Stronach Group Names Vet O'Neil to Key Post

Appointment seen as vital to track owner's effort to enhance racing integrity.

Dr. Robert O'Neil has been named to the newly created position of equine health and safety director in Florida, according to an announcement from The Stronach Group July 30. 

According to a release, the position will play an integral part in the track owner's effort to "enhance the integrity of the sport and the health and safety of the horses and the people that work with them."

The Stronach Group, the release states, "has decided to start with Gulfstream Park as the model for creating a framework for ensuring the highest level of integrity in our industry. Dr. O'Neil's responsibilities will focus on the development and implementation of improved policies and protocols at our racing facilities in Florida."

Added Frank Stronach, founder and chairman of The Stronach Group: "We will be very transparent and we hope to have input from the Equine Health and Safety Advisory Board as well as other racetracks. After we have fine-tuned the model, we will work with other racetracks to have a uniform high standard of health and safety programs for the benefit of all stakeholders within our industry."

In announcing the appointment, Stronach called on the Thoroughbred racing industry to work together, stating, "One of our main goals is to collaborate with other industry stakeholderstracks, breeders, horsemen, and regulatorsto create a structure of the highest standards with respect to the integrity of our sport and the safety of our athletes, both equine and human."

O'Neil is a veterinarian with more than 35 years' experience in the Thoroughbred industry.

"I look forward to implementing these important industry reforms. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with The Stronach Group, who are true leaders in our industry," O'Neil said.

O'Neil served on the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine since 1993, and was consecutively appointed to the board by four Florida governors. He has practiced veterinary medicine since 1975 and is licensed in 10 states.