Improving the Health & Welfare of the HorseEdward L. Bowen - President, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation
Ogden Mills Phipps: Last October, The Jockey Club and the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation convened the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington. Dan Fick and Ed Bowen did an excellent job recruiting a diverse group of eager participants, who represented virtually all factions of the Thoroughbred industry.
Ed is here today to tell us a little bit about the summit, and Dr. Rick Arthur will give us an update on the work of the various summit committees over the course of the past 10 months. Ed...
Edward L. Bowen: Thank you, Mr. Phipps, and good morning, everyone.
As Mr. Phipps said, it is my pleasure today to tell you a little bit about the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, which was underwritten and organized last October by the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and The Jockey Club, and was hosted by Keeneland.
Although the word summit often connotes a one-time meeting, it was really just the beginning of a long-range effort to improve the welfare and safety of the racehorse. Much work has been done since then, and you will hear about it momentarily from Dr. Rick Arthur, one of the summit participants.
The intent of the summit was to create an ongoing effort on various fronts. The organizational strategy was to maintain various committees working in a consistent manner to assist the industry, promote the best interests of the horse and of the sport of racing, and to enhance the flow and exchange of information supportive of those goals.
The origin of the summit can be traced to April of 2005. That's when the Grayson-Jockey Club [Research Foundation] board of directors convened a meeting of some 40 industry stakeholders at Fasig-Tipton Sale Company's facility in Lexington. The purpose of this meeting was to review, and perhaps refine, priorities for research funding.
This meeting brought to light an understanding that horsemen are often operating on perception rather than fact. Because the industry is such a massive national institution, including many thousands of horses and races, it is very difficult to keep in mind that any given person is seeing only a small portion of the entire enterprise.
Over a period of months, it became more and more obvious that the foundation could benefit from the enormous and unique potential of The Jockey Club's family of companies to create data that would help steer us on a course based on information rather than impression. So, the original idea was expanded and the summit was created.
The sole purpose of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is to promote the health and soundness of the horse. The motive is to do what is best for the horse, period. Certainly, a sound horse is more valuable that an unsound horse, but the economic advantages are a byproduct of the foundation's efforts, not the motivation.
At the same time, from the standpoint of the industry as a whole, it is both proper and wise to look at the broader picture. The humane treatment of the horse is certainly compatible with promoting the sport and the business.
Dr. Rick Arthur has been one of the mainstays and key spokesmen for the summit. Dr. Arthur, as you
probably know, recently closed his renowned racetrack practice to accept the post of equine medical
director for the California Horse Racing Board. This gave him an increased understanding of the word
suffering! Thus, his expertise and dedication to integrity in racing are now available to the entire
sport. We are grateful for his dedicated participation with the summit. Rick is here to give us an
overview on the work of the various committees. Dr. Arthur...