Thoroughbred Safety Committee Announces 2019 Recommendations

The Thoroughbred Safety Committee announced four new recommendations to the industry to further improve the health, welfare, and safety of its equine athletes.
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The recommendations resulted from a meeting of the Thoroughbred Safety Committee held March 19 in Kentucky.

The Thoroughbred Safety Committee announced four new recommendations to the industry to further improve the health, welfare, and safety of its equine athletes.

The recommendations call for:

  • avoidance of bisphosphonates use in a manner inconsistent with indications of use on the label and, further, discontinuance of bisphosphonates use in any horses in training regardless of age
  • every jurisdiction to employ a full-time equine medical director
  • all racing associations and regulatory officials to record additional data or make such additional data sources available for analysis in the Equine Injury Database
  • creation of crisis best practices tailored to the industry, including template materials and a list of crisis response resources

The recommendations resulted from a meeting of the Thoroughbred Safety Committee held March 19 in Versailles, Kentucky. The full text of the recommendations can be found on The Jockey Club website at jockeyclub.com/default.asp?section=Advocacy&area=14.

“Recommendations from the Thoroughbred Safety Committee have always been in the best interest of our sport, its integrity, and the welfare and safety of its athletes,” said Craig Fravel, chairman of the Thoroughbred Safety Committee and president and chief executive officer of Breeders’ Cup Limited. “Because of the recent events in California and the response from the industry, we are announcing the recommendations early instead of waiting for The Jockey Club Round Table Conference, which is the traditional channel for our recommendations.”

“The Thoroughbred Safety Committee recommendations complement the positive industry reforms resulting from the recent rash of Thoroughbred injuries in California,” said James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club. “The Jockey Club fully supports the industry’s and The Stronach Group’s reforms, and we are prepared to testify to our support at the California Horse Racing Board’s meeting on Thursday, March 28.”

Gagliano noted that all of these reforms also complement the recently introduced Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019, H.R. 1754.

“In point of fact,” said Gagliano, “the recent events that have dominated the news on these subjects are examples of why a unified regulatory structure with high standards is so sorely needed. It is reasonable to believe that under the authority established by this bill, matters such as potential abuse of bisphosphonates would be more readily uncovered by a robust, nationwide out-of-competition program. That structure simply does not exist today.”

The Thoroughbred Safety Committee was created in May 2008 to review every facet of equine health and to recommend actions the industry can take to improve the health and safety of Thoroughbreds. The committee convenes to review myriad safety issues with a cross section of industry representatives, including jockeys, trainers, veterinarians, chemists, pedigree experts, handicappers, owners, breeders, blacksmiths, racing commissioners, racetrack executives, and geneticists. 

Committee members are Craig R. Fravel (chairman), John Barr, James G. (Jimmy) Bell, Dr. Larry Bramlage, Dell Hancock, Christopher J. McCarron, and Dr. Hiram C. Polk Jr. Each is a member of The Jockey Club.

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 the 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.net. Additional information is available at jockeyclub.com.

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