The 2022 America’s Best Racing Pre-Preakness Party to benefit the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and Beyond The Wire will be held May 18 and is open to both industry members and fans. Proceeds from ticket sales go to Thoroughbred aftercare. BloodHorse spoke with TAA operations consultant Stacie Clark-Rogers about the event, which has turned into a significant fundraiser for TAA.
BloodHorse: The annual Pre-Preakness Party has taken a two-year-long hiatus due to COVID-19. Talk about your expectations and your excitement as the event returns.
Stacie Clark Rogers: It’s super great. America’s Best Racing has always been supportive of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and always has been. We love to have an opportunity to mix people in the industry and keep going forward with awareness and fun things like the ABR party. Mt. Washington Tavern has always been a great space and they have been really generous. It’s just a really fun event to get everyone together and have some friendly banter going forward on Preakness weekend, which has always been a great weekend for the TAA.
It is a good way for us to kick off the week and see some familiar faces. Coming after COVID-19, hopefully, it is just extra special to see friends and have an opportunity to raise some awareness and raise some fundraising with the silent auction.
BH: This is one of the bigger events that the TAA relies on every year. What makes this event so vital to the TAA?
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SR: ABR is about fans and awareness. They have always been supportive about getting the message out there into the industry and getting behind aftercare and the organizations. Plus, we are at one of the biggest events of the year, The Triple Crown. We get great support from the Breeders’ Cup, Preakness, and Pegasus, but it’s nice to be part of the bigger events to show the industry and the supporters of the industry and fans that aftercare is an integral part of the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry . Having a placement at not too much expense to the organization to have an event and have a sponsor to cover some of the costs helps raise some awareness and have fun while doing it.
We are having a silent auction, halter donations, and all kinds of cool stuff. It is a good place for people to intermingle and talk about aftercare. This year, we are highlighting with six handicappers giving their picks on the Preakness and the Black-Eyed Susan (G2). They will be up on boards or an old fashion tote system and some of them will be there to discuss their picks if they want and to just have a good time with their friends.
BH: All events aside, what is your favorite part of the Pre-Preakness Party?
SR: Seeing everybody and the anticipation of the Preakness weekend is my favorite. It is right in the middle of the Triple Crown. Maryland is always such a lovely place to be. The food is great at Mt. Washington Tavern. My favorite part is having a positive experience and an opportunity for awareness for the TAA and its organizations. Getting a chance to intermingle and have some fun is a great way to kick off the weekend.
BH: How are fans able to also support the cause?
SR: I think that it is important to know that we do two things: accredit and fundraise. Fundraising is always important. We fundraise for 82 organizations so it is good for fans to support horses that they have been fans of that end up in aftercare to help them find jobs.
As a sport, it is nice to know that we can evolve horses into new careers and that we have made a conscious effort to do that as an industry.
BH: Tell us a little bit about Beyond The Wire and what they have done to help off-track Thoroughbreds in Maryland.
SR: Beyond The Wire is one of many of the placement programs (we support) throughout the country. BTW is a placement program for Maryland horsemen and they are a subgroup of the horsemen’s group there. They work in conjunction with getting horses off the racetrack and into TAA accredited facilities. We work together in awareness, placement, and discussion of issues.
We try to make sure that we all are aware of the opportunities in racing and aftercare and make sure that horses have a safe first landing working through that placement program into TAA accredited groups.
BH: Can you talk a little bit about the TAA’s mission and goals for this year?
SR: The mission is ongoing. To raise funding for kept accredited aftercare, getting horses through rehab and retraining to adoption, or some horses aren’t adopted and are in sanctuary. The ongoing thing is to support accredited aftercare. We know that the organizations we have across the country do a good job. We fundraise for 82 groups and we accredit 82 groups. Every year we accredit new groups. It is an ongoing mission to assist the industry with the horse population and helping them find a soft landing after their earlier careers are done.
The Pre-Preakness Party will be held May 18 at 7:00 pm ET at Mt. Washington Tavern; 5700 Newbury St., Baltimore, MD 21209. The cost of attendance is $25 online or $35 at the door.