Monday, October 03, 2016Contact: Andrew Chesser
2016 Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit goes to the Romanet Family

2016 Longines and International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) International Award of Merit goes to the Romanet Family, long renowned leaders in French and international world of horseracing
Paris (France) / Saint-Imier (Switzerland), 3 October 2016 – The 2016 Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit has been granted to the Romanet Family, one of the most active and dedicated families in the world of horseracing, at the gala dinner presented by Longines as the culmination of the 50th IFHA International Conference held in Paris. The award honored for the fourth time the lifelong contributions of distinguished personalities in Thoroughbred racing.
As the Official Partner and Official Watch of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, the Swiss watchmaker Longines is delighted to present the 2016 Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit to the Romanet Family. The illustrious family succeeds previous recipients Jim Bolger, leading Irish trainer, owner and breeder, France’s Alec Head, past champion trainer and patriarch of prominent stud farm Haras du Quesnay, Seth Hancock of Claiborne Farm and the late Marcel Zarour Atanacio, former chairman of OSAF (South American Organization for the Promotion of Thoroughbreds).
Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, stated: “It is a particularly great honor and pleasure to recognize the Romanets’ dedication to the sport, in which Longines began its timekeeping expertise more than a century ago. In 2013 Longines became the partner of the IFHA, which was already headed by Louis Romanet. Since then, we have jointly developed the sporting aspect of horseracing through a series of Awards to recognize excellence: the Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit, the Longines World’s Best Racehorse, the Longines World’s Best Jockey and the Longines World’s Best Horse Race. Through common projects, shared successes and great horseracing moments, fostered by our passion for equestrian sports, we have developed a strong friendship with Louis Romanet, who has chaired the Federation since its inception in 1994. His father Jean Romanet kept the efforts of his own father, René Romanet, and uncle, Maurice Romanet, to regulate French racing and was a strong supporter of re-building Paris’ Longchamp race course, as well as the training center of Chantilly. His influence extended beyond national and continental borders as he tirelessly encouraged international cooperation between racing ruling bodies. He was involved in developing the pattern race system in Europe, which provided the basis for North American graded stakes system. His vision – shared before him by his father and uncle – of reuniting the world’s horseracing stakeholders lead to the creation of the International Conference of Horseracing Authorities, which is today a key annual event in the horseracing industry. As an acknowledgement of his remarkable achievements, Jean Romanet was granted several international distinctions and awards. I have a sincere admiration for the great work this outstanding man accomplished.”
Louis Romanet, Chairman of the IFHA, expressed his appreciation in receiving the Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit on behalf of the Romanet family. “This Award pays tribute to more than 100 years dedicated to the racing industry by my family through three generations represented by my great-uncle, my grandfather, and particularly my father (Jean Romanet), whose vision saw the creation of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, and the advancement of relations among racing bodies throughout the world. The opportunity to work alongside my father beginning in 1968, and to witness the International Conference of Horseracing Authorities be transformed into a strong international federation that works to grow and protect global racing is a source of great pride for the Romanet legacy. Inclusion from the major racing regions around the world has been a strong attribute of the Federation and this was formally established in 2003 with the adoption of three Vice-Chairmen who each individually represent the Americas, Europe, and Asia respectively. I am delighted to see the industry develop in these regions and to see the Asian Racing Federation, the European and Mediterranean Horseracing Federation, OSAF and the Pan American Conference build racing and breeding internationally, fulfilling the objectives of my father at the first International Conference, which he chaired in 1967.”
About the Romanet Family, laureate of the 2016 Longines & IFHA International Award of Merit
Maurice Romanet was the first member of the family to work at the Société d'Encouragement beginning in 1907 where he was joined in 1919 by his brother René. That same year, the brothers created the National Federation, composed of more than 400 racecourses in France, organizing flat, jumping, and trotting races. Together, Maurice and René also created the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 1920. The race was symbolically named to celebrate the end of World War I. In 1930, René Romanet created Le Pari Mutuel Urbain (the PMU), a national betting organization that is still a model around the world.
Maurice, René, and René’s son Jean Romanet were all excellent writers and contributed to many racing and breeding publications. René and Jean were also trusted bloodstock advisors to Marcel Boussac, a leader owner in both France and Great Britain.
Appointed by Marcel Boussac in 1961 as Directeur General, Jean Romanet would work diligently to modernize the Société d’Encouragement. He would also create the Breeding and Racing Common Fund, defining the purse money of the regional horse racing bodies. He was a key figure in the development and implementation of the racing training center of Chantilly, as well as the modernization of Longchamp Racecourse.
He was a key proponent in the creation of the School of Jockeys of the Moulin à vent at Chantilly, now known as the AFASEC. Jean Romanet also played an important role in the establishment of Group and Black-Type Stakes Races, developed with the support of the English Jockey Club and now adopted all around the world.
In 1986 Jean Romanet’s son, Louis,  was appointed CEO of the Société d’Encouragement and was appointed the Directeur General of France Galop in 1997, serving in that position until his retirement in 2007. Louis Romanet was a key figure in the redevelopment and modernization of Chantilly Racecourse, the establishment of the French Racing and Breeding Committee (FRBC) and oversaw numerous technological advancements within France Galop operations during his tenure. Widely considered one of the foremost leaders of international racing, Louis Romanet has also chaired the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) since its creation in 1994. In his role as Chairman, Louis Romanet has overseen the formation of numerous committees aimed at harmonizing regulation and sharing best practices on international racing matters.  He served as the first Chairman of the International Cataloguing Standards Committee which was created to achieve uniformity of cataloguing standards throughout the world. Louis Romanet also currently serves as the Chairman of the FRBC, and is the President of the International Horse Sports Confederation, an organization aimed to unite racing and equestrian sport on matters of common interest.
For more than one hundred years, and three generations, the Romanet family has developed horse racing around the world.  Each member of the family has also received the French Legion of Honor, a decoration representing their contribution and service to the industry and the governing body of French racing.
About the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA):

The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) is the world peak body for the international sport of Thoroughbred racing. Its 60 members are the national racing authorities across the globe which stage Thoroughbred races.
Major areas of the IFHA’s activities include:

    • Making and amending the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering (the IABRW)
    • Policy development relating to welfare and safety of horses and riders
    • International Race Planning and Grading (“black type”)
    • World Rankings
    • Equine Prohibited Substances and Practices
    • Harmonization of Race Day Rules
    • Fostering commercial development of the racing industry globally
The IFHA is a foundation member with Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) of the International Horse Sports Confederation and is affiliated to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

E-Mail :