Ogden Mills Phipps: Matt Iuliano has overseen our Registry operations for the last several years and, in January, became our executive vice president and executive director. He’s here today to provide an update on the activities of The Jockey Club.
Matt F. Iuliano: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Good morning, everyone.
As we heard in the first half of today’s proceedings, virtually every segment of the Thoroughbred industry is going through unprecedented changes — and we have seen how several of the leading organizations are adapting to that change.
The balance of the second half of today’s Round Table is focused on the collaborative progress we have achieved in the health and safety of the horse and rider.
I’d like to take a few moments now to share with you how The Jockey Club and its affiliated companies are involved in advances both with — and for — the industry.
Let’s begin with the Registry.
Our goal in registration is to make the process as efficient as possible for our customers. We have made a number of technological advancements over the years to allow more and more of the registration processes to be completed electronically.
In January 2010, we introduced the Registration Center. This area within IR (Interactive Registration) enables customers to fulfill any missing requirements of registration electronically. It also provides a foundation to electronically correspond with us so that our customers can reach us in lieu of traditional mail.
In March, we enhanced our digital photo processing capability by substantially increasing the size and types of files we can accept. These changes were made in response to feedback from our customers who are migrating to the higher resolution cameras. We have seen a 13% increase in the number of registration applications submitted with digital photos as a result.
This month we launched Registry mobile, providing our customers access to our most popular features from their smart phones: the Online Names Book and the Recently Released Names list.
In just a few minutes you will hear more about mobile technology initiatives as The Jockey Club and its affiliated companies seek to be the industry leader in the advancement of products and services for this emerging technology.
Consider this: based on research it is expected that the smart phones will exceed desktop computers by 2013. You can see why this continues to be a top priority for our development team.
Additionally, we continued to enhance Tattoo Identification Services, which supports owners seeking to identify unknown Thoroughbreds. In June, we added equineline’s auction results to assist customers to not only identify but to conduct research into the histories of Thoroughbreds that they have come to own.
And to illustrate the popularity of this site, I’m pleased to report that the site has had over 200,000 visits since we launched it.
On the matter of Thoroughbred retirement, to those who regularly contribute to Thoroughbred aftercare programs through our retirement checkoff program during registration, we thank you, and we encourage all of our customers to support these programs provided through the Thoroughbred Charities of America and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. In addition to our checkoff program The Jockey Club, through our commercial subsidiaries, is donating $100,000 to each organization in 2010, just as we did in 2009.
The Jockey Club Information Systems Inc.
In June, The Jockey Club Information Systems, which provides products and services to industry professionals, announced a mobile site for equineline and the introduction of free five-cross pedigrees formatted specifically for mobile phones.
As an example of the popularity of mobile devices within this segment of the market, typically we see between 500 and 600 visitors looking up around 6,000 pedigrees each day. When five-cross pedigrees were introduced on equineline mobile, we began to see an additional 900 visitors per week looking up an additional 1,500 pedigrees from their mobile devices.
Like the names book and recently released names list on Registry mobile, five-cross on equineline mobile is a free service and no account is required.
Going into this fall, we have a full schedule of development projects targeted to mobile devices — including one for the iPad, which we believe will be a must-have for any industry professional — complementing our industry-leading equineline suite of products.
InCompass delivers technology and software solutions to racetracks and off-course betting shops.
This past year, InCompass continued to work closely with customers to develop cost-effective tools to help them monitor their business, improve their products and reach their customers.
The central database design of InCompass has also allowed the development of systems and solutions to support other parts of the industry as well.
Two prime examples include the Equine Injury Database and, in conjunction with Keeneland Association, the Jockey Health Information System, both of which were created and are maintained by InCompass and The Jockey Club Technology Services as a free service to the industry.
Earlier this year, the first ever national statistics of racing-related fatalities were released from the Equine Injury Database to provide the individual racetracks the national benchmarks they need for comparison.
And to support this effort, this spring InCompass released to all 85 participating racetracks an enhanced reporting module to provide an individual racetrack the comprehensive reporting tools they need to monitor and compare their EID results to the national benchmarks.
As this database continues to grow, the insight it will yield into the myriad of variables that affect safety of the horse and rider will support every racetrack executive in their safety initiatives.
The Jockey Club Technology Services
And you don’t hear too much about our technology subsidiary but it proudly serves the technological needs of our entire enterprise as well as several other organizations including the Daily Racing Form, Keeneland Association, the New York Racing Association and the TRPB to name a few.
It plays a very vital role in every technological development project that we tackle, including our most recent strategic initiatives. And as I said, we aim to be the industry leader when it comes to mobile technology.
As the industry’s official database, the equibase.com website has continued to enjoy tremendous growth despite the tough economic climate. This was never more evident than this past spring, when a record 900,000 unique visitors came to equibase.com on the three days that comprised this year’s Triple Crown events.
While the Equibase website continues to be a popular destination for racing fans, those fans — like the rest of the world — have become increasingly mobile and so has the industry’s official database as well.
This week, Equibase announced the redesign of the highly successful equibase.com mobile website, presenting entries, results and top carryovers in the modern look and feel our mobile customers have come to expect.
Stay tuned for an exciting iPhone app. It is in the works right now, and it will reach the 100 million Apple mobile devices that are out there. And like the mobile site, the new iPhone app and any updates will all be provided free of charge.
In addition to our commercial subsidiaries, we also take great pride in the work and accomplishments of our two charitable foundations.
Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation
Despite economic conditions, recent research funding is at near-record levels set several years ago. In 2010, Grayson is funding 19 projects for a total of nearly $900,000 in areas including track surface safety, laminitis, equine herpesvirus, and bone regeneration.
Since 1983, this foundation has funded 270 projects at some three dozen universities for $17.1 million.
Grayson, along with The Jockey Club, organized and underwrote the third Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit in late June at Keeneland. Several new initiatives were identified by the participants and please visit jockeyclub.com to view the archived video proceedings of that event.
The Jockey Club Foundation
The Jockey Club Foundation continues to help needy individuals and their families. In 2009, it distributed slightly more than $300,000 in grants and assistance and is expected to distribute approximately $400,000 this year.
As we’ve said many times before, the existence and success of our commercial subsidiaries enables us to fund many critical industry initiatives including:
- the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and its Drug Testing Initiative,
- the Racing Officials Accreditation Program, which ensures a steady supply of qualified racing officials, stewards, judges and commissioners,
- the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summits, and, as Stuart will report a little later in the program,
- the Thoroughbred Safety Committee.
One of the other projects The Jockey Club undertakes each year is the creation of our Fact Book, which we distribute free of charge and offer online. In recent years, we have received many requests for state or regional information from our database. I am pleased to announce today that we have created “state fact books” that are available on The Jockey Club website.
And before I close, I’d like to share one other piece of “business” from the Registry and that pertains to cruelty to Thoroughbreds. The Jockey Club fully supports and assists law enforcement agencies, the courts and racing regulatory authorities in the investigation of matters involving animal cruelty.
We continue to follow these cases very closely and we take swift and decisive action when appropriate against the responsible parties including denial of the privileges to The American Stud Book.
The Jockey Club has denied those privileges on four occasions this year, including two just yesterday. We maintain a long-held conviction that owners are responsible and should be held accountable for the care, well-being and humane treatment of their Thoroughbreds. Simply stated, we will not tolerate cruelty to Thoroughbreds.
In summary, The Jockey Club will continue to seek input from those we serve, and we will continue to use our human, financial and technological resources in a collaborative manner to move the industry forward.
Ogden Mills Phipps: Thank you, Matt.