(Dr. William Farmer / Photo Courtesy of Churchill Downs)
Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) (Nasdaq: CHDN) announced today the hiring of William E. Farmer, DVM as Equine Medical Director (EMD), a position that will oversee equine safety and care at all CDI racetracks. Dr. Farmer recently served as official veterinarian for the California Horse Racing Board and out-of-competition coordinator and consulting veterinarian for Breeders’ Cup Ltd.
Development of this position was announced by CDI ahead of this year’s The Kentucky Derby along with additional new significant safety initiatives. A months-long candidate search resulted in the appointment of Dr. Farmer. As EMD, Dr. Farmer will develop, direct the implementation of, and ensure enforcement of equine health and safety policies for CDI. As such, he will be charged with the development of strategies to enhance the safety and integrity of racing and training at all CDI racetracks which include: Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, KY; Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, IL; Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, LA; Presque Isle Downs in Erie, PA; Ocean Downs in Ocean City, MD; Miami Valley Gaming in Lebanon, OH; Oak Grove Racing in Oak Grove, KY and, Turfway Park in Florence, KY.
Dr. Farmer brings a rich history of experience with racehorses to the position and a wealth of industry knowledge. Following his work as Racing Veterinarian with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (“KHRC”), he ascended to the position of Chief Racing Veterinarian and thus worked extensively in managerial and hands-on capacities, both long-term and urgent, at racing events and institutions, including multiple races for The Kentucky Derbyand Breeders’ Cup championships.
“Churchill Downs is excited to welcome the experience and proven leadership that Dr. Farmer brings to our company,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “He will be an integral part of our strong and ongoing commitment to equine and jockey safety.”
The hiring of Dr. Farmer comes as Churchill Downs Racetrack moves forward on an $8 million backside expansion to include a state-of-the-art Equine Medical Center, quarantine facility and new backside Stable Gate. The upgrades, scheduled to open in March 2020, are focused primarily on the care, wellness and safety of racehorses in a way that will reinforce the historic racetrack’s place as one of the preeminent tracks in the country.
“I am honored to be joining the CDI team,” said Dr. Farmer. “For many years, CDI has led the way in safety initiatives to help protect both our equine and human athletes. I look forward to working side-by-side with the KHRC, private practitioners, trainers and other industry stakeholders in continuing to lead the way and raising the bar in regards to safety and welfare of our athletes.”
As part of their continued commitment to safety, CDI joined the nation’s leading Thoroughbred racing organizations last week to announce the launch of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition (“TSC”), a collective industry effort to unify and enhance existing protections and work together to develop reforms to ensure safety is paramount to the sport of horseracing.