LEXINGTON, Ky. (KEENELAND) – Keeneland further strengthened its commitment to the safety of its equine and human athletes in advance of its Fall Meet by naming prominent equine practitioner Dr. George Mundy as Equine Safety Director and Jim Pendergest, General Manager of The Thoroughbred Center (TTC) and longtime race track professional, as Director of Racing Surfaces. Both positions are new and will encompass Keeneland and TTC.
“Dr. George Mundy and Jim Pendergest bring invaluable race track expertise to the Keeneland team, and they reinforce our commitment to the safety and welfare of our horses and riders, which is priority No. 1,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “Keeneland strives to provide the safest racing environment possible, and we hold ourselves to the highest standards. The addition of these two positions enhances our established safety practices and our leadership advocacy for additional reforms.”
As Equine Safety Director, Dr. Mundy will develop, communicate and enforce safety and integrity policies; review all racing-related accidents with the goal of prevention; assess relevant equine health and safety research; and proactively communicate best practices to the racing community and public.
“Throughout my career as a veterinarian, my primary charge has been to take care of the horse,” Dr. Mundy said. “My position at Keeneland is a continuation of that responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of the horse.”
Dr. Mundy, who received his D.V.M. from Ontario Veterinary College, has extensive experience with Thoroughbred farm and race track veterinary practices, formerly was chief veterinarian of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, was a veterinary consultant for Breeders’ Cup Ltd. and has served on committees for the American Association of Equine Practitioners and Racing Commissioners International. He also has written numerous research papers related to musculoskeletal racing injuries in Thoroughbreds, medications and infectious diseases.
During Pendergest’s 19-year tenure at Keeneland, he has overseen major renovations to the main track, including installation of the all-weather surface in 2006 and the dirt surface in 2014. He brings extensive experience to his role as Director of Racing Surfaces, having supervised installation of six race tracks, 10 training tracks and some 20 equine arenas in the U.S. and Canada.
“It is an honor to be selected to fill this new role for Keeneland,” Pendergest said. “We have a great team at Keeneland whose first concern is the safety of our riders and horses. Together we are using every bit of available technology and data to assist us in that mission as we approach the Fall Meet.”
Pendergest will continue as General Manager of TTC in addition to his duties as Director of Racing Surfaces.
Keeneland has invested significantly through the years in state-of-the-art technology to provide the most consistent racing surfaces possible and in initiatives that advance health and welfare research to benefit horse and rider; funded Thoroughbred aftercare initiatives; and been among the first to participate in databases that track equine and jockey injuries to promote transparency and study.
Along with other Kentucky tracks, Keeneland recently asked the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to effect changes in medication protocols and reporting of equine medical records and to increase staffing to provide additional oversight.
“Our primary focus is the safety of our human and equine athletes,” Thomason said. “We believe these additional measures build on our longstanding commitment to safety and will continue to provide the atmosphere our patrons and community deserve and expect.”
Keeneland’s Fall Meet runs Oct. 4-26.