A Thoroughbred leadership group called Vision 20/20 has been formed by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders in order to strengthen the industry through “promotion awareness, solutions, education, and innovation,” according to its mission statement.
The group, which is made up of more than 50 members and is geared for ages 40 and under, is still in the beginning phases, according to Carrie Brogden of Machmer Hall, who serves on Vision 20/20’s steering committee. Other members of the committee are Sasha Sanan of Padua Stables; bloodstock advisor David Ingordo; Bret Jones of Aidrie Stud; Nick Nicholson of Keeneland; Anna Studenny of Castleton Lyons; Ben Kessinger of Hideaway Farm; and Chauncey Morris of Keeneland.
Since late last summer the group has conducted general and steering committee meetings on a monthly basis that have featured speakers discussing some of the many controversial topics facing the industry, from medications issues, to the subject of having a national racing commissioner, to the importance of boutique meets and reaching out to a younger generation of fans.
“We’re looking for positive change, and we want to embrace technology, and we’re looking for ways to consolidate and make the sport more popular, and we don’t want to sit on our hands,” said Brogden, 36, who grew up in the racing industry and has managed Machmer Hall since its inception in 2001. “Things in the world have changed. It’s not like it used to be…with the internet and syndicates, a lot of people can race that didn’t used to be able to. Now anyone can win the (Kentucky) Derby…I’m really excited about the whole thing. We want to go in there and try to educate ourselves the best that we can (about issues surrounding the industry).
“We would welcome anyone that wants to be involved,” Brogden added. “I really think the whole thing is knowledge is power, and the more knowledge we can have, the more change and difference we can make.”
David Switzer, executive director of the KTA/KTOB said the group had so far garnered a tremendous response.
“We’re providing various speakers around the industry to educate them on issues and why things do and don’t happen, and prepare them, because they’ll be the decision makers someday,” Switzer said. “At the same time, we’re hoping we can get some youthful visions into our industry; we need an infusion of some new thoughts.”
Switzer said the most recent speaker at Vision 20/20 was Dr. Scot Waterman, executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, who spoke about the formation of the RMTC, who was involved, and the processes it has gone through in order to get to where they are today.
“(Vision 20/20 members) now have a better understanding of how we get medication rules passed in the United States, so they can use that as an educational tool for making decisions on down the road,” said Switzer.
Other speakers have included D.G. Van Clief, who talked the idea of having a central office of commissioner; Alex Waldrop, who discussed the issues the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is facing; Dan Metzger, who detailed the initiatives of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association; and Nick Nicholson, who talked about Keeneland’s offerings. In the future, Switzer predicted the group would bring in speakers from bettor’s groups and pari-mutuel representatives.
“In all, we’re very pleased with the group. We’ve had great attendance at the meetings, they’re very positive, they want to learn more, they ask questions, and hopefully we can call on these folks in the future,” said Switzer. “I think we will.”
Vision 20/20 is always accepting new members. Those interested may email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.