In horse racing, performance matters. I am a bloodstock agent and my performance is measured by the winning post. If I don't perform, I no longer have the credibility to earn a living buying racehorses.
The Jockey Club was founded “not only to encourage the development of the thoroughbred horse, but to establish racing on such a footing that it may command the interests as well as the confidence and favourable opinion of the public.”
I moved to Kentucky to work in the horse business in 2000. Since then:
- The foal crop has reduced from 35,000 per annum to 17,000. *
- The risk of fatal injuries in America remains significantly greater than other major racing nations. **
- Public confidence in horse racing is alarmingly low; a mere 22% positive public impression. ***
By every measure, our industry leaders have spectacularly failed to perform.
So today, I echo the call from Max Hodge for the industry to assume its own control. And I also raise the stakes:
- Call out the accountability and performance of all industry alphabet groups.
- Make transparency the new normal so we can start to earn back the favorable opinion of the public.
- Create a safe environment for horses, jockeys, and employees.
It is time for our industry's leaders to be held accountable for their performance.
Just like the rest of us.