Beyond the Wire, a Maryland-based Thoroughbred aftercare program, will be honored with the Maryland Jockey Club's Special Award of Merit during the Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico Thursday.
The Special Award of Merit is presented to those who have made a positive impact on the racing industry. Past winners include Hall of Fame horsemen D. Wayne Lukas, Jerry Bailey, Ramon Dominguez and King Leatherbury; late Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim McKay, founder of the Maryland Million; and MJC track photographer Jim McCue.
“We are honored and really appreciate the recognition, as the program has been a big effort on the part of the Maryland racing industry,” Beyond the Wire's program administrator Jessica Hammond said. “Hopefully, the award will also provide an additional spotlight on the importance of aftercare.”
Launched in 2017, Beyond the Wire reached a milestone in mid-March when 5-year-old gelding Bundi Bundi trained by Pedro Nasario became the 500th horse to move through the program. Hammond said they have since added another 20 horses.
“It's a busy, busy program,” Hammond said. “The good news is that it shows that trainers are prioritizing a good aftercare program for their horses. People are even foregoing getting money for their horses so that they know that they are going to have a safe and secure retirement. Instead of risking having a horse end up in a bad spot, trainers are saying let me just retire them through Beyond the Wire.”
Beyond the Wire is an industry-wide initiative between the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Maryland Jockey Club, 1/ST Racing, Northview Stallion Station, Maryland Horse Breeders Association and Maryland jockeys. The organization is a first exit from racing program designed to facilitate safe and enriching placements for retiring Maryland-based racehorses.
Annual pledges and donations, and owners' contributions of $11 per start, enables Beyond the Wire to place retired Thoroughbreds exclusively with Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance-accredited farms. Horses that go through the program receive retraining and rehabilitation as needed.
Partner farms are MidAtlantic Horse Rescue, Foxie G Foundation, New Vocations, Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue, After the Races, Equine Rescue of Aiken and Life Horse.
Beyond the Wire will have an information table set up during the Sunrise at Old Hilltop tours which run from 6-9 a.m. Tuesday through Friday. For more information on the program, visit: www.beyondthewire.org.