US racing will mark the end of an era in August when Ogden Mills (Dinny) Phipps resigns as chairman of the Jockey Club for after 32 years in the role.
Phipps, 74, will resign effective Saturday, August 8, 2015, and the Jockey Club’s board of stewards will meet on that day, following the annual meeting of the membership.
The prominent Thoroughbred owner and breeder was elected to membership in The Jockey Club October 16, 1965, becoming chairman on February 10, 1983. His tenure as chairman is the longest in the history of the organization, which was created in 1894. August Belmont served for about 30 years (January 24, 1895, until December 10, 1924).
“The Jockey Club has undergone many changes over the past 30 years and we have built a solid foundation that will help grow and sustain Thoroughbred breeding and racing in the years ahead,” Phipps said. “Due to some ongoing health issues, I feel like this is a good time to pass the baton and I want to express my gratitude to the members and the employees of The Jockey Club for their dedication to this sport over the past three decades.”
Under the chairmanship of Phipps, The Jockey Club hosts the Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing, the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, and the Thoroughbred Owner Conference. Last week in New York City, it co-hosted the 2015 Pan American Conference, attended by more than 300 industry representatives from 27 countries.
The Jockey Club board of stewards currently includes Phipps, Stuart S. Janney III (vice-chairman), Ian D. Highet (secretary-treasurer), Craig Fravel, John C. Harris, William M. Lear Jr, Dr. Hiram C. Polk Jr, Stella Thayer, and Peter Willmott.
A nominating committee will recommend candidates to succeed Phipps as chairman. The committee consists of three members of The Jockey Club: Fravel (committee chair), Willmott, and D.G. Van Clief Jr.
Under Phipps leadership, the organization has earned widespread recognition as an industry leader in the areas of medication reform, equine welfare, data collection and dissemination, technology and marketing of the sport.
Among The Jockey Club’s accomplishments since 1983:
- The relocation in 1988 and continued modernization of the Registry to improve the efficiency and ease of registering Thoroughbreds, including the introduction of DNA testing for parentage verification
- The creation and growth (including through acquisition) of a group of commercial, for-profit subsidiaries and commercial partnerships, all of which are designed to serve specific segments within the industry and now account for more than 75% of The Jockey Club’s combined revenues
- The creation in 1990, along with the Thoroughbred Racing Associations’ member racetracks, of the industry-owned database known as Equibase Company
- The creation in 1998 as a founding member of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, a broad-based coalition charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing
- The development, as a founding member, and continued active involvement with the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities to harmonize rules pertaining to Thoroughbred breeding and racing worldwide
- The creation and management of the World Racing Hub database in 2000 so that IFHA member organizations could access race records as horses moved among countries due to the globalization of racing
- Financial and administrative support for a national media relations office for the sport of Thoroughbred racing, originally with Thoroughbred Racing Communications in 1987 and, more recently, with NTRA and The Jockey Club’s America’s Best Racing
- The commission of comprehensive industry studies, conducted by McKinsey & Company, on drug testing (1991) and sustainable growth of the sport (2011), and the commitment of significant support to implement the recommendations from each of them
In recent years, The Jockey Club has also created, funded or supported wide-ranging industry initiatives such as the Thoroughbred Safety Committee, the Equine Injury Database, the Racing Surfaces & Testing Lab, OwnerView, the Thoroughbred Incentive Program, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, the Racing Officials Accreditation Program, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, and America’s Best Racing, and it has underwritten television programming for racing telecasts on the NBC and FOX networks.