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Third Welfare and Safety Summit seeks to identify additional safety initiatives


June 23, 2010     E-mail this page to a friend!

Seeking to capitalize on the progress made in the last two Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summits, the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation announced today a wide-ranging agenda of Thoroughbred health and safety issues for the third summit, scheduled for June 28-29, 2010, at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion in Lexington, Kentucky.

“Previous summits have been the catalyst for a number of initiatives that have improved the safety and integrity of the sport, including the Equine Injury Database, and I expect the upcoming summit to yield additional measures that enhance the safety of horse and rider,” said Ed Bowen, president, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. “We are particularly grateful to Keeneland for hosting the summit once again and for video streaming the open sessions on its website so that anyone with an interest in equine safety can follow all of Monday’s and part of Tuesday’s proceedings.”

Among the major accomplishments that have evolved from the 2006 and 2008 Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summits are the creation and launch of the Equine Injury Database, the first North American database of racing injuries; the creation and launch of a five-part Drug Testing Initiative aimed at developing laboratory and drug testing standards comparable to the World Anti-Doping Agency model; the creation and launch of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, which provides science-based testing of racing surfaces to enhance safety for horse and rider; the incorporation of proposed safety and welfare recommendations from the first two summits into the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance Code of Standards; and the publication of stallion durability statistics.

All of Monday’s sessions will be open to the public as will one session on Tuesday. As indicated, for the first time, Keeneland will provide live video streaming of the summit’s open sessions on keeneland.com. The summit will include approximately 60 invited participants representing a broad cross-section of industry leaders and stakeholders to evaluate equine health issues and priorities.

In a segment that will conclude the Monday morning session, Dr. Tim Parkin, a veterinarian and epidemiologist at the University of Glasgow who is analyzing data submitted to the Equine Injury Database, will provide an update and preliminary findings on reported fatality data. He will be joined by Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and a consultant on the Equine Injury Database.

The Monday morning session begins at 8 a.m. Eastern Time (ET)with a welcome and introduction from Ed Bowen. Following a panel discussion on Race Track Surfaces, moderated by Bowen, updates will be provided on the following medication and safety initiatives: the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, by executive director Dr. Scot Waterman; the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, by executive director Mike Ziegler; and the Thoroughbred Safety Committee, by committee member Dr. Larry Bramlage.

The Monday afternoon session, which begins at 1 p.m. ET, will feature panel discussions on Racing Equipment and Safety, moderated by Dr. Mick Peterson, executive director, Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory; Racetrack Environment and Training Practices, moderated by Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board; and Transitioning Thoroughbred Racehorses to Second Careers, moderated by Mike Ziegler.

On Tuesday, June 29, summit participants will break into work groups to determine objectives and develop action plans in the following areas: Racing Equipment and Safety; Racetrack Environment and Training Practices; Education, Licensing and Continuing Education; and Transitioning Thoroughbreds to Second Careers. The work group sessions will be closed to the public and will not be video streamed.

After establishing goals and objectives for 2010, the summit will conclude with a panel discussion concerning implementation of safety and soundness recommendations, moderated by Jim Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, at 11 a.m.ET. A media briefing will follow at 2 p.m. ET.

The strategic plan and recommendations that came out of the first two summits as well as presentations, committee updates, and other information can be found on the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit website, grayson-jockeyclub.org/summit.

The Jockey Club, founded in 1894 and dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, is the breed registry for North American Thoroughbreds. In fulfillment of its mission, The Jockey Club provides support and leadership on a wide range of important industry initiatives and it serves the information and technology needs of owners, breeders, media, fans and farms, among others. Many of the recommendations from the first two Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summits served as starting points when The Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Safety Committee was formed in May 2008. Additional information is available at jockeyclub.com.

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is the nation’s leading private source of equine medical research funding. Since 1983, the foundation has underwritten 270 projects at 37 universities for more than $17.1 million. Additional information is available at grayson-jockeyclub.org.

For nearly 75 years, the Keeneland Association has devoted itself to the health and vibrancy of the Thoroughbred industry. Uniquely structured, Keeneland is a private, for-profit corporation that returns its earnings back to the industry and the community in the form of higher purses, as well as millions of dollars in charitable contributions for education, research and health and human services throughout Central Kentucky. To learn more about Keeneland, visit keeneland.com.