Keeneland to Host Welfare and Safety Summit

The summit is a two-day workshop designed to enhance safety and soundness.

A third Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit has been scheduled for June 28 and 29 at Keeneland near Lexington, it was announced today by Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation president Edward L. Bowen. 

Coordinated and underwritten by The Jockey Club and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and hosted by Keeneland Association, the summit is a two-day workshop designed to explore ways to enhance the safety and soundness of the Thoroughbred racehorse. Approximately 60 individuals have been invited to participate. These include jockeys, trainers, owners, breeders, veterinarians, scientists, track superintendents, racing officials, educators, farriers, industry leaders, and racetrack management personnel.  

“Many of the welfare and safety initiatives that have been recommended and adopted in recent years trace their roots to our first two summits,” said Bowen. “I expect the interaction and dialogue among participants at the upcoming summit to yield additional ideas and recommendations that will be beneficial to our sport.”

A steering committee is in the process of developing the agenda. The first day will be an educational forum, open to the public.

The original Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit in October 2006 resulted in the formation of committees in on-track injury reporting, shoeing and hoof care, education and licensing, race conditions, racing surfaces, and durability, areas deemed critical to enhancing horse health and extending the careers of racehorses. 

A second summit was held in March 2008 to review recommendations from the original summit and explore new safety initiatives. Recommendations from the summits served as starting points when The Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Safety Committee began examining potential industry reforms following its formation in May 2008.

“In everything it does, Keeneland strives to improve the Thoroughbred industry, and we are honored and proud to host the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit for the third time,” said Nick Nicholson, president and chief executive officer of Keeneland. “We look forward to welcoming the cross-section of industry representatives and utilizing our facility for this important initiative once again.”

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:

Among the summit committees’ major accomplishments are:

-- Launch of the Equine Injury Database, the first national database of racing injuries.
-- Launch of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, which provides science-based testing of racing surfaces to enhance safety for horses and riders.
--Incorporation of proposed safety and welfare recommendations from the first two summits into the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance Code of Standards.
--Launch by The Jockey Club of Tattoo Identification Services.
--Creation of a Uniform Trainers Test provided to state racing commissions and publication of the Uniform Trainers Test Study Guide.
--Creation and availability of an education hoof care DVD.
--Publication of stallion durability statistics.