Thoroughbred Safety Committee
Matt Iuliano Matt Iuliano - Executive Vice President & Executive Director, The Jockey Club

Ogden Mills Phipps: The Thoroughbred Safety Committee continues to seek ways to improve the safety of our athletes. Matt Iuliano has worked closely with the safety committee as he does with several other industry groups. He is going to today announce some of the recommendations that the Thoroughbred Safety Committee has recently adopted.

Matt Iuliano: Thank you, Chairman Phipps.

The Thoroughbred Safety Committee was organized in 2008 to review every facet of equine health and recommend actions that the industry can take after careful study of the data. Now this data ranges from commission studies from notable experts such as Steven Levitt, the author of the bestseller, Freakonommics, to Dr. Tim Parkin, consultant to several international racing jurisdictions on matters of preventing racing injuries, all the way to personal testimony from industry insiders and stakeholders.

It should be no surprise that in an era which the sporting news is as likely to carry stories on doping scandals as it is to recap last night's ballgame, eight of the 13 recommendations from the committee have concerned regulatory reform in drugs and drug testing.

This year, the Thoroughbred Safety Committee is announcing three new recommendations. First, most racing jurisdictions have rules requiring veterinary medical treatments to be recorded and either submitted to the regulatory authority or to be made available for review upon their request.

This graphic is a high level survey of those rules. The various check marks illustrate the variation in rules that currently exist among racing jurisdictions. Needless to say, the information, content, the timing and the responsibility for these documents are all over the map.

Now placing the variation and rules to the side just for the moment, this system is very complex and very difficult to administrate. It is largely based upon paper, and virtually institutionalizes inefficiency by requiring trainers or their veterinarians to create multiple records for the owner, the client, and the state. Moreover, in paper form, it is difficult for regulators to extract the incredibly valuable information these records contain, something that would be possible if the records were collected, stored and retrieved in digital form.

The Thoroughbred Safety Committee calls for all veterinary medical treatments and procedures administered to Thoroughbreds from the date of first official workout to be electronically reported into a national electronic treatment records database. In addition to using treatment records for enforcement of the rules, when in digital form, our racing regulators will be afforded the full array of quantitative tools to analyze the data and identify emerging trends for new areas of regulatory or research interests.

The second recommendation revisits a study commissioned in 1991 from McKinsey & Company: Building a World Class Drug Detection System for the Racing Industry. That report contained a number of recommendations to improve drug testing that have been codified into the RTMCs Laboratory Accreditation Program. Such as the creation of an external quality assurance program, for example, and requiring our testing laboratories to conduct research as well as testing.

Another recommendation called for an increasing reliance upon intelligence based criteria for selecting horses for testing, as opposed to simply relying upon old formula based methods.

Just a couple years ago, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission introduced additional intelligence based criteria into their selection of horses for testing. Now, based upon comparisons with historical results, costs were reduced by 16% with nearly two thirds of the positives reported from samples selected through this new methodology.

The Thoroughbred Safety Committee calls for the Racing Commissioners International and all regulatory authorities to expand the model rule to introduce additional intelligence based criteria for selecting horses to be sampled after the race.

Now the third and final recommendation today is in recognition of the recent progress towards adopting uniform medication rules, penalties, and laboratory accreditation standards by several regulatory authorities along the eastern seaboard. Many of them are in the audience with us today, and we applaud the regulatory authorities in Illinois, Kentucky, California, and Arkansas that are beginning to deliberate on the reform initiatives with an eye towards joining these states in creating a single set of rules.

To memorialize our common goal of national uniformity into a single purpose for all jurisdictions, the Thoroughbred Safety Committee calls for all U.S. racing regulatory authorities to adopt the National Uniform Medication Program by January 1, 2014.

In recognition of those jurisdictions that may require a lengthier legislative process, we'd ask that they formally express their commitment to adopt the national program on or before January 1.

It is now my distinct pleasure to introduce our next speaker, Dr. Hiram Polk. Dr. Polk is a surgeon and has personally trained more than 300 surgeons in all specialties as the chair of surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He's authored 10 books and more than 400 scientific papers and is currently a director of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and a steward of The Jockey Club. Dr. Polk ...

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