The California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Foundation is a self-administered charitable program dedicated to assisting financially needy backstretch workers and their primary dependents.
Offered are medical and dental care, prescriptions, eye testing and glasses, financial aid, social programs, free clothing and household items. The CTHF also provides services and support through the California Thoroughbred Trainers, the Winners Foundation and the Chaplaincy program.
In addition to the clinics at Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields, the foundation provides charitable distributions to eligible applicants who are approved for referrals to outside physicians, dentists, and service providers. When outside referrals are required for eligible beneficiaries, an application and pre-authorization are required from the Santa Anita office. This is necessary in order to reduce the out-of-pocket costs to both the CTHF and the beneficiary. While approved applicants are always responsible for a portion of their bills, the CTHF attempts to keep charges for each patient at a minimum, by negotiating favorable rates with service providers.
The California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Foundation is not an insurance company and does not offer insurance plans. The CTHF simply makes a charitable contribution toward the client's needs as best it can.
The program is regulated by the California Horse Racing Board, and is funded principally through the receipt of unclaimed, winning pari-mutuel tickets revenues. In addition, donations and support are received from all thoroughbred tracks, the Thoroughbred Owners of California on behalf of thoroughbred owners, and individual donors.
The CTHF's predecessor, the National Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association
(HBPA), was founded in 1940 to provide assistance to owners, trainers, and stable employees "in
times of illness, adversity, or sudden disaster." The HBPA-California Division was shortly
thereafter established in 1947 to further enable both thoroughbred owners and trainers increased
influence in the development of the thoroughbred racing industry in California.
In 1977, Joe McAnally and trainer Dale Landers worked with the HBPA to begin a small dental
program on the backstretch at Santa Anita. A dentist would treat patients in a small trailer,
which eventually was hauled back and forth between Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. With the
success of the dental program, the idea of a medical clinic for the backstretch workers was born.
The California Horse Racing Board adopted rules for the designation of a Horsemen's
Organization Welfare Fund and to define the scope, programs, and beneficiaries of the fund. In
1983, the California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Foundation was founded to provide exclusive
medical and dental services for California thoroughbred trainers, assistant trainers, foremen,
exercise riders, pony riders, hot walkers, and grooms.
With trainer Noble Threewitt and Dr. Russell Maatz on board, the first medical clinic was
started. Noble continued to shepherd the organization on a continual basis. The CTHF now
operates medical and dental clinics at Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields and medical clinics at
Hollywood Park and Pleasanton. Access to medical and dental services is also available to the
workers at Del Mar, the San Luis Rey Downs training center, and the thoroughbred fair circuit.