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Iconic Middleburg Training Center donated to retired race horse nonprofit

This historic Middleburg Training Center, which once stabled legendary race horses including 1979 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Spectacular Bid, will now be used to re-home and care for ex-race horses. Courtesy Photo
The historic Middleburg Training Center, which was built by late Upperville philanthropist Paul Mellon, was donated to a national nonprofit dedicated to re-homing and rehabilitating retired thoroughbred race horses on Dec. 30.

Randy Rouse, an equestrian sporting legend who bought the property for $4 million in 2006, donated the 149-acre farm to the Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based nonprofit Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. Rouse had the farm on the market for a few years and the asking price was most recently reduced to $3.5 million.

Rouse told the Fauquier Times, which first reported the donation, that owning the property has been a financial loss for him.

“It’s not viable and no one was interested in buying it,” he told the Fauquier newspaper. “I just figured that giving it away and taking [a tax] deduction would be the best way out.”

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation has helped re-home and care for ex-racehorses for 34 years. The nonprofit currently makes use of 24 different farms across the U.S., though it has never owned its own property.

Diana Pikulski, TRF’s director of external affairs, said the donation of the training center will have a huge positive impact on the Piedmont equestrian community and the her organization does.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” Pikulski said of the donation. “It’s a beautiful piece of property in one of the most beautiful horse communities in the world. It will be surrounded by people who really care about horses and spend a lot of time with them. We are proud to be in middle of that kind of atmosphere.”

TRF offers programs like equestrian therapy for veterans and disabled people and horse industry vocational training for prison inmates.

Many famous racehorses have graced the track at the Middleburg Training Center over the years, including 1979 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Spectacular Bid.

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