Celebrating the expansion of Thoroughbred aftercare at Mereworth Farm


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Celebrating the expansion of their Kentucky retraining facility, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program will host an Open Barn and Barbecue at their new location on Mereworth Farm in Lexington. Just 7 miles from the Kentucky Horse Park, the event will be held on Friday, April 29, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., and will toast the opening of Phase One, which includes the Whirlwind Poppy Barn and the John A. Hettinger Arena.

The Whirlwind Poppy barn, sponsored by Elise Durbin, honors the 2006 New York-bred gelding that started 28 times in four years before being purchased directly from the track and becoming Durbin’s show hunter. A devoted proponent of Thoroughbred aftercare, Durbin is thrilled to be able to be a part of such a turning point in equine aftercare.

Also on view will be the John D. Hettinger arena, which was sponsored by Fasig-Tipton. “Fasig-Tipton is a staunch supporter of retraining and aftercare efforts for retired Thoroughbreds,” said Boyd Browning, President and CEO. ”The establishment of a facility of this type fulfills the vision John Hettinger had nearly 15 years ago with the creation of Blue Horse Charities. We are delighted to be a part of this exciting initiative.”

Once complete, the New Vocations at Mereworth Farm will encompass two 15-stall barns, indoor and outdoor arenas, and an office. This project comes as a response to the number of retired racehorses in need of rehabilitation and training for second careers. An expansion of this proportion could not have been accomplished without the support of the Susan S. Donaldson Foundation, which oversees the Mereworth Farm. New Vocation’s relationship with the foundation includes a free, long-term lease of 85 acres; in addition, the foundation will donate all grain for the New Vocations horses, cover water expenses, and mow all green spaces. An additional 20-stall barn and paddocks has been provided elsewhere on the property for horses in need of rehabilitation before they begin retraining.

A Southern-style buffet dinner will be available, and attendees will be able to listen to live music while touring the barn, meeting the horses and mingling with acclaimed jockeys. Touring the facility is free; tickets for dinner and drinks are $20.  RSVP here   Address of the facility is 719 Dolan Lane, Lexington KY  40511.

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