UPPER FREEHOLD — Over more than three decades, the Standardbred Retirement Foundation has rescued or otherwise helped some 4,000 racehorses, giving them long and healthy lives after their competitive careers have ended.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, SRF founder and executive director Judith Bokman said the nonprofit was hopeful its events and other fundraisers would be able to resume by the end of June.

But that has not happened, and it's become a big problem.

"The organization works primarily on donations now, for 31 years," Bokman said. "There are no grants through racing, there are no grants from the government."

Because horses' racing careers end so early in life, and many can live into their 30s, Bokman said most people don't realize the basic costs involved with maintaining a horse's health.

For the 343 horses currently in SRF's care, $4,000 is needed just to feed them — every day. And money, which is tighter than ever, is not coming in from any source other than the kindness of individual donors right now.

"Racing is a huge industry, it's something like a $4 billion industry, and yet there are no provisions for these animals when they're done racing," Bokman said, adding that if the horses are not cared for at a place like SRF, the slaughterhouse is a constant, looming threat.

Many of SRF's horses over the years have been rehabilitated toward the goal of working with mounted police units in cities such as Newark, New York, and Philadelphia, but others are available to be adopted. To find out more about that, or how to help SRF with a donation, visit adoptahorse.org.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.