Jonathan “Finn” Green learned horsemanship skills caring for and growing up around Hall of Fame inductees and champions at the famed Greentree Stud. His father Robert “Bob” Green managed both Greentree Stud and Elmendorf Farm in Lexington. Finn's mom, Patrica Headley-Green, grew up on the storied Beaumont Farm owned and operated by her dad, Hal Price Headley, a renowned Thoroughbred breeder and leading founder of Keeneland.
Finn has cared for and managed multiple winners of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont and one Triple Crown winner during their breeding careers, consigned a world record breaking broodmare at public auction, and been the hands-on racing manager for a Breeders' Cup Classic winner. Finn is a partner with Dr. Kristian Rhein in Empire Thoroughbreds, LLC as well as operating his deWaal Thoroughbreds, LLC, a consulting and management company that provides plan- and goal-based services for Thoroughbred industry participants.
In a recent statement to the Water Hay Oats Alliance, Green shared the following commentary:
“I am an active horseman and have spent the majority of my 60 years in the Thoroughbred industry while blessed to have been mentored by some of the greatest horsemen and horsewomen of the 20th and 21st century. Like many, my greatest assets are paradoxical by learning from many mistakes and surviving many devastating lows on the way to experiencing the highest successes in each of the three aspects of our industry: breeding, racing, and sales.
“Our critical difficulty is the result of having no clear plan on how to deal with unintended consequences of multiple short-sighted decisions made over the past half of a century. We must have a uniform plan on dealing with unintended consequences moving forward. We cannot realistically go back to where we failed and make different decisions; however, we must look back over several eras and epochs to understand where we have failed as stewards to better the Thoroughbred in the United States of America.
“The United States of America's Thoroughbred Industry has perpetrated our own paradox. On the one hand many organizations in our industry don't want anyone to tell them, or us collectively, what our industry should do or not do. While similar to HPBA's Eric Hamelback, in certain instances, 'I like to think that we're acting in the horses' best interest and acting alongside with the veterinarian leadership community on this issue.' I disagree with his proposed solution of remaining status quo. We must learn internally from our long-standing short sighted mistakes or continue our slow death. I'm from the school of those willing to learn from our mistakes. We are begging for a change of direction, uniformity within our industry, and yes even intervention if it is needed to save the very soul of our industry – the American Thoroughbred.
“It's time to learn from our mistakes. Our industry is like Kentucky and Kentucky is like our industry – too South to be North and too North to be South. Kentucky has over 120 counties (only second to Texas) and the United States Thoroughbred industry has 38 racing jurisdictions and who knows how many organizations including NHPBA, AAEP, TOBA, KTA, ARCI, THA, the Breeders' Cup, NTRA and on and on. Each organization having its own mission statement is somewhat like each county with perhaps a self-serving focus that may or may not add to the overall betterment of the entire state of our industry. We are at conflict with ourselves and are now basically divided into two major subsets: those of us unwilling to change direction while we continue towards our slow death, and those of us wanting to change direction to uniformity with a single authority.
“The central issue caught in our crosshairs that is dividing us into these two subsets is the race day administration of Lasix. To think or to say that Thoroughbreds cannot compete without Lasix is a blatant mistruth. We need a clear plan on how to deal with the unintended consequences of phasing out the use of Lasix. The main ideologies that cast this argument over the safety and well being of our horses are breeder and racing orientations. What the breeders are awakening to is the unintended consequences of having bred seven to 10 or more generations of Thoroughbreds who raced on Lasix. What the race-trackers are awakening to is the unavoidable phasing out of the race day administration of Lasix.
“I'm not baffled that some people who care for, own, or train Thoroughbreds believe they cannot do so without Lasix. They are only dependent on the usage of Lasix based on their fear of what to do and how to do it if they don't have Lasix. Most importantly we must ask ourselves why we don't have a uniform industry that is phasing out the use of Lasix while completely overhauling our current subpar testing and regulating the judicious use of medication across the board?
“It's past time for us to change direction. As a horseman and member of WHOA, I support the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019 that provides for national uniformity, clean racing, and rules in line with international standards.”
The Horseracing Integrity Act (HR-1754), led by U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY), would create a uniform standard for drug rules and testing through a national program overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), a private, non-governmental entity.
The Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) is a grassroots movement of like-minded individuals who support the passage of federal legislation to prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of horse racing.
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