02/27/2015 12:35PM

The Jockey Club purchases controlling interest in Blood-Horse

Jockey Club
John Keitt is the new publisher of Blood-Horse magazine.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A subsidiary of The Jockey Club, the nonprofit organization that owns several large racing-related companies, has bought a controlling interest in Blood-Horse, the media organization that publishes the weekly magazine covering Thoroughbred racing and breeding, the companies announced Friday.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Based in Lexington, Blood-Horse was previously solely owned by a for-profit subsidiary of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, a nonprofit organization that administers the American Graded Stakes Committee and runs several programs designed to serve existing owners and breeders and promote investment in the industry.

The deal includes all of Blood-Horse’s assets with the exception of The Horse, a monthly publication that will continue to be solely owned by TOBA, according to the organizations.

Over the last decade, Blood-Horse has focused more of its efforts on building its digital platforms as advertisers have migrated away from print products. The contraction in the breeding industry since the onset of the recession has put a strain on its revenue, which at one point relied heavily on advertising from stallion owners, sales consignors, and farms.

John Keitt, a former counsel to the Associated Press who led an executive search in 2013 to identify candidates for the chief executive position at the New York Racing Association, will be installed as the new publisher at Blood-Horse, the organizations said. The current publisher, Marla Bickel, will become the chief executive and publisher of The Horse.

Management of both organizations already overlap significantly. Stuart Janney, the chairman of Blood-Horse, is also the vice chairman of The Jockey Club, and Peter Willmott, the chairman of TOBA, is a Jockey Club member.

The Jockey Club has expanded its role in Thoroughbred racing and breeding significantly over the past two decades. While it once was limited to running the U.S.’s official breed registry, the organization has expanded into co-ownership of data companies such as Equibase and the design and sale of racetrack management software. The Jockey Club currently sells data to the Blood-Horse, and Equibase is the data supplier for Daily Racing Form.

The Jockey Club also has pushed for changes in U.S. medication policies, and officials of the organization said last year that they will lobby for legislation prohibiting the race-day use of the anti-bleeding medication furosemide and granting a private company, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, oversight of the industry’s medication policies and testing. The effort has put the organization at odds with horsemen’s groups that continue to support the race-day use of furosemide.

“Blood-Horse will continue to cover the issues, events, and personalities in our industry in a journalistically sound manner going forward,” said Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps, the chairman of The Jockey Club, in a release. “The Jockey Club and its affiliated companies have many long-standing business and editorial relationships with other media organizations in this industry, and we will strive to maintain and enhance those relationships.”