Faces of Keeneland: Cathy Schenck, Head Librarian/Repository Supervisor

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The Paulick Report is once again providing comprehensive coverage of the Keeneland September yearling sale. 

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes in order to sell hundreds of yearlings a day.  As part of the PR Special, a unique print publication available daily on the grounds at Keeneland, we interviewed a few of the employees who make the world’s largest Thoroughbred yearling sale operate so smoothly.  Today, we meet Head Librarian/Repository Supervisor, Cathy Schenck.

How is organizing a repository different – or similar – than organizing a library?

Basically, they’re very similar in that we’re providing a service where, instead of books, x-rays are turned into Keeneland.  But the x-rays have to be viewed in the repository.  They can’t be taken out.  

We keep track of what comes in – what x-rays have been turned in – and keep track of who’s looked at them.  Those records are only available to the consignors.  

All the vets that come in, they have to register, so when they check things out, there’s a barcode so we know when they checked them out.

How have digital x-rays made your job different?

It has speeded up the process to a certain degree.  Before, when you had the old films, there were 32 films in each.  Someone had to physically count them and make sure there were 32 and make sure they were labeled correctly.  When you have 300 to 350 horses a day, that was pretty labor intensive.

Now, they either come in on a CD or a flash drive.  So, when we pull them up, we don’t have to physically count x-rays.  You can quickly see how many are there.  You don’t have to spot check three or four of them.  You can just check one of them.  

What are the restrictions for the repository?

The consignors, they can restrict their x-rays, not to individuals, but to licensed vets.  Some consignors don’t restrict, allowing anybody to see them.  But when you look at the whole body of people that come in, 99% of them are licensed vets.

What’s the biggest challenge of your job?

You want to be sure that everything’s accurate – what gets turned in.  It’s a fast-paced environment.  The x-rays come in on the due date generally.  We have 24-48 hours to make sure everything’s right.  We work with the consignors and vets to make sure everything goes smoothly.  

How do you know the x-rays people are looking at are the right ones?

That’s based on when they come in – the x-rays have to be identified by hip number. The dam’s name is on the x-ray film, the date they were taken, and those are things that we check.  The x-rays have to be taken within 21 days of the sale.  If they were taken 30 days out, then I have to call and tell them, we can’t take these.  

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I think it’s an important service for the integrity of the sales.  I enjoy coordinating that and making the information available to the buyers and vets.

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