Thank you, Alan, and good morning, everyone.
As Alan just mentioned, during 2009 The Jockey Club significantly expanded our resources to support organizations and individuals who are providing care for Thoroughbreds after retirement from racing.
Each year, several thousand Thoroughbreds leave racing and begin new careers in the breeding shed or in a variety of new sporting disciplines such as hunter/jumper, eventing, endurance and polo, not to mention their use in therapeutic riding programs. Many others are simply retired.
Without registration certificates, identification of these horses becomes difficult and often the owner must rely solely upon the lip tattoo.
This past April, we added Tattoo Identification Services to our Interactive Registration platform to assist owners of retired racehorses in researching their identity. Let me show you how it works.
Based upon the tattoo number entered by the customer, identification information is displayed, which includes the name, the year of birth, the color and the sex. Customers with more problematic tattoos could complete an online form and receive our assistance in researching the identity of their horse.
In the weeks that followed, we actively engaged our customers by conducting a series of informal workshops to listen to their feedback, user experiences and their ideas for improvement.
One of the consistent messages we heard during this process centered on placing more identification resources into the hands of the customer, resources that would assist them with difficult cases where the tattoo was only partially legible due to fading from age.
We began working with these ideas and on July 1st, launched Tattoo Research to complement our existing Tattoo Lookup.
Tattoos that are clearly legible can be entered under tattoo lookup as before, whereas those tattoos that are more difficult to read or have faded with age can be entered under Tattoo Research.
The customer also enters the color, the gender and the presence of any white markings on the head, or on the legs as well. Once all this information is entered, our software then takes over and compares it with our markings database containing nearly 900,000 registered Thoroughbreds.
The detailed markings of any horses that are close matches to the criteria entered by the customer are displayed for direct comparison to help them quickly narrow down their search. Clicking on the markings which match the horse returns its identity and a free 5-generation pedigree.
Since we launched the tattoo lookup in mid-April and later enhancements on July 1, we have been very pleased by the response from our customers. Over 4,000 new Interactive Registration customers have been added and nearly 37,000 tattoo searches have been performed.
The service proved successful for identifying this foal of 1994, a winner of 8 races and more than $100,000 on the racetrack. With only a couple of characters of the tattoo barely legible, the new owner tried various combinations until she found a match to confirm the identity of her new jumper.
Another example was this foal of 1997 who went on to become a stakes-winning earner of nearly one half million dollars. This is how his new owner found him after retirement from racing and here he is today reunited with his old friend from the same stable.
We are continuing to fine tune Tattoo Identification Services with additional resources and we will be sure to keep the industry informed as we add various enhancements.
I also want to briefly mention our retirement checkoff program. We announced the checkoff late last year and started it on January 1 of this year.
The program enables owners and breeders to make voluntary payments designated for Thoroughbred aftercare programs supported by the Thoroughbred Charities of America and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.
Owners and breeders can participate in the retirement checkoff program and have their payments matched by The Jockey Club by simply completing the attachment at the bottom of the Application for Foal Registration.
Together with Thoroughbred Charities of America and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, we have been promoting the checkoff in a number of ways in the past few months. We hope you will participate and encourage others to do the same.
For more information on Tattoo Identification Services or the retirement checkoff program, please visit us at registry.jockeyclub.com.
Alan Marzelli: Thanks, Matt.