Aftercare Program Beyond The Wire To Receive MJC’s Special Award Of Merit At Alibi Breakfast

Beyond the Wire, a Maryland-based Thoroughbred aftercare program that recently celebrated retiring its 500th horse, has been selected to receive the 2022 Special Award of Merit.

Guided in its day-to-day operations by program administrator Jessica Hammond, Beyond the Wire will be presented with the Special Award of Merit Thursday, May 19 during the Alibi Breakfast at historic Pimlico Race Course.

The Special Award of Merit is given by the Maryland Jockey Club 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,” Hammond said. “Hopefully, the award will also provide an addition spotlight on the importance of aftercare.”

Launched in 2017, Beyond the Wire reached its milestone moment 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,” she 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.

Another important goal of the program is to provide education and advocacy surrounding the issue of responsible retirement of racehorses. 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, May 17 through Friday, May 20.

For more information on the program, visit: www.beyondthewire.org.

The Alibi Breakfast began in the 1930s on the porch of the old Pimlico Clubhouse and features a gathering of media, owners, trainers, jockeys, horsemen and fans to celebrate the Preakness and gain interesting and humorous race predictions.

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