Welfare and Safety Summit Announces Agenda

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation's summit to be held June 28-29

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation announced May 25 a wide-ranging agenda of health and safety issues for Thoroughbred racing for the third summit, scheduled for June 28-29 at the Keeneland sale pavilion in Lexington.

All of June 28 sessions will be open to the public as will one session the following day. For the first time, Keeneland will provide live video streaming of the summit’s open sessions at http://www.keeneland.com

The summit will include approximately 60 invited participants representing a broad cross-section of industry leaders and stakeholders to evaluate equine health issues and priorities.

In a segment that will conclude the opening day’s morning session, Dr. Tim Parkin, a veterinarian and epidemiologist at the University of Glasgow who is analyzing data submitted to the Equine Injury Database, will provide an update and preliminary findings on reported fatality data. He will be joined by Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and a consultant on the Equine Injury Database. The June 28 morning session begins at 8 a.m. EDT with a welcome and introduction from Ed Bowen, president of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.

Following a panel discussion on Race Track Surfaces, moderated by Bowen, updates will be provided on the following medication and safety initiatives: the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, by executive director Dr. Scot Waterman; the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, by executive director Mike Ziegler; and the Thoroughbred Safety Committee, by committee member Dr. Larry Bramlage.

The afternoon session, which begins at 1 p.m., will feature panel discussions on Racing Equipment and Safety, moderated by Dr. Mick Peterson, executive director, Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory; Racetrack Environment and Training Practices, moderated by Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board; and Transitioning Thoroughbred Racehorses to Second Careers, moderated by  Ziegler.

On June 29, summit participants will break into work groups to determine objectives and develop action plans in the following areas: Racing Equipment and Safety; Racetrack Environment and Training Practices; Education, Licensing, and Continuing Education; and Transitioning Thoroughbreds to Second Careers. The work group sessions will be closed to the public and will not be video streamed.

After establishing goals and objectives for 2010, the summit will conclude with a panel discussion concerning implementation of safety and soundness recommendations, moderated by Jim Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, at 11 a.m. A media briefing will follow at 2 p.m.

“Previous summits have been the catalyst for a number of initiatives that have improved the safety and integrity of the sport, including the Equine Injury Database, and I expect the upcoming summit to yield additional measures that enhance the safety of horse and rider,” said Bowen. “We are particularly grateful to Keeneland for hosting the summit once again.”

Among the major accomplishments that have evolved from the 2006 and 2008 Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summits are the creation and launch of the Equine Injury Database, the first North American database of racing injuries; the creation and launch of a five-part Drug Testing Initiative aimed at developing laboratory and drug testing standards comparable to the World Anti-Doping Agency model; the creation and launch of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, which provides science-based testing of racing surfaces to enhance safety for horse and rider; the incorporation of proposed safety and welfare recommendations from the first two summits into the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance Code of Standards; and the publication of stallion durability statistics.

The strategic plan and recommendations that came out of the first two summits as well as presentations, committee updates, and other information can be found on the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit website http://www.grayson-jockeyclub.org/summit