POSITIVE ITEMS IN AMERICAN HORSE RACING

1. Horse racing benefits with the involvement of talented people from younger generations who want to devote their skills and bring enthusiasm to the industry and sport.  The Darley Flying Start program, for example, has educated numerous millennials who have transitioned into all sort of occupations in racing and breeding.

In early June, 2017, The Jockey Club announced the first recipient (Julianna Witt) of The Jockey Club Scholarship that supports a qualified college student in the amount of $15,000 per academic year.  The base requirement is that a student is seeking to earn a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree and intends to pursue a career path in Thoroughbred racing.  The Jockey Club also awards The Jack Goodman Scholarship for $6,000 in an academic year to a student at the University of Arizona’s Racetrack Industry Program.  The RTIP recipient for 2017-2018 is Scott Little.

The Jockey Club membership and staff are to be commended for making investments in the educated human resources needed to shepard horse racing in the future.

2.  Janet and Craig Duchossois and the The Duchossois Foundation donated $100 million to University of Chicago Medicine for “an institute that brings together immunology, microbiology, genetics, and big data” to “develop a new science of wellness.”  The generous family is prominent in horse racing and is the largest shareholder in Churchill Downs, Inc.

3.  Parx Racing in Philadelphia has aggressively addressed the sordid fact that it had 55 purse redistributions in 2016 owing to medication violations and hidden horse ownership.

Effective June 1, 2017, a trainer who has three medication violations within a 365-day period that culminate in a fine or suspension, or two violations resolved with suspensions, will be required to vacate his or her horses from Parx.  The eviction occurs when the trainer has run out of appeals with the Pennsylvania Racing Commission.  Moreover, a horse that has a medication violation goes on the racing secretary’s list for 45 days and is prohibited from racing.  During that period, if the horse is sold or transferred to another trainer, it must be removed from Parx.  Finally, a trainer participating in hidden ownership of a horse will be banished from Parx and his or her horses must be removed.

4.  The Equine Injury Database continues to show immense progress in reducing the number of racing-related horse fatalities.  In 2009, there were 2.0 fatalities per 1,000 starts (aggregating data from the three types of racing surfaces), a figure that declined to 1.54 in 2016.  The fatality rate on dirt surfaces decreased by 19% between 2009 and 2016 and the fatality rate on turf dropped by 44% over the same span of time.  The fatality rate per thousand starts on synthetic surfaces (the safest surface of all) ranged between 1.0 and 1.2 between 2010 and 2016.

5.  The North American horse racing industry has made commendable progress recently in transitioning racehorses to second careers or retirement facilities rather than having them sent to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico.  Numerous caring individuals and organizations are responsible for the progress in humane treatment of retired racehorses. (However, the problem will never be solved in a major way until a percentage of pari-mutuel revenue is allocated to the cause, as is done in Ontario.)

6.  Sue Finley has written an article of the kind not usually found in a Thoroughbred publication.  It is titled “Day of Days” and is in the June 2017 TDN Weekend.   “Day of Days” pertains to D-Day on June 6, 1944, when so many heroic Allied Forces military personnel stormed the beaches at Normandy…and many made the ultimate sacrifice.  Sue provided the narrative and Zuzanna Lupa contributed the photography. Click here for the link.

Copyright © 2017 Horse Racing Business

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