Taking care of horses both on and off the racetrack is paramount. I think any one of our team members can look people in the eye and say we “walk the walk” when it comes to retirement.
In 2011, West Point Thoroughbreds lost a cherished friend and faithful employee when Congie DeVito passed away due to complications from Osteogenesis Imperfecta (also known as Brittle Bones Disease). In his honor, we created Congie Black and Gold Fund to secure the retirement of past, current, and future horses purchased and raced by WPT.
We raise funds for the initiative in three ways:
- NEW IN 2021: $50 per start per horse is drawn from the partnership to be placed into the fund, with WPT donating $100 to the fund for each start. We used to do $10 per start, but it’s simply not enough if we want to secure happy retirements to the fullest extent possible.
- Individual donations from Partners.
- West Point allocates $1,000 to the fund when each new partnership entity is created.
Funds go toward re-homing, retraining, shipping, and daily care and maintenance for West Point horses no longer competing on the track. We’ve successfully placed hundreds of horses into good homes and keep track of every runner claimed away from us.
2020 success stories: Toasting Master was on the 2015 Triple Crown trail before being claimed in late 2016. We kept an eye on him as he bounced around from barn to barn at Churchill, Ellis, Indiana, Oaklawn, Prairie Meadows, Remington, Sam Houston, Lone Star, and most recently The Downs at Albuquerque. We knew it was time to step in when he was running decently, but not great in lower level claimers in New Mexico. Through the Congie Black and Gold Fund, and a lot of patience and dedication, we were able to purchase the now 9-year-old gelding and retire him with a record of 13-11-4 from 52 starts and 378k in earnings. He’s now turned out on the farm, and we hope to find him a forever home this spring. But stepping in and ensuring retirement for a horse like Toasting Master cost nearly $10,000, so it’s imperative that we all work together to support the Congie Black and Gold Fund.
Promising 2-year-old Tomorrow Knows was diagnosed with a severe neck issue following a race at Del Mar in the summer of 2019. West Point covered the cost of life-saving surgery and several months of the colt’s expenses until he was ready to be adopted. Some owners simply would have euthanized a horse who required such a significant surgery, but we put the Congie Black and Gold Fund funds to good use to save a life, and Tomorrow Knows is now happily retired in Ocala with Partners Richard and Natalie Alker.