Ogden Mills Phipps:
As we say, that's hot off the press. That was done two weekends ago, and Rob, we thank you for it. I think all of us should take note of some of those astounding numbers. Stuart is going to talk to you today about the Thoroughbred Safety Committee and a new area of interest.
Stuart S. Janney III:
I also want to thank Rob, and before him, Ryan, for their reports. If those reports don't motivate us about the future of our sport, we're either numb or delusional or possibly both. Companies census their best customers all the time. They want approval ratings in the 90s, they certainly want to be in the 80s. They simply couldn't contemplate the satisfaction ratings that Rob's report has given us.
Our best customers, our biggest bettors are telling us in clear and unmistakable terms that the future of our business is imperiled if we don't enact the reforms that are before us. Thoroughbred racing is like other sports in this regard, and we've certainly been treated to that spectacle in major league baseball.
"You have to have effective testing. We have out of competition testing. We literally have the information, cell phones, home addresses, training venues for our athletes, about 3,000 of them, 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. We show up at their houses, we show up at their training centers. We take blood, we take urine."
In May, the International Olympic Committee President called for an increase in out of competition testing by saying "there should be more targeted testing with athletes that might be considered as being suspicious."
In June, it was reported that Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn was approached for an out of competition test while walking the red carpet at an awards show. I found several things interesting about that. First, the New York Post initially tried to portray this as an outrageous intrusion on Lindsey's evening and her privacy. But that was rebutted by her comments to the effect that she accepted this aspect of being a professional athlete and knew that it was an important safeguard protecting the integrity of her sport. I would like to think our horses feel the same way.
Now the champion American sprinter, Tyson Gay, he may not share Lindsey's view, as he was left off the U.S. roster for the Track & Field World Championships in Moscow which started yesterday, after an out of competition test revealed a banned substance.
Clearly out of competition testing has become a way of life for athletes and athletic event organizers. It plays an increasingly important role in doping control as organizations and regulatory authorities try to combat the growing sophistication of substances that enhance performance. It can be a powerful deterrent, and in our sport, it is a perfect bookend to post race sampling. We know that new technologies are capable of creating long lasting performance enhancing effects when administered weeks prior to the competition. And there are substances that leave no traces or residues detectible during normal post competition testing. We know that.
In this country, however, Thoroughbred racing has only sporadically conducted out of competition testing. In fact, approximately one third of racing commissions have rules which allow it at all.
In 2012 and again in 2013 each Kentucky Derby starter was tested a minimum of two times before the race. The New York State Gaming Commission performed out of competition testing for the 2013 Wood Memorial and Belmont Stakes. It's anticipated that all prospective starters in the upcoming Travers here at Saratoga and in the Breeders' Cup Championships at Santa Anita in November will be tested at intervals before the race.
By our estimation, there are at least 1,000 out of competition samples tested each year, which is a mere fraction of the post-race samples taken.
Although rules vary from state to state, the current focus of that testing is related to blood doping. As a scandal at Newmarket proved, we need to look beyond blood doping. We need to test for any and all substances that are performance enhancing, like steroids.
An expanded out of competition testing program would certainly help level the playing field, and it's hard to imagine why an honest individual would object to it.
So can we afford it? One answer is that we can't afford not to. The second answer, that I'm pleased to say, is that we can.
So who is going to pay for it? Each out of competition test costs approximately $500. Certainly that question arose in California this spring. Frustrated and concerned about the lack of pre-race security and surveillance, Janine McCullough, the general manager of Golden Eagle Farm in California raised in excess of $15,000 from private interests to cover the costs of 72 hour surveillance leading up to the Santa Anita Derby.
I've never met Janine, but I admire her determination and creativity.
But is that really the model we want to use? Is that the hallmark of a major sporting enterprise? Is that how we want to ensure that an owner, a trainer, a jockey or a bettor gets a fair shake? No. And that is the view of The Jockey Club.
Today I'm proud to announce that in both 2014 and 2015, The Jockey Club will allocate up to $250,000 in funding to the racing medication and testing consortium to enhance out of competition testing, specifically targeting those horses that are to compete in our best races, the graded stakes.
With graded stakes representing the most important races in the consumer market, and with the most prominent horses competing, these races are potentially the most impactful to the stud book.
By virtue of this grant, recipients will be required to adopt a new model rule that expands the list of substances, to include all Class 1 substances, for example, steroids and dermorphin.
For those of you who are not familiar with drug classifications from the Association of Racing Commissioners International, the Class 1 designation pertains to, and I quote "stimulant and depressant drugs that have the highest potential to effect performance and that have no generally accepted medical use in the racing horse."
In addition, only RMTC-accredited labs will be able to test the samples. This proposal was recently presented to the Executive Committee of the RMTC, and the members of that committee unanimously accepted this challenge.
We are, indeed, grateful to RMTC chairman, Dr. Bobby Lewis and the Executive Committee for agreeing to administer this important program and look forward to collaborating with them once again. We'll, of course, provide updates on our progress.
In the past few years we've seen movement toward medication reform, accreditation for our labs, and a points system for penalties. Out of competition testing has been the missing link. Although this industry is comprised of many disparate parties and parts, we are really all in it together. This is an important defense against the forces that would otherwise destroy us. Thank you so much.