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National Caretaker Appreciation Day

Published: May 17, 2018 2:59 pm ET

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Caretakers are the unsung heroes of harness racing, and are critical to the success of any horse in any stable and charged with the responsibility of making sure the horses they care for are happy and healthy, physically and emotionally.

Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce a new initiative to recognize and reward the caretakers in the Standardbred industry, National Caretaker Appreciation Day.

SC along with horsemen’s associations and tracks across the country will partner on this event which will take place on specific race days during the weekend of July 20-22 at racetracks across the country.

The events will feature:

  • Recognition of all caretakers racing horses on the day’s card

  • Awards for caretakers of winning horses

  • Refreshments and a gift for all caretakers racing on the day’s card

  • Draw prizes and more

A meeting between trainer Sarah Lauren Scott, a former caretaker, and Kathy Wade Vlaar, Manager of Industry Marketing for SC, was the catalyst behind this program.

Scott, who has recently become a new breeder, also trains and owns trotter Fork along with two retired Standardbreds who were previously under her care. She worked as a caretaker full-time for 15 years including stints at the Meadowlands when she was just 16 years old, and fully understands the hard work that the role demands.

“Appreciation and acknowledgement will go a long way in whatever you do, each caretaker has responsibilities that deserve to be credited. The entry level position of being a caretaker needs to be updated and glorified to a degree so when the Millennials are seeking employment our industry is considered. Being a caretaker requires someone very driven and committed. Behind every great horse is a caretaker,” she commented.

Sarah Lauren Scott (R) with Brian Sears, Rocknroll Hanover and Brett Pelling in the North America Cup winner's circle

Standardbred Canada President & CEO Dan Gall, and Wade Vlaar, met via conference call with industry associations and received unanimous support for the concept of this event prior to taking it to the racetracks.

“We are very excited about this initiative to recognize and reward the caretakers, the foundation and backbone of our industry. This gives us the opportunity to help people understand the importance of their job, and generate greater awareness of the entry level jobs in the industry,“ said Gall.

The caretaker’s relationship with the horse is by far the closest. They provide the daily care and attention to the equine athletes, and are the behind-the-scenes people who help keep the show running. They will work seven days a week, and sacrifice their holiday and family time to make sure the horses are properly cared for.

Anyone interested in supporting this program through sponsorship or donations, can contact their local horseperson’s association, Sarah Scott, or Kathy Wade Vlaar.

Racetracks who are not racing during the July 20-22 weekend will have the option of selecting a fall date for their National Caretaker Appreciation Day.

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