Where will the sport of Thoroughbred racing be in 10 years if nothing changes? What needs to change if the sport is to grow and prosper?
The Jockey Club hopes to have some of the answers this summer.
A comprehensive study of the current state of Thoroughbred racing and the potential for growth of breeding and racing in North America will be conducted by the New York-based global consulting management group McKinsey & Company. The Jockey Club has provided the consulting company with a list of industry stakeholders who can provide insight into the issues and opportunities, according to a letter written by Jim Gagliano, president and chief operating officer for The Jockey Club.
“We know there are a lot of questions being asked right now and one of those key issues for me was takeout,” said Gagliano. “As I was doing some research, I looked at the Pugh-Roberts report. What impressed me about the report was that it drew upon a wide-ranging group, and it used a lot of sophisticated tools in its analysis and computer modeling to make predictions.” The Pugh-Roberts report, done in 1975, was the last time The Jockey Club commissioned a study of this type.
“(McKinsey & Company) will not only look at international venues but other sports and how those other sports have confronted similar issues,” Gagliano said. “We expect things to come out that will be actionable; some of those The Jockey Club will work on and others will provide clarification on things like takeout.”
The study will delve into economic and consumer issues such as: the effect of takeout and exchange wagering, international opportunities for expansion, ways to increase the popularity of the sport, and the importance of improving the health and safety of the sport’s athletes.
The findings and recommendations of the study will be presented Aug. 14 at The Jockey’s Club’s annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
The Jockey Club also commissioned an earlier study from McKinsey & Company in 1991 to provide a national strategy to improve drug-testing practices. The study suggested the national drug-testing system was due for drastic overhaul. While no immediate action was taken on the study’s recommendations it did lead in 1998 to the creation of the Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force. The Task Force’s first goal was implementing the Supertest project, which was a national survey of blood and urine samples in 28 of 32 racing jurisdictions to determine what drugs are in use and improve drug-testing standards. This type of survey was originally suggested in the McKinsey report.