The Equine Industry Program at the University of Louisville announced that Thoroughbred industry entrepreneur Barry Weisbord, President and Co-Publisher of the Thoroughbred Daily News, the industry’s leading on-line news publication, is the 24th recipient of the John Galbreath Award for Entrepreneurship, which was first awarded in 1990 to the late Kentucky breeder and industry leader John Bell.
Weisbord first became involved in racing while a student at the University of Pennsylvania when he began working for New York-based trainers Walter Kelley and future Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens as a hot walker. He went on to acquire a trainer’s license, and he operated a small racing stable prior to establishing Executive Bloodstock Management, a bloodstock portfolio management company, in 1979.
Just warming up, Weisbord then launched, with partners, the Matchmaker Breeders’ Exchange in 1983, a stock exchange on which members could trade stallion seasons and shares or could buy and sell at seasonably based “live” auctions that blended the auction process with a high-end social experience. Always focused on the racing side of the business, he conceived of and steered the American Racing Championship Series, a series of major older horse races that had national television coverage and created a lot of industry buzz prior to the beginning of full-card simulcasting.
In 1993 he purchased controlling interest in the TDN, moved its operation from Kentucky to his New Jersey base, and has succeeded in building it into the ultimate industry “insider” publication, one that is international in its coverage of racing and breeding, and in its readership, with about 10,000 readers per day worldwide.
Weisbord became aware of a technology called Trakus, which utilizes sophisticated data display software to, among other things, allow fans to follow athletic competitions on live television through graphic displays. Trakus was being used in hockey, but seemed to have potential applications at racetracks, and Weisbord, who is now Trakus’ chairman, was the key in figuring out a means to adapt the concept to horse racing. The Trakus system, which follows every individual horse throughout a race, displaying its position along with distances traveled during the race, is now in use at such major North American tracks as Woodbine, Churchill Downs, Keeneland and Gulfstream Park, as well as in several foreign locations such as Dubai, Singapore and Turkey.
Despite being busy with his numerous racing business ventures, he continues to race horses, his major accomplishment being as the co-owner of Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Safely Kept, who captured the 1990 running of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and is now a member of the Racing Hall of Fame. Weisbord serves as an advisor to several leading owners, and he is a member of the Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors as well as co-chair of its Enhanced Experience Committee.
“Barry Weisbord exemplifies the concept of entrepreneur in the horse industry,” said Tim Capps, director of the Equine Industry Program at the University of Louisville. “He is a creative thinker, an innovator with great instincts for providing value to the customer and doing so with a sense of style and a touch of showmanship. He has a real passion for racing, and a flair for putting on a good show, something that is becoming a major point of emphasis in the sport.
“We are pleased to recognize Barry’s achievements in the industry, and add his name to the roster of distinguished winners of the Galbreath Award,” concluded Capps.
Weisbord will receive the award at a dinner in his honor at the University of Louisville’s University Club on the evening of Oct. 24, 2013.