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REACTION AND STATEMENT OF ARCI PRESIDENT ED MARTIN ON REINTRODUCTION OF THE BARR-TONKO LEGISLATION: The Association of Racing Commissioners International is disappointed that the sponsors of the re-introduced federal legislation have totally ignored the needs articulated on behalf of those responsible for policing the sport of horse racing. The sponsors of this legislation have proposed nothing to address the significant part of the race horse industry that is totally unregulated. This bill will do nothing to protect horses. It is shocking that the use of bisphosphonates on young horses is not addressed given the significant concern that they adversely affect bone development in young horses and contribute to stress fractures as they do in other mammals. We already know stress fractures can be a precursor to increased risk of a catastrophic breakdown. This issue was presented to lawmakers at the public hearing on this proposal in the last Congress, yet they continue to focus on repealing a long standing equine welfare program permitting a controlled furosemide administration on race day proven to be helpful to the health of the horse and recently affirmed by a consensus statement from the independent American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Unfortunately, the constructive suggestions of what the federal government could do to safeguard horses and help integrity efforts in racing continue to be ignored. Here are the suggestions that were presented in my testimony last year. The federal government could - Require all horses bred to be racehorses be registered with and come under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) which would have the ARCI maintain this data for use jointly by APHIS and the state racing commissions; Empower APHIS to make rules affecting young horses not yet under the jurisdiction of a state racing commission; Direct APHIS to contract with state racing commissions for the purpose of out-of-competition equine welfare examinations to determine adherence to the APHIS rules; Authorize APHIS to recover costs for such inspections from the owners of any horse inspected, consistent with state racing commission contracts entered into for this purpose;   Require that a portion of the existing funds - $9.5 million - appropriated by Congress each year for anti-doping programs through the White House Office of National Drug Policy be available to fund anti-doping research of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium consistent with anti-doping needs identified by the Organization of Racing Investigators or the ARCI;   Adopt the ARCI Model Rules affecting equine welfare and medication by reference, thereby achieving universal uniformity in regulation;   Require the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to each dedicate at least one agent for the sole purpose of assisting state racing commissions in the conduct of investigations, particularly those that cross jurisdictional lines. Note: The FDA already has such an investigator assigned.   Rebecca Shoemaker Assistant to the President & CEO Association of Racing Commissioners International

Saratoga Springs, NY - Proposals to modify the regulatory policy concerning clenbuterol and betamethasone use in Standardbred harness racing will be one of the major topics considered at the upcoming meeting of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) when it meets April 3-5, 2019 in Arcadia, California. The proposed changes were submitted late last year to standardbred regulatory commissions directly from the Harness Racing Medication Collaborative (HRMC), a subcommittee of the United States Trotting Association (USTA), chaired by Joe Faraldo of New York. Several commissions have deferred action on the proposed change pending a recommendation from the ARCI, the umbrella group of the racing regulatory authorities throughout North America and parts of the Caribbean. The ARCI racing regulatory standards are embodied in its Model Rules of Racing, which form the foundation for the regulation of horse and greyhound racing in North America and, in some cases, beyond. Several ARCI Committees will consider the proposal, which would liberalize the current policy for these two drugs if adopted. The current policy was adopted by the ARCI upon recommendations that had come from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium several years ago. The proposals to change the point at which a violation occurs for each of these drugs if found in a standardbred horse post race will be reviewed by the RCI Scientific Advisory Group, the RCI Standardbred Committee, the Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee, the Model Rules Committee, and ultimately the entire Membership at the April meeting. Representatives from the USTA as well as Mr. Faraldo have been invited to attend and have been included on the various agendas to afford them the opportunity to make the case for the proposed policy changes, which would represent breed specific rules for standardbred races. In the past the ARCI has adopted more stringent breed specific policies for quarter horse races where clenbuterol and albuterol are both considered prohibited at any level. The USTA is requesting a more lenient approach for clenbuterol and betamethasone than what currently exists in the Model Rules. "The regulators are very interested in hearing what they have to say, including why this policy change is necessary and in the best interest of the horse as well as ensuring the integrity of the race," said RCI President Ed Martin. "I think it important to note that standardbred races in Indiana, New Jersey, California, Kentucky, Minnesota, Maryland, and Florida occur consistent with the current Model Rules while other jurisdictions have made exceptions, which is their right. In those jurisdictions that have adopted the Model Rules or are required by statute or rule to implement the Model Rules, compliance has not posed a problem to those who race. That being said, we continually strive to consider any and all information in assessing the appropriateness and applicability of the standards we embody in the Model Rules and are never adverse to modifying a standard if the facts warrant it," he said. Information concerning the proposals are posted online at From the ARCI                        

The 85th annual ARCI Conference on Racing Integrity and Animal Welfare will be held in Arcadia, California on April 2, 2019 - April 5, 2019. Registration is now open on Eventbrite. For those of you who need to pay by check, please contact me for an invoice. I will register you for the conference once payment is received in the ARCI office. The event hotel will be the Embassy Suites in Arcadia. We have once again arranged a room block at the area per diem of $173 per night (not including tax.) Embassy offers free parking, a complimentary shuttle that will travel within a seven mile radius of the hotel, free breakfast, and a complimentary evening beer and wine reception. The room block is primarily set for Tuesday through Friday evening. If you attempt to book earlier and run into issues, please contact me and I'll assist you with making a reservation. Embassy Suites by Hilton Arcadia Pasadena Area 211 East Huntington Drive, Arcadia, California, 91006, USA TEL: +1-626-445-8525 FAX: +1-626-445-8548 The reservation link for the ARCI rate is below:,WW,HILTONLINK,EN,DirectLink&fromId=HILTONLINKDIRECT by Rebecca Shoemaker, for the ARCI  

Beginning in the third quarter of 2019, the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) and the University of Arizona's Racetrack Industry Program (RTIP) will launch an educational program for horse racing investigators employed by racing commissions and tracks. No such program currently exists, and the effort will complement the work of the Organization of Racing Investigators and the Racing Officials Accreditation Program. Modeled after the ROAP accreditation program, it is anticipated that racing commissions will phase in a requirement that racing investigators complete the course as a condition of employment and be required to participate in continuing education programs like the annual ORI conference. "The RTIP welcomes the opportunity to partner with the ARCI in ensuring that those seeking employment as racing investigators have the necessary educational foundation to perform effectively," said Wendy Davis, Director of the Racetrack Industry Program. "As one who recruited and built a staff of effective racing investigators, I can attest that a good investigator not only must have investigatory and interrogation skills but also have a keen understanding of how racing works as well as a feel for the backstretch community and what to take notice of," said Ed Martin, ARCI President. The program's steering committee consists of Ms. Davis and RCI Board Members Tom Sage and John Wayne, both seasoned investigators. The date for the first certificate program has yet to be finalized, but it is being planned for the third quarter of 2019. Further information will be disseminated as it becomes available. The Race Track Industry Program offers Bachelor's and Master's degrees centered on the racing industry. It offers two paths of study; one preparing students for race track management, regulation or pari-mutuel racing organizations, the other preparing students for employment in areas dealing with racing and breeding animals. The ARCI is the umbrella group of the official racing regulatory authorities that enact and enforce the rules and are ultimately responsible for detecting and prosecuting those who violate the rules of racing. Rebecca Shoemaker

The 85th annual ARCI Conference on Racing Integrity and Animal Welfare will be held in Arcadia, California on April 2, 2019 - April 5, 2019. Registration is now open on Eventbrite. For those of you who need to pay by check, please contact me for an invoice. I will register you for the conference once payment is received in the ARCI office. Register on Eventbrite The event hotel will be the Embassy Suites in Arcadia. We have once again arranged a room block at the area per diem of $173 per night (not including tax.) Embassy offers free parking, a complimentary shuttle that will travel within a seven mile radius of the hotel, free breakfast, and a complimentary evening beer and wine reception. The room block is primarily set for Tuesday through Friday evening. If you attempt to book earlier and run into issues, please contact me and I'll assist you with making a reservation. Embassy Suites by Hilton Arcadia Pasadena Area 211 East Huntington Drive, Arcadia, California, 91006, USA TEL: +1-626-445-8525 FAX: +1-626-445-8548 The reservation link for the ARCI rate is below: The preliminary agenda for the meeting is attached. Please contact me with any questions you have. We're looking forward to seeing you again at this year's conference! Rebecca Shoemaker Assistant to the President & CEO Association of Racing Commissioners International  

New racing regulatory standards have just been published by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) as part of a continuing process to adapt standards to current integrity threats as well as new technologies and innovation.   The standards are embodied in the almost 500 pages of the ARCI’s Model Rules of Racing and can be downloaded using the link below. In addition more than 70 previously unclassified substances were added to the ARCI Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances, the guiding document for horse racing’s anti-doping and drug testing program, providing guidance to regulatory authorities and labs as to the potential threat posed by the substance if found.   Unclassified substances, if found, remain a violation and are treated severely if found absent mitigating circumstances. The ARCI increased recommended penalties for clenbuterol and albuterol violations in Quarter Horse contests, recommending a one-year and $10,000 fine for a first violation involving either drug if found at any level.     This change, requested by the AQHA, is designed to combat the abuse and misuse of these otherwise legal medications in quarter horse contests.   In an effort to protect horsemen, new screening limits developed by the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA) for testosterone (in fillies, mares, and geldings) and morphine (as a potential contaminant) were also adopted.   “The ARCI is appreciative for the work of those organizations that participate in the Model Rules process and propose changes to what has been an effective and universally accepted foundation for racing regulation,” said Ed Martin, the group’s President.  “We are particularly grateful for the contributions made by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, the Racing Officials Accreditation Program, the Stronach Group, and the American Quarter Horse Association for their work on many of the standards that have been adopted.”     The updated standards also include: a change in the condition eligibility determination for horses which are placed first due to an adverse laboratory finding against the winning horse (ARCI-006-020);  modifications to the coupled entries rule (ARCI-010-010);  a description of the duties and authorities of outriders (ARCI-006-077);  an addition to the recently adopted concussion protocol which requires jockeys to provide the results of an annual baseline concussion assessment test as a condition of licensure (ARCI-008-030), and;  a set of guidelines for single pool (also known as merged pool) pari-mutuel calculations. The guidelines will be published as an industry advisory on the ARCI website.  Updates to the regulatory standards are considered three times each year and pending matters are posted at .     In some jurisdictions, portions of the ARCI standards are incorporated by reference in rule or statute, affording them the force of law in that jurisdiction and advancing regulatory uniformity.  The ARCI is the only umbrella organization of the official governing rule making authorities for professional horse and greyhound racing in North America and parts of the Caribbean.  ARCI sets standards for racing regulation, medication policy, drug testing laboratories, totalizator systems, and racetrack operation and security, as well as for off-track wagering entities.   Access or Download the Lastest Versions of the ARCI Standards. Rebecca Shoemaker Assistant to the President & CEO Association of Racing Commissioners International (859) 224-7070   Ext 4001   MODEL RULES OF RACING - Version 8.5 Access Online Version (PDF) Download MS Word File.     Uniform Classification of (Prohibited) Foreign Substances - V.14 Access Online Version (PDF) (PDF only available.)   ARCI Endogenous, Dietary, or Environmental Substances Schedule - V.4 Access Online Version (PDF) (PDF only available.)     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.  

A modified agenda and supporting materials for the upcoming ARCI Model Rules Committee meeting are now available. Use the button below to access the committee's website: PLEASE NOTE THE NEW TIME FOR THE MEETING. The ARCI Model Rules Committee meeting will take place at the Omni Tucson National Resort, Tucson, Arizona, USA on Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 1:30pm. To make a no-cost registration for the meeting use the link below. Prior to the meeting there will be a briefing by Hawk Eye Innovations demonstrating their technology to assist and enhance the decision making of Stewards. That will take place at 10am at the Omni hotel. Please note that the meeting agenda is subject to modification. Additional notifications will be made as necessary. ARCI MODEL RULE SITE: AGENDA & MATERIALS REGISTER (no cost) FOR THE MEETING   From Ed Martin for the ARCI

In an ongoing effort to provide best practices for the regulation of racing and wagering, The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) reviews and updates its Model Rules of Racing (v8.4) as well as the Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances And Recommended Penalties Model Rule (v13.4.1). Reliance on these documents to form the foundation of the regulatory scheme is universal, although some relatively minor differences exist due to jurisdictional limitations or needs.. The ARCI standards are recommended as "best practices" and we encourage their universal adoption while realizing that alternative approaches may exist to achieve the same ends. The updates contained in the new versions are: A modification of the horse identification requirements for flat racing contained in ARCI-006-020 (B)(5) and ARCI-010-030 (2) to deal with digital tattoos and electronic foal certificates; A clarification of the concussion protocols contained in ARCI-007-020 (A)(10); Addition of a footnote in the Uniform Cassification Guideline document to clarify that the classification/penalty recommendations for Altrenogest apply for geldings, colts, adult intact males only. Access or Download the Lastest Versions of the ARCI Standards. MODEL RULES OF RACING - Version 8.4 Access Online Version (PDF) Download MS Word File. Uniform Classification of (Prohibited) Foreign Substances - V.13.4.1 Access Online Version (PDF) (PDF only available.) 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.   by Ed Martin, for the ARCI  

The ARCI Model Rules Committee Agenda and Materials are now available. The agenda and supporting materials for the upcoming ARCI Model Rules Committee meeting are now available. Use the button below to access the committee's website: The ARCI summer meetings will take place at the Omaha Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District Hotel, 222 North 10th Street, Omaha, NE., USA on Tuesday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 11, 2018. To make a no-cost registration for the meeting use the link below. The schedule for the meetings is as follows: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 1:00pm - 5:00pm Model Rules Committee Meeting Wednesday, July 11, 2018 8:30am - 12:00pm Model Rules Committee Meeting -part 2. 1:00pm - 4:30pm ARCI Board of Directors Meeting (Regulatory Members only)upcoming ARCI MODEL RULE SITE: AGENDA & MATERIALS REGISTER (no cost) FOR THE MEETING   by Ed Martin, for the ARCI  

The Association of Racing Commissioners International's Board of Directors has approved the latest revisions to its Model Rules of Racing, including protocol for when riders sustain concussions, best practices when lightning is in the area and raising the scale of weights in Quarter Horse racing. The 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 updated model rules can be viewed at and downloaded by using the button at the bottom of this message. The ARCI Model Rules Committee recommended the updates, which then went to the full board for approval at ARCI's 84th Conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity in Hot Springs, Ark. The committee is chaired by the South Dakota Commission on Gaming's Larry Eliason. "The Model Rules are a living document that we amend as needed to provide our regulatory members the most up-to-date blueprint for best practices in all areas of conducting pari-mutuel racing," said ARCI President Ed Martin. "Concussions are at the forefront of all sports, and these additions to the Model Rules make sure racing participants get proper evaluation when the possibility of a concussion occurs and do not return to racing prematurely. At the heart of all these changes is the well-being and safety of our human and equine athletes." The changes: ARCI-007-020 (A)(5)(b) and (A)(10) -- The concussion protocol for jockeys was amended to mandate that at least one of the previously-required medical professionals on site (physician, nurse practitioner or paramedic) must be adequately trained in diagnosing and assessing concussions. The updated rule requires racing associations to adopt, post and implement protocol approved by the regulatory authority for the diagnosis and management of concussions sustained by jockeys. Such protocol is to include an assessment with a minimum of a SCAT-5 exam by an individual trained in concussions, which could be the track physician, paramedic, nurse practitioner or athletic trainer. Additionally, a return-to-ride guideline must be established in order to clear a jockey who has been concussed, or is believed to have been concussed, once he or she is declared fit to ride. ARCI-007-020 (M) and 014-025 -- Tracks are required to develop an approved hazardous weather and lightning protocol, including access to a commercial, real-time lightning detection service with strike distance/radius notifications. When lightning is detected within eight miles radius of the track, racing or training will be suspended and participants alerted to seek shelter. Racing or training can resume only after a minimum of 30 minutes has passed since the last strike is observed within an eight-mile radius. ARCI-010-020 (D)(3) -- The scale of weights jockeys carry in Quarter Horses, Appaloosas and Paints was increased four pounds in each age class, with the minimum weight to be carried now 124 pounds for 2-year-olds, 126 for 3-year-olds and 128 for older horses.   DOWNLOAD THE MODEL RULES OF RACING   Ed Martin 1510 Newtown Pike Lexington, KY 40511   - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Marc Guilfoil’s love affair with horses started well before he hocked his high school senior ring to have money to go to Keeneland one afternoon while attending the University of Kentucky. He correctly figured he’d miss being at the track more than he’d miss the ring. “I was thinking about that today when I was driving somewhere and passed the pawn shop,” Guilfoil said with a laugh. “If I could find just a little bit of money in my pocket, whether it be the Red Mile or Keeneland, I was there every day I could get there.” The executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s fascination with the sport and industry traces to his youth in Glasgow, Ky., the son of a large and small animal veterinarian whose equine practice mainly included quarter horse but also some thoroughbreds and standardbreds. For Guilfoil, the appeal is the love of the animal and those working with horses; he does not bet on the tracks he helps regulate. Having worked in an array of capacities at the track has served Guilfoil well as a regulatory administrator. Those efforts were recognized recently with fellow executive directors voting him recipient of the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s 2018 Len Foote Award for exemplary service and contribution to racing integrity. The late Len Foote was an investigator who became the long-time executive director of the California Horse Racing Board. The award bearing his name is the highest honor an executive director can get. Guilfoil was nominated for the award by Maryland’s Mike Hopkins, the 2017 Len Foote winner who is the new ARCI chair. “I was completely caught off guard, very surprised,” Guilfoil said of receiving the award on the closing day of ARCI’s 84th annual Conference on Racing Integrity and Equine  Welfare in Hot Springs, Ark. “It means a lot, not as an individual but it means a lot as any person in my shoes. We’re trying to get common sense interjected into racing as much as possible. There are a lot of ways to go about things, but any time you can plug some common sense into the equation, you likely have the best solution. This award is not just about me; it’s about people who think like me that makes me so happy and honored to receive it. “If you count the years the people in that organization have been executive directors, that’s a lot of years there. That means a lot too, that I have the respect of those guys. And it means a lot that Mike Hopkins thought enough of me to nominated me.” Said Ed Martin, ARCI president and CEO: “Marc has worked his way up through the chairs and has the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, all while being fair to all he comes in contact with. He calls it like it is and is not afraid to do the right thing, even if there are those who might disagree.” That forthrightness shows with one of Guilfoil’s major goals: not only attaining uniform medication rules across the country but uniform testing. He says the industry can’t have true uniformity until every jurisdiction tests to the same levels and uses the same methodology. Guilfoil also strongly believes that can be achieved in the current regulatory structure, with regulators, lab directors and the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium working together. Speaking as an individual and not for the KHRC, he says he has “no problem whatsoever” in Kentucky joining the multi-state compact spearheaded by the Mid-Atlantic states “if it solves the problem with uniform labs. We’ve got to get the uniform labs before we can have uniform medication regulations.” Guilfoil, a 1987 graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in agriculture and emphasis in communications, has a diverse portfolio, including being an accredited official for all three breeds of horse racing. He spent his collegiate summers working as an intern in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture under equine program manager Rusty Ford. His first racing job came shortly after graduation with the old Kentucky Harness Racing Commission in 1988 as director of facilities. Soon thereafter, he completed the United States Trotting Association’s judges school to become the youngest presiding judge in history.  “I’m sure it’s been surpassed now, but back then I was,” he said, adding cheerfully, “Because back then, if you didn’t have gray hair and glasses, you didn’t belong in the stand.” Guilfoil stayed on as director of racing and a racing official as the harness and thoroughbred commissions were merged in 1992 under Gov. Brereton Jones.  “The only thing I really haven’t been at the track is racing secretary,” he said. “I’ve done everything from charting races to the whole nine yards. Any kind of racing position there’s been, if there’s an opening somewhere or somebody needs someone to fill in, I’m there. I was sort of a catch-all guy, jack of all trades.” Guilfoil, who had retired briefly from state government to operate a business,  became deputy director under the late Lisa Underwood, the 2009 Len Foote recipient. Guilfoil’s original six-month commitment to return to the commission has stretched to a decade and counting. “That’s another thing that means a lot to me about that award: Lisa got it, and I was her deputy when she got it,” he said. “To be in the same sentence as some of the people who have received that award is a pretty big deal to me.” Guilfoil was appointed the KHRC’s top administrator two years ago after Gov. Matt Bevin took office. But he long has been a go-to person through many gubernatorial administrations and versions of the Kentucky commission. “You have to have thick skin and broad shoulders to start with,” he said. “You can do a lot of good. When you’re trying to make a decision, if you put the horse at the center of your decision, you’re going to make the right decision. We’re the voice of the horse. “There are very few cheaters. I’ve been around long enough that I think I’ve earned the right to say that, where some people might think the sport is dirty. It’s not. Like anything else in life, whether baseball, football or whatever, there’s going to be someone trying to get an edge. There are very few people in this sport that way.” Going back to his roots, Guilfoil raises cattle on the farm where he lives with wife Elisabeth Jensen, the executive vice president of the Kentucky Equine Education Program and president of the Race for Education program.  “This is all I’ve done since the day I got out of college, all I’ve done my whole life is mess with horses or livestock,” Guilfoil said. “I’ve got cattle now, too, and cattle is my second love. I guess if I wasn’t doing this, I’d hopefully be trying to raise a very competitive purebred black Angus herd.” Guilfoil says the one thing he misses often being in an office is the camaraderie of the racetrack. “When I am in the office, and I’ll get a call from somebody at the track and they’ll go, ‘You don’t understand,’” he said. “I go, ‘Whoa, hold on. I was 23 years on the racetrack. Don’t tell me what I don’t understand. I know exactly what’s going on.’” Ed Martin, president and CEO

Mike Hopkins, the Maryland Racing Commission’s executive director since 2002 after spending 18 years as deputy director, is the new chair of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, the only umbrella organization of the official governing rule-making bodies for professional horse and greyhound racing in North America and parts of the Caribbean. Hopkins last year was honored with the ARCI’s prestigious Len Foote Award, which recognizes exemplary service and contribution to racing integrity by a commission executive director as chosen by his or her peers. Hopkins grew up on his family’s farm in Maryland, helping care for six stallions and more than 100 broodmares. At age 12, he was working the Fasig-Tipton yearling sales at Saratoga for famed Windfields Farm. His first racetrack job came in 1980 at Pimlico, taking tickets from fans entering the infield tunnel on Preakness Day. Hopkins also spent 12 years as a steward and remains an accredited official. As best that can be determined, he is the only racing regulator who has wrestled a 500-pound black bear. That came back in his early 20s, when an old professional wrestler toured towns and taverns with a declawed bear, challenging young bucks to wrestle the animal. “My brother called me and said, ‘What are you doing tonight? … We're all going to this bar. We're going to wrestle a bear,’” Hopkins recalled last year after being honored with the Len Foote Award. “The way it was described to me is that to beat the bear, you had to get the bear on his back, feet up in the air. That wasn't going to happen. I think the bear won; the bear did win. Let's put it this way: I was watching my brother try to tangle with it a little bit, and the next thing I know, my brother's head is bouncing off the wrestling mat like a sack of potatoes and the bear jumping on him.” Hopkins sat down at the recent ARCI Conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity with turf publicist Jennie Rees for a Q & A about being ARCI chair as well as the importance of the regulatory process, building aircraft and rebuilding Ferrari engines as good preparation for problem-solving.  Of all the many jobs you’ve had in racing, which one has prepared you the most to be chair of ARCI? I think all of them have been preparation for that, because it’s provided me experience in almost every aspect of horse racing that we regulate in the state and throughout country. Racing office, horse identifier, stewards stand, driving a truck for 20 years delivering horses all over the country, working on my parent’s farm, at Windfields Farm, which was a great experience. And being around good horses and good horsemen and good owners. Why did you decide to stick with the regulatory side? I just thought it was fun. I’ve enjoyed it. I had opportunities to go to racetracks in other states. Chick Lang was my mentor. Chick would say, “I got a job for you in track management.” He’d say, “I know your family is here, you have deep family ties to Maryland and you don’t want to go. I just want you to know the opportunity is there if you want to take it.” And I’d always turn him down to go different places. I think it was the right choice, and the right choice for me. My family got to grow up with the horse business. I’ve met some amazing people on every step of the social ladder imaginable. They’ve all been very gracious and very good to work with. Your tenure as ARCI chair is a year. What are your priorities to push? What I foresee doing over the next 12 months is that continued collaboration with all the industry stake-holders. Medication uniformity is extremely important. We’ve done a lot of good things over the last 15-20 years. They just need to continue to be nudged down the road. I don’t see any one particular issue that stands out above the others. But I think continued communication with every stake-holder in this industry is important, that we all come out on the right end of it in thinking of the safety and welfare of the horse and safety of the riders, and to make sure we’re protecting the wagering public. You mentioned medication uniformity. The Mid-Atlantic and Maryland have been at the forefront of developing a regional compact to where regulations would not just be close but identical. Do you see that as a model for national uniformity? I do. I’ve got to give Alan Foreman (chair and CEO of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association) a lot of credit, because he’s been formulating these meetings and pushing for it for years. What he’s done with these meetings we have, it’s not only the horsemen’s organizations that are represented but actual horsemen who show up. They get a full description of what direction we want to go and the changes we want to make. They get answers to their questions or concerns they have. Or maybe we overlooked something. They might come back and say, “Have you thought of this?” And we can say, “Yes, we have” and explain what the process would be at that point, or “No, we haven’t. That’s a great point, let’s add it.”  That type of communications and collaboration with horsemen’s organizations, and racetracks, in those large meeting has translated to the local horsemen’s organizations. We can come back to Maryland and have separate meetings with these organizations and describe what we plan on doing — to get buy-in and trying to make a level playing field for those people. That’s all they want: uniformity, the same rules from one state line to the next. Put in perspective the speed of getting uniformity. Legitimate question, a great question. In Maryland, when I currently go to make a rule change, it takes around three to four months. That’s if everything falls into place and at what time of the year. That four months could turn into seven or eight. New Jersey has incorporation by reference, where once ARCI adopts a (model) regulation it becomes regulation in their state. West Virginia, everything goes through their legislative process, and they meet once a year. If they get a regulation change in the middle of September, they have to wait an entire year, almost 18 months before we come back to their legislative process. So that is a challenge for everybody, and it’s also a challenge for the horsemen, because you try to translate that information and educate them about what you’re trying to do. You do lose sight that when one thing takes place in one state and it hasn’t happened in the next state, next thing they do is come back to you and say, “I thought you said everybody has adopted this.” Oh, they have. But you’ve got to look at their process. Some pushing for federal legislation say the state-by-state process is too slow. Others point to how quickly all major racing jurisdictions banned anabolic steroids in the wake of the Big Brown steroids controversy that blew up after he won the 2008 Preakness.  It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to do. The regulatory process is a slow process — deliberately slow — because it wants to provide (input and educational) opportunity for the public, stakes-holders and primarily the general public. We’re a government agency, and you have to keep in mind that we service the public. Irrespective of how expeditious people want rules to get into place, there’s a process in place for a reason. That reason is so those regulatory changes are fully understood by the people they are going to affect before they become effective. They have that opportunity to come back and ask questions. What is your position on proposed federal bill H.R. 2651, speaking for yourself? I think the introduction of the compact this time, without the “opt-out” provisions in it, would resolve many of the problems. The compact and/or the federal legislation doesn’t solve other problems we have in regard to medication. Research and development is imperative, including as far as growth hormones, peptides. More research money has to be found to accomplish that. I don’t see anything in the federal bill that would alleviate that issue as far as research is concerned. As far as other things the federal bill does, I think that from our regulatory standpoint, with the introduction of the compact, we’d be accomplishing the same thing as the federal bill. Any state can join the compact, correct? Anyone. Kentucky has a form of legislation passed; I don’t know if they can use that to join the compact. Virginia has it. Colorado has it. Washington State is going through the process of adopting language. New Jersey. Pennsylvania. New York. Delaware. The more you have, the better off you are. What’s the most difficult aspect of being a racing regulator? Making sure that the changes you’ve initiated are communicated well, and (getting) people to pay attention to it. Probably the most difficult thing to do is to make sure the people you are trying to regulate read the information you’re giving them. You also said it’s fun being in your job. What’s fun about it? This is a great game. Are you kidding me? It’s the greatest show on earth.  Are you allowed to bet? I am allowed to bet, but I don’t. It never really appealed to me. It was just being around the horses when I was a kid; it just got in my blood. I love talking to the grooms and hotwalkers. It’s good to see them every once in a while. It’s good to see the trainers I’ve known for a long time. Same with owners — “How you doing? You got any problems, issues?”  But you don’t get to stay on the backside or grandstand. You’ve got to go to an office. That’s correct. But technology is a great thing. iPhones are great. I spend time in the office but I also spend time out in the field. There are duties you have to do, governmental aspects of the job. But you spend a lot of time educating people about what you’re doing and responding to people who have questions. It could be anyone: legislators, other government officials, other states. We work together, and you grow those relationships with other states. It’s great to come a meet like this and come together face to face and have discussions with them to work on problems. Is being new chair of ARCI an honor or an added burden of work? I’m humbled by it. I’m humbled to the fact that I was nominated to be put in that rotation to take the position. Actually Frank Zanzuccki (executive director of the New Jersey Racing Commission) is the one who recommended me. I look at it as an opportunity to try and further the commitment we all have to protect the integrity and welfare of the horses that we’re overseeing and the riders and all the participants. We can’t let you go without mentioning the time you wrestled a bear. Did that experience in anyway prepare you for A, being a regulator, and B, being chair of ARCI? (laughs) It’s one of those things you don’t know about me from boats to building airplanes that have created other aspects of my thought process. Tell us about the boats and building airplanes. A friend of my father’s always needed help taking his boat, a 42-foot troller, from Fort Lauderdale back to Baltimore every year and then back to Florida for the winter. So we’d spend two weeks, four weeks a year, coming up and going back.  As far as the airplanes, they were all experimental aircraft. When my wife and I made a collective decision so she could stay home with the kids, I’d work part time in addition to working for the racing commission. One of the jobs I had was with the local airport building experimental aircraft for them out of kits. It was pretty fascinating. I learned a lot. What are you doing now off the job? That’s off the chart? Getting ready for my daughter to get married. A number of years ago a friend of mine would come over behind the house with his dogs. He had a couple of Labradors that had been trained for field trials. I had never done that with a dog. My wife said, “You ought to get one.” I said, “OK.” He happened to have a litter of puppies, and I got a dog and started training dogs. I had a lot of fun with them. I don’t train them now, because I’m down to one old dog. But I do want to get another one. It’s a great concept. It’s you and the dog. You have competitors, but it’s up to you and up to him, and you work together…. I’m on the national Field Trial Gunners Guild. I get invited twice a year to the national championships with these dogs, where they run 100 of the best dogs and at the end of the week there’s one winner. That’s it. There are no seconds. They are “finishers.” So when I’m not working in racing, I’ll spend as much time as I can with some dogs or with other friends helping their dogs get better. They’re field dogs, and I train them for field trial competitions and hunting tests. With these interests, what was your college degree? I earned a two-year degree, playing football for three years until sidelined with a knee injury. I grew up on a farm. I was always the one everyone came to when something broke. It was all hands-on practical experience, just working with people. I guess I have a knack for it. I have a cousin who runs a high-end automotive shop that we’d do a lot of rebuilds on motors, engine compartments of Ferraris and old cars that he’d be sent that didn’t work. That was great experience, too.  People coming to you to fix something that’s broken, is that analogous to what you do now? It could be. Very possible. I like to solve problems. There’s always a way to fix it. OK, what is the state of horse racing? Horse racing, overall, I think it tells a good story. I think horse racing is certainly on a resurgence in a number of regions of the country. I think it’s because more attention is being paid by track management, that it slipped for a while. I think horsemen are paying more attention to it, being more likely to negotiate in a fair manner. The breeding industry, because the number of horses being produced is flat, and I think the primary reason is you don’t have that many owners out there who are willing to step up and make the investment. That’s one of the aspects we’ve seen over the years, where you had four owners with four different horses, now you have four owners with one horse. Certainly the supply and demand is not there at this point. Racetracks would certainly like to see more. Full fields and larger purses seem to be what’s driving this train right now.  As long as all the parties involved in this industry are willing to sit down and have discussions, whether they agree or disagree, there’s always room for compromise. Always room to move forward. You never sit still, never sit stagnant. There’s always a way to improve some things. Unless you stay at the at the table and contribute one way or the other, you’ll never reach that goal to continually improve what you’re doing. Rebecca Shoemaker Assistant to the President Association of Racing Commissioners International (859) 224-7070, Ext. 4001

Horse racing must make better use of technology to create new betting products and experiences or it will be left behind other sports and entertainment industries. That was the message of Friday’s technology session on closing day of the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s 84th annual Conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity at the Hotel Hot Springs. Panelists said that the likelihood of widespread sports betting, which is based on fixed odds in contrast to horse racing’s pari-mutuel structure, provides a pathway to innovation. Moderator J. Curtis Linnell, the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau’s executive vice president, said all entities involved in racing should work toward increased participation in horse racing through betting. “Betting is the juncture in which the marketplace comes to horse racing,” he said. “That is where participation by the customer happens.” Sean Pinsonneault, an industry consultant and previously executive vice president of strategy and wagering for Woodbine Entertainment Group, said racing’s big days and the creation of “jackpot” wagers in recent years are ways the sport has created excitement. “There are lot of positives that come from this industry, but it’s changing the way we do things,” he said. Pinsonneault used as an example offering a partial cash-out option on multi-race wagers, where the bettor who remains alive in the wager has the option to get partial payment or bring in partners who buy part of the bet for the remaining legs. Pinsonneault said that is being done in the United Kingdom, which has resulted in a 30-percent boost to pool income and with 80 percent of the cash-outs being partial. He said the bet increases spending and retention of customers, modernizes the multi-race experience and maximizes player engagement. He added that its “Deal or No Deal” concept is ideal for sharing on social media to let people know part of a so-far winning bet is up for sale. Linnell added that’s the technology version of “20 years ago when a long shot won the first race, a guy would be walking around the clubhouse saying ‘Who wants to buy half my Daily Double ticket?’” Pinsonneault also said Australian racing’s wagering went from 70 percent via its pari-mutuel system and 30 percent fixed-odds wagering to 32 percent pari-mutuel and 68 percent fixed odds through corporate bookmakers — a change that has seen the betting on horses increase 38 percent in 10 years. “As an aside, when Winx was making her 18th or 28th start trying to set the world record for consecutive wins, everybody knew she was going to win,” he said about Australia’s great racemare who has won 23 straight races. “Some of the corporate bookmakers offered fix odds on lengths of win. There was a tremendous amount of action on that horse, rather than just offering a win bet that was going to pay 5 cents on the dollar. That shows you innovation in a fixed-odds environment.” The panel also suggested studying innovation in other highly regulated industries, such as the financial sector’s addition of derivatives that resulted in an explosion in investment. Linnell encouraged experimentation in the pursuit of the home-run idea and emphasized the need for increasing the speed from innovation to implementation. Linnell said the TRPB, racetracks’ investigatory body which oversees a wide range of integrity issues,  stands ready to help regulators creating new betting-product models that comply with their rules and laws are legal, accountable, audit-able and fair to the betting public. “We’re going to find a jurisdiction in North America that is innovative and wants to challenge the status quo,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time. Hopefully we can find that sooner rather than later, and we can bring some of these innovations to the customers of horse racing. And that’s more money flowing back to the industry.” Ed Martin, ARCI’s president and CEO, said the likely expansion of sports betting will pave the way for racing to use fixed odds in addition to the pari-mutuel model. “I think it’s incumbent on every racing commission to have your general counsel look at any bills going through your legislature to make sure that they are broad enough, that you aren’t restricted in language in regards to wagering on horse racing, that it has to be pari-mutuel,” he said. “In some states it’s constitutional; in other states it’s a statute. You might give serious thought to slipping something in a bill that’s going through the legislature to give you maximum flexibility. It’s not only the racing’s commissions’ responsibility. It’s the responsibility of the tracks, the horsemen, the breed registries and everybody involved in this. “This sport is in a highly competitive environment. We can be sitting here talking about pari-mutuel wagering 10 years from now. But you just saw these statistics about fixed-odds wagering and where the market is taking wagering. You talk about bets going offshore because we cannot offer these opportunities domestically because we as an industry have not done what we needed to do to adopt to the technology coming forward. This is about the survival and competitive position of an industry. We can debate Lasix for five more years. But if we don’t debate this stuff, we’ll be debating Lasix in front of an empty grandstand.” Changes to ARCI’s model rules:  One of ARCI’s most important missions is to research, develop and approve rules and regulations that can a blueprint for racing jurisdictions to adopt.  Among the changes approved by the ARCI board after being recommended by its model rules committee: The concussion protocol for jockeys was amended to require that at least one of the previously-required medical professionals on site must be adequately trained in diagnosing concussions. The new rule also mandates establishment of guidelines for clearing jockeys to ride after sustaining a concussion. The scale of weights that jockeys carry in quarter-horse races was moved up four pounds in each age class (now 124 pounds for 2-year-olds, 126 for 3-year-olds and 124-128 for older horses). The addition of recommended best practices in the case of lighting during the races, which proved fortuitous with Thursday’s overnight and Friday morning’s thunderstorms in Hot Springs. The model-rules committee looked at other sports to see how they handled lightning, landing on a version of the NCAA lightning protocols. Maryland’s Hopkins new ARCI chair Mike Hopkins, the longtime executive director of the Maryland Racing Commission, was sworn in Thursday as ARCI’s new chair, following Washington State Racing Commission’s Jeff Colliton. ARCI chairs serve one-year terms. Dr. Corrine Sweeney, a noted equine researcher and member of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission, became chair-elect after holding the post of treasurer. Marc Guilfoil, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, was voted recipient of the Len Foote Award in recognition of exemplary service and contribution to racing integrity by a commission executive director as chosen by his/her peers. “There are a lot of smart people in this room, and I’m not one of them,” Guilfoil said. “But my daddy taught me a long time ago that common sense goes a long way in life. We can never have enough common sense in horse racing.” .................................................... Three perspectives on how to achieve North American uniformity of thoroughbred racing regulations were presented on Thursday’s second day of the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s 84th annual conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity. James Gagliano, president of The Jockey Club, batted leadoff and pushed for a proposed federal bill that would put control of drug testing in the hands of the United States Anti-Doping  Agency — a move widely opposed by the major horsemen’s associations, most racing regulators and privately by many racetracks. Alan Foreman, chairman and CEO of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, countered that the Interstate Compact on Anti-Doping and Drug-Testing Standards spearheaded by Mid-Atlantic states is a template for achieving the uniformity that counts without adding a costly and unnecessary bureaucratic layer. The New Jersey Racing Commission, which is part of the Mid-Atlantic alliance, adopted a third approach by changing its laws to where the ARCI model rules automatically go into effect in the Garden State — a method known as “by reference.”  The model rules are created and approved by the ARCI board to provide the blueprint for individual jurisdictions in the regulation of the sport.  Gagliano painted a picture of an American industry that needs H.R. 2651, titled the Horseracing Integrity Act, to stay viable internationally by establishing a single authority to create and implement a national uniform medication program while putting medication oversight in the hands of USADA, which does not do actual testing but contracts with existing labs. “Until and unless states agree to adopt the ARCI model rules by reference, all effective on the same date and so long as the National Uniform Medication Program remains a living document, we most assuredly will never achieve uniformity in our current regulatory system,” he said.  Foreman said there is uniformity where it matters.  “We drug test, we identify prohibited substances and don’t permit prohibited substances,” he said, adding that “the enforcement might be different … But ladies and gentlemen, we are uniform. What we’ve tried to do over the years — and some people beat us up for this — is we try to do it better.”  Foreman said that 97 percent of betting on horse racing in America comes on states that have adopted the ARCI/RMTC Controlled Therapeutic Substances list.  “So when they tell you that we’re not uniform, put it in perspective as to who is not doing this, and does it really matter?” he said. Foreman said the Mid-Atlantic states represent 40 percent on the national handle on a daily basis as the nation’s largest concentration of racing, including at times when 12 thoroughbred tracks within 200 miles might run at the same time. As such, the Mid-Atlantic has led the charge toward uniformity, with its regional regulatory group mushrooming and creating what has become a potentially national compact in the Interstate Compact on Anti-Doping and Drug-Testing Standards, he said.  “Everyone who has skin in the game at this segment of our business, and they’re not there to bring their agendas,” he said of the current working group. “They are there to help collectively to move us forward to see if we’re complying with the national program. Are there next steps to take? What are the problems we need to address?”  Foreman noted a 23-percent reduction in positive findings among post-race drug tests in 2017 from 2016 in the region and a 27-percent decrease in equine fatalities from 2013 to 2017. He said that four years ago only a handful of racing laboratories had national accreditation, but that today only one state’s lab is not accredited.  “You hear all this stuff in the media about chaos and confusion and lack of uniformity,” he said. “… Is that chaos? Is that confusion? That’s compliance with a program.  “A compact is a streamlined way of getting us all collectively to adopt a rule and implement it at one time. It requires legislation in every state that wants to join. Maryland became the first state last week to unanimously adopt the compact… I expect by end of the year we’ll have Delaware, New Jersey, New York; and West Virginia will be next year because we’re beyond their (legislative) deadline…. The compact is not being created to become this new rule-making body.”  Compacts don’t have “opt-out” provisions, but the Mid-Atlantic’s compact — open to any state to join — requires that 80 percent of member jurisdictions vote in favor for a compact rule to pass.  “It’s a protection device to insure there is at least the ability to discuss and send back for further consideration a proposed rule,” Foreman said. “… It is designed as the next logical step, and that is: If you have a consensus and want to make a change, we can do it one time and do it quickly. Our horsemen want it, our regulators want it. It’s in everybody’s best interest, and it’s totally non-threatening. “The Mid-Atlantic has agreed to do this. And if nobody else does, that’s fine. This is not one of these ‘OK, we’ve got a national thing here and because Nevada and Wyoming didn’t join you don’t have a national compact and we’ve got to run to the federal government because they’re the only ones who are going to get it done.’ We’re going to do it for the people for whom it’s important.” Ed Martin, ARCI’s chief executive officer, cited states, including those outside the Mid-Atlantic, that have approved various forms of enabling legislations to join a compact. “There are more states looking at it for next year, and you are seeing some concrete advancement on this concept,” he said. “It’s not a theoretical.” Judy Nason, deputy director of the New Jersey Racing Commission, said her state looks forward to being in the compact. In pursuit of uniformity in 2014, New Jersey opted to adopt ARCI’s model rules by reference. “When ARCI updates the rules and amends them, New Jersey automatically incorporates those amendments and supplementations by reference,” she said. “It keeps us current with the work of this body.” Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association that fiercely opposes the federal bill, asked Gagliano from the audience about his repeated references to international racing and Grade 1 stakes.  “Are you talking about a class separation in integrity and a variation in testing?” Hamelback said. “Because you distinctly left out what I would consider 95 percent of racing…. We all agree essentially that North American racing is the leader in the world. So why does the international comparison continue to be utilized?”  Foreman added that in the Mid-Atlantic, every lab tests to the level of graded-stakes protocols. Martin said everyone agrees “on most aspects of where we need to be.  “There is a lot of money being spent on people to argue from both sides of this issue. I sit on the board of the RMTC, and I look at the amount of money committed to research. I look at the number of strains of EPO (Erythropoietin, used in blood doping) that nobody in the world — in horse racing lab or human — can detect. And where our challenge is with emerging threats, the amount of money we’re spending disagreeing over what route we should take (to uniformity), if that money was given to the RMTC to do research, we might be better off.  “This is a tough sport to police, whether you’re in California, New York, Washington, France, Great Britain. We need to collectively figure a way to pool certain resources and focus in on real threats we have to the integrity of this sport as well as the health and welfare of our horses. There might be some times when we just have to agree to disagree. But in the scheme of things, they are relatively minor.” Roundtable: Emerging drug threats include “research chemicals” bought online One of the daunting challenges for racing’s testing detectives trying to ferret out illegal substances in horses is the ability of people with a credit card and mailing address to purchase from unscrupulous websites medications and drugs that have the potential to affect performance in a race, said Dr. Rick Sams, laboratory director of the LGC Science Inc. that does Kentucky horse racing’s testing.  Sams said that the some substances showing up in post-race samples are listed as research chemicals “sold with disclaimer that they are for research purposes only and not to be administered to humans or animals. … Some have never been tested in animals or humans for any purpose. They are sold on the internet and can end up in people or horses that are entered to race.  “… We have to know the identity of these substances in order to enter them into our databases so that we can make identifications when we encounter them,” Sams said as part of a roundtable discussion on drug testing. “Methods to identify some of these substances will require innovative methods, and that will require considerable research funding. “Delays in our ability to find these substances are risk factors for integrity of racing and also potentially damaging to the health and welfare of the horse and human participants in racing.” Other areas of concern for the testing labs: selective androgen receptor modulators (known as SARMs) that appear to build muscle and burn fat but none of which are approved for use in medicine; designer drugs that include synthetic opioids; drugs resurfacing in racing samples after being discontinued because of side affects or addiction liability, and peptides, some of which are designed to have an anabolic-steroid effect.  “There are qualitative issues in regard to these substances,” Sams said of such online purchases. “In some instances they are impure. In some instances they don’t contain what they are labeled to contain, or they contain too much or too little based on label claim.”  Dr. Dionne Benson, executive director of the RMTC, said the consortium no longer focuses on therapeutic medication with precious research dollars. “We’re focusing on things that should never be in a horse, and eliminate those threats,” she said. She said that the RMTC also is starting “double blind testing” of the country’s racing testing labs, sending out doctored samples along with legitimate post-race regulatory samples to see if the lab detects what her staff put in it. RMTC currently is doing single blind testing, where the lab is told to test urine and blood samples that it knows were prepared by the RMTC.  “We know the labs are going to do their best work on it,” she said. “But what we need to find out is if your samples that you send in as a commission are treated the same way…. This is the only program like this in the world. We are learning a lot about the laboratories and their capabilities this way. The laboratories are doing fairly well. In some cases we’re finding that we administer drugs and none of the laboratories can find them, which doesn’t necessarily mean that’s a failure of laboratories. It means we need to do more work on that specific medication or substance because no one can find them. Ref; Research Chemicals .......................................................... Starting at the top, Arkansas’ pari-mutuel industry was spotlighted at Wednesday’s luncheon kicking off the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s 84th annual Conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity at the Hotel Hot Springs. Gov. Asa Hutchinson lauded Oaklawn Park; the track’s influential owner Charles Cella, who died in December, was remembered, and Cecil Alexander, who spent 24 years on the Arkansas State Racing Commission, most as chairman before stepping down two years ago at age 80, was presented the "William May" Award, the ARCI’s highest award and which recognizes an individual or entity that has had a profound positive effect on racing and racing integrity. The conference attendees also heard state of the industry updates from leaders of pari-mutuel racing’s four major groups. Hutchinson said that, behind agriculture, Arkansas’ No. 2 industry is tourism, for which he said travel-related expenses in the state have increased 32 percent the last five years. “The venues of Oaklawn and Southland are two historic venues providing premium racing for our state,” he said, referencing the 114-year-old thoroughbred track and Southland Park Gaming and Racing greyhound track in West Memphis. “We’re proud of it and we protect it and want to make sure (they) are the premium venues for racing in our country. They are success stories. Oaklawn is the top commercial tourist attraction in Arkansas, with 2.8 million visitors last year, 1,500 employees during racing season, a $250 million economic impact for the state of Arkansas.” Hutchinson then acknowledged “the incredible work of Cecil Alexander” and his varying careers as a restaureur, in real estate and as vice president of governmental affairs from 1980-2000. The governor said the futures of Oaklawn and Southland were in great jeopardy when Alexander joined the Arkansas State Racing Commission in 1993. “He oversaw a resurgence in both Oaklawn and Southland,” Hutchinson said. “… Cecil used every legislative trick in the book to get it done. From ‘Instant Racing’ he was able to get installed, to games of skill being passed through the legislature that reinvigorated Oaklawn and Southland, he has made a difference in our racing environment and success of racing in Arkansas every step of the way.” Hutchinson planned to go with daughter Sarah to Oaklawn that afternoon, joking, “You can’t give me any trips, but feel to help Sarah out. She’ll keep it very confidential.” In the remembrance of Cella, ARCI chief executive officer Ed Martin said, “We lost one of the greats of racing this past year when Charles Cella passed away. The Cella family has meant much to racing, not only here in Arkansas but everywhere. Challenges put out and the product put out week after week is second to none. We’re just sorry that we can’t stay for the Arkansas Derby.” Louis Cella, who took over as the Oaklawn Jockey Club’s president after his father’s death Dec. 6, said that while the track dates to 1904 “our renaissance really started with my father. For 50 years he maintained a single goal: aim high strive to be the best. “It took more than just a sportsman; it took a team,” he said. “That team included government, commissioners, horsemen, the 1,500 loyal employees that by the way equates to one employee for every stall we have on the backstretch. Because of this team effort, today we’re allowed to offer open maidens for more than $80,000, allowance races as high as $85,000. We typically have 20,000 people in the grandstands. Two weeks ago on our Rebel (stakes day) we had nearly 40,000 and next week at our Derby we’ll have maybe 60,000, 70,000. As the governor said, we’re the largest commercial tourism attraction in the state, making Hot Springs the top tourist destination of the state. “When you’re in a smaller location a little bit off the beaten path, you have to work harder and be creative to survive.” Louis Cella said the Arkansas racing commission was instrumental when Oaklawn offered the first merged-pool interstate simulcast wagering in 1990 when the track took Arlington Park’s full card. As casino boats on the Mississippi River flooded Oaklawn’s market, “It staggered us, but we knew we had to do something to survive.” Under Alexander’s regulatory leadership, Oaklawn invented Instant Racing, also known as historical horse racing — an electronic parimutuel wagering product utilizing hundreds of thousands of previously run races. “We didn’t know if it would work, but we knew if we didn’t try something, we would not make it,” Cella said. “From its inception in 2000, Instant Racing turned us around…. Suddenly we were picking ourselves up off the canvas and getting back in the game…. Working with the commission and the (horsemen), we believed we developed the best racing model for racing and gaming, just as my father had hoped for.” He said the Oaklawn Foundation channels millions of dollars into Hot Spring for college scholarships, educational programs and initiatives for senior citizens.  “Oaklawn has gone from trying to fill races to becoming one of the leading, brightest lights in racing,” Cella said. “This could not have been without people like Gov. Hutchinson, like our racing commission, our horsemen and breeders, our loyal fans and so many others who have a stake and care about how Oaklawn operates. By working together, setting aside agendas, there isn’t any question we are continuing to do what my father set out to do 50 years ago: aim high, do it right and be the best.” Updates on parimutuel racing’s four major groups NTRA’s Waldrop: ‘Nothing more important to future than investing in facilities’ Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, reported on thoroughbred racing’s recent successes with betting and purses up in 2017; the explosive rise of online and account betting; the victory in getting the Treasury Department to adopt modernized regulations regarding the withholding and reporting of pari-mutuel proceeds, allowing horseplayers to keep more of their winnings; increasing popularity of the big-event days; robust sales at the top end at horse auctions, and new programs and favorable tax policy for horse owners. “Our big race days are at an all-time high, no question,” Waldrop said, including the Breeders’ Cup bringing on new host sites Keeneland and Del Mar and Gulfstream Park creating the $16 million Pegasus World Cup. “… The popularity of these big events has led most of our big tracks — NYRA, Churchill Downs, the Stronach Group, Oaklawn Park — to invest millions of dollars in their facilities. I think nothing is more important to the future of the thoroughbred industry than the reinvestment of dollars in our facilities. We need convenient, state-of-the-art facilities if we’re going to compete in this very challenging sports entertainment environment.” But Waldrop said challenges include the vastly-shrunk foal crop, horse auctions’ middle and lower market and the potential added competition of sports betting. “You don’t really have a horse shortage; you have an owner shortage,” he said. “We do need new owners. We have programs in place to do that…. On multiple fronts, we’re working to addresses public concerns about safety and welfare. We’re looking to find new homes and second careers for off-track thoroughbreds… The past decade there’s been a commitment to improving the safety of human and equine athletes, and it’s starting to show significant results. “Even with many challenges, thoroughbred racing is alive and well today, and we’re very optimistic that it will remain so for many years to come.” USTA’s Tanner:  ‘Never been a better time to own a standardbred racehorse’ Mike Tanner, executive vice president of the United States Trotting Association, said the standardbred industry’s status largely mirrors those of thoroughbred racing but on a smaller scale. He said his membership is holding steady at about 15,800, down from 1986 when it approached 50,000. “We were slightly down in handle last year, about 4 percent,” said Tanner, who started out in thoroughbred racing. “We handled about $1.4 billion. We were flat in terms of per-race handle. But the number of races were down, number of race days were down, owing to foal-crop size. Purses were very strong, up 2 percent. We gave away $432 million in purses last year. “I go around the country telling people there’s never been a better time to own a standardbred racehorse, and it’s the truth. The financial incentives are quite generous. Our costs of training are relatively-speaking lower (than thoroughbreds), our horses race more frequently and it’s a hands-on sport as well. When I was a kid I wanted to be a jockey. Genetics and my love of food obviously conspired against me. However, I can and am able to hop on a race bike to help train standardbreds. It’s a great breed.” Tanner said the breed is creating the Standardbred Transition Alliance, similar to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance to guarantee care for retired racehorses. The proposal is pursuing a $1 per-start fee paid by owners, which would have reaped more than $330,00 starts last year, and a $1 fee on every transaction processed by the USTA, which would have raised $110,000 last year. AQHA’s VanBebber: Breed-specific rules boost move toward uniformity Jane VanBebber, the chief racing officer for the American Quarter Horse Association, said the sprint breed is making great strides toward uniformity of regulations among states, giving a shout-out to ARCI having breed-specific model rules that allow the quarter horse industry to address issues that aren’t as problematic in the other racing breeds. “Several of our jurisdictions have made plenty of improvements this year,” VanBebber said. “We are invigorated by new ownership at Ruidoso Downs, with a partnership of gentlemen who have been very involved in quarter horse racing and are very committed to our sport. We have different jurisdictions that have enjoyed growth. Wyoming just boasted $1.7 million in breeders awards in their state, much due in part to historical horse racing. Colorado in 2017 offered fewer quarter-horse races at Arapaho Park. They found they missed us, and in 2018 they brought back all the races.  “Oklahoma just kicked off their Meeting of Champions and had the first futurity where every entrant into the race was hair-tested as a condition of entry. Between the Futurity and Derby there were roughly 170 horses tested and only three positives and those were from the Derby, in 3-year-olds that had competed in a jurisdiction that allowed a level of Clenbuterol. “So we feel the work we’re doing enhancing integrity in that area through hair testing is proving a very viable alternative. Talking about the anti-doping, all jurisdictions are coming on board with uniformity…. thanks in part to the breed-specific rules passed here last year. I’m really proud of that for our association, because we can use that as a tool to combat some of the problems that are specific to quarter-horse racing.” She said reduced racing opportunities are a concern, along with funding and sponsorship support and the issue of “program” trainers, where a horse might in reality be trained by someone not listed in the official entries. “I’m real pleased that the good outweighs the bad,” VanBebber said. “I think the future is bright for quarter-horse racing.” National Greyhound Association’s Ward: ‘We battle to survive on a daily basis' Julie Ward, president of the National Greyhound Association, gave props to Arkansas’ Southland Park Gaming and Racing in West Memphis for its purses, promotion of the sport and quality and care of the animals. But said the sport of greyhound racing is under siege.  “The greyhound business is in a constant battle with the animal-rights activists, unfortunately with some racetracks and state legislators,” Ward said. “So we battle to survive on a daily basis. We try to stay positive internally, to stay upbeat, and we do. We’re able to show that through the quality and care of the animals. But we’re under a lot of pressure and scrutiny. “We still feel our product is very viable…. Several auctions have reached $1 million of sales. But what is going on down in Florida right now is going to be a big factor in where our industry goes. There is an amendment trying, by animal-rights activists, to let the general public be able to vote to get rid of greyhound racing and simulcasting. It is very scary…. Greyhound racing has been around since the pharaohs, and we would love for it to continue and be a part of this. We’re just going through a big battle and we need everyone’s support.” Rebecca Shoemaker

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Bisphosphonates — a class of drugs that prevent the bone-density loss —might have some therapeutic value for older racehorses but speakers at the Conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity warned of the potential harm caused by such treatments for young horses such yearlings and 2-year-olds.  That was among the takeaways from Wednesday’s Animal Welfare Forum of the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s 84th annual conference, being held through Friday at the Hotel Hot Springs. The related discussion included how pari-mutuel racing’s regulators might address abuse of bisphosphonates and at what stage should horses come under the jurisdiction of a racing regulatory authority. ARCI members are the only independent entities recognized by law to license, make and enforce rules and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing. Dr. Jeff Blea, a Southern California veterinarian who is the past chair of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and heads its racing committee, called bisphosphonates “a nuclear button right now, not only in the racing industry but in the breeding industry.”  Dr. Lynn Hovda, the Minnesota Racing Commission’s equine medical director, said bisphosphonates don’t just impact what could be a sore bone or joint, but they go throughout the skeletal system.  Dr. Sue Stover, a professor at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said the rational for giving young horses bisphosphonates is to ward off stress fractures, joint problems and some abnormalities. “Ultimately it was just the silver bullet of preventing all these problems,” she said. However, Stover said that bisphosphonates in young horses actually interfere with the development and growth of bone, reduce bone’s ability to heal and makes bone more susceptible to cracks. One study of Israel military recruits showed bisphosphonates did not prevent stress fractures when given before training, she said. One of her major concerns is that bisphosphonates, as analgesics, have the potential to mask pain. Conference attendee Carrie Brogden — a breeder and consigner whose Machmer Hall Farm in Paris, Ky., bred champion Tepin — said she and husband Craig do not treat horses with bisphosphonates but that the panel opened her eyes about what could be an industry problem. “You’re talking about horses who may have been treated as yearlings coming down the race pipeline,” she said. “I guess it’s a small sample right now. But this is being kind of pushed in Lexington as like the safe cure, not as something to be avoided.” Blea said taking a page from the British Horseracing Authority’s ban on bisphosphonates in race horses under 3 1/2 years old and requiring a 30-day “stand down” from racing “would be a good place to start.” He said the AAEP recently assembled a committee to discuss bisphosphonates and mentioned a talk on the subject that he gave two years ago to several hundred veterinarians. “I asked, ‘How many people are using bisphosphonates in their practice?’” Blea said. “There might have been five or six people raise their hands. After the talk, 25 people came up to me asked me, ‘Is there a test for it?’ “The reality is that we don’t know enough about it. I’ve spoken to practitioners who have told me it is rampant in the thoroughbred yearling industry, rampant in the 2-year-old training sales. I know it’s being used on the racetrack, though I don’t believe it’s being used as much on the racetrack as people think. I think it’s one of those things that have come and gone.” But John Campbell, the legendary harness-racing driver who last year retired to become president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, said the standardbred industry has had “great luck” using bisphosphonates to treat young horses with distal cannon-bone disease with “no adverse affects that I can see.” He noted that thoroughbreds are much more at risk of catastrophic injuries than the gaited standardbreds. ARCI president Ed Martin urged racing regulators to start working on a model rule as to when jurisdiction over a horse begins, which could allow them to address  the concern over bisphosphonates. One of ARCI’s missions is to create model rules that provide the member regulatory groups a blueprint for their own laws or legislation dealing with all aspects of horse racing. “I think it would behoove all of us to work on a model regulatory policy so we have uniformity in terms of when the horse should come under the jurisdiction of the racing commission,” Martin said. “When we talk about out-of-competition testing or questioning the use of certain medications, the first thing somebody is going to say is, ‘You don’t have jurisdiction over this horse, and you don’t regulate the practice of veterinary medicine.’” Matt Iuliano, The Jockey Club’s executive vice president, said that about 75 percent of thoroughbreds will make a start by age 4, leaving a 25-percent “leakage rate.” He suggested a more cost-effective and logical place to put horses under regulatory control is once they have a timed workout, indicating an intent to race. “You’ve probably taken that 75 percent to 90 percent,” he said. Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, agreed with starting regularity control with a horse’s first published work. He expressed hope for a common-sense rule that would be fair to everyone, while cautioning of bisphosphonates, “There is a lack of facts and research being done. We don’t want to go after writing rules just to write rules. Finding out exactly, if there is a concern — and what that concern is — to me is the most important first stage. And then where we’re going to attack and fix the problem.” Identifying risk — and protective — factors in horses  Dr. Scott Palmer, the equine medical director for the New York Gaming Association, discussed identifying risk factors in racing, including those at “boutique” meets such as Saratoga, Del Mar and Keeneland, with the inherent demands to get owners’ horses to those races because of their exceptional purse money and prestige. Palmer cited some risk factors as being on the “vets” list for an infirmity, not racing at 2, trainer change, switching to a different track’s surface and dropping in class. He said protective factors also must be identified. Palmer said changes that have established themselves as diminishing risks would not all be popular and could require a change in mindset, such as writing fewer cheap claiming races, limiting the claiming purse to twice the value of the horse, consolidating race meets, biosecurity and limiting the number of stalls given the large outfits. He said racetrack safety accreditation by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is important. Also mentioned: continuing education for veterinarians, trainers and assistant trainers, along with increased scrutiny of horses seeking removal from the vets list after a long layoff. “We’re not going to get rid of fixed risk factors, but we can mitigate them,” Palmer said. Dr. Rick Arthur advises the California Horse Racing Board on equine medication and drug testing, veterinary medicine and the health and safety of horses under CHRB’s jurisdiction. After a rash of fatalities in 2016, Del Mar’s actions included allowing only horses having timed workouts to be on the track for the first 10 minutes following a renovation break and giving up a week of racing to allow additional time to get the track in shape for the meet after the property was used for the San Diego County Fair Arthur cited a study that determined horses scratched by a regulatory veterinarian did not race back for 110 days on average, while the average horse ran back in about 40 days. “The bottom line is we’re actually identifying the right horse,” he said of vet scratches. “The real issue is: are we identifying all the horses we should?” Sports betting: “Amazing potential” Horse racing, professional sports leagues and casinos are awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision this spring on New Jersey’s challenge to the constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which for the last quarter-century effectively has made sports betting illegal except in Nevada and a few other states. The consensus of a conference panel was that sports betting could be on us extremely quickly and that racetracks and states, as well as racing regulators who in some states might oversee betting on sports, must be prepared.  Jessica Feil, a gaming law associate with Ifrah Law in Washington, D.C., said she thinks racing and sports betting will fit well together and could open up new kinds of wagers on horses, including parlays that span sporting events and races. “I envision amazing potential,” she said. Alex Waldrop, CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said one advantage for horse racing is that the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978 allows bets to be made across state lines, which paved the way for simulcasting into commingled pools. “We have some leverage,” he said. "If sports waging goes forward, you won’t be able to bet across state lines” without passage of enabling federal legislation. Attached photos: Dr. Sue Stover, a professor at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, discusses bisphosphonates on a panel that included moderator Dr. Corrine Sweeney (far left) of the Pennsylvania Racing Commission and Dr. Lynn Hovda, equine director for the Minnesota Racing Commission, with the ARCI's Kerry Holloway on the computer launching a visual presentation. A panel Wednesday discussing at what point horses should come under the jurisdiction of a racing regulatory authority (left to right): National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback; Tom DiPasquale, executive director of the Minnesota Racing Commission, and Matt Iuliano, executive vice president of The Jockey Club. The Association of Racing Commissioners International

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

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