Winners Federation Takes Big-Picture Approach

Edited press release

The Winners Federation, formed in 1994 with a focus on drug and alcohol programs, has adopted a strategic plan that will involve the organization in health and welfare issues for all racetrack workers.

The national organization, composed of health and racing industry professionals, also adopted a new motto, "Healthy Workers for Healthy Horses."

During a recent meeting, the Winners Federation board of directors adopted the following goals: to advocate for the health, safety, and well-being of racing industry workers; to serve as a clearinghouse and repository for information; to collaborate with industry associations on health and human services; to facilitate cooperation among those groups; and to conduct or support research to improve the quality of life of racetrack workers.

"We believe most fervently that healthy workers contribute not only to healthy horses but also a healthy racing industry," Winners Federation president Peggy Goetsch said in a release. "It is not reasonable that a horse can perform at its best when the persons taking care of it are in any way sick, injured, or incapacitated. Nor is it logical that an industry can be healthy when its workers are not. Experiences in other industries confirm our conclusions."

The strategic plan was adopted in late November after a two-day meeting in Illinois in October. Goetsch said the board, after a review of the previous 10 years, decided a more "holistic" approach to health and welfare issues was necessary. She also said the Winners Federation would offer proposals for "scientific surveillance of health issues in the horse racing industry."