05/08/2008 12:00AM

New "health and safety" committee formed


The Jockey Club has formed a seven-member committee that will issue recommendations on how "to improve the health and safety of Thoroughbreds," the organization announced on Thursday.

Ogden Mills Phipps, the chairman of the Jockey Club - which maintains the official North American breeding registry and owns shares in industry data companies - said in a release that the committee would be asked to review breeding practices, medication, the rules of racing, and track surfaces.

The formation of the committee comes on the heels of the breakdown and euthanization of Eight Belles shortly after the 3-year-old filly finished second in the May 3 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. The breakdown has served as a flash point of criticism of horseracing, both inside and outside the sport.

The Jockey Club and a related organization, the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, has sponsored two summits over the past 20 months focusing on racehorse safety issues. The recommendations developed during those summits will serve as "starting points for the committee," the Jockey Club said in a release.

The members of the committee will be Stuart Janney III, the chairman of Bessemer Trust Company and a Thoroughbred owner and breeder, who will serve as chairman; John Barr, a real-estate developer who owns horses; James Bell, the president of Darley USA; Dr. Larry Bramlage, a partner in Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital; Donald Dizney, the owner of Double Diamond Farm in Florida; Dell Hancock, the co-owner of Claiborne Farm outside of Lexington; and Dr. Hiram Polk, a professor of surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.