Racehorse Safety Summit Scheduled for October

Edited press release

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation will sponsor a two-day workshop for presentations, panel discussions, and strategic planning concerning the welfare and safety of the Thoroughbred racehorse Oct. 16-17 at Keeneland in Lexington.

The "Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit" will include discussion on statistics, racing surfaces, safety equipment, medication, economics of racing and breeding, racing office management, and breeding and training practices.

"Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is committed to the health and well-being of all horses," said Ed Bowen, president of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. "Promoting health and soundness in Thoroughbreds is an important objective. Ultimately, we hope the findings will benefit all competitive breeds."

A steering committee composed of prominent individuals in the Thoroughbred industry is developing an agenda and list of participants and presenters for the summit. Steering committee members include Dr. Larry Bramlage of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital; Dr. Rick Arthur of the California Horse Racing Board; Sally Baker of the American Association of Equine Practitioners; Nick Nicholson of Keeneland; Dell Hancock and Ed Bowen of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation; Dr. Ted Hill and Dan Fick of The Jockey Club; D.G. Van Clief Jr. of the Breeders' Cup and National Thoroughbred Racing Association; and Dr. Scot Waterman of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.

"We would like the participants to be free-thinking individuals from key organizations within the Thoroughbred industry and other fields of expertise that could have bearing on the issues of welfare and safety of racehorses," Arthur said.

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation board of directors initiated the effort in 2005. The Jockey Club and Equibase Co. have begun researching existing studies on racing injuries and soundness, and developing pertinent statistical data from race records.

"We hope what we learn on behalf of the soundness of the horse will also be beneficial to the overall racing, breeding, and sales aspects of the horse racing industry," said Dan Fick, executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club.

Prior to the summit, participants will be provided with the results of the research to be better able to analyze the issues from a variety of standpoints. Presentations will be given the morning of Oct. 16, followed by breakout groups and reports in the afternoon. Participants will meet again Oct. 17 to develop and recommend definitive action.