Doug Cauthen is the managing partner at Doug Cauthen Thoroughbred Management LLC.
As anyone not under a rock is noticing, COVID-19 hospitalizations and infections are on the rise across the country, and this tragedy is causing renewed shutdowns and concurrent economic damage to many businesses and families. As everyone is learning, a positive step towards avoiding rollbacks and future shutdowns is to wear a mask and socially distance, and to accept and follow protocols which are put in place to screen event attendees. In order to have a successful horse auction in Kentucky, the creation of effective safety protocols have been in the works for months, and after having recently attended the Fasig-Tipton HORA sale at their complex on Newtown Pike, I can enthusiastically endorse the sensible and practical protocols that were in place there. Temperatures were checked; names and numbers were recorded; health and travel questions were asked and answered; masks were required for attendance; and if you passed the test, wristbands were distributed–all in less than two minutes per car.
This was a great test run for everyone to experience in preparation for the September sales at both Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland. A key point every industry participant should consider as they, hopefully, support these protocols is that more buyers will attend our Kentucky sales and support our local economy when they know that it’s a safe environment. It’s not a political issue whether people should wear a mask, socially distance, and sanitize their hands–it’s an economic issue. A safer venue means more buyers will likely show up and spend more money, so kudos to Fasig-Tipton for getting it right! And I would be remiss for also not applauding the fact that Keeneland is collaborating to have similarly effective protocols in place for their September sale, and just completed a successful five-day meet that handled $63 million. Well done!