Horse racing’s major players form safety coalition

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A group of horse racing organizations has announced the formation of a coalition to promote enhanced safety protections and work together to develop new reforms in a sport roiled by a series of equine deaths.

The Thoroughbred Safety Coalition introduced Tuesday includes Churchill Downs Inc., the New York Racing Association and The Stronach Group, along with Breeders’ Cup Ltd., Del Mar and Keeneland racetracks. Together they represent over 85% of major racing in the U.S.

The coalition will adopt best practices and set stricter guidelines for allowable medications, enact standards for whip use, encourage greater transparency and tracking of veterinarian exam records, and commit to the creation of new positions to implement and enforce these reforms.

Currently, rules and regulations vary among the 38 racing states, and the sport lacks a so-called league office to oversee it.

“Many of us have taken concrete action at our own tracks and are individually working with regulators and lawmakers in our states to enhance safety protocols,” said Kevin Flanery, Churchill Downs president. “The Thoroughbred Safety Coalition will help drive these needed reforms across the nation.”

Bill Thomason, president and CEO of Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, said there is no single solution, but the group is committed to “finding the right answers, wherever that may lead us.”

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