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 at this year's Round Table Conference. The Jockey Club hosts the 65th annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing on Sunday, August 13, 2017, at the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
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's Stonestreet Stables campaigned Horses of the Year Curlin (2007, 2008) and Rachel Alexandra (2009). The stable 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. Banke's Lexington-based Stonestreet Farm is a leading international commercial breeder.
Lady Aurelia, which is owned in partnership by Stonestreet Stables, George Bolton and Peter Leidel and trained by Wesley Ward, won last months' Group I King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. Lady Aurelia also captured the Group II 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 I races during the 2016/2017 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 she recently left as the Senior Vice President of Business Development. In this role she was responsible for overseeing 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 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.
The 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 on 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.
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, directly or through subsidiaries, 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. It is a founding member of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, and the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity and the architect and sole funding source for America’s Best Racing, the broad-based fan development initiative for Thoroughbred racing. You can follow America’s Best Racing at americasbestracing.netas well as on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram.