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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Thoroughbred Owner Conference Concludes, Next Edition to be Held During Breeders’ Cup

OwnerView’s second Thoroughbred Owner Conference, sponsored by Keeneland Association, the New York Racing Association, The Stronach Group and Woodbine Entertainment Group, concluded with presentations on a wide range of aspects of Thoroughbred ownership and a keynote address by horse owner and CBS broadcaster Jim Rome.

Approximately 200 people attended the two-day event, including both longtime horse owners and new or prospective owners.

In the closing remarks for the conference, William M. Lear Jr., vice chairman of The Jockey Club, announced that the third OwnerView Thoroughbred Owner Conference will be held on the days leading up to the 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park in early November.

“Our first two owner conferences have been very well received, and we thank The Stronach Group for hosting this edition as well as our third conference to be held in November 2016,” said Lear. “Holding the next one during Breeders’ Cup week will allow current and prospective owners to experience the sport of horse racing at one of its finest hours.”

“We are thrilled that the next owner conference will coincide with the Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup president and CEO. “Competing in the Breeders’ Cup represents the pinnacle of success for an owner, and we anticipate that prospective owners will be impressed by the unparalleled racing and entertainment experience offered by the Breeders’ Cup and our hosts, Santa Anita Park.”

OwnerView also announced that two of the presenting sponsors, the New York Racing Association and Woodbine Entertainment Group, have expressed interest in hosting future editions of the Thoroughbred Owner Conference. A schedule of future conferences will be developed later this year.

This edition of the owner conference included panels with prominent owners, jockeys, and leaders in the racing industry that covered numerous aspects and recommendations regarding Thoroughbred ownership. National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback was among the speakers.

Former NYRA announcer Tom Durkin served as the master of ceremonies once again.

In the keynote address Wednesday morning, Rome described his passion for Thoroughbred racing.

“I’ve been doing radio and TV work for 30 years, and I have a great job,” he said. “But my best days at work are not as good as the most electric, surreal days I’ve enjoyed at the track.”

He described his introduction to Thoroughbred ownership as well as some of the highs and lows he and his wife, Janet, have experienced, including the death from colic in early December of the Eclipse Award and multiple stakes winner Shared Belief.

“Penny Chenery, the owner of Secretariat, wrote to me afterward and told me that the highs will outweigh the lows when you own Thoroughbreds…We’re going to stay in the game. It’s been an amazing experience. We love the game mostly because we love the animals.”

“The Stronach Group has been thrilled to host this event,” said Mike Rogers, president of The Stronach Group’s Racing and Gaming Division. “We want to do anything we can to help grow our industry, and when people are all pulling in the same direction as we are with this initiative, it’s great for the sport.”

OwnerView is a joint effort spearheaded by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association to encourage ownership of Thoroughbreds and provide accurate information on aspects of ownership such as trainers, public racing syndicates, the process of purchasing and owning a Thoroughbred, racehorse retirement, and owner licensing.

The need for a central resource to encourage Thoroughbred ownership was identified in the comprehensive economic study of the sport that was commissioned by The Jockey Club and conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2011. The OwnerView site was launched in May 2012.

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