SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The ambassadors are in town.
The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation has had to make adjustments to its fundraising efforts because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but will still make some herd ambassadors available to the public as part of its annual BBQ at the Barn on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at The Saratoga Winery.
Uptown Joe, a 9-year-old who raced three times at Saratoga Race Course, and the 17-year-old Bold Mon will be at the Saratoga Winery to give donors a chance to see first-hand what the TRF's mission is about.
In order to comply with social distancing guidelines, the annual TRF BBQ at the Barn has been reimagined as a drive-thru experience featuring a drive around the grounds complete with miniature ponies, racing celebrities and an appearance by Uptown Joe and Bold Mon.
They're residents of the farm at Wallkill Correctional Facility as part of the TRF's Second Chances Program.
"In this summer unlike any other, the TRF is committed to keeping our mission and our horses in the minds of the racing community across New York, and across the country," Kim Weir of the TRF said in a release. "With this creative and light-hearted approach to our summer BBQ we're hoping to expand awareness of our work within the Saratoga and Capital Region community, while also giving fans and horsemen unable to travel to the Spa this summer an opportunity to join us -- at least in spirit, with their support."
Friends of the TRF herd across the country can participate in spirit by purchasing a bale of hay ($5) or a bag of grain ($15) for the horses, by making a gift of sponsorship (starting at $100), or purchasing raffle tickets for an online raffle.
Working in partnership with The Saratoga Winery and the Barnsider BBQ of Lake George, the $30 single meal (carry-out) will include pulled pork, BBQ bone-in chicken with mashed potatoes and corn on the cob. Other items on the menu include the TRF Signature Cocktail featuring Pick Six Strawberry Jam Vodka along with your choice of apple, blueberry, strawberry or rhubarb pie from Mourningkill Bake Shop.
For a full list of menu items and other TRF merchandise, please visit https://www.trfinc.org/event/
All orders must be placed by noon on Friday, Aug. 7 (pre-ordered, carry-out only).
"We are thrilled to be able to welcome back the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation for their summer fundraiser this year," Saratoga Winery event director Amy Greth said in a release. "Last year’s BBQ was a great success for the foundation, and we are honored they chose us to host again.
"It has been very exciting working with TRF over the past few months to come up with creative ways to keep the momentum going. We look forward to hosting this event to benefit retired racehorses."
The winery is located on Rte. 29 west of Saratoga Springs.
To retire a horse to the TRF, horse owners are asked to visit the TRF website at http://www.trfinc.org and review the retirement process and apply online. Each application is reviewed by the TRF's national herd manager, in consultation with the Herd Committee of the TRF Board of Directors, who then review each application and approve, place or wait-list each horse that meets retirement criteria.
For more information about the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, or to sponsor a horse at Wallkill or at one of the 500+ retired racehorses in the TRF Herd, please visit https://www.trfinc.org/you-
Friday's featured stakes race is the Quick Call, a member of the Second Chances herd at Wallkill until he was humanely euthanized at 35 last October due to the infirmities of age.
The In The Money Players Podcast will be setting up shop at Walt & Whitman Brewery on Friday, which will serve as a fund-raiser in Quick Call's honor, with proceeds benefitting the TRF.
A $100 donation will reserve a seat at a VIP Watch Party hosted by Peter Fornatale and Jonathon Kinchen of the ITM Podcast. Walt & Whitman will match all donations received for this event up to $5,000.
Quick Call came to the TRF in 2001, having raced 89 times in his career. At Wallkill, he became a "poster horse" for aftercare, serving as an ambassador for all retired Thoroughbred racehorses.
Jockeys Manny Franco and Javier Castellano have been suspended by the New York State Gaming Commission for three racing days each for careless riding.
Both have appealed the suspensions and will continue to ride.
Franco's suspension comes from the second race on opening day, when he finished first on Price Talk, but was disqualified to fifth place.
The Castellano suspension is for his ride in the first race last Thursday, when Value Engineering finished second but was disqualified to third.