The final two of five recommendation-laden visions were released by the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation, two days following its call for industry-wide compromise on divisive issues that have fragmented the sport.
Friday's release included the visions of Maggi Moss (integrity and welfare) and John Sikura (communications and marketing). Their ideas joined those of Marshall Gramm (wagering and innovation), Rick Hammerle (race planning and administration) and Brad Weisbord (owners' services and recruitment), offering recommendations for an improved thoroughbred racing industry.
Moss, an attorney, aftercare advocate and horse owner who led America in wins in 2006, presented six suggestions to improve the sport through her lens focused on integrity and welfare.
“These threats to our business, many of which have grown over the years without much response from those identified as racing's leaders, cannot be allowed to persist. Now is a perfect time to come together and blaze a new path forward,” writes Moss. “Make no mistake, there can be no 'us v. them' when it comes to integrity in racing. We all must be on the side of improving the integrity functions of our sport – from the breeding shed to the auction house and from the track to post-race rehoming. The ideas suggested to improve integrity and welfare are not complex, but will require a unified effort from industry stakeholders.”
Moss's six recommendations include: the introduction of transparent veterinary records which move as horses move, mandates pre-race veterinary exams which go beyond traditional 'jog-ups,' the creation of a network of welfare officers stationed at tracks, mandatory participation in the industry's Equine Injury Database, aftercare funding withheld throughout a horse's lifetime (including breeders at the time of registering a foal and sales companies at the time of purchase) and uniform measures on joint injections and shock wave treatments.
Read more about Moss's recommendations here.
Sikura, president of Hill 'n' Dale Farm, offered a suggestion which would unify and centralize the industry's communications and marketing infrastructure.
“Our fragmented approach on all things, including the promotion of our business, has been in the hands of organizations that protect their domain and present board-adopted positions and continuity, rather than change,” writes Sikura.
“We must undertake comprehensive reform on issues of medication, safety, support of retired thoroughbreds and uniformity of rules. No amount of marketing dollars can turn our ship without these subjects being addressed and compromises reached so that we can project a new image based upon action not rhetoric or blame of the other side. Once achieved, it is imperative that a well-funded campaign commences to address these negative stereotypes of our business and reinvent ourselves to new and existing customers. This campaign cannot represent the point of view of one group or be seen within our industry as propaganda for a specific agenda.
“A centralized office must be created to advocate for and defend the daily interests of thoroughbred racing and breeding across all major platforms. Marketing, public affairs, press relationships, crisis management and official spokesperson duties would all funnel through this office giving us a singular and consistent message.”
Details on Sikura's vision can be found here.
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