Donna Barton Brothers to moderate Symposium Mental Health panel

Sept. 11, 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.

The panel will be moderated by Donna Barton Brothers, a successful former jockey who won 1,130 races, and is the second leading female US jockey by money earned. After retiring as a jockey, Donna has been an acclaimed sports analyst and commentator. Since 2000, she has covered the Breeder’s Cup Championships, World Equestrian Games, PBR World Championships, Land Rover (formerly Rolex) Kentucky Three Day Event, the Triple Crown races and more, for NBC and NBC Sports Network. She is also the author of “Inside Track: Insider’s Guide to Horse Racing”, first published in 2010 and now in it’s third edition. The book can be found on Amazon and 100% of profits go to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. 

She currently serves on the boards of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation (TIF), and the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky (BIAK). She is also serving on the newly formed HISA Steering Committee to recommend and develop programming in support of the mental health and wellness of jockeys.

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, as availability is expected to fill quickly. For more information and to Register for this year's Symposium, please visit