Closing RemarksOgden Mills Phipps
Ogden Mills Phipps: Thank you, Nick. It's nice to have you and it's nice to have Dr. Catlin on our side.
But, the stewards of The Jockey Club cannot stand the pace we're going at. Or the fact that medication needs to be on this agenda virtually every year.
Integrity issues - or even the perception of integrity issues - cause grave concern to anyone overseeing a business of any kind. They are especially troublesome for businesses involved with spectator sports. I think we've seen ample evidence of that in the past few weeks, no matter what television channel you tuned into….
Although that short piece ended on a humorous note, I think it's plain to see that integrity is no laughing matter to officials involved with professional sports.
It's no laughing matter to me either.
To be quite candid, the stewards of The Jockey Club think it's a disgrace that numerous horses in our sport's most prominent and highly visible races are routinely trained by people who have repeated medication-related violations.
At the present time, there are no penalties for owners of horses who test positive for a banned substance. In the past, we believed that was correct.
But if owners are picking trainers who are routinely fined or suspended for medication infractions, we should reconsider an owner-responsibility rule.
I might also add that we firmly believe anabolic steroids should be banned at racetracks and, for that matter, in horses at yearling and 2-year-old sales.
We agree with Andy Beyer: the use of illegal medication is indeed "a raging forest fire" and if we don't put it out soon, it will consume us.
There is nothing more important to The Jockey Club and the stewards of The Jockey Club than resolving the medication dilemma. We have to level the playing field for the sake of this industry and everyone involved in it.
The Jockey Club is committed to providing significant funding in this area going forward, but we need the full cooperation and support - financial and otherwise - of all stakeholders in our industry.
Whether you're an owner, a trainer, a racetrack operator, the state or any other stakeholder in this industry, you have a lot to lose if we don't rectify this situation soon.
Conversely, you have a lot to gain if we can weed out the cheaters in a manner that will assure all observers that horses are winning races on talent and heart, not drugs.
There will be no higher priority in the weeks and months ahead for The Jockey Club than finding a comprehensive solution to this chronic medication dilemma.
I thank you for your attention and I appreciate your coming. We look forward to working together on
this problem throughout the next short period of time.