James L. Gagliano:
Thank you, Stuart, and good morning, everybody. I'll begin today's program with an overview of the activities of The Jockey Club and discuss how we maintain our commitment to improving the Thoroughbred industry through our companies and our industry-wide initiatives. I'll merely provide a snapshot of The Jockey Club's activities.
For those of you in the audience, the brochure at your seat contains additional information about us, including our commercial businesses, our charities, and many of our industry-related initiatives.
At the 2015 Round Table, we announced microchips provided for free would become mandatory starting with the 2017 foal crop. In 2016, owners were given the option to request microchips for foals born that year. I'm pleased to report that we're on pace to have 62% of the foals from the 2016 crop microchipped. To leverage the speed and convenience of the microchip, The Jockey Club has developed a mobile application for Bluetooth-enabled Apple devices. When paired with a specific scanner, the mobile device becomes a portal to The Jockey Club registry, quickly providing identification information for any Thoroughbred with the reported microchip. Regulatory officials around the country have told us microchipping will be a tremendous benefit for them in properly identifying horses entered on a track's stable list.
Another significant modification of the registration process will also soon begin. The Jockey Club will eliminate paper registration certificates and transition to digital certificates beginning with the crop of 2018.
Similar to paper certificates, where the document physically moves with the horse, the new digital certificate is designed to be managed by the click of a button on the residential industry's website.
I'm pretty sure everyone here knows of a story of lost or missing papers and the hassle that comes with that. We're looking forward to this much-needed modernization of this vital element of registration.
In March, The Jockey Club announced an analysis of data from the Equine Injury Database has shown a reduction in the rate of fatal injury for a fourth consecutive year, and a 23% drop since 2009. This trend represents a concerted effort by the racing industry to improve equine safety, and this could not have been passable without the work of many of you in this room.
Our long-term plan has been that researchers will study the data from the Equine Injury Database and use it to develop new safety protocols. In that regard, we're pleased to note that Dr. Scott Palmer, the equine medical director in New York, has done that and is using this data to identify horses at risk in order to lower the instance of catastrophic injuries.
Likewise, the California Horse Racing Board and Del Mar are using the injury data and The Jockey Club's InCompass software to identify horses that may be at a higher risk of suffering an injury and are giving these horses greater scrutiny prior to starting.
In fact, Dr. Rick Arthur, the equine medical director of the CHRB, recently sent us a note which read: "I cannot begin to tell you how valuable this information has been at Del Mar in identifying horses at risk. This is a good example of how the analysis from the EID can be used to identify horses at risk, even prior to entry...the InCompass software can be a very powerful tool."
Because the Equine Injury Database is so robust, with 96% of tracks reporting, this research is now possible.
The Jockey Club's Thoroughbred Safety Committee, led by Craig Fravel, who became chairman last year, meets several times a year and studied various matters of the health and safety of the horse. This year, the committee has announced three new recommendations.
First, the committee calls for discontinuing the use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs 48 hours prior to the day of the race. Based upon testimony by regulatory officials and veterinarians, increasing the withdrawal time for these drugs will improve the effectiveness of pre-race soundness inspections.
This recommendation is consistent with the Reformed Racing Medication Rules developed by The Jockey Club and published during this conference in 2011, as well as recommendations made in 2015 by the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
Second, based upon results from the Equine Injury Database, racetracks that publish their injury statistics have consistently lower incidences of catastrophic injuries versus the national average across all categories.
Whether it's the added caution that attends increased transparency or simply a culture of safety, making statistics available for public scrutiny sends a clear message that safety is a high priority.
The committee calls for all racetracks to self-publish their Equine Injury Database summaries.
Three, too often horses are sold without the necessary information passed along to the new owner regarding the horse's veterinary medical history. Without a proper record, duplicative and potentially dangerous treatments may be prescribed that would be unnecessary had the proper documentation been made available.
Quite simply, these records should not be regarded as a trainer's competitive advantage. Rather, they should be considered the blueprint for a horse's well-being.
The committee calls for all North American racing associations and regulatory authorities to require the transfer of all veterinary medical records to new ownership.
The Jockey Club created the Thoroughbred Incentive Program in 2011 to recognize and award the versatility of the Thoroughbred through the sponsorship of classes and high point awards at sanctioned horse shows.
Through the end of July 2017, there have been 2,900 horse shows and events with TIP classes or awards held in 49 states and Canadian provinces. Nearly 30,000 eligible Thoroughbreds participated in these shows and events, competing for thousands of ribbons, hundreds of prizes, and thousands of dollars in prize money simply for being a registered Thoroughbred.
The success of this program affirms the demand for Thoroughbreds in careers beyond racing and breeding. In fact, at an aftercare conference we hosted this past May, Boyd Martin, the United States Olympic rider, made that point. He made the point that many Thoroughbreds who may perform poorly as racehorses in fact thrive in other forms of competition.
America's Best Racing is The Jockey Club's new fan development arm that leverages multiple media platforms to bring fans closer to the sport. Here's a quick look at some of its recent work.
We continue to be encouraged that America's Best Racing is hitting its mark. 75% of its social media audience is under the age of 44, and its digital reach in the past year and a half is more than 145 million persons.
Furthermore, in addition to Longines, which became a title partner in 2016, America's Best Racing has progressively added many new partners. America's Best Racing is also in year two of a strategic partnership with the Breeders' Cup as co-presenting sponsor of the nationally televised Breeders' Cup Challenge series on NBC Sports.
Speaking of television, back in 2011, when McKinsey & Company debuted their landmark study of the sport, they noted at the time there were only 43 hours of live national television planned for that year. At that time, Dan Singer, who is here in the audience today, said: "The decline in televised racing has cut off an important source of new fan development."
Today I'm pleased to report that between NBC Sports and Fox Sports there are now 185 hours of scheduled live national television in 2017. That's a long way from the low mark of 2011, and it appears to us to be a record, eclipsing the high water mark of 175 hours back in 2003.
Congratulations to the Breeders' Cup and the New York Racing Association and these networks for making an investment to help grow our sport.
While this is the 65th annual Round Table Conference, The Jockey Club has recently branched out to produce several other conferences aimed at bringing people together to learn and to share. In May we co-hosted the second Pan-American Conference in Washington, D.C. This year's conference highlighted televised coverage of horse racing, racetrack architecture, the South American breeding and racing industry, and matters of racing integrity.
Also, in conjunction with the Pan-Am Conference, The Jockey Club hosted the first International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses.
OwnerView, our partnership with TOBA, is an online resource for new, prospective, and current owners. In 2014, OwnerView hosted its first national conference at Keeneland, and subsequent events have been held at Gulfstream and Santa Anita.
One of the highlights of the Owner conference has been the keynote speaker, and we're honored that Jeff Fager has agreed to deliver the keynote address at the fourth conference to be held in Del Mar during the week of the 2017 Breeders' Cup.
Jeff is the executive producer of CBS News' 60 Minutes and a Thoroughbred owner. If his last name sounds familiar, it should: He's the son of Dr. Charles Fager, the neurosurgeon who saved the life of trainer John Nerud and became the namesake for the legendary racehorse, Dr. Fager.
The Jockey Club continues to pursue medication reform as part of the Coalition for Racehorse Integrity. On May 25th, Representatives Andy Barr and Paul Tonko introduced the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2017. The original version of the bill had 90 co-sponsors, and we expect even broader support in this congress.
I'm pleased to acknowledge Congressman Paul Tonko is in the audience today. Congressman, would you please stand.
Thank you for all your support.
Shawn Smeallie, the executive director of the coalition, will provide an update on the legislation later this morning.
Lastly, we've seen some exciting developments at Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, traditionally the nation's leading source of private funding for equine research and one of our two charitable foundations. Grayson's 2017 budget includes almost 1.5 million to fund 11 new equine research projects, eight renewing two-year studies, and two career development awards. This represents the most money ever provided in one year by the foundation.
At Grayson's yearly Belmont Stakes Charity Celebration in June, the inaugural Dinny Phipps award was presented to the Phipps family for their steadfast dedication to equine health.
Ambassador Earle Mack created this award to honor the memory of his good friend, Ogden Mills Phipps, the longtime chairman of The Jockey Club. Upon accepting the award, his son, Ogden Phipps II said: "My father felt a deep obligation to do what was right for the equine. He believed that everything we could do for the betterment of the horse was paramount to having our industry move forward and prosper. Simply put, what was good for the horse was good for our industry."
It's fitting to close this report with a reference to Mr. Phipps because he always endeavored to make this organization more than just a breed registry.
All the projects I just highlighted and many of the initiatives you'll hear about this morning trace their roots to that vision.
Thank you for your attention. Pleas enjoy today's program.