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24 June 2024

Racing with Pride at York

On June 14th, Racing with Pride held their now annual event at York Racecourse to coincide with national Pride Month. Committee member Di Farrell-Thomas provides an update on the event.

June is Pride Month in the UK, a time to celebrate the LGBT+ community and recognise the progress made in acceptance and inclusion. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the ongoing need for advancements to fully support LGBT+ individuals. These objectives are as relevant to horseracing as any other sector of society. 

Since September 2020 Racing With Pride (RWP), British racing’s official LGBT+ network, has led the focus of supporting and celebrating the LGBT+ community. It has created safe and inclusive environments, both online and in person, for LGBT+ individuals involved in horseracing, whether they are participants, employees, fans, or allies. The network and its associated work focuses on promoting diversity and inclusion, providing resources and support, and organising events to foster a sense of community and acceptance within the sport.  

The engagement from wider organisations and individuals across racing has grown year on year. For the fourth year running, as part of their inclusion efforts, York Racecourse and the British European Breeders Fund have partnered with RWP – providing opportunity for members to attend a wonderful day’s racing on the beautiful Knavesmire. Each year has seen an increase in attendee numbers 

RWP members alongside those in attendance from the York RI Templars Inclusive Rugby Club were warmly welcomed to watch top class racing and provided with an inclusive meeting space for the day. The British EBF very generously renamed the feature race in support or RWP: ‘British EBF Supporting Racing With Pride Fillies Handicap’, and provided opportunity for the group to choose and present the prize to the Best Turned Out horse’s Groom; this accolade going to the Richard Fahey trained filly Flaccianello this year.  

Those in attendance also had the chance to present the prizes to the winning connections post-race. After being held up in midfield, and switching left two furlongs out, Alfa Kellenic won the race comfortably under William Pyle. Attendees were able to celebrate the victory with winning connections, where they discussed Racing With Pride’s work and the support from EBF and York Racecourse on the day. 

One RWP member reflects on their experiences of attending the celebratory race-day the last four years: “Once again we have seen an increase of RWP members meeting socially at York Racecourse on the mid-summer race-day. Such open efforts to recognise and welcome the LGBT+ community in racing means this event sits firmly in my diary each year. This also makes me want to be more involved and learn more about other areas of the sport. We all agreed that even the rain showers could not dampen the spirits of the group, mixing and socialising in a supportive space.” 

Racing With Pride would like to thank Amy Swales from York Racecourse and Rachael Linsell from the European Breeders Fund for ensuring members have had fantastic experiences. 

As Pride Month comes to an end, it is hoped that the commitment to embracing the LGBT+ community and celebrating diversity will continue throughout the year across horseracing. 

Dr David Letts, Racing with Pride Chair, added “Pride month provides a brilliant opportunity to improve visibility and encourage conversations around LGBT+ inclusion within racing. We have seen individuals and organisations across the sport come together again to celebrate; this not only demonstrates support to those within racing, but also showcases the industry on a wider stage which is essential for our future and the attraction of new audiences.

Racing With Pride works year-round to ensure LGBT+ people involved with our sport feel welcome and included – if you are keen to find out more, or support our work beyond Pride month, please get in touch.”

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