On November 6, 2019 the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) will celebrate the twentieth year of the national organization’s internationally acclaimed Second Chances Program implementation at the Blackburn Correctional Complex. The TRF-Blackburn 20th Anniversary Horse Show will shine the spotlight on the extraordinary two-decade long partnership between the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) and the Blackburn Correctional Complex (BCC) in Lexington, Kentucky.  Since its launch in 1999, this public-private partnership has provided lifelong sanctuary to hundreds of retired Thoroughbred racehorses after their racing careers have ended, while instilling vocational and life-skills in hundreds of men seeking a Second Chance in society after completing their terms at Blackburn.

At the event hosted on the grounds of the Blackburn Correctional Complex, guests will enjoy a unique behind the scenes introduction to the work taking place, every day, within the TRF Second Chances Program. Guests will visit the TRF Second Chances barn, classroom, paddocks and will meet the horses, the TRF Second Chances Program Manager, Blackburn Correctional Complex leadership and the incarcerated men who are working together to create healthy, successful Second Chances for all participants. The men in the program will “show” their horses by demonstrating grooming, ground handling and general anatomy knowledge to the audience.

Speaking on behalf of the Blackburn Correctional Facility, Warden Amy Robey said “We look forward to celebrating this significant milestone in our partnership with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation on November 6th and welcome this opportunity to showcase the meaningful impact that the retired racehorses enable us to make on the lives of the men here at Blackburn.” Warden Robey continued, “Not only is this program beneficial for the retired thoroughbreds, it benefits our staff, the community, and the offenders working in the program.  The offenders learn patience, a sense of empathy, trust, and responsibility, which they take with them when they return to the community.”

“The impact of this public-private partnership cannot be overstated,” expressed Kimberly Weir, Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF). “For two decades the TRF Second Chances program at Blackburn has provided hundreds of aging equine athletes with a safe, secure sanctuary for the remainder of their days, while opening doors to new careers for hundreds of men seeking their own second chances as contributing members of society” she continued. “This unique and powerful collaboration is a shining example of a program that truly makes the world a better place.”   

The celebratory event on November 6th has been supported by the active outreach of the TRF-Blackburn 20th Anniversary Advisory Committee. Mr. Paul H. Saylor, a member of the TRF Board of Directors, led this volunteer committee comprised of Ms. Laurie Mays of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Workforce Center + Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Ms. Kelsey Riley of the Thoroughbred Daily News (TDN), Mr. Conrad Bandoroff of Denali Stud, Ms. Niki Heichelbech-Goldey of VisitLex, Mrs. Sharon Dominguez, Mrs. Elizabeth Rosenberg, Mr. Andy Howard of Lane’s End Farm, and Mr. John Cox of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet.  The occasion of the 20th anniversary has launched a renewed funding campaign for the care of the horses at Blackburn, notably led by the generous support of Scott and Cindy Heider.

Due to space constraints and facility requirements, tickets must be purchased in advance ($25 donation requested per person) and all media credential requests must be pre-approved by Blackburn Correctional Complex no later than November 5.  Sponsorship opportunities are available for individuals who wish to sponsor a horse or organizations that wish to support the program throughout the year.  Event details, tickets, sponsorship and media credential requests may be found at www.trfinc.org/blackburn20