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Woodbine CEO appointed to Jockey Club Safety Committee

Woodbine Entertainment (Woodbine) CEO Jim Lawson was appointed to The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Safety Committee during the recent 2019 Round Table held in Saratoga Springs, New York. 

Lawson joins 10 other committee members from across the North American Thoroughbred horse racing industry and together will review and recommend action to improve safety throughout the sport. 

“Having been involved in horse racing my whole life and in leadership roles as a professional, I understand the role that safety plays in creating a long-term future for the sport,” said Lawson. “Both horse racing purists and the general public demand to know that the sport they are supporting is safe for everyone involved. I look forward to the opportunity to work with the esteemed members of The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Safety Committee to further its impact and reach.”

Lawson’s appointment to the committee is a recognition of Woodbine Entertainment’s leadership and commitment to safety in horse racing. 

“As CEO of Woodbine Racetrack, one of the safest racetracks in North America, Jim has demonstrated a commitment to safety and a willingness to change for the betterment of the sport, which will bring great value to the Safety Committee,” said Jim Gagliano, President and COO of The Jockey Club. “We look forward to adding his perspective and fresh ideas to our discussions and meetings.”

Woodbine operates Canada’s largest racetracks including the site of the 2019 Breeders Crown, Woodbine Mohawk Park, and the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance accredited home to the Queen’s Plate, Woodbine Racetrack. 

Prior to being named the CEO of Woodbine Entertainment in May of 2015, Lawson served as Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors since 2012. During his time with Woodbine, the organization has spearheaded key safety and industry leadership initiatives including installing two race courses designed with participant safety at the forefront, while being instrumental in getting a historic funding agreement signed with the provincial government.

Additionally, Lawson is a member of the Ontario Racing Board of Directors, which includes safety implementation and advocacy within its mandate. 

The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Safety Committee was formed in May 2008 to review every facet of equine health and to recommend actions the industry can take to improve the health and safety of Thoroughbreds. To date, many of the committee’s 34 recommendations to the industry have been accepted into the ARCI model rules, and / or NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance code of standards.

The committee is comprised of Craig Fravel (Chairman), John Barr, Jimmy Bell, Dr. Larry Bramlage, Dell Hancock, Chris McCarron and Dr. Hiram Polk in addition to the newest four members, Jim Lawson, Rick Arthur, D.G. Van Clief Jr. and Tommy Robbins. 
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