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If you have not yet made your plans, please do so now to attend the premier gathering of racing regulatory authorities in North America: the ARCI ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON RACING INTEGRITY AND ANIMAL WELFARE. The Hotel Hot Springs is filling up for the conference which will start the afternoon of Tuesday, April 3, 2018 and conclude after the races at Oaklawn Park on Friday, April 6, 2018. Attendees are advised to fly in and out of Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. The discounted room rate of $129-139+tax will expire on 3/2/18. You can call the reservation line at 877-623-6697 or reserve your room online using the Code ARCI18. Animal welfare, anti-doping programs, sports betting and a host of other issues will take center stage. Standardbred, Quarter Horse, Greyhound and Thoroughbred issues will all be addressed. You should not miss this meeting. Please take a look at the Updated Agenda with speakers that has just been posted. Make your plans now to participate in this meeting as well as great racing at Oaklawn Park! Ed Martin, ARCI President Updated Agenda Online Registration   The ARCI (RCI) is the only umbrella organization of the official governing rule making bodies for professional horse and greyhound racing in North America, Mexico, parts of the Caribbean, and Riyad, Saudi Arabia. ARCI sets standards for racing regulation, medication policy, drug testing laboratories, totalizator systems, racetrack operation and security, as well as off-track wagering entities. ARCI's members are the only independent entities recognized to license, enforce, and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARCI.   FOLLOW US Questions? Contact RCI today 1-859-224-7070 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  

Lexington, KY --- Citing the widespread use of drugs on yearlings and 2-year-olds that may result in improper bone development and the recent use of horse auctions to launder money for the drug cartel, the Association of Racing Commissioners International is formally calling for the independent regulation of the breeding and sales industries. “These significant portions of the racing industry are totally unregulated,” said ARCI Chair Jeff Colliton. “If we care about our horses and the integrity of the sport, the racing industry can no longer turn a blind eye to the need to address this shortcoming.” Bisphosphonates: Need to regulate use of drugs in horses intended for sale The ARCI Equine Welfare Committee, chaired by Dr. Corrine Sweeney, met via conference call on Nov. 7 to discuss the use of bisphosphonates on horses that race or are intended to race. While this class of legal medication has been specifically approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat navicular disease in older horses, federal law currently does not preclude their use in young horses despite concerns about their safety and research in other mammals showing a link to stress fractures. In horses, stress fractures may contribute to a catastrophic breakdown. Committee members were concerned about the use of these drugs in young horses amid reports of their widespread use on yearlings and 2-year-olds to treat pain or get them ready for the auction ring. Some noted that the bones of horses treated with bisphosphonates may falsely appear to be fully developed when subjected to a radiograph prior to entering the auction ring. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the profit motive for the seller. But this should never be allowed to overrule the concerns about the welfare of the horse,” said ARCI President Ed Martin. There is sentiment within ARCI to outlaw the use of these drugs in young horses, following the lead of the British Horseracing Authority which has banned their use in horses younger than 3.5 years of age. In addition, the published drug policies of the sales companies are more lenient than those adopted by racing commissions governing the conduct of the race, particularly the permitted stacking of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Drug money laundering The high-profile US federal investigation and convictions that revealed that the Mexican drug cartel was utilizing Quarter horse sales to launder drug money exposed another reason why the breeding and sales aspects of horse racing need to be regulated, Colliton said. The use of “front” owners and corporations is outlined in the book Bloodlines: The True Story of a Drug Cartel, the FBI, and the Battle for a Horse-Racing Dynasty by Melissa Del Bosque which is reportedly being made into a movie to be released at some point in the future. Per the noted author Alfredo Corchado whose work has focused on the drug cartels, this case is “a harrowing portrayal of a cartel family’s thirst for power, money and fast horses.” He also notes that this work offers “a critical, up close look into organized crime’s growing influence over the sport of kings, and the deadly consequences.” “It is naive to think that this may be an isolated instance in an area of the sport that is unregulated,” ARCI President Ed Martin said. “I know first-hand from my experience in New York that criminal activity can occur right under the nose of the most prominent people in racing.” Martin, as the N.Y. regulator, was instrumental in the 2003 criminal indictment of the New York Racing Association for a federal felony conspiracy to defraud the government, a charge NYRA pled guilty to under a deferred prosecution agreement. “Equine breakdowns and activities relating to organized crime are damaging to the public image and acceptability of this sport,” he said. “While the conduct of the race is adequately regulated and racing’s anti-doping program is comparable if not superior to corresponding programs in human sport, the above-mentioned issues highlight the limitations of the existing regulatory authority in many ARCI jurisdictions.” On Dec. 8, 2017, the ARCI Board of Directors adopted the following resolution: WHEREAS reports that the use of some medications on young horses, yearlings and two year olds, may potentially endanger their proper development as race horses, increasing the potential risk of fractures and catastrophic injury; and, WHEREAS the use of such drugs on young horses may misrepresent the extent to which bones have developed to potential buyers and may mask ailments or conditions that would not only impact the price paid at auction but affect a future racing career; and, WHEREAS young horses intended to be racehorses are often beyond the regulatory authority of the racing regulator and their care and development is not subject to any independent oversight; and, WHEREAS it has also been proven that the sale of racehorses has recently attracted members of the drug cartel who have used racehorses to launder money; and, WHEREAS both the breeding and sales aspects of the racing industry are un-regulated and outside the regulatory framework that prohibits activities deemed dangerous to the horse or contain the necessary safeguards to deter and detect illegal activity; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Association of Racing Commissions International (ARCI) is in agreement with statements made by Louis Romanet, President of the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities, indicating that horses should come under the authority of an independent regulatory authority from the moment of birth and throughout their racing career; The ARCI calls for the expansion of the racing regulatory authority of its members or other suitable entity to include the breeding and sale of race horses and empowers its Officers to begin a conversation with policymakers at all levels and racing industry constituencies to advance this concept and develop all appropriate details. What are Bisphosphonates Bisphosphonates are a group of medicines that slow down or prevent bone loss, strengthening bones. Bisphosphonates inhibit osteoclasts which are responsible for breaking down and reabsorbing minerals such as calcium from bone (the process is known as bone resorption). Bisphosphonates allow osteoblasts (bone building cells) to work more effectively, improving bone mass. Bisphosphonates are used in the treatment of osteoporosis, Paget's disease of bone, and may be used to lower high calcium levels in people with cancer. When used to treat osteoporosis, the optimal duration of treatment is not yet known; however, the majority of benefits appear to happen within the first five years of treatment and long-term use has been associated with atypical femur fractures, osteonecrosis of the jaw and esophageal cancer. Experts recommend the need for bisphosphonate treatment should be reviewed every three to five years. Rhonda Allen Racing Commissioners International 1510 Newtown Pike Suite 210 Lexington, KY 40511 Office: (859) 224-7070 Ext. 4001

TUCSON, Ariz. (Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017) — What defines a horse’s chance to respond after a jockey uses the riding crop in a race. The gray areas of out-of-competition drug testing when horses aren’t at a racetrack or have changed trainers. These are among the topics that the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s model rules committee will take up at Thursday afternoon and Friday morning at the Omni Tucson National Resort and Spa.   ARCI represents the only independent entities recognized by law to license, make and enforce rules and adjudicate matters pertaining to pari-mutuel racing. ARCI’s model rules committee is charged with developing rules and regulations based on fairness, practicality and enforceability with the ultimate mission of what is in the best interest of safety, horses’ welfare, the betting public and integrity of the game. The model rules, once approved by the ARCI board, become the blueprint for adoption by individual states’ regulatory bodies. The model rules committee is chaired by Larry Eliason of the South Dakota Commission on Gaming and its members include regulators who have experience as trainers, track operators, owners, jockeys, stewards, attorneys, and in law enforcement.  Among the items for discussion and possible action include: How to best define a horse’s “chance to respond” in the rule regarding the use of a riding crop and what constitutes appropriate use or abuse. An ARCI subcommittee worked with the Jockeys’ Guild and Racing Officials Accreditation Program to draft a clarification in hopes of giving each board of stewards guidance in what constitutes giving a horse a chance to react to the crop before the rider uses it again. Proposed requirement that the owner or trainer of any horse that is claimed must provide information to the new connections about any joint treatments or corticosteroid injections during the prior 30 days. Revisions to the trainer responsibility rule to address horses having positive drug tests during out-of-competition training when unique factors exist, including if the horse is not under the care and control of a licensed trainer; is located off-track, such as being turned out at a farm or in a non-racing state; or the drug in question is detectable for longer than the trainer or owner have had the horse. A proposal to mandate that trainers maintain more-detailed records of horses in their care. Language to strengthen the confidentiality of equine medical records filed by private veterinarians with the regulatory authority. The committee is also expected to discuss creation of a model rule for fantasy/tournament wagering and the different regulatory philosophies on what constitutes interference in a race. Information about matters pending before the ARCI Model Rules Committee can be accessed at . About ARCI: The Association of Racing Commissioners International is the umbrella organization of the official rule-making bodies for professional horse and greyhound racing in North America, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and parts of the Caribbean. The RCI sets standards for racing regulation, medication policy, drug-testing laboratories, totalizator systems, racetrack operation and security, including for off-track wagering entities. RCI’s members are the only independent entities recognized to license, enforce and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing.  Edward J. Martin, President & CEO RACING COMMISSIONERS INTERNATIONAL 1510 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY, USA  40511 (859) 224-7070, extension 4017.

The next ARCI Model Rules Committee meeting will take place in Tucson, Arizona on the afternoon of December 7 and morning of December 8, 2017.   The current agenda and supporting materials can be accessed at this link.  If you have not already registered to attend the meeting (there is no cost), please use this link.  Those wishing to comment on a proposed rule in writing may submit those comments to Eric Smith at Please note that the Committee Chair reserves the right to change the agenda and amend the current order of items to be considered.   Any changes will be posted at Edward J. Martin, President & CEO RACING COMMISSIONERS INTERNATIONAL 1510 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY, USA  40511 (859) 224-7070, extension 4017.

Columbus, OH --- While the United States Trotting Association (USTA) strongly supports breed-specific, uniform medication rules for horse racing, the USTA, which has had no input into the preparation of the bill, opposes the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R.2651) for a number of reasons. Two of the primary objections to the proposed legislation are the elimination of race-day medications, specifically furosemide (Lasix), and the lack of separate, uniform regulations governing the use of therapeutic medications for the different breeds. In March 2012, the USTA announced its official position on furosemide stating, "The U.S. Trotting Association believes that the most humane way to address this problem (Exercised-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage) is through the continued approval of the race-day administration of furosemide under controlled conditions and by a licensed veterinarian." "After a year of considering all the issues concerning the race-day administration of furosemide, commonly known as Salix or Lasix, the U.S. Trotting Association believes the determining factor should be the welfare of the horse," said then USTA President Phil Langley in making the announcement at that time. The American Association of Equine Practitioners also endorses the use of race-day Lasix "based on the overwhelming body of international scientific and clinical evidence." The USTA has long been an advocate for separate rules for the different breeds in the use of therapeutic medications. "As the Association of Racing Commissioners International has recently agreed and the USTA has advocated all along, the differences in the racing breeds and their business models, particularly the frequency that the horses race, requires there to be separate rules for each breed in the use of therapeutic medications," said USTA President Russell Williams. "A 'one-size-fits-all' approach, which is what H.R.2651 appears to advocate, isn't right, isn't fair, doesn't promote equine health, and won't work." Further, the USTA has concerns about the makeup of the proposed federal board of the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority (HAMCA) created by the legislation. "The proposed board members will have no experience with or understanding of the horse racing industry or the welfare of the horses," said Williams. "It seeks to replace the current state regulatory system where uniformity largely exists and is made up of regulators with extensive experience and knowledge of horse racing. "Also, it is a significant concern to the USTA that this legislation would designate the Federal Trade Commission as the ultimate regulatory authority, bypassing agencies like the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration that have experience with animal welfare issues." In addition, the proposed legislation would create a regulatory commission that could mandate significant additional expenses to the horse racing industry. "There is no stipulation for federal funding in the legislation as there is for the United States Anti-Doping Agency in its testing of human athletes, which would give HAMCA a blank check to impose new costs to racetracks and horsemen with minimal oversight or accountability," added Williams. The USTA joins the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (the two major, national organizations representing Thoroughbred owners, breeders and trainers); Harness Horsemen International (the international organization that represents Standardbred owners, breeders and trainers in the U.S. and Canada); Association of Racing Commissioners International (the national organization representing independent state racing commissions); the American Association of Equine Practitioners and North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians (the two principal organizations representing the equine veterinary community); and the American Quarter Horse Association as well as numerous other racing and breeding organizations in opposing the proposed Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R. 2651). Ken Weingartner USTA Communications Department

Stewards and Judges will be given greater flexibility to consider mitigating factors in deciding whether to deny the purse and disqualify a horse for lessor violations of racing’s medication rules under the latest version of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) Model Rules of Racing. Version 8.1, now available on the ARCI’s website, permits the consideration of mitigating factors in deciding whether to deny a purse for some violations involving substances requiring a “Class C” penalty.    Consideration of mitigating circumstances has long been permitted for Class B penalty violations and this change extends current policy to lessor offenses. The ARCI Board also voted to conduct an overall review of the recommended Penalty Guidelines for medication and doping violations.   “Some have argued that the recommended penalties may not be tough enough for the most egregious violations or that isolated minor offenses are treated too harshly,” ARCI President Ed Martin said.   “This has not been examined in depth for many years and the Board believes this review is overdue.” RCI Chair Jeff Colliton, the Chairman of the Washington Racing Commission, assigned the task to the Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee.   Committee Chair Duncan Patterson, the Chair of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, will coordinate that review in consultation with committee members and industry representatives. In other actions, the ARCI: •          Voted NOT to modify its existing rule requiring the independent third party administration of furosemide.   Some states, like Minnesota and Colorado, have adopted an alternate approach and a proposal was considered, but rejected, to include those approaches in the Model Rules; •          Affirmed the policy of assigning four (4) Multiple Medication Violation (MMV) points for carbon-dioxide (TCO2) violations; •          Amended the Model Rule to reflect the current policy in Kentucky giving greater flexibility to tracks in determining payouts for Pick N/PositionX wagers; •          Approved preliminary changes to strengthen the rule concerning the use of the riding crop with final adoption and publication contingent on a clear definition of the term “chance to respond” in order to provide clarification/direction to Stewards in determining a violation. •          Neither the Model Rules Committee or the ARCI Board took action on a proposal to amend the rules regarding the control of estrus in female greyhounds.   The updated documents can be downloaded using these links: ARCI Model Rules of Racing, Version 8.1 Uniform Classification of Foreign Substances and Penalty Guidelines, Version 13.3 Ed Martin, President/CEO Association of Racing Commissioners International

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Wednesday, June 14, 2017) — The newest version of model rules approved by the Association of Racing Commissioners International is available at ARCI’s model rules provide the template for racing regulatory entities and the framework under which the sport has made significant gains toward uniform regulations among jurisdictions. The standards were reviewed and modified at the ARCI’s equine welfare and racing integrity conference in April.   The biggest changes involve tougher standards and protocol for the official veterinarian’s list, which places restrictions on horses deemed unable to race because of illness, unsoundness or infirmity.  The model rules strengthen the provision where horses cannot race anywhere else if on a vet’s list in one jurisdiction until they are released by that state’s official veterinarian, unless there is an unforeseen administrative issue in gaining the release. It also places a minimum of seven days that a horse scratched or excused from a race be on the list. The updated model rules also specify that horses that haven’t raced in a year or longer, as well horses making their first career start at age 4 or older, must work a half-mile in at least 52 seconds (220 yards in 13.3 seconds for Quarter Horses) and submit blood or another biological sample to test for any drugs or medications that might mask a physical problem before being allowed to compete. Out-of-competition testing regulations and protocols were added for Standardbred racing to mirror those for Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing. A separate policy governing the use of the bronchodilator Clenbuterol was approved for Quarter Horse racing.  That recommended rule now makes any detection of Clenbuterol in a post-race sample taken from a quarter horse a violation.  The policy also applies to all horses in a mixed breed contest if Quarter Horses participate.   Any finding of clenbuterol, in competition or out,,will trigger six months on the veterinarian’s list under the revised model policy for Quarter Horses. The ARCI also updated it’s Uniform Classification document based upon a periodic review done by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. Complete set of ARCI model rules Controlled therapeutic medications schedule here Drug classifications and corresponding penalty Ed Martin, ARCI president  

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Thursday, April 20, 2017) — Jeff Colliton has an agenda item he wants accomplished during his one-year term as chairman of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. And the Gonzaga University graduate from Spokane, Wash., really doesn’t want to wait to the end of his term as chair to declare victory. “I hope it’s by the end of the day on Thursday,” joked Colliton, the Washington Horse Racing Commission chair who assumed the ARCI chairmanship from Louisiana’s Judy Wagner at the organization’s membership meeting. “By the end of the day, everybody will know it’s Gon-ZAGG-a and it’s located in Spo-CAN.” Michael J. Hopkins, the longtime executive director of the Maryland Racing Commission, moved from ARCI treasurer to chair-elect, with Dr. Corinne Sweeney of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission elected the new treasurer as the three-day conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity came to a close. Elected to the board were: Sweeney; Robert Lopez, Washington Horse Racing Commission; John F. Wayne, Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission; Tom Sage, Nebraska State Racing Commission; David Lermond, Virginia Racing Commission; Dr. David Kangaloo, Trinidad & Tobago Racing Authority; Edward C. Menton, Mobile County Racing Commission; Charles A. Gardiner III, Louisiana State Racing Commission; Marc A. Guilfoil, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission; Larry Eliason, South Dakota Commission on Gaming; Steve Suttie; Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency; Dan Hartman, Colorado Racing Commission; Frank Zanzuccki, New Jersey Racing Commission; Rob Williams, New York State Gaming Commission, and Rick Baedeker, California Horse Racing Board. Colliton, a Vietnam veteran who last year was inducted into the U.S. Army ROTC National Hall of Fame for Distinguished Civilian Service, retired from the military as a full colonel after serving 26 years as a helicopter pilot and active-duty officer. Having attended Gonzaga University (class of 1962) on a baseball scholarship, Colliton recently fulfilled a “bucket-list” item by traveling with Susan, his wife of 50 years, to see their beloved Zags in the NCAA basketball title game, only to get nipped in the final strides by North Carolina after a protracted stretch duel. Part of Colliton’s college scholarship requirement was to have a part-time job. You could say his regulatory career in racing began then at the old Playfair Race Course, when he collected urine from horses during post-race testing - known as being the pee-catcher — until getting a job with the photo-finish operator. But Colliton’s racetrack experience began as a tyke, when an aunt and uncle would take him to the races at Playfair, Yakima Meadows and sometimes Longacres near Seattle. Later, he and his wife, Susan, would partner in owning horses with Colliton’s dad. He has been a pizza-tavern owner, a certified mediator and was on the city council for one term “and the people of Spokane decided I needed another profession,” Colliton said with a laugh. Two years later, however, he was appointed to the Washington Horse Racing Commission, where he has served almost a decade. Of being ARCI chair, Colliton said, “My first indication, whenever I take over a chairman of something, is not to walk in and change things. In the military, I always told the people who work for me and the people I worked for, ‘Press the listen button rather than the talk button.’” The military influence has permeated his subsequent professional life. “I think it’s a bit of the organization and structure that you learn from being a young lieutenant going through processes, and you learn from those who don’t, in my opinion, do things right and those who do things right,” he said. “You learn to treat your subordinates with the respect they are due. You learn to let the staff do their work and step in when you think they might need a little advice.” Colliton thanked the membership for his selection and congratulated Wagner on her productive term. He also congratulated the compact ARCI staff, headed by president Ed Martin, on the conference. “There have been a lot of remarks about the different panels and how well-organized and meaningful they were,” he said. “It’s a function of your staff, and I look forward to working with you.” Also Thursday: On efforts to replace or modify the rules pertaining to the use of the whip and riding crop, the ARCI’s model-rules committee voted to create a subcommittee of regulators to consider separate proposals submitted by The Jockey Club and the Jockeys’ Guild, along with extensive comments made at the conference, to come up with language to strengthen and eliminate any ambiguities in the existing model rule. The membership voted to amend the model rules to make the bronchodilator Clenbuterol a banned substance in Quarter Horse racing and for mixed-breed racing, which would apply to a Thoroughbred competing in a race against other breeds. Horses in such races testing positive for Clenbuterol would not be allowed to compete for six months. The action was urged by the American Quarter Horse Association. The membership also approved the model rule toward creating uniform veterinarian lists so that horses on the “vet’s list” in one jurisdiction after they are scratched because of a soundness issue are not able to run in another. Model regulations are those that the ARCI crafts and encourages their member jurisdictions to approve in order to have the same rules across the U.S. and Canada. Ed Martin

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Thursday, April 20, 2017) — The American Quarter Horse Association is pioneering cost-effective loaner integrity teams that provide investigative reinforcements for the sprint sport’s big-event days. The AQHA program was the main focus of discussion on Wednesday’s panel “Policing the Backside: A View from the Front Line” on the second of the three-day Association of Racing Commissioners International’s 83rd annual conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity. “The needs are great. But our thoughts are to put our money where our mouth is,” said Janet VanBebber, a former Quarter Horse trainer who is the AQHA’s chief racing officer. “If we’re going to preach about integrity and improvements in certain areas of our sport, then we need to apply our resources in that same area.” The AQHA has developed protocols and teams of people to go to tracks, typically for a Grade 1 or 2 race, and provide enforcement assistance to the commission of jurisdiction. “We don’t try to take control of their racing,” VanBebber said. “Instead we’re just trying to help them if they don’t have their own resources, or knowledge or protocol, to help them pursue having an integrity team. Our hope is they will go on and grow a program within their own jurisdiction.” The AQHA in 2016 deployed 18 teams ranging from two to nine people — all members of the multi-breed Organization of Racing Investigators — to various jurisdictions. That included five to the Quarter Horse hotbed of Ruidoso, N.M., once to administer out-of-competition testing, and to Los Alamitos for the Challenge Championships, she said. “Accumulatively they could have 200 years of racing experience,” VanBebber said. “… More and more jurisdictions are willing to partner with us, realizing that we are just here to help. Integrity touches everybody…. One of our greatest responsibilities in racing is to represent the best interests of the gambling public. It also evens the playing field on the racetrack; it protects the horse and the rider.” VanBebber said last year the program helped uncover 18 contraband and 17 medication violations. “It tells me we’re making an impact,” she said. “But more importantly is the deterrent.” Tom Sage, executive director of the Nebraska Racing Commission and who has been involved with the AQHA program, calls it a “public-private partnership —and the public part is the commission. “We are there to assist the commission, so any violation the integrity team would find, we report it right to the commission…. We’re boots on the grounds, we’re the eyes and ears in the barn area. “… These teams are very beneficial for the jurisdictions, for the racetracks and for the AQHA. I would challenge all the other breeds to get ahold of Janet. Get ahold of myself and others. Every breed should have something like this.” While the current program centers on the top-end racing, Sage said he could see all breeds creating and expanding quick-hit integrity teams to come in to tracks to address a problem with daily racing. Crop panel whips up impassioned discussion An assembly that included four former jockeys from different racing jurisdictions whipped up frank dialogue about the use of riding crops, which until a few years ago were always called whips. The ARCI model rules committee is expected to discuss the crop/whip rule Thursday. Panel moderator Doug Moore, a former jockey who is executive director of the Washington State Racing Commission, noted the built-in conflicts in crafting an appropriate rule for a whip’s use. “We have to take into account public perception,” he said. “We tell these people that these horses are bred for and love to run. But then we turn around and use a whip on them, and they want to know why. We also tell the jockey that they must give their best effort. But then we turn around and tell them that they can only hit the horse three times in succession, when the horse may be responding to that whip. So how much is overuse of the crop? And should the rule apply for all breeds?” Former jockeys Ramon Dominguez and Alan Monet went toe-to-toe with California Horse Racing Board executive director Rick Baedeker over California’s restrictive whip rule. “There are many reasons why we use a riding crop, but the most important is to maintain safety and for encouragement,” said Dominguez, who noted the big change made to crops came in 2008 but said that technology has produced an even better one now with a cylinder popper that can’t cut a horse. Dominguez said it is a problem for jockeys being forced to routinely change their stick style depending on where they were riding, suggesting it prevents them from performing at an optimum level. “It is time we come together for a uniform set of rules across the country for the greater good of the sport,” he said, later saying it is “our responsibility” to educate the public that the new crops are not abusive. Of course, what a uniform rule might require is the source of debate. In California, a jockey can hit a horse at most three times in succession before giving the horse a minimum of two strides to respond. Baedeker said that the stewards had found “there’s no question that the jockeys have more control of the horse when their hands on the reins more often than not,” with the new rule and “as a result, they’re riding straighter…. We think it’s fairer for the betting public and the owners that the horses are staying straighter and there are fewer DQs.” He said the rule has changed the way the jockeys ride and “has made a difference in perception.” Former jockey Alan Monet, who is chair of the ARCI rider and driver safety committee, said jockeys need more discretion than the California rule provides, especially in the final sixteenth of a mile. “Because they are trying to win a race,” said Monet, who brought old whips and the new padded crops to show the difference. “I’m not saying a horse should be unmercifully beaten. I’m saying it should be up to the jockey — and up to the stewards. Instead of hitting him three times, maybe it’s four time. We’re not talking about misuse…  I think the three-whip rule is actually good, but it’s the response time we have an issue with. One stride is the proper time for the horse to respond…. If you put your whip away in the last sixteenth of a mile and you allow your horse two strides and you get beat a nose, not only are the bettors going to be mad, the trainer and you’re going to be mad that you let that happen.” Chris McCarron, the retired Hall of Fame jockey, told of his own heavy use of the whip early in his career and how he studied jockeys such as Laffit Pincay on when and where they were striking horses and adapted his style. “My biggest pet peeves are that the stewards aren’t strict enough on the riders in the use of the crop, most particularly when the horse is well-beaten,” he said, adding that jockeys can adapt to the new rules. “If you’re a professional athlete with as much hand-eye coordination, as much physical ability as jockeys have to possess — because it is damn hard to ride a Thoroughbred — they can change.” Insights of a champion handicapper The racing regulators heard first-hand from 2016 Eclipse Award champion handicapper Paul Matties Jr., part of the panel “Questioning Whether Racing Officials Get It Right.” “I think the stewards do their jobs well, most people do. This industry wouldn’t be able to operate without them, or as smoothly as it does,” he said. But Matties, a professional gambler and horse owner from Ballston Spa, N.Y., said rules should change with the evolution of racing, including the impact of social media and the public’s attitude toward animals. “It’s a lot worse when I’ve bet and spent the time to figure out the puzzle of that race, and be correct, and then just have it taken down for whatever reason,” he said of disqualifications. “If it’s a legitimate reason, it’s a horrible feeling. But when you feel like it’s not a legitimate reason, it’s even worse. It’s the perception. I don’t think it happens very often. But just because it has happened, I think there has to be some changes made.” Matties said the public should hear not just why a horse was disqualified, but the rule involved and how it was applied. The same should be happen when a horse is not disqualified, he said. “I think there would be less a feeling that something malicious was done,” he said. “If something could be done that cites an actual rule, these feelings would dissipate over time and the perception would get better.” In an era when racing jurisdictions are working toward having matching rules involving medication use and drug testing in horses, Matties said he’d like to see uniformity in how interference is called across the country. Matties was asked about one of racing’s most famous no-calls since Codex and Genuine Risk in the 1980 Preakness. That was Bayern swerving out of the gate, in the process taking out his main competition for the lead, then going on to win the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita. “This was a race where everybody was watching; everybody had their own jurisdiction and perception,” said Matties, who said he wasn’t really impacted by the stewards keeping Bayern as the winner. “There are some that say that, ‘it doesn’t matter what happens first two jumps out of starting gate, we’re not going to do anything.’ This is the idea of no standardized rules. That would have been avoided if there had been an updated rule involved, that everybody had seen the last few years and cited every time. I don’t think there would have been an uproar on that decision. But because there’s a generalization that it’s a judgment call and every jurisdiction was different, that was going to be a nightmare and everybody would have a different outlook.” Mike Hopkins, the long-time executive director of the Maryland Racing Commission and a former steward, noted that stewards’ roles have changed. “They’ve progressed over the last 30 years,” he said. “At one point, for those of you in the audience who do remember this, when stewards made decisions, no one dared to question the decision they made — or appeal. That’s all changed. Owners, trainers aren’t shy about questioning the judgment of the stewards…. Look at the number of races that we do. In the mid-Atlantic area, there were more than 6,300 races last year. There were probably 75 disqualifications; two or three appeals. Everything was upheld except for one. The public perception is that if they lost a wager, they’re highly critical. “… I think the stewards do a very good job. From my perspective as an executive director, I try to encourage the stewards to be very transparent… to have an open-door policy to review what they’ve looked at, and why they made the decision they made.” The panel also included Cathy O’Meara, coordinator of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program, and moderator Judy Wagner, ARCI’s outgoing chair and the 2001 National Handicapping Championship winner. Ed Martin, ARCI president

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Tuesday, April 18, 2017) — Are our testing laboratories catching the cheaters? And are our racing officials getting it right? Those are among the hot-button topics that promise insightful and lively discussion at the ARCI Conference on Racing Integrity and Welfare that runs Tuesday through Thursday at the Charleston Marriott. The three days of panels and presentations address issues facing members of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, which represents the only independent entities recognized by law to license, make and enforce rules and adjudicate matters pertaining to pari-mutuel racing. Paul Matties Jr., winner of the 2016 National Handicapping Championship, will provide a horseplayer’s perspective into whether today’s racing officials are making the correct calls. Joining Matties on the “Questioning Whether Racing Officials Get It Right” session on Wednesday morning will be veteran steward Hugh Gallagher, chair of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program and the New York Racing Association’s first safety steward, and Maryland Racing Commission executive director and ARCI treasurer Mike Hopkins. Outgoing ARCI chair and 2001 NHC tournament winner Judy Wagner serves as moderator. “Any time I can represent the horseplayers, I’m always honored,” said the 47-year-old Matties, a professional gambler and horse owner from Ballston Spa, N.Y. “It’s become commonplace in the industry over time that the players are the ones who are forgotten when decisions need to be made. I’m optimistic that somebody is reaching out. All horseplayers go about things in different ways. I’ve been thinking about it, so I can represent everybody — not just what I believe. I’m going to think of it as we’re a group. “I’m not going there to be critical of anything that has been done in the past. Let’s look at future things. I’m excited to go, and I’m curious what kind of things I’ll be asked. I hope Judy doesn’t take it easy on me. I want it to be substantive.” Wagner, who is vice chair of the Louisiana Racing Commission and the horseplayers’ representative on the board of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said the panel is part of ARCI’s outreach to players to “listen and ensure a product that has a high level of integrity. “We want this panel — and the others at the conference — to provide unvarnished insight and dialogue on how we can improve, as well as what we are doing right.” “ARCI members work for the public and not any aspect of the industry,” said ARCI president Ed Martin. “We are always careful to keep the horseplayer in mind with everything we do.  Horseplayers outnumber everyone else and keep the sport going. We should never forget that. “There are many racing-related meetings each year by various groups, but the annual RCI conference is the only one where industry issues and potential solutions are discussed directly with the people who actually make and enforce the rules throughout North America and parts of the Caribbean. The regulatory standards determined at this meeting more often than not actually become the policy affecting everyone involved in racing.  The RCI members are the only truly independent arbiters of racing-related matters as designated by the various laws that have empowered them.” Other panels at the conference: “Drug Testing Forum: Are We Doing It Right? Are We Catching the Cheaters?” “Veterinarians: Racing Records and the Trust Issue” “The Adjudication System: Is there a Better Way?” “Policing the Backside: A View From the Front Line” “Regulating the Whip and Crop” “Promoting Racing - Putting our Best Foot Forward in a Storm of Negativity” Presentations include “The Challenge in Adapting New Technology and Opportunities to Statutory Limitations.” Meetings include: model-rules committee, drug testing standards, ARCI’s annual business meeting and board organizational sessions as well as the regulators’ Standardbred and Quarter Horse racing committees. Wednesday’s luncheon speaker features Bennett Liebman, Esq., the Albany Law School’s Government Lawyer-in-Residence, giving a talk entitled, “Confessions of a Recovering Racing Regulator.” The complete agenda and information about speakers can be found at Ed Martin, ARCI president

LEXINGTON, KY  (Wednesday, February 22, 2017) — Rhea P. Loney, who led the successful “frog juice” prosecution of Quarter Horse trainers in Louisiana, has been appointed chair of the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s regulatory attorneys committee, ARCI chair Judy Wagner announced. Loney is a state assistant attorney general who has been a member of the regulatory attorneys committee since she began representing the Louisiana State Racing Commission in June, 2011. She was the first attorney in the country to successfully administratively prosecute Quarter Horse trainers whose horses tested positive for the powerful painkiller Dermorphin, known as frog juice because the banned substance is derived from secretions of a South American tree frog, through the Court of Appeal and the State Supreme Court in Louisiana. Loney previously chaired the Young Lawyers Section of the 22nd Judicial District Court. She earned her law degree from Tulane University, has a certificate in environmental law and earned a B.S. in environmental biology from Southeastern Louisiana University. From the media department of ARCI

Lexington, KY -   The 2017 ARCI Conference on Racing Integrity and Equine Welfare will focus on a blunt discussion about what is working and what is not in harness racing regulation in an ongoing effort to continually strengthen current policing efforts. Although the annual ARCI conference is the only gathering of racing industry regulators, it is open to anyone involved with the industry in any capacity.   The conference will be held in Charleston, South Carolina from April 18 thru April 20, 2017 at the Charleston Marriott.     Those interested in attending may register online at this LINK.     Racing’s drug testing program will undergo an aggressive review by a panel of experts who will address the topic “Drug Testing: Are We Getting it Right and Catching the Cheaters?”.   Expect discussions focusing on emerging doping threats and possible ways to monitor horses through development of an equine biological passport.   There will also be a discussion of strategies as to how select horses for out-of-competition tests. The use of the riding crop will be discussed and debated at the conference, as will current policies which may be an impediment to emerging technologies intended to grow the sport.    There will also be a discussion about creative ways to adjudicate racing rule violations differently than what is now being done. The Horseplayers Association of North America and others have been invited to participate on a panel entitled:  “Do Our Stewards Know What They Are Doing?”. The ARCI (Association of Racing Commissioners International) is the only organization in racing whose members are the officially sanctioned racing authorities empowered by law to enact and enforce the rules of racing as well as adjudicate violations and disputes.    The April meeting will also host meetings of: the National Racing Compact; Association of Official Racing Chemists (AORC - US Section); the Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee; and the Model Rules Committee. Hotel reservations at the Charleston Marriott at the ARCI conference rate of $179 plus tax. Links; RCI Conference Registration Charleston Marriott    

Lexington, KY -  Three highly respected former racing regulators - Steve Barham (OR), Bennett Liebman (NY), and Allan Monat (IL) - will comprise the independent panel the ARCI has formed to certify compliance with key integrity standards each year. Association of Racing Commissioners International Chair Judy Wagner made the appointments this week, noting that each of the appointees is totally independent of any racing interest or regulatory agency.   Barham once served as Executive Director of the Oregon Racing Commission prior to joining the University of Arizona’s Racetrack Industry Program in 2002 where he taught animal science and racing law and enforcement.  He helped manage the ARCI model rules process and often assigned his student's academic projects measuring adoption of the best regulatory practices contained in the ARCI Model Rules. Liebman is no stranger to racing, having served as a racing advisor to two NY Governors, a longtime member of the New York Racing and Wagering Board (now the Gaming Commission), and as coordinator of the Equine Law Project of Albany Law School’s Government Law Center.   Monet is a former jockey who served as a Member of the Illinois Racing Commission, where he earned a reputation for independence. Under the program, the panel will report each year at the annual ARCI meeting whether jurisdictions are “Compliant”, “Substantially Compliant” or “Non Compliant” with select integrity standards embodied in the Model Rules.   The standards may be expanded for subsequent years based upon recommendation of the panel to the ARCI Board each December. For 2017, the standards are linked to four ARCI Model Rules that are often referred to as the National Uniform Medication Program (NUMP).   These include implementation  of the ARCI/RMTC Controlled Therapeutic Schedule; use of an RMTC accredited testing laboratory; adoption of the Multi-Medication Rule Violation point system; and the independent administration of race day furosemide for those trainers/owners opting to use it. ARCI President Ed Martin indicated that some individual regulators and industry entities have expressed a desire to have a formal certification program to help guide them in assessing whether races imported to their track or jurisdiction operate under key integrity regulatory standards.     Racetracks, ADW’s and off track betting companies choose which tracks they will offer their customers.  Usually these offerings require the consent of the appropriate horsemen’s organization and approval of the regulatory entity.   Martin was adamant that the ARCI will not be involved in recommending or deciding which simulcast signals should be approved or not.   “That is up to the tracks, ADWs, OTBs, the local horseman’s group, and the appropriate regulator, to make such decisions individually.   All the ARCI will do is provide information for others to assess what weight to give it in making decisions affecting their customers or constituents,” he said. The concept of a compliance certification program emerged from the Compliance Committee created by past ARCI Chair Mark Lamberth of Arkansas.  It was included in the 2016 Stakeholder Input Project, where it received considerable support - 57% - from those participating. Some in the thoroughbred industry have an interest in limiting the import of simulcast signals in some markets to those races operating under minimum integrity standards.   This concept has been embodied in the federal legislative proposals that have been put forward, but not passed, since 2005. Ed Martin 

The Board of Directors of the Association of Racing Commissioners International has voted to create a regulatory compliance program, setting minimum integrity standards based on the RCI Model Rules its members are encouraged to implement. Under the program, an independent three person panel of former regulators no longer associated with any particular commission will determine whether jurisdictions are “Compliant”, “Substantially Compliant” or “Non-Compliant” with select integrity standards embodied in the Model Rules.  The initial standards will be based on adoption of the four Model Rules, commonly described as the “National Uniform Medication Program” (NUMP).  “This a logical extension of ARCI’s role as a regulatory standard maker for racing and will signal to the public, racetracks, horsemen, and other commissions if races are being conducted consistent with those standards,” said RCI Chair Judy Wagner.  RCI will certify compliance with those standards on an annual basis and the standards may be expanded upon recommendation of the Compliance Panel. The concept of a compliance certification program received considerable support - 57% - from those participating in the 2016 Stakeholder Input Project. It also received general support from major leaders of thoroughbred racing organizations at a recent meeting held in Tucson. Thoroughbred leaders remain divided on whether or how to create a centralized entity to promulgate common rules.  RCI President Ed Martin indicated that some in the thoroughbred industry have an interest in limiting the import of simulcast signals in some markets to those races operating under minimum integrity standards. This concept has been embodied in some of the proposed federal legislation that has not passed.  “Existing state laws allow commissions to approve the import of signals and federal law grants similar authority to the horsemen,” Martin said.  “What people do with the information generated by the Compliance Program is up to them. ARCI will have no role in that unless otherwise empowered by statute,” he said.  Audits of Stewards. The ARCI Board also voted to create a performance audit of penalties assessed by individual Steward stands for general consistency with the recommended penalty matrix contained in the Model Rules. This information will be presented to racing commissions in a confidential manner as it will be considered as part of an employee’s personnel review and may become part of someone’s private personnel file. In those cases where an official is not an employee of the commission, the commission may utilize it as a factor in determining suitability for approval as a racing official.  “The ARCI Board recognizes that facts in individual cases may necessitate a departure from the recommended guidelines. These audits are designed to alert employers if there is a pattern on the part of individual Steward stands to ignore the recommended guidelines. Again, we will present this information and it will be totally up to the individual commissions how to utilize it,” Martin said.  RACING COMMISSIONERS INTERNATIONAL

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 24, 2016) -- The agencies regulating American horse racing (harness racing) want to know what issues the sport's participants and patrons believe most urgently need addressing and the best way to do so. The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), a not-for-profit trade association representing the regulatory bodies for horse and greyhound racing in North America and parts of the Caribbean, has crafted an online survey to solicit input from the industry's varied stakes-holders, including the bettors who make the horse racing possible. The goal is to find consensus that will allow the industry to take constructive measures to improve the sport. Here's the link "Racing is a great sport - perhaps the greatest," said ARCI president Ed Martin. "It's the thinking person's sport. But because there are literally thousands of owners, hundreds of tracks and countless participants, there has been no consensus as to what our biggest problems and challenges are and how to address them." In that effort, the ARCI on Wednesday at Los Alamitos will conduct the last of 28 focus groups at tracks across the country, with participants including horse owners, trainers, jockeys, fans, veterinarians, track management, breeders, racing officials and regulators. "We appreciate that issues can only be addressed if people work together," Martin said. "We seek to assess what problems people need to have addressed, the options to do that, and the path that a consensus can be built around." The online survey is designed to augment the focus groups. Martin encourages industry organizations, including those for fans and handicappers, to circulate the survey among their memberships and beyond. "The questions are deliberately designed to probe where people are at on ideas currently being proposed, as well as giving respondents the opportunity to tell us what they think the major changes should be," Martin said. "The more responses the better. "The racing industry is currently divided, and those divisions are generating negative publicity and ill will. Unless we get everyone on a common path, these divisions will continue to the detriment of the sport. Nobody can solve all of racing's problems overnight, but we are going to try to get people on a path that will result in positive change." About ARCI: The Association of Racing Commissioners International is the umbrella organization of the official rule-making bodies for professional horse and greyhound racing in North America and parts of the Caribbean. The ARCI sets standards for racing regulation, medication policy, drug-testing laboratories, totalizator systems, racetrack operation and security, including for off-track wagering entities. ARCI's members are the only independent entities recognized to license, enforce and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing. While the ARCI, a not-for-profit trade association, has no regulatory authority, its members individually possess regulatory authority within their jurisdictions and solely determine whether or not to adopt ARCI recommendations and policies and rules. Ed Martin | | Ed Martin | 1510 Newtown Pike | Lexington, KY 40511  

Lexington, KY - The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) will commence it's 2017 annual conference on racing integrity, equine welfare and regulatory matters on Tuesday, April 18 thru Thursday, April 20, 2017 in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. The annual ARCI conference is the only annual gathering of the official racing regulatory authorities empowered by law to make and enforce the rules of racing and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing in the United States, Canada, and parts of the Caribbean. Matters pertaining to equine and canine health and welfare, anti-doping, wagering security and opportunities, rider and driver safety, compulsive gambling, licensing, investigations, and track operations have highlighted past ARCI conferences. As the agenda for the 2017 meeting has not yet been finalized, proposed topics and speakers may be suggested by emailing Lisa Stahl at Details as to the agenda as well as registration and hotel arrangements will be posted on the ARCI website ( when available. Registration for the conference will not be open until January, 2017. The annual ARCI conference is not limited to regulators and is open to anyone involved in the racing industry as an owner, trainer, veterinarian, rider or driver, racetrack official or operator, fan or any other capacity. A registration fee will be set in January and is charged to defray the cost of the meeting as well as some meals and networking opportunities. The conference will be held at the Marriott Charleston, 170 Lockwood Boulevard Charleston, South Carolina USA. Ed Martin | | Ed Martin | 1510 Newtown Pike | Lexington, KY 40511  

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