Closing Remarks
Ogden Mills Phipps   Ogden Mills Phipps

Ogden Mills Phipps: Thank you, Stuart, and thanks to all of the speakers today. Thoroughbred racing in Saratoga started 150 years ago and there has been some air of celebration at Saratoga this summer. We see large crowds, full fields, and fans of every age charging through the turn styles. But we can't be satisfied with the success of a seven week season in upstate New York or successful meets at other seasonal venues like Del Mar and Keeneland. The Thoroughbred industry is much broader than that.

From its beginning in 1953, this conference has focused on identifying issues that plague us and finding solutions to those problems. Today, among other topics, we have talked about the uniform medication program and its three reform pillars: rules, penalties, and lab accreditation. We are seeing tangible evidence that we are headed in the right direction.

I'd like to briefly acknowledge the efforts of several individuals. Alan Foreman and Rick Violette have paved the way in the Mid Atlantic region, and they are encouraging other jurisdictions to follow their lead.

Duncan Patterson and Ed Martin of the RCI have been building consensus in the reconstruction of our penalty system. Dr. Bobby Lewis and Dr. Benson of the RMTC are spearheading the drive to improve our drug testing labs through accreditation.

We are very supportive of all of these efforts and appreciate the strong individual efforts that they have made. As I did a year ago, I'd like to share with you and let you digest the next slide. It pertains to medication reform.

Eight states have committed to adopting the national uniform medication program. By next June, based upon discussions with regulatory officials, we expect California, Illinois, Kentucky, and Arkansas to be on board. But that still leaves 17 other states operating under different rules. Ladies and gentlemen, that is not uniformity.

The recent poll you heard about today told us in no uncertain terms how both casual fans and avid horse players feel about medication and the integrity of the competition. Clearly our wagering handle and our business are being compromised.

The international community is watching us closely, and still wondering why this country allows such liberal medication policies. We know that Congressional leaders are frustrated with the speed of our reforms, and if we don't get our own house in order, they'll do it for us. In fact, there are Congressional staff members in the room today, and others watching on the video stream.

The facts are clear. If we care about the future of our sport, our equine athletes cannot be burdened by the taint of drugs. Other sports have suffered similar problems and taken hard steps to ensure clean competition. Thoroughbred racing must do the same.

The Jockey Club has stated in the past it would support any means of achieving uniformity and reform. As you heard today, we are devoting countless resources to that goal.

Our funding of the out of competition testing program is the latest example, but ladies and gentlemen, the clock is ticking. If the current medication reform effort stalls, The Jockey Club may well lend its support to federal legislation. Thank you for your interest in the Round Table. We look forward to achieving some goals this year and look forward to seeing you next year.

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