American Horse Council president Jay Hickey spoke at farm managers' meeting.

American Horse Council president Jay Hickey spoke at farm managers' meeting.


Issues for 2002: Medication, Economics, and Legislation

Three industry officials gave their views Thursday night on issues they expect will figure prominently in 2002. It came as no surprise the issues are medication, economics, and legislation.

David Foley, executive director of the American Association of Equine Practitioners; Jay Hickey, president of the American Horse Council; and Tim Smith, commissioner of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, were the guest speakers at the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club meeting in Lexington. They recapped 2001 and took a peek at 2002.

The AAEP has taken a lead role in developing a consensus on medication and drug testing, and Foley said seeing that process through probably will be the No. 1 challenge for the organization in 2002. On Friday, the AAEP is expected to release the official report of what transpired at the Dec. 4 Racehorse Medication Summit in Tucson, Ariz.

On the legislative end, Hickey predicted efforts to regulate Internet gambling will loom large on Capitol Hill. The pari-mutuel industry, he said, must be on guard even though it won some protection by a revision of the Interstate Horseracing Act in late 2000.

"The message is that you can't let down your guard when it comes to state legislatures or the federal legislature," Hickey said. "No man's property is safe when Congress is in session."

Smith said economic conditions brought on by last year's terrorist attacks and the subsquent recession probably will impact the racing and breeding sectors next year, though he said "backyard tourism" could work in racing's favor should more people opt to stay at home rather than travel.

Smith also noted that financial participation from the auction sector is down from about 75% to 50%. The money, generated from buyers and consignors, goes toward legislative efforts. Breeders' Cup expects a decline in foal-nominations revenue as a result of mare reproductive loss syndrome, he said.

In related business, Smith said an announcement is forthcoming Friday regarding EquiSource, which has handled group purchasing for the NTRA. Smith wouldn't divulge details, but he indicated group purchasing will be closely linked with sponsorship endeavors, presumably in-house.