Thoroughbred Incentive Program Makes Big Strides for Retired Racehorses

The Jockey Club's Thoroughbred Incentive Program saw more than 2,100 horses enroll this year. (Courtesy Thoroughbred Incentive Program)

When The Jockey Club launched the Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P) and committed $100,000 to its development in 2012, it’s unlikely anyone expected it to become as popular as it has.

Seven years on, the program has seen major growth in its numbers both in what it offers to riders and in terms of how many people are taking part. The program had 150 shows give out TIP awards in 2012 and over 1,300 are scheduled to give out the awards this year, with the number of Thoroughbreds joining T.I.P jumping from 2,140 that first year to over 8,300 in 2017.

With an original goal of encouraging retired racehorses to go on to second and third careers after racing seeming to have been achieved with the popularity of off-track Thoroughbreds on the rise, T.I.P.’s Kristin Werner Leshney says the goal has changed a bit. But don’t worry, the original intent is still there.

“T.I.P. was created to encourage the retraining of Thoroughbreds into other disciplines upon completion of careers in racing or breeding and to recognize and reward Thoroughbreds participating in a second career,” she said. “I think T.I.P. has done a great job on recognizing and regarding Thoroughbreds in a second career, so I think going forward most of T.I.P.’s goals will focus on encouraging the transition from racing to other disciplines to help ensure all Thoroughbreds transition to a second career or retirement upon conclusion of their careers in racing or breeding. We will continue to recognize and reward Thoroughbreds of course, with a focus on our in-house value added programs like the Performance Awards and Championships.”

The T.I.P. Championships were new for 2017. (Courtesy Thoroughbred Incentive Program)

Some of those changes have already come into effect with the addition of the T.I.P. Championships in 2017 and Werner Leshney is proud of what the program achieved while also looking forward.

“Certainly the inaugural T.I.P. Championships was a highlight [of 2017] and we are getting bigger and better in 2018 by adding dressage, western dressage, and western pleasure to the Championship,” she said. “We also have increasing interest in T.I.P. awards at shows, with 200-plus more shows this year over 2016. One of my favorite developments is the popularity of the Recreational Riding program (TRRInP). As a recreational rider myself, it is great to see so many Thoroughbreds being used for trail horses, as well as in endurance and competitive trail events.”

With awards available for a variety of disciplines through T.I.P, Thoroughbred owners have a lot of incentive to join the program. But an added bonus is that T.I.P can assist riders in learning more about their horses’ histories, both as foals and on the track.

“For horse enthusiasts who have chosen to rider a Thoroughbred, T.I.P. offers so much in the way of rewards and recognition. But because it is a part of The Jockey Club, it also offers a connection back to the horse’s racing history, breeding and pedigree. All T.I.P. Numbers are tied back to the horse’s registered name and pedigree. When we spotlight winners or other participants, we try to include their breeder and race records. When people buy a Thoroughbred, they should aware of the horse’s background (starting with its registered name), familiar with its pedigree and proud of its history.”

With many different programs out there to help Thoroughbreds thrive in their post-racing careers, it’s no surprise the breed has regained the popularity it saw in other decades as the “go-to” horses for riders everywhere. For more information on how to register your Thoroughbred for T.I.P. and take advantage of the many benefits of the program, visit

Editor's note: This story was first published in 2018 and has been updated.

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