The National Steeplechase Association has formed a task force to evaluate safety issues in U.S. steeplechasing.
The Steeplechase Safety Task Force will include members with expertise in racing, veterinary science and race administration. The task force will look into events that occurred in the 2012 racing season, which included several equine fatalities, and hopes to complete its work before the beginning of the 2013 racing season in March.
“The New York Racing Association just conducted a rather in-depth task force research project concerning the fatalities at Aqueduct [N.Y.] last winter, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t look at our own stuff,” said Bill Gallo, NSA director of racing. “Step one is to have a meeting and sit down and map out a game plan on how to approach it. I’m anxious to serve on the committee, and I think it’s a great initiative. It’ll be positive for the horses; it’ll be positive for the jockeys; it’ll be positive for the sport,” he said.
Members of the Steeplechase Safety Task Force are:
- Guy J. Torsilieri, president of the National Steeplechase Association and co-chairman of the Far Hills Races
- Dwight Hall, chairman of the NSA Stewards Advisory Committee and chairman of the Iroquois Steeplechase
- R. Reynolds Cowles Jr., D.V.M., founder of Blue Ridge Equine Clinic and an authority on veterinary protocols for steeplechase race meets
- Bill Gallo Jr., NSA director of racing
- R. Barry Watson, NSA safety advisor
- Kate Dalton, president of the Steeplechase Owners and Trainers Association.
- Sean Clancy, former champion steeplechase jockey and Eclipse Award-winning journalist
- Richard Valentine, licensed steeplechase trainer and National Steeplechase Foundation Board of Directors member
Don Clippinger, NSA communications director, will serve as the Task Force secretary.