American Quarter Horse Association, AQHYA allows young people to get involved in a variety of activities from riding to horse judging to public speaking. The Youth Racing Experience also allows AQHYA members to participate in the fast-paced world of American Quarter Horse racing from behind the starting gate to the finish line.

Harness Horse Youth Foundation (HHYF)

HHYF gives young horse lovers the opportunity to learn about driving and Standardbred horses. Programs include interactive learning experiences with racehorses, equine scholarship administration and creation and distribution of educational materials related to harness racing.

American Youth Horse Council (AYHC)

AYHC is aimed at supporting all youth and youth leaders throughout the equine industry, uniting kids and horses across breeds and disciplines through a variety of means and opportunities.

Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA)

The CHA certifies equine professionals, accredits equine facilities and provides resources to programs and equine professionals in the form of published industry standards for equestrian programs, student horsemanship manuals and equine professional manuals.

American Horse Council – Time To Ride

Introduces school-age children to horseback riding and horse care in a safe, professional, welcoming environment. Its purpose is to sustain and grow the equine industry by creating the next generation of knowledgeable, dedicated horse enthusiasts and owners.

Visit Horse Country

Horse Country, Inc. is an organization of horse farms, equine medical clinics and equine attractions dedicated to sharing the stories of Kentucky’s Horse Country. Through educational and engaging live and virtual tours, Horse Country creates emotional experiences by sharing the story of the horses, the land, and the people with guests; ultimately to develop fans of farms and clinics through tourism experiences.

I Am Horse Racing

I am Horse Racing is a media initiative that shares personal stories of the many who dedicate their lives to horseracing. The videos it produces aim to provide an overall focus of the sport, mainly through sharing stories of those involved in the equine community, to present accurate information and increase education, all in a responsible way.

Racetrack tours

Many racetracks and racetrack ownership organizations across North America offer wonderful public tours, especially during morning training hours. One example is the Sunrise Trackside program offered at Keeneland Racecourse on Saturday mornings during their spring and fall race meetings.

The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP)

TIP was created to encourage the retraining of thoroughbreds into other disciplines upon completion of careers in racing or breeding. TIP offers incentives for competition and recreational horses, young riders and thoroughbreds in a non-competitive second career as well as a Championship horse show.

Retired Racehorse Project (RRP)

RRP is a non-profit organization that works to expand the market and increase demand for thoroughbreds after racing. Best-known as the organization behind the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, the RRP also puts on retired racehorse retraining clinics around the country, hosts webinars/seminars and demonstrations and publishes the quarterly Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine.

New Vocations

New Vocations is the largest racehorse adoption program in the country serving more than 500 horses a year. Founded in 1992, its goal is to rehabilitate, retrain and rehome retired racehorses, which has led to the placement of more than 7,000 horses into second careers with new owners.

Operation We Are Here – Equine Therapy Programs for Military Veterans and Families

There are many equine therapy programs designed for military veterans suffering from the effects of PTSD, which can be accessed via Operation We Are Here.

Equine Workforce Initiative

The Equine Workforce Initiative is a joint program of the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Workforce Center that is addressing the shortage of qualified equine workers on a national level. Through employer-led work groups the equine industry gets the facts straight from the horse’s mouth so that community and education partners are better informed about the needs of industry employers.

Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, Blackburn Corrections Complex and Second Chances Farms Employability Program

Blackburn Correctional Complex (BCC) manages one of seven Second Chances Farms for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) and the only one in Kentucky. The TRF began its mission of “horses helping people and people helping horses” at Wallkill Correctional Facility in New York and its home office is in Saratoga Springs, NY. See the case study for more information.

The Groom Elite Program

This provides horsemen and horsewomen with an opportunity for professional and personal growth through a curriculum aimed at increasing their knowledge and understanding of horse care.

Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP)

A collaborative effort of industry organizations representing all types of racing, ROAP accredits and provides continuing education to all racing officials, stewards and judges in the horseracing industry. By doing so, ROAP is enhancing the image and upholding the integrity of horseracing at all levels.

Already working in the thoroughbred industry? These are resources you might be able to use:

American Horse Council

The American Horse Council focuses on the health and welfare of horses by outlining best practices, acting as an advocate for the equine industry in government and serving as a resource for programs and initiatives in the US equine industry.

Cómo

Cómo is an app that connects racing industry employees to the vital services they need through a network of racetrack chaplains and thoroughbred industry organizations. Providers have added their services, including healthcare, legal services, continuing education, and more.

Race Track Chaplaincy of America

An evangelical, interdenominational, 501(c)(3) non-profit Christian organization whose purpose is to minister to the spiritual, emotional, physical, social and educational needs of workers within the horseracing industry.

Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards

The Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards, presented by Godolphin, recognize and reward the outstanding talent, diligence and commitment of the farm and racing stable staff who are at the heart of our sport.