Closing Remarks
Ogden Mills Phipps   Ogden Mills Phipps

Ogden Mills Phipps: Thank you, Stuart.

I want to thank all the members of the safety committee. They should be commended not only for the time and energy they have devoted to this project since May, but also for the time and commitment they will put forth in the months ahead.

I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to the many people who came in to talk to the Thoroughbred Safety Committee and the dozens, if not hundreds, of people who participated in the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summits.

I would also like to reiterate that the safety committee isn't going away. It is now a standing committee of The Jockey Club... You will be hearing more from the committee in the months ahead.

The Jockey Club, particularly at this venue, has called for unity on many occasions. This time there is a noticeable difference in the air: industry factions and individuals who often seem to be more concerned with their self interest than with what is best for the industry realize that we could be running out of time if we don't make significant changes in many areas…and they seem willing to be part of this concerted effort.

We heard from a broad spectrum of experienced and informed individuals today and I think, in one way or another, they all expressed a common sentiment:

Change is needed and it is needed now.

The Jockey Club has a record of achievement in many of the initiatives we've embraced, spearheaded or supported through the years and we will stay the course and push for the implementation of all recommendations coming from the Thoroughbred Safety Committee.

Also, we hope that the Thoroughbred Safety Committee will be looked upon down the road as a catalyst that contributed to significant and positive change in this industry. We are not looking for credit. We are looking for change.

We are not going to be able to defend our practices and we are not going to be able to defend our sport if we don't embrace change in our medication practices and reconcile those practices with the rest of the racing world.

I am firmly convinced, and have been for a long time, that if we solve our medication problems, many of our other problems will resolve themselves.

And, as I said at the beginning of today's program, this industry already has good science, sound thinking and solid conclusions to work with.

All we need now is implementation.

On that front, we have made excellent progress in a very short period of time. It was only two months ago today that the Thoroughbred Safety Committee issued its preliminary recommendations. As you heard from Stuart, the list of state racing commissions that have adopted or are in the process of adopting the model rule on anabolic steroids continues to grow, and the actions taken by the Breeders' Cup and Graded Stakes Committee earlier this month effectively assure that anabolic steroids will be eliminated from racing in 2009.

The swift action by the California Horse Racing Board and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to adopt the ban on toe grabs is exactly the kind of leadership that we need from our racing commissions in major racing states, and the adoption of house rules by the New York Racing Association, Finger Lakes and Penn National Gaming, among others, is the kind of leadership that we need from our racetracks.

That leadership has resonated across the industry in the past three weeks, as 53 racetracks have signed agreements with The Jockey Club to participate in the Equine Injury Database.

Two days ago, the TRA Board of Directors endorsed the Thoroughbred Safety Committee's initial recommendations pertaining to steroids, riding crops and toe grabs.

We are encouraged by these actions and the overall leadership provided by TOBA, NTRA and Breeders' Cup since early May. It gives us confidence that this industry can indeed work together to solve our problems.

The Board of Stewards of The Jockey Club, the membership of The Jockey Club and the staff of The Jockey Club and its affiliated companies will continue to use every ounce of our will and a considerable amount of our resources to effect change. Our equine athletes, our jockeys and our fans deserve nothing less.

Thank you for coming this morning. We look forward to working with each and every one of you on this major endeavor and we look forward to seeing you next year.

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