Thoroughbred Safety Coalition Members Adopt and Enact Eight New Safety and Integrity Reforms
October 22, 2020 (Lexington, KY) – The Thoroughbred Safety Coalition announced today the addition of eight medical and operational reforms to its platform in its latest move to ensure that equine and human athletes are racing under the safest and most transparent conditions possible. The Steering Committee, which is made up of executives from the Breeders’ Cup, Churchill Downs Incorporated, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Keeneland Association Inc., the New York Racing Association (NYRA) and The Stronach Group, voted unanimously to adopt the reforms with the ultimate goal of uniform implementation across racing jurisdictions.
The Coalition also recently participated in the drafting of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act and continues to fully support its passage, which would codify a standard set of rules and protocols to make racing safer and more transparent across state racing jurisdictions. In addition to the national legislation, the Coalition believes the work to advocate for these reforms at the state level must persist.
“As today’s announcement and recent progress make clear, the Coalition’s important work to ensure the wellbeing of our athletes has continued despite the challenging circumstances our industry and our nation have faced this year. The new reforms will go a long way toward increasing our collective ability to identify at-risk horses before they set foot on a track and protect the integrity of our sport,” said Coalition Strategic Advisor Donna Brothers.
The following reforms have been added to the Coalition’s platform:
- Strengthen race entry and eligibility requirements;
- Work with state racing commissions to apply racing regulations surrounding prohibited substances and restrict selected therapeutic substances in proximity to high-speed works;
- Prohibit the administration of external treatments, therapies and musculoskeletal manipulation within at least 24 hours of a race;
- Work with state racing commissions to implement a clenbuterol prohibition in racing and training along with reporting/procedural requirements as outlined by the RMTC;
- Strengthen requirements for removing horses from the Veterinarians’ List;
- Adopt a waiver claiming option for horses coming off an extended layoff;
- Require implementation of an emergency track warning system; and
- Modify racetrack on and off gaps to increase horse and rider safety.
“The industry must be wholly committed to horse safety and welfare in racing and training, and that includes the racing organizations,” said Dr. Dionne Benson, Chief Veterinary Officer at The Stronach Group. “These additional reforms codify the measures many tracks have already undertaken to best protect our horses.”
“The ability to work with my colleagues and counterparts at other Coalition tracks on a regular basis has enabled us to share best practices and build upon one another’s experiences and findings related to Thoroughbred safety, which is evident in the reforms we announced today,” said Dr. Stuart Brown, Equine Safety Director at Keeneland. “This level of collaboration ensures that the uniform safety reforms that the Coalition is advocating for are proven and effective solutions.”
“The safety of our athletes must be everyone’s top priority, and the adoption of uniform rules and standards reinforces our commitment to the wellbeing of our horses,” said Dr. Will Farmer, Equine Medical Director at Churchill Downs Incorporated. “As our respective organizations advocate for or, where applicable, use house rules to implement the Coalition reform platform, the collective culture of safety within our industry continues to grow.”
The Coalition’s Advisory Committee members – the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association (KTA), the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA), and the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), along with Industry Supporter members Dixiana Farm, Mt. Brilliant Farm, Stonestreet Farm and the University of Kentucky – supported the development of the reforms and will continue to be instrumental in the Coalition’s efforts to advocate for their adoption at the regulatory level.
The Coalition Steering Committee continues to convene on a regular basis to discuss issues and ideas relating to equine safety and the integrity of the sport. These meetings bring together Thoroughbred racing’s most prominent tracks and organizations in the U.S. in a manner that is unprecedented – but much needed – in the racing industry. The collaborative framework built by the Coalition has also enabled members to work together, in coordination with other stakeholders, to support the racing and local communities and to bring back live racing safely and responsibly amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.