Six Takeaways From The 51st Annual IFHA Conference

POSTED ON  |  04-10-2017

The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities held its 51st annual conference in Paris on Monday with a focus on Thoroughbred aftercare, uniform rules, international wagering, and racetrack improvements. If you weren't in Paris for the event, here are a few takeaways:

Aftercare wasn't always an uncomfortable topic for breeders – it was once a faux pas for journalists, too. Paulick Report founder and publisher Ray Paulick gave a presentation reviewing the history of aftercare in the United States. Earlier in his career, Paulick recalled bringing an editor a pitch for a story on the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in its early days and its mission to save horses from slaughter. “I was shocked by his response,” Paulick recalled. “'We can't publish that story,' he said. ‘We don't want people to know what happens to racehorses when they leave the track.'”

Of course, coverage of aftercare-related news (good and bad) is now prominent in most racing media and consistently proves popular with readers. Paulick recalled concern at the start of our Aftercare Spotlight features that writer Jen Roytz might eventually run out of off-track Thoroughbred success stories to profile. Over 300 stories later, Roytz shows no sign of slowing down.

One third of the Group 1 races held in Europe take place at the Curragh in Ireland or Longchamp in Paris. Both facilities are undergoing major renovations to their grandstands with the hope of elevating the race going experience while maintaining historical ambiance. At the Curragh, one viewing stand constructed in 1852 is being taken apart, moved, and reconstructed in a different part of the grounds.

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