Barbara Banke at Keeneland in April

Barbara Banke at Keeneland in April

Anne M. Eberhardt

Banke Among Featured Speakers at Round Table

Will speak about challenges facing the Thoroughbred industry.

Thoroughbred owner Barbara Banke, Victoria Racing Club Chairman Amanda Elliott, former National Basketball Association senior executive Rachel Jacobson, and McKinsey & Company's Ben Vonwiller will be featured speakers when The Jockey Club hosts the 65th annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing Aug. 13 at the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The Jockey Club chairman Stuart S. Janney III will preside over the conference, which will begin at 10 a.m. EDT. It will stream live at jockeyclub.com and can be viewed on TVG2 and tvg.com/live.

Banke, chairman and proprietor of Jackson Family Wines, the nation's largest seller of premium wines, will speak about the challenges facing the Thoroughbred industry and will offer recommendations for the future. Along with her late husband, Jess Jackson, she has been a longtime advocate for reform in various aspects of the racing and breeding industries.

Banke owns Stonestreet Stables, which campaigned Hall of Fame runners Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, has won graded or group races in six different countries and maintains interests in several notable stallions, including Awesome Again, Curlin, Ghostzapper, and Maclean's Music. Her Lexington-based Stonestreet Farm is a leading international commercial breeder.

Last month, Lady Aurelia, who is owned in partnership by Stonestreet Stables, George Bolton, and Peter Leidel and trained by Wesley Ward, won the group 1 King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. Lady Aurelia also captured the group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2016.

Elliott was appointed the first female chairman of the Victoria Racing Club in February 2017. The Victoria Racing Club is renowned for hosting top-class racing and entertainment experiences at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria. Flemington will host 23 days of racing with 14 group 1 races during the 2016-17 season, highlighted by the Melbourne Cup, which is known as "the race that stops a nation." Flemington Racecourse was added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2006.

Elliott will provide insights into the Victoria Racing Club, the world of racing at Flemington, the Melbourne Cup's global importance, and the impact of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Jacobson spent more than 20 years with the National Basketball Association at the league's NYC headquarters, and recently left as the senior vice president of business development. In this role she oversaw all sponsorship sales of the NBA, WNBA, USA Basketball, and the Gatorade League. She recruited, pitched, and negotiated multi-dimensional partnerships with all the NBA's properties that included media, marquee events, community relations, and grassroots programming. She also played a key role in forming strategic partnerships with Fortune 500 companies including PepsiCo, Under Armour, ExxonMobil, Marriott, Kaiser Permanente, and others.

Jacobson will discuss the relationship between professional sports and sponsorships, and how the racing industry might maximize its sponsorship opportunities to grow its fan base and increase revenue streams.

Vonwiller, a native Australian and a partner in McKinsey's Global Sports & Gaming practice, will discuss how big data can be used to improve the scheduling of races in North America, including a quantification of benefits to yearly handle. Representatives from McKinsey & Company have shared insights at the Round Table Conference in years past, most notably their landmark 2011 report, "Driving Sustainable Growth for Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding."

James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, will open the conference with a report on the activities of The Jockey Club.

Other speakers, in alphabetical order, are:

Stacie Clark, the operations consultant for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), who will talk about the current state of the organization and its plans for the future. The TAA is a 501(c)(3) organization that accredits, inspects and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retire, retrain and rehome Thoroughbreds using industrywide funding;
Cathy O'Meara, the coordinator for the Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP), who will speak about the importance of employing best practices as a racing official. The mission of ROAP is to accredit and provide continuing education to all racing officials, stewards and judges in the horse racing industry to enhance the image and uphold the integrity of horse racing at all levels;
Shawn Smeallie, the executive director of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity, who will provide an update on that organization's pursuit of the adoption of a national, uniform standard for drugs and medication in horse racing.
In addition to the live video stream, a replay will be available on jockeyclub.com the afternoon of the conference, and an official transcript of the proceedings is expected to be available on The Jockey Club website the following day.

The Jockey Club Round Table Conference was first held July 1, 1953, in The Jockey Club office in New York City. The following year, it was moved to Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where it has been held every August since.