Batlle, Romanet and Stronach to Address Pan Am Conference; Durkin to Serve as Master of Ceremonies

Jorge Luis Batlle Ibañez, the former president of Uruguay and longtime Thoroughbred breeder and owner; Louis Romanet, the chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA); and Frank Stronach, the founder and honorary chairman of The Stronach Group, have been added to a growing list of prominent international racing executives who will share their insights and perspectives on Thoroughbred racing at the Pan American Conference during the first week of June at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

The Jockey Club, the breed registry for Thoroughbreds in North America, and the Latin American Racing Channel (LARC) are co-hosting the conference. It begins Wednesday, June 3, and concludes Saturday, June 6, with the running of the 147th Belmont Stakes. All business presentations are scheduled for Thursday, June 4, and Friday, June 5.

The Jockey Club and LARC also announced today that Tom Durkin, the longtime New York Racing Association announcer, will serve as master of ceremonies for the entire conference.

A partial list of topics and speakers, as well as registration information (registration fees increase May 1) and further details are available at

Jorge Luis Batlle Ibañez started his career as a journalist before moving into politics at a young age. He was elected deputy for Montevideo and national senator, and in 2000 he became president of Uruguay. He is a lawyer, with a degree from the University of the Republic, and he has pursued various agricultural activities throughout his life. He has bred and owned horses since 1962.

The Romanet family is synonymous with Thoroughbred racing in France, and Louis Romanet is the fourth person in his family, over three generations, to work for the Société d’Encouragement. He joined this organization in 1968 and was appointed director general in 1986.

When France Galop was created in May 1995, Romanet was appointed France Galop director of Organisation and International Affairs. He later served as director general from 1998 through December 2007, when he retired from that position. He has held the title of chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities since its creation in 1994.

Frank Stronach is the founder and honorary chairman of Magna International Inc., a global automotive supplier, and founder and honorary chairman of The Stronach Group, a leading North American Thoroughbred racetrack operator and supplier of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services.

The Stronach Group owns and operates Santa Anita Park, Pimlico Race Course, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Golden Gate Fields, and Portland Meadows. Stronach is regarded as one of the world’s leading Thoroughbred owners and breeders and has bred and raced more than 225 individual stakes winners over the course of his career.

In addition to calling Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup races in this country, Durkin has attended numerous international racing venues and called races in Canada, Ireland, England, France and Austria. He was recently honored with a Jetsam Award from the Trinidad & Tobago Racing Authority.

As previously announced, David Howman, who has served as director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) since 2003, will share insights on the creation of the World Anti-Doping Code and the organization’s successful efforts in bringing international consistency to anti-doping policies and regulations.

The organization and agenda for the Pan Am Conference are being developed by Horacio Esposito, the president of LARC; Pablo Kavulakian, director of LARC; and James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club.

The conference will focus on many key international areas across the two days of the business program, including:

  • Globalization of Thoroughbred breeding and the Importance of the North American and South American Regions
  • The Pattern System, a detailed look at the rating used to assess race quality
  • Delivering International Racing to Bettors and Fans
  • New Technologies in Racing and Sports
  • Enhancing the Racing Customer Experience
  • Global Measures to Racing Integrity
  • Reforming Medication Rules: Approaches in South America

Presenting sponsors of the conference include LARC, The Jockey Club (through its commercial subsidiaries and partnerships America’s Best Racing, Equibase Company, Incompass Solutions, The Jockey Club Information Systems, and The Jockey Club Technology Services), Betfred, Club Hipico Santiago, Hipodromo Chile, Jockey Club Brasiliero, Keeneland Association, The Liberman Group, Maroñas Entertainment, The New York Racing Association Inc., PMU, Sport Mediastream, The Stronach Group, UTTA (Unión de Trabajadores del Turf y Afines), and Valparaiso Sporting Club.

The Latin American Racing Channel broadcasts the most important horse races from Latin America to the world and offers racetrack maintenance and consulting services to a wide range of industry organizations. Additional information is at

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. Additional information is available at

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