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3rd September 2006

Darley Flying Start students make presentations at Keeneland

The 2005 trainees of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s Darley Flying Start Program gave presentations at a student conference held on Wednesday at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington.

After a luncheon for the students and guests, the presentations were introduced by Keeneland trustee William T. “Buddy” Bishop III and Darley Flying Start manager Clodagh Kavanagh of Kildangan Stud in Ireland.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that Keeneland’s able to provide this for you all to see and for the students,” said Bishop. “It’s an absolutely fabulous program.”

The Darley Flying Start Program was run for the first time in 2003. It is an international training program for persons interested in management positions in the Thoroughbred industry. Each year 12 new students are selected from all of the applicants to join the two year, full-time program that travels to Ireland, England, the United States, Australia and Dubai.

Duncan Hinkle of Shelbyville, Kentucky spoke about the Breeders’ Cup program and the changes it has undergone in the past year, including television coverage, horse eligibility, and the recent staff restructuring.

Benoit Jeffroy’s presentation addressed American stallion success and how it is statistically based on what American races they have won. The French student analyzed some of the best stallions in the past 20 years on criteria such as graded and blacktype stakes wins, at what ages they won Grade 1 races, and their winning distances.

Irish presenter Celine McEniry focused on jockey education and training, especially the soon to be opened North American Racing Academy, run by Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron. She stressed the challenges facing jockeys today and the importance of a formal training program in addressing those issues.

Australian Craig Rounsefell gave his presentation on what he termed “some dirty words in the Thoroughbred racing industry: betting exchanges and betting rebate programs.”

Rounsefell explained the ways in which exchanges and rebate programs work, and illustrated the potential impact such programs could have in the United States.

Conor Foley, another American student, spoke about the economic and social impacts of racinos on the Thoroughbred racing industry.

British student Isabel Mathew concentrated her project on the introduction of synthetic racing surfaces to American racetracks. She presented statistics on some of the synthetic tracks already in use, and analyzed the possible impacts they may have on the future of racing.

Mayra Frederico, a Brazilian student with a degree in veterinary medicine from the Universidade Metodista de Sao Paulo, talked about doping racehorses, uniform drug testing standards and threshold levels, and the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. Frederico emphasized the important role of the RMTC in establishing medication policies for the racing industry.

Dan Blacker, another British presenter, looked at various methods of preparing a racehorse for the Kentucky Derby (G1). His presentation focused on alternative training methods, such as that used by Michael Matz in readying Barbaro, this year’s Derby winner, for the race, and trainer Bob Baffert, who has won two legs of the Triple Crown four times.

Gerry Duffy of Ireland examined the sources of past performance data available, and their strengths and weaknesses. Duffy also provided information on the various users of past performance data and how the sources currently available benefit them.

Carolyn Costigan from Canada studied the trends in the age of horseracing fans. She also spoke about ways to attract the younger generation to become participants in the industry as consumers.

Tom Morley of England presented on two-year-olds in training sales. His presentation looked at sales in both Europe and North America, their histories, and the promotion of the two year old in training sales as a source of quality racehorses.— Allison Fuchs

Source: Thoroughbred Times – www.thoroughbredtimes.com