Jockey Club Pursues Legislation

From The Jockey Club
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (Aug. 10, 2014) -- While acknowledging that the Thoroughbred racing industry has made strides in the area of medication reform, Ogden Mills Phipps, the chairman of The Jockey Club, said Sunday that the organization will broaden its efforts by developing a strategy that will include the pursuit of federal legislation to restore integrity and improve the perception of the sport.

Phipps made the remarks before nearly 400 attendees at The Jockey Club’s 62nd Annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing at the Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and those who watched a live video stream of the event.

A video replay of the two-hour conference will be available on jockeyclub.com later this afternoon; transcripts will be available on the same site late Monday.

“Our horsemen and our customers all deserve a level playing field, with uniform rules and clean competition,” Phipps added. “We need the National Uniform Medication Program to be implemented in every racing state. We need uniformity of rules and greatly improved lab standards. We need a penalty structure that is strong enough to be a meaningful deterrent —  not one that would allow a trainer to amass literally dozens of violations over the course of his career and continue training. And, we need to eliminate the use of all drugs on race day. “

Reprising the rationale and words he shared publicly in late March, Phipps said, “With the safety of our horses, the integrity of competition and the general perception of the sport all at risk, we cannot afford to wait any longer.”

Phipps said The Jockey Club will continue to advocate for reform in many statehouses across the country. He mentioned Florida, New York and Texas. Representatives of The Jockey Club will also continue to work closely with racing commissions throughout the country.

“As is the case with any initiative created, embraced or supported by The Jockey Club, we will do what we think is in the best interest of this industry,” he added.

“This is, and will continue to be, a serious, multi-pronged effort to achieve the reform we need.”

Phipps made those remarks right after Stuart S. Janney III, the vice chairman of The Jockey Club and chairman of its Thoroughbred Safety Committee, delivered a progress report on medication reform.

Janney noted that:

  • Nine of 38 states have fully implemented a two-tier drug classification system (controlled therapeutic medications and prohibited substances)
  • Twelve of 38 states have implemented a system in which administration of furosemide is administered solely by veterinarians designated by the local regulatory authority.
  • Five drug-testing labs, covering racing in 21 states, have been fully accredited by RMTC.
  • Six of 38 states have adopted the new RCI Penalty Guidelines for Multiple Medication Violations.
  • Five states (Delaware, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Dakota and Virginia) have adopted all four phases of the National Uniform Medication Program.

“There are those who look at these numbers and believe that, given time, this industry will achieve uniformity, that uniformity is just around the corner,” Janney said. “I wish I did. We are better than before but it would be a stretch to call it uniformity.”

The first half of the conference included segments devoted to drug testing and enforcement as well as programs dedicated to the enhancement of jockey safety and welfare. Dennis Egan, the chief executive of the Irish Turf Club, delivered the report on jockey safety, and Matt Iuliano, the executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club, unveiled two new recommendations, which pertain to continuing education for horsemen and enhanced promotion of an integrity hotline, from the Thoroughbred Safety Committee. The recommendations are available through the Thoroughbred Safety Committee section of jockeyclub.com.

The second half of the program featured reports on foal crops and horse inventory as well as marketing initiatives utilized by both The Jockey Club and the National Football League. Brian Rolapp, the executive vice president of NFL Media and the president and CEO of the NFL Network, shared insights into the NFL’s media strategies.