07/16/2013 4:57PM

Breeders’ Cup fills five board seats


LEXINGTON, Ky. – Four of five open seats on the board of Breeders’ Cup Ltd. were filled at the close of voting on Tuesday, the organization announced, with the fifth seat being filled after two nominees agreed to draw lots following a tie in the voting.

The four board members elected included: Bill Oppenheim, a journalist and pedigree consultant, who was elected to the board for the first time; J. David Richardson, the chief of surgery at the University of Louisville and a longtime owner and breeder, also elected to the board for the first time; Roy Jackson, the Pennsylvania-based breeder, who was reelected; and Barry Weisbord, the owner of Thoroughbred Daily News, who was also re-elected.

The fifth seat was filled after Elliott Walden, the general manager of WinStar Farm, and Jerry Crawford, the managing partner of Donegal Racing, agreed to draw lots to break a tie rather than conduct a runoff vote. Walden won the draw, according to Breeders’ Cup.

The Breeders’ Cup’s 48 members are allowed to vote for directors.

Both J. David Richardson and Roy Jackson were among 40 individuals or racing stables who signed a pledge in 2012 to race their 2-year-olds without the raceday administration of the legal anti-bleeding medication furosemide, commonly known as Lasix. Richardson was also the chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s American Graded Stakes Committee when it voted in 2011 to require that all 2-year-old graded stakes in 2012 be run without raceday furosemide in order to qualify for a grade. The committee later voted to rescind the policy before it could take effect.

In a column published after the vote was taken to rescind the policy, Oppenheim, a member of the committee at the time, said he would resign, calling the decision “gutless.”

Earlier this year, the Breeders’ Cup board voted to suspend a policy that would have expanded a ban on raceday furosemide to all of its races, limiting the ban in 2013 to 2-year-old races. At the 2012 event, the ban was in effect for the five 2-year-old races, and field size dropped, in the aggregate, by 22 percent, though it is unclear if the ban was the primary cause for the decline.

The decision to suspend the ban led to a rift on the Breeders’ Cup board and the resignation of one member, Oliver Tait.

Horsemen’s groups have resisted efforts to rollback the raceday use of furosemide, arguing that the drug’s efficacy in preventing bleeding justifies its use. Some horsemen have threatened to boycott the Breeders’ Cup if the ban is expanded to all of the event’s races.