Monday, August 18, 2008

Long Strides in Saratoga

So it looks like the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Safety Committee is paving the way for a safer world for racing thoroughbreds. Yesterday in Saratoga Springs, prominent members of the thoroughbred world met for a round table discussion about ways to enhance training and racing practices to ensure that horse welfare returns to the forefront of racing industry standards and legislation. At issue during the conference were the implementation of a national ban on the use of steroids, a ban on "toe grabs" (pieces of metal that act as grips on the front of racing horseshoes), enhanced regulation on drug testing, reforms on whip use and weight, and more uniform guidelines for medication rule infractions. The New York Racing Association has already moved quickly forward to implement this weekend's recommendations, issuing an official ban on toe grabs for all New York State tracks beginning on Oct 29th of this year, at the Aqueduct fall meet. This conference follows June meetings by the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Safety Committe, and prominent equine practitioners, which outlined the key issues affecting racing thoroughbred safety.

According to the Blood Horse, several prominent equine industry leaders were in attendance at the round table, including "Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board; Dr. Larry Bramlage, co-owner of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital and a member of the Thoroughbred Safety Committee; Bill Casner, president and co-owner of WinStar Farm; Alan Foreman, chairman and chief executive officer of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Associations Inc.; Jim Gagliano, executive vice president and chief administrative officer for The Jockey Club; David Haydon, president of InCompass Solutions; Jay Hickey, president of the American Horse Council; Matt Iuliano, vice president of registration services for The Jockey Club; and Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission."

Kudos to the racing industry for stepping up to the plate this time around and realizing that its patrons, trainers, owners and breeders all have a stake in making sure its equines are put first.

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