In the early years, the sport of horse racing seemed simpler. There was no simulcasting, discussion of appropriate marketing strategies, super testing, or betting via direct computer links. There were no THA, TOC, KTA, TOBA, UTTA, AQHA or other organizations representing horsemen’s interests.
Horsemen have a habit of taking care of their own. If someone was sick or down on his luck, they “passed the hat” taking up collections. This time-honored tradition of racetrackers provided for burial services, medical attention, and feeding and housing for the needy families.
It was during the year 1940 in New England that a group of committed horsemen brought into existence what is now known as the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. The founding group included such names as Irv Gushen, Doug Davis, John Manfuso, Dr. Alex Harthill, Johnny McDowell, Mort Wolfson, and Jack DeFee. From this meager beginning the HBPA has developed into an organization representing the horsemen’s interests on a myriad of issues.
Today there are approximately 29,000 owner and trainer members throughout the United States and Canada focused on a common goal — the betterment of racing on all levels and collectively adopting the following mission statement: – We are committed to the future of horse racing; – We are horsemen who have one horse and a dream; – We are horsemen who spend millions of dollars; – We are horsemen who race throughout the country; – We are horsemen who represent different breeds of race horses; – We are owners, breeders, and trainers. Big and small, young and old; from one end of the country to the other — we horsemen are the HBPA. We are Horsemen Helping Horsemen.
With this purpose in mind, we urge all horsemen to join the HBPA, and urge you to take an active role in the direction and policies of your organization. By doing so, you are affirming your confidence in the goals and future endeavors of the HBPA. You do make a difference.