There are few positions more prominent or scrutinized in racing than president of The Jockey Club, and that goes double for years as tumultuous for the sport as 2019 and 2020 were. With a plethora of game-changing topics to discuss, The Jockey Club's president and chief operating officer Jim Gagliano joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland Wednesday in the show's first episode of 2021. Appearing as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Gagliano discussed how the industry can potentially pay for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, the rationale behind a 140-mare cap for stallions, racing's inability to permanently do away with repeat-offender trainers and more.
“I don't think it should come out of the horseplayers' pockets,” Gagliano said of the HISA cost. “Every state funds its regulation differently. The problem that we faced when we were considering that matter, is there's really no one-size-fits-all that we could push down to the states. The most important thing we want to do is make sure we capture first the current expenses, and then that those were brought forward. After that, the Authority will work with each state and through its racing commission to determine what the number is. I suggest the simplest way is to share [the costs] between the tracks and the horsemen. But honestly, there's a lot of details to be considered.”
Now that the HISA is a reality, Gagliano was asked what else The Jockey Club will focus on in the coming years.
“There's plenty,” he said. “How we market the sport. The opportunity of television, which thank goodness, during this pandemic, to see the amount of live televised hours of horse racing has been a godsend. We've talked about scheduling. We need to put the product in a place where it can have the best showcase. Other areas: HISA is going to put USADA into a role and there are now rules that will be in place that will change the sport, we believe. Investigations, that's something that racing has not done very well over the last bunch of years. I anticipate The Jockey Club will continue to invest in those kinds of resources to make sure that things we don't want to happen in our sport, don't happen.”
Elsewhere on the show, in the West Point Thoroughbreds news segment, the crew reacted to some huge performances on the track over the past few weeks and the surprisingly positive handle numbers in 2020, plus host Joe Bianca announces that he and producer Patty Wolfe have won an Eclipse Award. Click here to watch the podcast; click here for the audio-only version.