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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: arcimodelrules.online. 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 rallen@arci.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Tuesday, April 18, 2017) — Are our testing laboratories catching the cheaters? And are our racing officials getting it right? Those are among the hot-button topics that promise insightful and lively discussion at the ARCI Conference on Racing Integrity and Welfare that runs Tuesday through Thursday at the Charleston Marriott. The three days of panels and presentations address issues facing members of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, which represents the only independent entities recognized by law to license, make and enforce rules and adjudicate matters pertaining to pari-mutuel racing. Paul Matties Jr., winner of the 2016 National Handicapping Championship, will provide a horseplayer’s perspective into whether today’s racing officials are making the correct calls. Joining Matties on the “Questioning Whether Racing Officials Get It Right” session on Wednesday morning will be veteran steward Hugh Gallagher, chair of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program and the New York Racing Association’s first safety steward, and Maryland Racing Commission executive director and ARCI treasurer Mike Hopkins. Outgoing ARCI chair and 2001 NHC tournament winner Judy Wagner serves as moderator. “Any time I can represent the horseplayers, I’m always honored,” said the 47-year-old Matties, a professional gambler and horse owner from Ballston Spa, N.Y. “It’s become commonplace in the industry over time that the players are the ones who are forgotten when decisions need to be made. I’m optimistic that somebody is reaching out. All horseplayers go about things in different ways. I’ve been thinking about it, so I can represent everybody — not just what I believe. I’m going to think of it as we’re a group. “I’m not going there to be critical of anything that has been done in the past. Let’s look at future things. I’m excited to go, and I’m curious what kind of things I’ll be asked. I hope Judy doesn’t take it easy on me. I want it to be substantive.” Wagner, who is vice chair of the Louisiana Racing Commission and the horseplayers’ representative on the board of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said the panel is part of ARCI’s outreach to players to “listen and ensure a product that has a high level of integrity. “We want this panel — and the others at the conference — to provide unvarnished insight and dialogue on how we can improve, as well as what we are doing right.” “ARCI members work for the public and not any aspect of the industry,” said ARCI president Ed Martin. “We are always careful to keep the horseplayer in mind with everything we do.  Horseplayers outnumber everyone else and keep the sport going. We should never forget that. “There are many racing-related meetings each year by various groups, but the annual RCI conference is the only one where industry issues and potential solutions are discussed directly with the people who actually make and enforce the rules throughout North America and parts of the Caribbean. The regulatory standards determined at this meeting more often than not actually become the policy affecting everyone involved in racing.  The RCI members are the only truly independent arbiters of racing-related matters as designated by the various laws that have empowered them.” Other panels at the conference: “Drug Testing Forum: Are We Doing It Right? Are We Catching the Cheaters?” “Veterinarians: Racing Records and the Trust Issue” “The Adjudication System: Is there a Better Way?” “Policing the Backside: A View From the Front Line” “Regulating the Whip and Crop” “Promoting Racing - Putting our Best Foot Forward in a Storm of Negativity” Presentations include “The Challenge in Adapting New Technology and Opportunities to Statutory Limitations.” Meetings include: model-rules committee, drug testing standards, ARCI’s annual business meeting and board organizational sessions as well as the regulators’ Standardbred and Quarter Horse racing committees. Wednesday’s luncheon speaker features Bennett Liebman, Esq., the Albany Law School’s Government Lawyer-in-Residence, giving a talk entitled, “Confessions of a Recovering Racing Regulator.” The complete agenda and information about speakers can be found at http://bit.ly/2oGkAcj. Ed Martin, ARCI president

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