John Amerman, a prominent California owner-breeder and successful businessman who led the Mattel toy company as chairman and CEO for more than a decade, has joined the Water Hay Oats Alliance in support of federal legislation that would appoint an independent, non-governmental agency like the United States Anti-Doping Agency to regulate horse racing's medication rules on a national basis.
Amerman and his wife Jerry are lifelong racing fans who bought their first horse in 1995 after many trips to New Jersey's Monmouth Park. They have 25 Grade 1 victories among their 70 stakes races won.
John Amerman, a graduate of Dartmouth with an M.B.A. from the university's Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, is a former member of the California Horse Racing Board who served on numerous industry boards, including The Jockey Club, Breeders' Cup, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Thoroughbred Owners of California, and American Graded Stakes Committee.
Jerry Amerman, a graduate of Drew University, has focused on equine health issues, serving on advisory boards for the Center for Equine Health at the University of California, Davis and the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Foundation.
John Amerman issued the following statement concerning the decision to join WHOA:
“My wife, Jerry, and I have been Thoroughbred racing enthusiasts throughout our marriage. Twenty years ago we started our own stable. The thrills and, yes, the agonies of being involved in all aspects of racing have been a highlight in our lives. Unfortunately, the American public does not agree, as witnessed by a continuous annual drop in handle and interest. Having been involved with major corporations, it is clear to me that no business can survive continual declines.
“In a country where football, baseball, basketball, etc. are thriving, why is it that thoroughbred racing has marginal appeal to young people/millennials who are enthusiastic about other sports? There are many reasons, but at the top of the list are integrity and a level playing field – two things thoroughbred racing currently lacks.
“Over the years, I have been involved and been a member of many national and state racing organizations. As hard as everyone has worked, it has become obvious that thoroughbred racing cannot improve the American public's perception on its own. We have tried many approaches. None has worked satisfactorily. We need to take a new path.
“I was impressed hearing about an approach that utilizes the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) at the recent Jockey Club Roundtable. The experience of USADA in bringing high standards in testing and enforcement to Olympics and other sports appears to be applicable to thoroughbred racing. There is evidence from other sports that integrity and a level playing field can be a major building block to increase interest with existing fans, bettors and the public. This is why Jerry and I enthusiastically support WHOA, The Jockey Club, and others, in their efforts to appoint an outside, independent agency, like USADA, that has an objective of creating a sport that can hold its head high and say we are drug free.”
Click here to learn more about the Water Hay Oats Alliance.
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