May 9, 2008 -- Ogden Mills Phipps, the chairman of The Jockey Club, announced May 8 that the officers of The Jockey Club have commissioned a seven-member Thoroughbred Safety Committee.
Phipps said that the committee would be asked to review every facet of equine health, including breeding practices, medication, the rules of racing and track surfaces, and to recommend actions to be taken by the industry to improve the health and safety of Thoroughbreds.
The recommendations emanating from the two Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summits will serve as starting points for the committee. Three of the seven members of the newly formed committee were participants in both summits.
The Jockey Club and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation coordinated and underwrote those summits in October 2006 and March 2008. A strategic plan developed after the first summit and a summary of recommendations proposed at the second are available at www.grayson-jockeyclub.org/summit.
In addition to Phipps, the other officers of The Jockey Club are Vice Chairman William S. Farish and Secretary-Treasurer James C. Brady.
The seven members of the committee are Stuart S. Janney III (chairman), John Barr, James G. (Jimmy) Bell, Dr. Larry Bramlage, Donald R. Dizney, Dell Hancock and Dr. Hiram C. Polk Jr. Each is a member of The Jockey Club.
"All seven of these individuals have dedicated a major part of their lives to Thoroughbred breeding and racing and have shown a consistent and unwavering concern for the welfare of Thoroughbreds," Phipps said. "We will reach out to involve others in the industry and we will do everything in our power to encourage changes that will benefit the breed in any way. We will do this in a timely manner."
Barr is a semi-retired real estate developer in Orange County, Calif., who races his horses under the Oakcrest Stable banner. Barr serves on the board of directors and is past president of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association and also serves on the board of directors of the Oak Tree Racing Association.
Bell is president of Darley USA in Lexington, Ky., and serves on the boards of Keeneland Association, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and Thoroughbred Charities of America. He also serves as vice president of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders and is a member of the Sales Integrity Task Force.
Bramlage is a partner in Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. He is past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and serves on the board of directors of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. In 1994, Bramlage was awarded The Jockey Club Medal for his dedication and contributions to Thoroughbred racing.
Dizney owns Double Diamond Farm in Ocala, Fla. He is past president of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association and serves on the board of directors of Breeders' Cup Ltd. He founded Orlando, Fla.-based United Medical Corporation in 1974 and serves as its chairman and CEO.
Hancock is co-owner of Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky., and chairman of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. She also serves on the American Graded Stakes Committee. She has also been actively involved with the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the Kentucky Horse Park and other organizations through the years.
Janney is chairman of Bessemer Trust Company and of Bessemer Securities Corporation. A longtime owner/breeder, Janney serves as chairman of the board of Blood-Horse Publications and sits on the boards of several other industry organizations, including the New York Racing Association, Keeneland Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, where he also served as chairman.
Polk is a prominent professor of surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, as well as the emeritus editor in chief of The American Journal of Surgery. A Thoroughbred owner and breeder, Polk served on the steering committee for the second Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, held in March 2008, and also serves on the board of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.
In a recent statement, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) wrote: "The Thoroughbred Safety Committee is a major step that will provide the examination of the horse welfare and safety issues so badly needed in the wake of recent catastrophic injuries. The NTRA supports the committee's work and plans to work closely with it to build support for the committee's recommendations with the many constituencies we represent. At the same time, we will redouble our efforts to promote Thoroughbred racing to core and target fans as the safe, responsible sport that it is. Now more than ever, no practice, policy or tradition is more important than those that best protect and promote the health of the Thoroughbred athlete."
The Jockey Club, founded in 1894 and dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, is the breed registry for North American Thoroughbreds.