Laura Barillaro: Thank you, Stuart. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to speak with you today about the activities of The Jockey Club over the past year. For those of you in our audience, the brochure at your seat contains additional information about us, including our commercial businesses, our charities, and many of our industry initiatives.
For those of you watching online or at TVG2, it's also available on our website at jockeyclub.com under About Us.
A lot has happened over the past year, so I'll discuss a few of the highlights, mostly in chronological order.
Let's start with America's Best Racing, or ABR. ABR evolved as an initiative from the 2011 McKinsey study to increase fan development. Since its inception in 2012, americasbestracing.net has attracted 6.5 million unique visitors, 60% of whom are under the age of 50. They have also viewed more than 30 million pages of content and viewed ABR-produced videos almost 20 million times.
America's Best Racing’s growing social media audience -- that is, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter -- is even younger, with approximately 85% under the age of 44.
Those numbers confirm that the plan to increase the profile and visibility of North America's best Thoroughbred racing events through America's Best Racing is right on target.
As you'll hear later this morning, we recently retained McKinsey to update the 2011 study, and one of its recommendations includes strategies to further engage fans using the America's Best Racing platform.
Another initiative from the 2011 study was to increase Thoroughbred ownership, and that resulted in OwnerView. This past October, during the week leading up to the Breeders' Cup, OwnerView, an initiative between the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and The Jockey Club, hosted the fourth Thoroughbred Owner Conference at Del Mar. 235 people attended the three-day event, and nearly 70% were first-time attendees.
Jeff Fager, an executive producer for 60 Minutes, was the event's keynote speaker, and he shared a lively address about his experiences in the Thoroughbred industry, from working for trainer John Nerud during high school to anecdotes about his Fager Stable.
Attendees were also treated to a Q&A session with Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit: An American Legend.
The fifth owner conference, which runs from October 30th through November 1st, will be at Churchill Downs, again leading up to the Breeders' Cup, and this year's keynote speaker, Jon Miller, president of programming for the NBC Sports Group, should be just as informative and entertaining.
In December, Equibase launched a new comparison tool that enables racing fans to select up to five horses, trainers, jockeys, and owners and compare their respective statistics to each other as well as to national averages.
Statistics include starts, wins, placings, earnings, earnings per start, and win percentages. The data can be filtered by a wide variety of categories such as age, sex, racing surface, and race type.
Another project in the works for Equibase is the collection of race data using GPS tracking technology. To date, the Equibase team, with assistance from Total Performance Data, the creator of this automated tracking technology, has installed GPS systems at Golden Gate, Woodbine, Laurel, and Pimlico. Equibase is now the official timer for Golden Gate and is in the process of being named the official timer at the other three tracks.
There are also plans to install GPS at two additional tracks this year, and trials with collecting workout data are ongoing and will be beta tested at Keeneland later this fall.
In January, The Jockey Club announced that it would award $21,000 for two college scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year. The Jockey Club strives to facilitate the involvement of young individuals in horse racing, and these scholarships reward students who are passionate about the sport and interested in working in the industry following graduation.
The Jockey Club Scholarship is open to any university student, whereas The Jockey Club Jack Goodman Scholarship is awarded to an individual matriculated at the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program.
Jack Goodman, a longtime member of The Jockey Club and one of the co-founders of the Race Track Industry Program, passed away this past April at the age of 97.
On February 28th, the American Horse Council announced the results of its 2017 Economic Impact Study, an update from the 2005 study. Both studies were partially funded by The Jockey Club, and, according to the study, the horse industry in the United States generates approximately $122 billion in total economic impact, compared with $102 billion from the 2005 study. It also provides employment for 1.7 million people.
The current number of horses in the United States is more than 7.2 million, with Thoroughbreds accounting for approximately 1.1 million, or 16% of the total. The racing sector, which includes the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, and Standardbred breeds, contributes $36.6 billion to the economy and provides for more than 472,000 jobs.
In March, the data from the Equine Injury Database was released. The EID was created in 2009 to identify the frequency, types, and outcome of racing injuries using a standardized format. Data is then used to assist racetrack and regulatory officials in safety planning.
Since the EID began collecting data, there has been a 20% reduction in racing fatalities. Statistics from the EID are available at jockeyclub.com.
Now, as announced at this Roundtable Conference in 2016, digital foal certificates replaced paper certificates beginning with this year's foal crop. The first digital certificate was issued in May to a Pioneer of the Nile colt, who was born on February 19th at WinStar Farm.
Digital certificates are accessible from either desktop or mobile devices and will streamline operations for everyone who deals with foal certificates, from the racing offices, to the sales grounds, to the international shippers.
Enhancements are expected to be rolled out over time as various local and national racing entities incorporate their endorsements to the certificate.
And speaking of foal registrations, now is an appropriate time to mention that the estimated foal crop for 2019 is 21,500, and this number is comparable with the 2018 foal crop.
In March 2015, The Jockey Club acquired a majority interest in the BloodHorse with the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association retaining a minority interest. Since that time, this 100-year-old publication has been using technology to further establish its presence in the digital age. This includes introducing a tablet version of the print magazine, the Global Stallions app, and the "BloodHorse Daily" newsletter.
This past June, the BloodHorse staff developed a skill that enables you to listen to the "BloodHorse Daily" using Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant.
Alexa, open the "BloodHorse Daily." Alexa?
(Video demonstration of Alexa.)
Alexa, stop. That's all it takes. It's really very simple. We encourage you to give it a try.
On June 27th, the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit was held at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion in Lexington, Kentucky. It featured topics ranging from disaster preparedness, jockey injuries, equine injuries, racing integrity, Thoroughbreds as sport horses, and racing surfaces.
The summit had an attendance of 200 people and with 1100 people from six countries watching via a live video stream.
And this brings me to today and the announcement of a new recommendation from the Thoroughbred Safety Committee, which calls for: "All licensed racing and training facilities to include monitoring and recording information in the Equine Injury Database concerning fatalities and horses observed lame by an official veterinarian during training hours in addition to recording relevant information related to soundness issues of the horse."
This recommendation arose from the fact that risk factors during racing and training can be integral to identifying horses at an increased risk for injury. According to testimony from epidemiologists, regulatory vets, and other experts, more information is needed to help understand these risk factors. The need for non-fatal injury data was also stressed at the recent welfare summit.
While this represents just a handful of the activities we have undertaken over the past year, we believe it's evident that we continue to fulfill our mission as an organization dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing.
Thank you for your attention, and I hope you enjoy the rest of today's roundtable.
Stuart S. Janney III: Thank you very much, Laura, for that report.