SOANY Announces New Retirement Plan

Published: December 15, 2021 04:02 pm EST

The Standardbred Owners Association of New York (SOANY) announced on Wednesday, Dec. 15 that its Board of Trustees has awarded more than $2.7 million in retirement payments to eligible drivers, trainers and grooms for the 2018-2020 racing seasons as part of its launch of an enhanced retirement program.

The Standardbred Owners Association of New York (SOANY) announced on Wednesday, Dec. 15 that its Board of Trustees, chaired by SOANY First Vice-President Peter Venaglia and the other SOANY Trustees (Irv Atherton, Tom Ceraso, Joseph Faraldo, Raymond Schnittker, Jordan Stratton, Chris Wittstruck and Peter Younger) has awarded more than $2.7 million in retirement payments to eligible drivers, trainers and grooms for the 2018-2020 racing seasons as part of its launch of an enhanced retirement program. Of that amount, more than $1.4 million was awarded to our dedicated grooms, without whom our sport could not survive. The SOANY’s retirement payments to our grooms, along with health insurance payments made on behalf of a number of grooms working for eligible trainers, demonstrates the SOANY’s strong commitment to our grooms.

Drivers and trainers qualified for either a full or half retirement award based on their number of starts each year at Yonkers Raceway. Meanwhile, grooms qualified in two ways, earning up to one total credit per year. First, grooms who had a sufficient number of paddocks throughout each year earned credits (either full, three-quarters or half) based upon the number of nights they paddocked at Yonkers Raceway. Second, trainers who had a requisite number of starts were able to identify grooms for up to one-half credit for each half year period throughout the three years. In total, 14 drivers earned full or partial credits in one or more years, 50 trainers earned full or half credits in one or more years and 213 grooms earned full, three-quarter or half credits in one or more years.

The retirement awards provided to each participant will be invested by the SOANY’s financial adviser, Neuberger Berman, which for many years has also invested other assets of the SOANY. Asset appreciation or depreciation will accrue for each participant based upon their respective shares of the plan’s holdings.

“The overnight purses at Yonkers Raceway are the highest in the nation, which directly benefits the owners, drivers and trainers who participate,” said Joseph Faraldo, the President of the SOANY. “We have always made a commitment to all of our racing participants and the new plan allows for a greater number of our grooms to receive enhanced benefits which recognize their commitment to the Yonkers racing community.”

Participants will be notified in the coming weeks as to the details with respect to their 2018-2020 awards. Awards for the 2021 racing season will be made by the Board of Trustees in 2022.

The new defined contribution plan replaces the SOANY’s prior retirement program. Participants in the prior program have been and will be receiving benefit elections on a rolling basis which allow them to elect either a lump sum payment or annuity payments. SOANY currently expects that process, which is subject to review and approval by the federal government, to be completed in the third quarter of 2022.

“The SOANY’s longtime retirement program has for many years provided substantial retirement benefits to our participants," said Venaglia. "Due to the hard work of the aforementioned Trustees and the investment strategy deployed by Neuberger Berman, the SOANY’s retirement program has been fully funded to ensure that the participants receive all of the benefits that they have earned through their hard work.”

(Standardbred Owners Association of New York)

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