Stronach Group Names O'Neil Equine Health, Safety Director

Robert O'Neil, DVM, has been named to the newly created position of equine health and safety director in Florida, according to a July 30 announcement from the The Stronach Group, which owns several racetracks across the country.

The statement said O'Neil's position will play an integral part in the track owner's effort to "enhance the integrity of the sport and the health and safety of the horses and the people that work with them."

The release said the Stronach Group "has decided to start with Gulfstream Park (in Hallandale Beach, Florida) as the model for creating a framework for ensuring the highest level of integrity in our industry. Dr. O'Neil's responsibilities will focus on the development and implementation of improved policies and protocols at our racing facilities in Florida."

Added Frank Stronach, founder and chairman of The Stronach Group, "We will be very transparent and we hope to have input from the Equine Health and Safety Advisory Board as well as other racetracks. After we have fine-tuned the model, we will work with other racetracks to have a uniform high standard of health and safety programs for the benefit of all stakeholders within our industry."

In announcing the appointment, Stronach called on the Thoroughbred racing industry to work together: "One of our main goals is to collaborate with other industry stakeholders—tracks, breeders, horsemen, and regulators—to create a structure of the highest standards with respect to the integrity of our sport and the safety of our athletes, both equine and human."

O'Neil is a veterinarian with more than 35 years' experience in the Thoroughbred industry.

"I look forward to implementing these important industry reforms," O'Neil said. "I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with The Stronach Group, who are true leaders in our industry."

O'Neil served on the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine since 1993, and was consecutively appointed to the board by four Florida governors. He has practiced veterinary medicine since 1975 and is licensed in 10 states.

Originally published on

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The Blood-Horse is the leading weekly publication devoted to international Thoroughbred racing and breeding. Since 1916, the staff of The Blood-Horse has served the Thoroughbred community with the highest standards of journalistic excellence to provide comprehensive and timely editorial coverage and analysis.

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