The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority has named Jockeys’ Guild veteran Jeff Johnston its Rider Safety and Welfare Manager, effective Mar. 17. Johnston will work with jockeys and other riders to ensure compliance with the Racetrack Safety Program, support continuing education programs, provide uniform first responder training, work with providers to improve safety equipment, and increase communication with local medical facilities.
Johnston will also closely support the new jockey mental wellness initiative HISA announced this week in partnership with the Jockeys’ Guild and will work alongside Dr. Peter Hester, HISA’s National Medical Director, to enhance rider access to mental health support and resources.
Johnston will report to HISA’s Director of Racetrack Safety Ann McGovern.
“We are pleased to have Jeff join us to lead our efforts to work collaboratively with jockeys and riders to ensure their health, safety and overall well-being through our Racetrack Safety Program,” said HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus. “Jeff’s many years of experience with the Jockeys’ Guild and his perspective as a jockey himself will be invaluable to HISA as we continue to increase communications and collaboration with racing participants across the country.”
Johnston began racing as a jockey in 1985, competing in more than 11,000 Thoroughbred races and amassing 1,375 victories before transitioning to a career with the Jockeys’ Guild in 2006, where he most recently served as Regional Manager.
“As a longtime advocate for rider safety, I am eager to get to work advancing HISA’s goal of improving safety for riders nationwide,” said Johnston. “I look forward to using my experience to help ensure that riders are safe on and off the track, that they are familiar with HISA’s rules and how these changes affect them, and that they are outfitted with the best safety equipment possible.”
Accredited as a steward by the Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP), Johnston also previously served as Chairman of the Jockey Club’s Rider and Driver Safety Committee. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville’s Equine Industry Program.