Derby Winner Gives Back to Racehorses in Need

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acing trainer Todd Pletcher wasn’t dreaming Saturday after his superstar colt, Always Dreaming, crossed the finish line first during the running of the 143rd Kentucky Derby at Louisville’s Churchill Downs.


Always Dreaming (owned by MeB Racing Stables LLC, Teresa Viola Racing Stable & St. Elias Stable LLC) and jockey, John Velazquez, at 9-to-2 odds, won the Derby in a dominating fashion by 2 3/4 lengths over second place finisher, Lookin At Lee. Although this is Pletcher’s second Kentucky Derby victory, he was understandably emotional at the press conference. And, when it came time to receive the annual Derby-winning gift of a Dodge Ram truck, Pletcher made a point to honor the Thoroughbreds who had carried him to this point in his career.

“I’d like to donate the value of the truck to Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and New Vocations,” Pletcher said. “It is a very important cause for us to take care of our retired racehorses. And so, like I said, I want to keep the truck. But I’m happy to make that donation.”

Founded in 1992, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and New Vocations Program offers retired racehorses a safe-haven, rehabilitation, and continued education through placement in experienced, caring homes. The program ensures Thoroughbreds are transitioned safely into a second career off the racetrack and focuses on adoption versus retirement.

Generosity is not unusual for Kentucky Derby-winning trainers, jockeys, and owners. After winning the Triple Crown, American Pharoah’s trainer, Bob Baffert, and jockey, Victor Espinoza, donated $50,000 each to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), the California Retirement Aftercare Account (CARMA), the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF), and Old Friends Farm in Kentucky. American Pharoah’s owner, Ahmed Zayat of Zayat Stables, donated $100,000 to the Belmont Child Care Association’s Anna House, located on the backstretch of the Belmont Park racetrack.

Next up for Team Pletcher: the Preakness Stakes on May 20th, where Always Dreaming will make his bid for the chance to compete for Triple Crown History. If good karma has anything to do with it, we’re betting on him.

You can watch Todd’s interview with America’s Best Racing below:

-Featured photo via;



Written by Lizzy Youngling

Lizzy Youngling has been a die-hard equestrian groupie since the age of three. Although not in the saddle as much as she’d like, Lizzy is a fan of all things horses. When she’s not writing for NOËLLE FLOYD, she can be found at the boathouse training with the United States Rowing National Team in Princeton, NJ with the hopes of competing at the 2020 Olympic Games.