The second Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, set for March 17-18 at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion, will feature wide-ranging discussions of critical equine health- and safety-related issues, including progress reports from the working committees established coming out of the original summit in October 2006.
The summit, once again, will be coordinated and underwritten by Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and The Jockey Club, and hosted by the Keeneland Association. The goal of the summit is to identify significant issues that affect horse health and safety and develop and implement action plans to address each issue.
A steering committee is developing the agenda and list of participants and presenters. Steering committee members include Nick Nicholson, president and CEO, Keeneland Association; Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board; Dr. Mary Scollay, association veterinarian, Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park; Dan Fick, executive vice president and executive director, The Jockey Club; Kristin Hix, legal associate, The Jockey Club; Ed Bowen, president, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation; Dr. Hiram Polk, emeritus editor-in-chief, The American Journal of Surgery; Bill Casner, chairman and co-owner, WinStar Farm; and Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, director of Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, Colorado State University.
“The original Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit was a landmark step toward identifying and addressing the multitude of reasons behind the apparent decline in racehorse soundness and durability,” said Ed Bowen, president, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. “We look forward to gathering a cross-section of industry representatives together again to share the progress achieved since the original summit, examine our next steps, and explore whether there are other areas and factors we need to be looking at as well.”
The summit will host approximately 60 participants, including jockeys, trainers, breeders, veterinarians, racing secretaries, track superintendents, farriers, racetrack management, and sales company personnel.
The opening session, which is free and open to the public, will include a panel discussion on racing surfaces as well as updates from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, the Equine Drug Research Institute, and the Sales Integrity Task Force. The session will begin at 8 a.m.
At the original summit, working committees were established in a number of areas considered essential to enhancing horse health and safety to help extend the careers of racehorses, including on-track injury reporting, education and licensing, shoeing and hoof care, racing surfaces, durability, and race conditions and racing office. Progress reports from each of these committees will also be delivered during the opening session.
Among the presenters at this year’s summit will be Dr. Ernie Bailey of the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center, who will address the equine genome and durability; Dr. Jeff Blea, president of the Southern California Equine Foundation, who, with Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, will discuss synthetic surface injuries; and Dr. Preston Hickman, of the Wichita Equine and Sports Medicine Clinic, who will examine the potential causes of on-track injuries.
“The insights of Drs. Bailey, Blea, McIlwraith, and Preston will shed light on important new areas of consideration, namely the relationship between genetics and equine durability and disease -- as well as a look at on-track injuries, including the possible shift in the types of injuries being seen since the introduction of synthetic racing surfaces,” said Dan Fick, executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club.
The strategic plan and recommendations that came out of the original summit, presentations, research articles, committee updates, and other information can be found on the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit website. Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is the nation's leading private source of equine medical research funding. Since 1983, the foundation has underwritten 230 projects at 32 universities for more than $14 million.