As HISA’s Rider Safety & Welfare Manager, Jeff Johnston works with jockeys and other riders to ensure compliance with the Racetrack Safety Program, supports continuing education programs, provides uniform first responder training, works with providers to improve safety equipment, and facilitates communication with local medical facilities. He also works alongside Dr. Peter Hester, HISA’s National Medical Director, to enhance rider access to mental health support and resources as part of HISA’s jockey mental wellness initiative.
Prior to joining HISA, Johnston spent sixteen years representing jockeys in the Midwest region and nationally through the Jockeys’ Guild as a regional manager. Before that, he enjoyed an acclaimed career as a jockey, competing in more than 11,000 Thoroughbred races and amassing 1,375 victories. An accredited steward through the Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP) and previous Chairman of the Jockey Club’s Rider and Driver Safety Committee, Jeff has been a strong advocate for jockey safety throughout his career and continues to work toward safer racing conditions and equipment for all riders.
Jeff now lives near Verona, Kentucky, where he manages a small farm and temporary sanctuary for foster animals alongside his wife JoLynn. He is a graduate of University of Louisville with a B.A. in Equine Administration.