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Thursday, April 07, 2022Contact: Gary Falter (859) 224-2803
Second Panel of Virtual Owner Conference Highlights Pedigrees and Conformation

The 2022 Thoroughbred Owner Conference virtual series continued April 5 with a panel who discussed pedigree and conformation considerations when selecting racehorses. The series is hosted by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and presented by Bessemer Trust, Dean Dorton Equine, and Stoll Keenon Ogden.

Sponsored by Ocala Breeders' Sales Company (OBS), Tuesday’s session was moderated by Caton Bredar and included panelists Phil Hager, Taproot Bloodstock; Chad Schumer, Schumer Bloodstock Agency; Gayle Van Leer, Gayle Van Leer Thoroughbred Services; and Tod Wojciechowski, director of sales, OBS.

The webinar began with a conversation on pedigrees and how to read five-cross pedigrees and catalog pages. While all bloodstock agents vary in their specific preferences when buying horses, this group agreed on the importance of a horse’s female family and trying to find horses that represent the most positive traits of their ancestry.

“We’re trying to repeat the good part of the history and eliminate the bad part of the history,” Van Leer said.

The group also discussed conformation and how different conformational flaws can affect a horse’s potential as a racehorse. However, it was noted that different people have different deal breakers when it comes to conformation and that a horse does not need to look perfect to be a successful racehorse.

“If you want to see the greatest collection of not the most correct horses in the world, just go to the winner’s circle of every grade 1 race in the United States,” said Wojciechowski. “These, what we’re calling ‘flaws,’ don’t mean that the horse can’t run and don’t always affect their ability.”

“You have to look for an athlete, a horse that uses himself or herself well,” Schumer said.

In talking about the role of veterinarians in helping to select or eliminate horses to purchase, the group agreed that the importance of the vet report depends on whether you are pinhooking the horse or buying it to race, because horses going to 2-year-old-in-training sales need to be sound enough to breeze early, while some physical issues will become less important as a horse grows. The panel highlighted the importance of a good airway because it cannot be fixed like some musculoskeletal flaws.

The last topic of discussion was on different tools that each individual uses to assist in the purchasing process, including the Equineline Sales Catalog app and BloodHorse Auction Edge.

The third session of the virtual owner conference is a veterinary panel and will be held on Tuesday, May 10, at 2 p.m. ET. Sponsored by Mersant International LTD and OCD Pellets, the session will be moderated by Mike Penna of Horse Racing Radio Network and include Dr. Larry Bramlage, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital; Dr. Lisa Fortier, Cornell University; and Dr. Steve Reed, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital. Six virtual panels are scheduled in 2022, and sessions are recorded for registrants to view at their convenience if they cannot watch live.

This year, OwnerView is also hosting an in-person conference in Saratoga Springs, New York, on July 25-26. Registration information for both the in-person and virtual conferences can be found at

OwnerView is a joint effort spearheaded by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association to encourage ownership of Thoroughbreds and provide accurate information on aspects of ownership such as trainers, public racing syndicates, the process of purchasing and owning a Thoroughbred, racehorse retirement, and owner licensing.

The need for a central resource to encourage Thoroughbred ownership was identified in the comprehensive economic study of the sport that was commissioned by The Jockey Club and conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2011. The OwnerView site was launched in May 2012.