Stuart S. Janney III: Jim, John, thank you very much. Most of us will agree that there will be more changes in the next five years than we have seen in the last 50. I see our job at The Jockey Club as ensuring that change, as it comes, will be for the better. Let's go back to my earlier questions:
What do you want our sport to be and what are we prepared to do to get there.
In the face of this changing world broadly speaking The Jockey Club should do several important things and so should you.
First, we should get our sport in shape to compete for the interest and support of the public. With the advent of sports betting across the country that competition is stiffer, more direct, and consequential.
For us that means passing the Horseracing Integrity Act. Implementing the recommendations of the Thoroughbred Safety Committee.
It means continuing funding for investigative efforts focused on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in racing, in order to foster a level playing field and trust in our great game.
It means supporting the Racing Surfaces Testing Lab, the Equine Injury Database, and the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. We must also continue our efforts towards comprehensive reform that are outlined in The Jockey Club's recent white paper, Vision 2025.
Second, we will promote our sport, whether it's funding America's Best Racing fan development or vast increases in TV programming. We will be there.
We funded crisis communications capabilities that are now benefiting the industry as well as efforts to tell positive stories about racing. Those efforts will continue.
For all this work we need good partners within the industry, and plenty of them. Think for a moment what a big job this is. The horse fatality crisis in California illustrated problems we need to address. Who is responsible for what? Who speaks with authority about accounted ability and remedial action?
I wouldn't ask these questions if I knew the answers. Our problems as an industry are not limited to the West Coast. I'll site another example that involves a trainer named Marcus Vitali. Just from what I've read, in Florida, by the middle of 2016, when Vitali relinquished his training license, thereby avoiding sanctions for seven pending medication violations, he had already been charged with 23 other violations.
He's been ruled off since then in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Now he's in trouble in Delaware. Here's a quote from Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission President John Wayne, and John's here today, I'm very glad he is, "A DTRC investigator had entered the dorm room of one of Vitali's employees on an unrelated matter when the incident occurred. Marcus pushed his way through security, withdrew a package that was bubble wrapped and ran off. Security gave chase to no avail and no one has located the package, which Vitali claimed to have thrown in the trash."
All this has been going on since 2011.
Contrast all that with professional golfer Thorbjorn Olesen, a European Tour pro. He was on a flight from Nashville to London, reportedly very drunk. And he allegedly performed a number of acts, which, if true, he must now truly regret. He’d barely touched down in Heathrow when the golf tour suspended him pending a full investigation.
I think the contrast suggests we have got a long way to go.
Horse racing is a sport rich in tradition, but we can and must embrace change. Consensus is not always easily achieved, but when proposed solutions make common sense, it should be. The programs and initiatives you heard about today, especially the Horseracing Integrity Act, make all the sense in the world.
If indeed we want to become that highly regarded national sport, we should embrace positive change sooner rather than later. Again, we hope you will join in these efforts.
Thank you very much for your presence here today. Post time is at 1 o'clock.