Drew Fleming has been the new head of the Breeders' Cup for just nine days, but on Tuesday, he was part of a major announcement. Several of the nation's leading racing organizations, including the Breeders' Cup, joined together to announce the launch of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an industry-led effort to unify and enhance existing protections and to develop new reforms to ensure the safety of the sport's equine and human athletes. He talks about the effort this week on the TDN Writers' Room podcast.
“Our objective is pretty simple, and it's to make horse racing safer,” said Fleming. “This is a complicated process. It won't be accomplished overnight, but there's more to come. I'm very, very excited for our business, because we have a unified front with racetracks representing 85% of stakes races. We're taking this very seriously. It will be well-financed, there will be research, and the best and brightest minds working together.”
Fleming was asked about the decision to keep the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita for 2019.
“First off, the Breeders' Cup compliments The Stronach Group for the reforms they have made. We commend them and wanted to honor our commitment to them because they were taking a major step forward and making an impactful change in racing. So it was an easy decision and it was a unanimous board decision to reconfirm our commitment to Santa Anita.”
Fleming also talks about other Breeders' Cup matters, including future host sites, the expansion to two days, and other future changes.
“Each year, we want to do more and better,” he said. “We've got a great board that is very supportive and they're always challenging us not to stick to the status quo. The world championships should celebrate the lifestyle of racing, not only having the best races, but also celebrating the lifestyle, which includes really good food, really good entertainment, really good hospitality.”
To hear more from the Lexington, Kentucky native, and more on this week's racing news, click here.