The Thoroughbred Safety Coalition Steering Committee met in New York City to discuss next steps on advancing safety in Thoroughbred racing. The committee gathered to progress reforms and formalize membership efforts.
The initial medication, organizational and operational reforms unveiled last month continue to gain traction within the Thoroughbred racing community. One recent success includes last week’s passage of enhanced safety and medication reforms by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission after strong support from and ongoing dialogue with coalition members Churchill Downs Incorporated and Keeneland Association Inc.
The Thoroughbred Safety Coalition Steering Committee reached a consensus to explore and implement additional safety measures to include the following:
• Data driven decision making: Coalition members will use advanced data collection and analysis to identify at-risk horses. These horses will receive added scrutiny prior to races, up to and including pre-race examinations performed by independent veterinarians.
• Use of diagnostic methodologies: The coalition will advocate for its members to use state of the art diagnostic technology. Coalition member Santa Anita Park recently debuted a new PET scan machine to better diagnose ailments among its equine athletes.
• Extracorporeal shockwave therapy: As with any medical treatments, the use of this technique should have strict protocols. The coalition will draft and implement a policy that could mandate up to 30 days on the vet’s list, as well as require treatment take place at a central location at each race track, if this treatment is used.
• Minimum Thoroughbred workout standards: The coalition will expand the standards for minimum workout requirements to enable horses to be eligible to race. While these standards are currently in place in some regions, such as California and New York, there is an opportunity to standardize and strengthen guidelines among a broader set of race tracks and jurisdictions.
• Increased licensing requirements for trainers: The coalition will work collectively and with other industry stakeholders to establish an enhanced proficiency standard for licensing to include continuing education for horsemen.
Since its launch, the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition is heartened by the overwhelming show of support from others within the Thoroughbred racing community, many of whom have asked to join as members or volunteer their support in various ways.
The Steering Committee voted to add four new members to the coalition: the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA), Kentucky Thoroughbred Association (KTA) and the University of Kentucky.
The next Steering Committee meeting will be held at the end of January.