Overview of the 68th Annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing

August 19, 2020

“A clean sport is good for business.”

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Official transcripts and a video replay from the 68th annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing are now available at jockeyclub.com. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sunday, August 16 conference was held virtually on jockeyclub.comand, and on TVG’s and Racetrack Television Network’s respective platforms.

The conference featured an interview with three-time Tour de France winner and anti-doping advocate Greg LeMond. A panel discussion with trainers Mark Casse, John Gosden, and Jessica Harrington. Insight from Bob Costas, former sportscaster for NBC Sports and current sportscaster for MLB Network and contributor to CNN. Katrina Adams, the immediate past president of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) offered a perspective from her sport. Sal Sinatra, the president and general manager of the Maryland Jockey Club, Jason Wilson, Equibase’s president and chief operating officer, and, Stuart S. Janney III, the chairman of The Jockey Club complemented the program. 

“A clean sport is good for business.”

That comment from Greg LeMond, a three-time Tour de France winner, epitomized overarching themes on the importance of integrity and reform in horse racing at the conference.

LeMond was interviewed by James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, about his experiences with doping culture in cycling, efforts to clean up the sport through improved testing and harsh penalties, and why clean sports are more successful.

“Trainers who are caught [doping] should never be allowed back into the sport, period,” LeMond said. “If you want the sport to have legitimacy, people need to know that it’s not fixed.”

LeMond has been outspoken about performance-enhancing drugs for more than 30 years and has testified before the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

Mark Casse supported LeMond’s sentiments as part of a trainers panel moderated by Matt Iuliano, executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club.

The panel included John Gosden and Jessica Harrington and featured discussions on the effects of different breeding, racing, and training practices on Thoroughbreds.

“When they find the bad apples, they don’t need to be slapped on the hand. They need to be thrown out and be done with,” Casse said. “We can make all the rules in the world, but if there’s not someone out there policing those rules, the bad guys just get that much stronger.”

Casse was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame this year, while Gosden has trained champions in both the United States and Europe. Harrington, based in Ireland, has trained top horses on the flat and over jumps.

Bob Costas, former sportscaster for NBC Sports, touched on his experiences covering the Triple Crown races for NBC as well as the importance of improving equine safety and maintaining integrity in the sport.

“These magnificent equine athletes deserve to be treated with the care and dignity and respect they deserve. Not just on the days where everybody is watching at the biggest events, but 365 days a year. [Reform] is the right thing to do for that reason,” said Costas.

“[Reform] is also the right thing to do for the most important thing that every sport has going for it: the integrity of the competition. It’s also essential now for the future of the industry because of that level of public perception. Is the public willing to tolerate it? Are they willing to accept it? Can they continue to embrace it without the reforms that are necessary? The answer to that is no.”

Costas co-hosted NBC’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby from 2001-2018.

Katrina Adams of USTA provided an overview of the USTA’s efforts to diversify both its players and administration and recommended that industries such as horse racing seek “diversity of thought” in decision-making so that the sport is more welcoming and representative of America.

“I think, going forward, we all are learning that we need to be a little more inclusive in our marketing materials, in the discussions that we’re having, and the messages that we’re sending so that when I pick up a magazine, I see myself in your sport,” Adams said.

Adams served two terms as the USTA’s chairman and president and was an accomplished professional tennis player on the Women’s Tennis Association Tour for 12 years. She was the first African American, first former professional tennis player, and youngest person ever to serve as USTA president.

Sal Sinatra, of the Maryland Jockey Club, spoke of his concerns of the claiming system in America and recommended that this country consider a rating system similar to what exists in other racing jurisdictions around the world.

“Implementing a ratings system would have a myriad of benefits to American racing,” said Sinatra. “Ratings would group horses of similar abilities, creating a more competitive race and ultimately a more interesting betting option for our fans.

“Owners would be more willing to run their horses and try different options. I believe that protecting the owner’s investment over time would stabilize and actually grow the foal crop.”

Before joining the Maryland Jockey Club, Sinatra spent 15 years at Parx Racing, where he was the vice president of racing and racing secretary.

Jason Wilson of Equibase delivered a report on the activities of The Jockey Club, focusing on the efforts of America’s Best Racing and Equibase to develop fans and support the Thoroughbred industry.

Jockey Club Chairman Stuart S. Janney III, presided over the conference. In his closing remarks, he talked about The Jockey Club’s work with 5 Stones intelligence to examine cheating and integrity concerns in horse racing. This investigation included collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which indicted 27 individuals in the horse racing industry in March.

“We have always viewed this investigation as part of a larger picture, which importantly includes the Horseracing Integrity Act,” said Janney. “Without modernizing our current system of regulation, we will slip back into the present unfortunate state.”


The Jockey Club Round Table Conference was first held on July 1, 1953, in The Jockey Club office in New York City. The following year, it was moved to Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The Jockey Club, founded in 1894 and dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, is the breed registry for North American Thoroughbreds. In fulfillment of its mission, The Jockey Club, directly or through subsidiaries, provides support and leadership on a wide range of important industry initiatives, and it serves the information and technology needs of owners, breeders, media, fans and farms.

It founded America’s Best Racing (americasbestracing.net), the broad-based fan development initiative for Thoroughbred racing, and in partnership with the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, operates OwnerView (ownerview.com), the ownership resource. Additional information is available at jockeyclub.com.

Edited Press Release

Photo: Jockey Club Chairman Stuart S. Janney III. Credit: Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore Sun

Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond. Credit: Associated Press

Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse. Credit: Anne M. Eberhardt

Award-winning sportscaster, Bob Costas. Credit: Washington Speakers Bureau Promo Photo

Photo: Jockey Club Chairman Stuart S. Janney III. Credit: Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore Sun

Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond. Credit: Associated Press

Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse. Credit: Anne M. Eberhardt

Award-winning sportscaster, Bob Costas. Credit: Washington Speakers Bureau Promo Photo

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