A Leader in Safety and Welfare Standards for the Industry
Keeneland is at the forefront of policy making and funding of innovative safety and integrity initiatives that benefit horse and rider:
Jockey Health Information System: In 2008, Keeneland, in association with the Jockeys’ Guild, The Jockey Club and Lexington physician and Keeneland Medical Director Dr. Barry Schumer, created and launched the Jockey Health Information System. This technology enables emergency personnel at race tracks throughout North America to immediately access a jockey’s updated medical history in the event of an injury. There are no fees for a track or a jockey to participate.
Jockey Concussion Protocol: Beginning with the 2017 Fall Meet, Keeneland initiated a jockey concussion protocol under which jockeys are required to complete a baseline concussion assessment prior to being allowed to ride. Keeneland is among the first race tracks in the U.S. to establish concussion management and return to participation protocol. The protocol is part of a pilot project between the Jockeys’ Guild and the University of Kentucky, funded by a number of Thoroughbred industry organizations. Initially conceived by Keeneland Medical Director Dr. Barry Schumer, the protocol was developed over several years, and guidelines were assessed and approved by the Jockeys’ Guild Board of Directors.
Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation’s Kentucky Initiative: Keeneland is a founding partner of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation’s Kentucky Initiative, dedicated to building on traditional support throughout Kentucky for research to advance equine health and welfare.
Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit: Keeneland hosts the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse summit, a two-day workshop coordinated and underwritten by the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and The Jockey Club. The summit brings together representatives from the breeding, racing and veterinary aspects of the industry to discuss important topics. Among the major accomplishments to come out of previous summits are the Equine Injury Database, Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory and a uniform trainer test and study guide.
Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA): In 2012, Keeneland joined the Breeders’ Cup and The Jockey Club to establish the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), a nonprofit organization that accredits, inspects and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations that retrain and rehome racehorses. Approximately 160 facilities in North America hold TAA accreditation. During Keeneland race meets, each owner may donate $5 for every horse that starts a race. Keeneland will match all contributions to double the impact. People who participate in Keeneland sales also have the opportunity to contribute to the TAA.
The Jockey Club Equine Injury Database (EID): Keeneland reports information about horses that are injured during racing or training to the EID. The EID is a national database created to track racing injuries in an effort to identify the frequency, types and outcome by using a standardized format that generates valid statistics, identifies markers for horses at increased risk of injury and serves as a data source for research directed at improving safety and preventing injuries. Every injury that occurs at Keeneland is reviewed collectively by the Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales and the KHRC Equine Medical Director.
AAEP On Call Program: Keeneland participates in the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) On Call Program. This national media-assistance program provides AAEP veterinarians who offer timely health updates on equine athletes during nationally televised events. These veterinarians communicate with the KHRC veterinarian at Keeneland about the condition of the horse then provide general medical information and case-specific details to the media.
Infectious Disease Management: Keeneland is in frequent contact with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) to stay abreast of any infectious disease developments around the country. Keeneland strictly follows the KDA’s protocol for managing the outbreak of infectious diseases.
Keeneland also provides valuable financial and in-kind assistance to support the work of various equine-related organizations that encompass research, health and safety, marketing and promotion, charitable and educational efforts.