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KY well represented on new national group overseeing throughbred racing safety, other issues

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Kentucky is well represented on both the board of directors and standing committees of a new national organization overseeing safety and other issues being faced by the thoroughbred horse racing industry.

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority was created following the passage of legislation that was co-sponsored by two members of Kentucky’s Congressional delegation, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville, and Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington.

“Over the past several months, the nominating committee carefully reviewed each nominee with a deep and enduring understanding of the important responsibility entrusted to them in selecting the inaugural board and standing committees of this essential entity charged with standardizing safety in the industry” said nominating committee co-chair Nancy Cox, University of Kentucky vice president for land-grant engagement and dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Making Kentucky’s signature industry safer

The nine-member board of directors includes two Kentuckians: former Gov. Steve Beshear and Bill Thomason, the immediate past president of Keeneland, a post he held from 2012 to 2020.

The seven-member Anti-Doping and Medication Control Standing Committee, also has a pair of Kentuckians: Mary Scollay of Lexington, executive director and chief operating officer of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, one of the industry’s foremost scientific authorities on performance enhancing drugs, therapeutic medications and laboratory testing.  Also, Scott Stanley, a professor of analytical chemistry at UK’s Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center and director of the Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory.

Among the Racetrack Safety Standing Committee’s seven members is Peter Hester of Lexington, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine, who previously worked for equine veterinary surgeon William Reed at Belmont Park.

McConnell, who sponsored the measure in the Senate, stated, “With uniform, national standards for medication-use and track safety, we can address the challenges facing horse racing and preserve one of Kentucky’s signature industries for generations to come. Along with all horse racing fans, I look forward to the Authority’s work to protect horses and jockeys and to give every competitor a fair shot at the winner’s circle.”

Barr noted, “This group of regionally and professionally diverse individuals will guide the implementation of uniform standards of safety and competition. I want to thank each member for volunteering their time and talents to serving this vital industry. The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is a historic reform that will strengthen Kentucky’s signature industry for generations to come.”

Under the oversight of the Federal Trade Commission, the Authority board and standing committee members are responsible for developing, implementing and enforcing a series of uniform anti-doping, medication control, racetrack safety and operational rules to enhance equine safety and protect the integrity of the sport. 

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