Toronto, May 8, 2015 – James J Lawson formally stepped down as Chief Steward of The Jockey Club of Canada in April 2015 and the Board of Stewards has appointed Jeffrey Begg to the position of Chief Steward.

Jeffrey Begg (Right) presents a Sovereign Awards trophy to Roger Attfield, trainer of Forte De Marmi in April 2014. Michael Burns Photo

Jeffrey Begg (Right) presents a Sovereign Awards trophy to Roger Attfield, trainer of Forte De Marmi in April 2014.
Michael Burns Photo

Mr. Lawson recently replaced Nick Eaves as CEO of Woodbine Entertainment Group thus initiating his decision to step down as Chief Steward.

James Lawson (Jim) will remain on the Board of Stewards of The Jockey Club of Canada for the remainder of his three year term which officially ends at the Annual Members Meeting in 2016.

Jeffrey Begg will be nominated to be re-elected by the Members at the Annual Members Meeting on June 14, 2015 to serve a three-year term as Chief Steward.

“The Board of Stewards of the Jockey Club of Canada would like to thank Jim Lawson for his efforts during his time on the Board and as Chief Steward,” comments Jeffrey Begg, “We look forward to continuing our amicable and progressive working relationship with Jim in his new role as CEO of Woodbine Entertainment Group.”

Jim Lawson was named Chief Steward of The Jockey Club of Canada in 2010 and during his tenure as Chief Steward has implemented many positive changes to benefit both the Club and the Industry.

He was instrumental in implementing a rotation of the Board of Stewards for the Jockey Club of Canada which allowed interested Members the opportunity to become more involved in the organization’s operations and allowing new perspectives and ideas to be brought to the table such as:

John Unger, a Steward since 2010, influencing two changes to Section 31 of the Canada Income Tax Act, one of which doubled the restricted farm loss to benefit the entire industry, in the 2013 Federal Budget.

A Steward since 2010, Jeffrey Begg became the Graded Stakes Committee Chair in 2013 and has overseen the Graded Stakes evaluation process including the implementation of many changes to Stakes evaluations throughout North America.  The Graded Stakes Committee recently become responsible for the review of all Listed and Black Type Stakes as well as communicating to the Canadian racing industry the implementation of the NAISCS Race Quality Score (RQS) for all Stakes races in North America.

Mr. Lawson, with the majority support of the Board and Members also implemented change to The Jockey Club of Canada’s annual Sovereign Awards event.  The change in venue and date slotted in the event to coincide with the beginning of the live Thoroughbred meet in Canada, has been a smashing success with the Canadian thoroughbred industry.

In conjunction with the Board rotation, a restriction on the number of Members was relaxed and changed in the by-laws.  The opportunity to participate and support an independent national organization with the mandate of The Jockey Club of Canada was open to industry participants who were invited to join The Jockey Club of Canada through the established nomination process. This allowed the Jockey Club of Canada to be more inclusive and include all participants who are passionate and dedicated to the Thoroughbred Industry in Canada.  This change has allowed the Jockey Club of Canada to meet the changing demands and encourage growth of the industry through participation and innovative ideas.

Jeffrey Begg (Jeff) has been a Member of The Jockey Club of Canada for ten years and became a Steward in 2010.  Jeff is the owner of Windways Farm and has been involved in the Thoroughbred Industry for more than 30 years as a breeder, owner, trainer and equine insurance broker.  Racing and breeding under his Windways Farm, the name affiliated through breeding or ownership of Champions and talented runners such as Victor Cooley, Wild Desert, El Brujo, Enchanted Spell, Galadriel and her daughter Concave.

Jeffrey and his wife Annabel recently sold the original Windways Farm in King (originally started by his father James Begg) and moved the operation to Mono, Ontario.  Formerly working in Shopping Centre development and management, Jeffrey still breeds a few of his top mares, continues to race with a small stable of horses and is also an avid polo player in major polo circles.

The Jockey Club of Canada was founded in 1973 by E.P. Taylor to serve as the international representative of the Canadian Thoroughbred industry. The mission of The Jockey Club of Canada is to promote and maintain a high standard for Thoroughbred racing and breeding in Canada at a level which is recognized internationally for the benefit of all those interested in the sport including the general public by operations and services such as, but not limited to: evaluating all Graded, Listed and Black-type races in Canada annually; conducting the annual Sovereign Awards for outstanding achievement in Thoroughbred racing and breeding in Canada; maintaining a field office in Canada for the Jockey Club of the United States and the Jockey Club Registry Service; and by representing Canada as a Member of the IFHA.