2023 Global Symposium on Racing Addresses Mental Health and Emotional Wellness Challenges

Sept. 5, 2023
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The 2023 Global Symposium on Racing, an annual gathering of industry leaders, is set to confront one of the most critical issues facing the racing world today: mental health and emotional wellness. Under the panel title "Out of the Shadows: Shining a Spotlight on Mental Health and Emotional Wellness," the Symposium aims to shed light on the challenges faced by racing's frontside and backside stakeholders and explore ways to provide better support.

In a poignant backdrop to this discussion, the racing community mourns the recent losses of two jockeys, Avery Whisman and Alex Canchari, who tragically took their own lives within less than six weeks of each other. These heart-wrenching incidents have galvanized the racing industry to come together, raise awareness, and take concrete steps toward a brighter future.

The panel, featuring a diverse range of experts from within and outside the racing world, is poised to delve into the specific needs of those who work in the racing industry and brainstorm innovative strategies for support. The esteemed panelists include:

Judy Beck: A licensed clinical social worker and bilingual mental health professional with 18 years of dedicated service at the Backstretch Employee Service Team (B.E.S.T.) at Saratoga Race Course, where the mission is to care for those who care for the horses. Judy also contributes her expertise to Saratoga Hospital's outpatient behavioral health department and runs a private practice. She has volunteered on a suicide hotline and is an active member of the Saratoga Immigration Coalition.

Nathan Horrocks: A former jockey and co-founder of JockeyCam and Equine Productions, Nathan's award-winning short film "The Fall" draws inspiration from his personal battle with mental health issues and the tragic loss of many weighing room colleagues to suicide.  Nathan is committed to highlighting the struggles and realities of modern day athletes.

Dr. Ciara Losty: Serving as the sport psychologist for the jockey pathway in Ireland since 2017, Dr. Losty works closely with licensed professional and amateur jockeys. Her efforts are dedicated to providing sport science and sport psychology support to all jockeys, helping them maximize their abilities, achieve the highest standards, and prolong their racing careers.

Ryan Tatusko: A former NCAA Division 1 baseball player at Indiana St University before being drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 2008 MLB draft. Ryan played professional baseball amassing over 800 professional innings pitched across the globe. Ryan was introduced to gambling as a freshman in college and continued his destructive relationship for 18 years ultimately culminating in a suicide attempt. Ryan hopes that by sharing his lived experience story it can bring to light to a growing problem within the United States.

Following the panel discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to view the compelling movie, "The Fall." Co-written and co-directed by panelist Nathan Horrocks, the film explores the silent suffering of a jockey dealing with mental health issues.

The 2023 Global Symposium on Racing will take place from December 4 to 6 at Loews Ventana Canyon. Registration is now open, and participants are encouraged to secure their rooms at the host hotel, Loews Ventana Canyon, as availability is expected to fill quickly. For more information and to Register  for this year's Symposium, please visit RacingSymposium.com