Finley Joins WHOA: ‘It’s Time To Make A Move’

by | 02.12.2018 | 7:07pm
Terry Finley

“For many years, I thought bringing in an outside entity to manage our sport's drug testing and anti-doping programs was a bad idea.

“My outlook has changed.

“Think about this – on January 27, 1934, The BloodHorse published an article describing the extensive efforts of the National Association of State Racing Commissioners and their goal of achieving the ‘adoption of uniform rules, penalties, and enforcement' among racing states.

84 years later – and racing is still waiting.

The current anti-doping structure (38 different drug testing/anti-doping programs) is the biggest threat to the future of our great game – it is unmanageable, indefensible, and unfair to our horses, owners, bettors, trainers and our industry.  Any system that is not uniform and not independent can only fail, and our current system is failing us.

Let's stop kicking the can down the horsepath.  We need a national drug testing/anti-doping program.

The one way we can do that is by supporting the Horseracing Integrity Act and bringing the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) into our world. USADA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization with a proven track record of successfully addressing serious anti-doping problems in many other sports.

It's time to make a move.”

Terry Finley

West Point Thoroughbreds

Terry Finley is the Founder and CEO of West Point Thoroughbreds, the largest Thoroughbred partnership company in the world. He's grown the company from one investor and one claiming horse in 1991 to over 500 investors and more than 80 horses today. The stable celebrated its 100th stakes win in February 2018.

West Point is a minority owner of the 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and also campaigned 2014 Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve.

Finley graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1986 and earned a Master of Science in Business Administration from Boston University in 1989.  He served in the United States Army for eight years as a Field Artillery Officer and is Ranger and Airborne Qualified.

Terry currently serves on several boards: New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Jackie Robinson Foundation, Thoroughbred Charities of America, Catholic Leadership Institute, and Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund.

In 2014, he completed the Owner/President Management Program – a three-year executive education course at the Harvard Business School for CEOs and Executive Leaders.

Finley lives in Saratoga Springs, New York with his wife and business partner Debbie. His daughter Erin is Communications Director and Racing Manager at West Point Thoroughbreds and his son Ryan played professional soccer in the MLS and Europe before recently beginning a career on Wall Street.

  • Neigh Sayer

    We need a national drug testing/anti-doping program.
    “The one way we can do that is by supporting the Horseracing Integrity Act and bringing the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) into our world. USADA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization with a proven track record of successfully addressing serious anti-doping problems in many other sports.”

    Well stated sir. I’m still waiting for someone to ask the 6 trainers on the TOC board why they are 100% against the USADA.

    • CEOmike

      If Finley is serious he will start posting the vet reports and monthly weights of the horses in his control. Otherwise just another hypocrite.

      • Ben van den Brink

        Why does somebody give prove to you that he is serious. Always the pointing with the finger. This industry just needs to accept that things are changing.

  • gus stewart

    Don’t know mr Finley but i guess he has seen enough. West point is one ownership group that i have noticed use differnt trainers. The assumption is on my part that he has seen over the last many years one trainer doing well and another trainer not doing as well. Maybe on paper he’s seen the same dedication and training methods from both trainers workout in morning from two horses in 5f in 101 handily. But race day one of them run 10 lengths faster. So good for you sir its better to go hoa then knowing that the only way as an owner with private vets and current medication rules, u would have to transfer all horses to those special super vets and trainers.

    • Ben van den Brink

      Butcher qualifies it,s own meat.? Is that responsible buisiness.

      • gus stewart

        Have not a clue what u mean

        • Ben van den Brink

          As long as horseman organisations like the HBPA have a vote, no meaningfull changes are gooiing to happen anytime soon.

          • StrideBig

            I understand what you were trying to say. *thumbs up*

            You don’t want the meat industry responsible for regulating themselves, because that would be a nightmare for public consumption. No industry should be in the business of self-regulation. ~K

    • BBFan

      He sure hasnt rushed to those big money barns, has he? I remember Awesome Gem in Craig Dollase’s barn …

      • gus stewart

        Correct, its obvious to long time racing fans that you can look at certain owners who have only used certain trainers on east coast and west coast, in past 15 to 20 years. Blame the business allowing private vets, not the trainers for using them that abuse the rules. I’m watching the titanic movie today. Because of leadership, horse racing is on board the ship…

  • Richard Holmes

    I agree with Finley 100%. I think it’s a no-brainer. What is the downside? There is definitely big downside for the cheating trainers. But aside from that, I don’t see any downside.

    • BBFan

      I suspect that the cheaters pay a loyal army of “ regulators” who look the other way

  • MsMoose

    ……AND it’s time to end once and for all the practice of sending horses off to slaughter. Seeing horses with their racing plates still on standing in some horrific kill pen is not only heartbreaking, but lethal for our industry.

  • Jake

    Curious if trainers that have pledged to WHOA would like to publicly state their average monthly vet bill cost per horse? Lol I didn’t think so……

    • I haven’t pledged but I will be happy to share if it averages over $300 a month there is something wrong.

      • Jake

        Thank you! Now let’s see if the pledged members will follow you. I am sure there is some good intent but also some hypocrites that are just trying to drum up business.

        • StrideBig

          Trainers might not release those numbers because the owners might not want them to. Trainers must stay true to their owners or they will likely be out of work.

          I think any info should come from the owners, not heaved upon the trainers shoulders.

      • Ben van den Brink

        Mine have been far under 100 dollar a month, when I was having horses in training and racing. The 100 were included worming and 2 times a yr for vaccinations.

      • Lonestar95

        Not on the subject but, nice win with your boy, Don’t Blame Dexter, yesterday at SHRP. What a darn nice horse ! I think his daddy sired Triumph&Somg, your 2015 horse of the meet there too ? You’re guys were gracious enough to me to let me stand in the winners circle for a photo. Thank you Karl !

  • Art Gray

    Absolutely… The time to alter our regulatory strategy looks smaller in the rearview mirror every day! The ARCI has a noble goal that it works diligently to accomplish but is unsuccessful in implementing the pressing changes horse racing requires. The association consists of regulators from all jurisdictions that for the most part have been unable to implement their recommended model rules and policies in their home states. It has been said that many of us have spoken thousands of words and traveled as many miles to address industry issues. Terry is absolutely right!! The powers that be must have the fortitude to step back and rethink our goals and strategies if we are to save our business.

    Art Gray… 45yrs experience as a horsemen, presiding judge and consultant.

    • Lucinda

      Agreed. It’s too little too late, seemingly. However, Oaklawn Park is on the right track by offering a Lasix and drug free incentive bonus to winners. No preaching or pressure, just a bonus if one decides to run without. How I wish we could get a grass roots movement for this to be possible at as many tracks as possible and hope to gradually change perspective by winning the bonus. My experience is that most healthy, fit horses do not bleed, and it’s just good business sense to put forth the “cleanest” foot possible to the public. When PETA is picketing the track on it’s most prestigious race day complaining about race day meds, we can’t even strike up a friendly conversation with them to point out the opposite.

  • CEOmike

    This is only a start. All the “industrial” trainers and stables will agree but do nothing because it will cost them millions and level the playing field with the smaller stables and trainers.

    Finley is in an unique position because he benefits if the whole industry grows, which it will if it is cleaned up.

    How about he start posting all the vet reports and monthly weights of the horses he controls or influences. Put his money where his mouth is or otherwise someone will quote this article in 2065 calling for national drug testing (if US racing is still around then.)

  • Beau Geste

    I salute Mr. Finley’s intentions, but sadly the line that stood out was “84 years later – and racing is still waiting”. Racing might still be waiting, but it’s fans left long ago. Doping has next to nothing to do with the public’s lack of interest in horse racing. The lack of any sort of marketing doomed horse racing. The last fifty years have simply been an extended case of “bleeding out”.

    • BBFan

      Wake up; doping has EVERYTHING to do with why the public lost interest

      • Beau Geste

        Were that it was so simple. You have to be paying attention to the sport in the first place to even know about the doping issue. No one is. I can tell you that in a large circle of friends and relatives there are two people who go to the racetrack with me on the big racing days. No one cares. Racing was so arrogant years ago that it thought there was no need to nurture it’s following. As a result, it no longer has a following.

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