05/01/2014 12:21PM

Jockey Club presses forward on vet records


Representatives of the Jockey Club on Friday morning will contact the owners and trainers of horses entered in the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby who have pledged to make their horses’ vet records publicly available, a spokesperson for the organization said on Thursday.

The plan is to acquire 14 days’ worth of vet records for each of the horses and upload scanned images of the records to horseracingreform.com, a website funded by the Jockey Club that serves as a platform for the organization’s goals, according to the spokesperson, Bob Curran.

Though five entities connected to horses in both the Oaks and Derby have signed the pledge to make the records available, that does not guarantee that the records will be released. Some of the owners are in partnerships in which the other owners of the horses have not made a similar pledge, while trainers cannot release the records without the owner’s written consent because veterinary records are treated by law as the owner’s property.

Terry Finley, the founder and president of the racing partnership company West Point Thoroughbreds, said that West Point intends to provide the records of its Derby entrant Commanding Curve to the Jockey Cub when asked. West Point communicated to the members of its partnership groups that vet records of its horses would be released as a matter of policy when the company committed to the effort several weeks ago.

“I figure someone [from the Jockey Club] will touch base with us today or tomorrow,” Finley said on Thursday morning. “We’ve got the records and we’re ready to make them public.”

The Jockey Club has been pressing owners and trainers to make the pledge ever since the organization’s chairman, Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps, called for the release of the records 2 1/2 weeks ago in advance of the Triple Crown, which begins with Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, the most popular race in the U.S. Phipps wrote that the availability of the records “can bring greater credibility to the races that define our sport at a time when millions are watching.”

As of Thursday, according to the Jockey Club website, approximately 200 owners and trainers have signed the pledge to make the records available for all of their horses entered in graded stakes races, among the tens of thousands of ownership groups and trainers currently licensed in the U.S. The owners with Derby horses include Wounded Warrior Stable, part-owner of Uncle Sigh; WinStar Farm, part-owner of Vinceremos; Spendthrift Farm, owner of Medal Count; and West Point. The only trainer with an Oaks or Derby starter who has signed the pledge is Bob Baffert, who trains Chitu.

Jockey Club officials said they would not know whether the partnerships have formally agreed to the release of the records until making contact with the owners.