Conference to explore challenges of racehorse aftercare

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The 69th Annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing will cover topics including Thoroughbred aftercare opportunities and challenges.
Image by Bee Iyata

Thoroughbred racehorse aftercare and the use of ex-racehorses in therapy settings will be among the hot topics at the US Jockey Club’s upcoming conference, which is being held virtually again this year.

The 69th Annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing will cover topics including Thoroughbred aftercare opportunities and challenges, using data to market the sport to the public, race tracking technology, and steps to improve the integrity of the sport. Jockey Club Chairman Stuart S. Janney III will preside over the conference.

The conference will be streamed on the Jockey Club’s website on Sunday, August 15, at 10am (EDT) and will also be aired on NYRA’s YouTube channel, the Fox Sports app, and Racetrack Television Network’s respective platforms.

Kristin Werner, senior counsel for The Jockey Club and administrator of The Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Incentive Program, will moderate an aftercare panel that will discuss issues in the current aftercare landscape and programs in development to address them. Panelists are Erin Crady, executive director of Thoroughbred Charities of America; Brian Sanfratello, executive secretary of the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association; Beverly Strauss, executive director of MidAtlantic Horse Rescue; and Dr Emily Weiss, vice-president of Equine Welfare for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Also under discussion will be the Man O’War Project. Founded by Earle I. Mack, the Man O’War Project is the first university-led research study to examine the effectiveness of equine-assisted therapy in treating veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The session will be led by Dr Yuval Neria, professor of Clinical Medical Psychology at Columbia University, and director of Trauma and PTSD at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Charles Scheeler and Dr Tessa Muir will provide an update on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), which was signed into law at the end of 2020. In May, Scheeler was named the chairman of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s board of directors. He is a retired partner at DLA Piper, and his background includes serving as lead counsel to former US Senator George Mitchell in connection with his independent investigation of performance-enhancing substance use in Major League Baseball (the Mitchell Report).

Muir, who is the former anti-doping manager at the British Horseracing Authority and has served as a regulatory veterinarian at Racing Victoria, joined the United States Anti-Doping Agency in March to assist with the implementation of HISA and facilitate a smooth transition to the new regulatory structure that will exist as a result of HISA.

Emily Lyman, the founder and chief executive officer of Branch & Bramble, a digital marketing agency used by America’s Best Racing, will detail how her organization analyzes data to assess and react to public sentiment, build brand trust, and develop fans.

The Jockey Club Round Table Conference was first held on July 1, 1953, in The Jockey Club office in New York City.

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