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bridle sets include: Headstall, Curb Strap, Caveson, and a choice of Buckle or Loop End Reins. Complete Bridles Complete
Thoroughbred Exercise Package
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Beta Bridle Complete
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Colors: Black, Blue, Brown, Bugundy, Hunter
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Feather-Weight Exercise Saddle
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Girths & Covers
Is a high quality leather soft back saddle with a lightweight aluminum tree making this ideal in weight and durability for exercising or breezing. • Lightweight aluminum tree • Sewn with heavy thread for longevity • Nylon reinforced double stitched billets for durability • Stainless steel stirrup bars Colors: Black, Blue, Brown, Green, Purple, Red or Tan
Balanced Ride Girth Country Pride
Super K Kendalls
A counter irritant veterinary liniment, a stimulating rub, a cooling wash and a handy antiseptic.
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Good for bowed tendons, suspensories, knees, hocks, hips, stifles and sore feet.
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EZ Willow Gel Liniment FinishLine
Can be used for any minor soreness, lameness or swelling in any muscles including the back and shoulders. Blend of essential oils and botanicals in a cooling gel base.
Nylon and fleece lined girth with elastic double ends and roller buckles. Washable. Size: 40” – 56” Color: Brown
$13.45 Reg $14.95 $53.95 FOB Reg $59.95
16 oz Gel Gallon
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International Leather Girth
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Fleece Lined Girth Jacks
Fleece lined to protect your horses skin in colors to match your saddle or racing colors. Elastic ends. Size: 44” – 54” Color: Black, Blue, Kelly Green, Red, White or Yellow
Fleece Girth Cover
Washable fleece protection cover. Size: 44” – 54” Color: Black, Blue, Hunter Green, Hot Pink, Light Blue, Purple, Red, Turquoise, White or Yellow
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Cotton Girth Cover
Washable fleece protection cover. Size: 44” – 54” Color: Black, Blue, Hunter Green, Hot Pink, Kelly Green, Light Blue, Navy, Purple, Red, White or Yellow
volume 64/ # 2
summer 20 17
2 MESSAGE FROM THE NATIONAL HBPA
7 INDUSTRY NEWS
12 HBPA NEWS 16
RESEARCH & MEDICATION UPDATE
OLD FRIENDSâ€™ MOST CHARMING RETIREE
MEDICATION COMMITTEE CORNER
50 AFFILIATE NEWS
Silver Charm is one of several Triple Crown race winners enjoying the good life in retirement
NO LASIX RACING: GOOD IDEA OR FAILED EXPERIMENT?
SMART TECHNOLOGY TRACKERS
ACUPRESSURE FOR HORSES
Remote monitoring devices are set to have a big impact on the horse industry
Noninvasive Chinese therapy uses acupuncture points to ease pain, promote well-being
THE LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS ABOUT COMMISSION COMPLAINT RESOLUTION
A closer look at the concept and what it means for the safety of horses and riders
A primer and a plan for change for horsemen
hj IN EVERY ISSUE
NATIONAL HBPA 870 Corporate Drive Suite 300 Lexington, KY 40503 P(859) 259-0451 F(859) 259-0452 email@example.com www.hbpa.org
PRESIDENT/ CHAIRPERSON OF THE BOARD Leroy Gessmann SECRETARY/ TREASURER Lynne Schuller CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Eric J. Hamelback VICE PRESIDENT CENTRAL REGION Robin Richards VICE PRESIDENT EASTERN REGION Joe Davis VICE PRESIDENT SOUTHERN REGION Rick Hiles VICE PRESIDENT WESTERN REGION J. Lloyd Yother
TO SAY THIS YEAR IS FLYING BY WOULD BE AN UNDERSTATEMENT, AND I HOPE ALL OF YOU ARE WELL UNDERWAY TO HAVING A GREAT 2017. WE’VE GONE FROM THE NATIONAL HBPA CONVENTION TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY IN WHAT HAS PASSED LIKE A BLINK OF THE EYE. MY EFFORTS HAVE BEEN VERY FOCUSED, WITH A GOAL TO HAVE POSITIVE ACTIONS DURING THIS YEAR THAT WILL BE FELT FOR SOME TIME TO COME. ONE REGRET THUS FAR HAS BEEN TIMING AND THE INABILITY TO WORK CONSISTENTLY ON REGULAR UPDATES ON WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE NHBPA. BEING ON THE GO AND WORKING TOWARD MANY ASPECTS INVOLVING OUR MEMBERS HAVE BEEN TIME-CONSUMING TO SAY THE LEAST. I WILL WORK TOWARD CONTINUED IMPROVEMENTS ON MY COMMUNICATION AND UPDATES. For this issue, I want to take time to address Thoroughbred aftercare. I know those very words are a mouthful, and they bring about a wide range of emotions ranging from anger, to fear, to frustration and to many—I hope—gratification. Taking care of Thoroughbreds after their racing careers have ended not only is the right thing to do for the horse, but it is the right thing for owners, trainers and our industry as a whole. That was the message of our convention panel from the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance entitled “The TAA: Protecting Your Investment in Retirement.” As an industry, we must own the fact that it is our duty to assist in the retirement of our equine athletes. I would ask each of you, as affiliates of the NHBPA, to please make a strong effort to alert all of your owners, trainers and board members about the importance of being supportive of properly vetted aftercare organizations. The importance of proper accreditation for aftercare facilities is more evident now than it has ever been. I also hope you agree that the productivity of a Thoroughbred does not have to end at the track. These points form an important take-home message, and one we all need to continue to deliver in order to stop the term “unwanted horse.” It is my hope that everyone can come to see the increasing popularity our Thoroughbreds now have within today’s show horse world. And according to the TAA, Thoroughbreds are becoming more popular as sport horses than they have been in decades. We can point to three reasons that give rise to this: 1) the growth of aftercare organizations that retrain Thoroughbreds, 2) the affordability of a Thoroughbred, and 3) the infrastructure development of the off-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) horse shows. We have seen over the last five to 10 years that Thoroughbred shows are popping up everywhere. While it started out slow, these shows are building tremendous momentum. We now have aftercare groups organizing their own in-house shows. I for one would love to see more Thoroughbred racetracks, as Pimlico Race Course does, start hosting their own Thoroughbred-only horse shows. In 2012 The Jockey Club initiated its Thoroughbred Incentive Program, which started out supporting 150 shows in its first year and has grown to support more than 2,500 shows through 2016. We now see even larger events being established to focus on our Thoroughbreds. We have even seen an OTTB compete in the Olympics for Team USA. The 2016 Olympic Games featured Blackfoot Mystery, who trained and graduated from the Thoroughbred Rehab Center in California. There too is an important take-home message. The focused efforts by many groups and individuals to highlight our Thoroughbreds have
moved us to a new level. The industry, with urging from groups such as the TAA, Thoroughbred Charities of America and Retired Racehorse Project, has built an infrastructure in which the Thoroughbred can be retrained for second careers. The efforts put forth have been one of the best things to happen for all of us in this industry and especially those of us connected to these horses. I also want to acknowledge the work done by Old Friends and similar organizations, who help find forever homes for horses who might not be suited for an active second career. In particular, Old Friends has raised awareness of aftercare for some of the sport’s most prominent stars and continuously generates positive stories about how the industry takes care of former racehorses (see article on page 20). Now, we can’t stop. We have others believing in and wanting the Thoroughbred for competition outside the racetrack. These horses are bred to compete. It is up to us to continue to facilitate that desire for competition, and by doing so we are helping all aspects of our industry. We must focus on education and promote the care of our Thoroughbreds during their lifetime. Also, we must make provisions for the care and welfare of those individuals that we consider vulnerable to an end many of us find unacceptable. We must continue to promote the suitability and versatility of the Thoroughbred racehorse for second careers so as to aid in establishing a long and active life after racing. I also feel it is imperative that we make it easy to access advice and guidance in order for everyone to make the right choice for their horses. Finally, I feel it would be of great service if we help to establish and support a system of tracking Thoroughbreds throughout their lives, in hopes of establishing accountability and providing others with the ability to help in recovery. In doing so, we should work to facilitate cooperation between horsemen and aftercare providers to communicate effectively, share information and develop second-career options when available. As we all know, the NHBPA is about “Horsemen Helping Horsemen,” but I also want to establish us as “Leaders into the Future” for our industry. Part of that entails us being leaders for aftercare responsibility for our equine athletes. As always, I hope everyone knows I am here to support “you” the affiliates. Please continue to reach out to me for anything you may need. I will continue to work on behalf of all the horsemen and horsewomen throughout our great industry, and I look forward to what lies ahead in 2017.
Eric J. Hamelback
CONTRIBUTORS Rick Capone Peter Ecabert Dr. Clara Fenger Kimberly French Peter J. Sacopulos Denise Steffanus Dr. Thomas Tobin
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sponsors AFFILIATES Board of Directors - Affiliates Dr. David Harrington, Alabama Robert Hutton, Arizona Linda Gaston, Arkansas David Milburn, Canada Randy Funkhouser, Charles Town Kent Bamford, Colorado Dave Brown, Finger Lakes William White, Florida Marta Loveland, Idaho Eddie Essenprice, Illinois Joe Davis, Indiana Leroy Gessmann, Iowa Rick Hiles, Kentucky Benard Chatters, Louisiana George Kutlenios, Michigan Jack Walsh, Minnesota R.C. Forster, Montana Jami Poole, Mountaineer Park Barry Lake, Nebraska Anthony Spadea, New England Joe Poole, Ohio David Faulkner, Oklahoma Sue Leslie, Ontario Ron Sutton, Oregon Sandee Martin, Pennsylvania Robert Jeffries, Tampa Bay Downs David Ross, Virginia Pat LePley, Washington Glade VanTassel, Wyoming
The opinions, representations and viewpoints expressed by the authors in the articles contained in The Horsemen’s Journal do not necessarily reflect the opinions, representations and viewpoints or the official policies or positions of The Horsemen’s Journal, National Horsemen’s Administration Corporation or National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association Inc. and its affiliates (collectively “HJ”). HJ is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to or reliance on any information contained within this issue. Information in this issue may become outdated due to the rapidly changing nature of the horse industry. The publication of any advertisements or articles should not be construed as an endorsement of any product, service or position unless specifically stated. The Horsemen’s Journal, Volume 64 #2. Postal Information: The Horsemen’s Journal (ISSN 0018-5256) is published quarterly by the National Horsemen’s Administration Corporation, with publishing offices at P.O. Box 8645, Round Rock, TX 78683. Copyright 2017 all rights reserved. The Horsemen’s Journal is the official publication for members of the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, a representative association of Thoroughbred owners and trainers. HBPA is
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a non-profit 501(c)6 Kentucky corporation. Members receive The Horsemen’s Journal as a benefit of membership paid by the national office from affiliate dues. Annual non-member subscriptions are $14. Single-copy back issues, if available, are $7. Canadian subscribers add $6. All other subscriptions outside the U.S. add $20 payable in U.S. funds. To order reprints or subscriptions, call (866) 245-1711. The HBPA National Board of Directors has determined that the publication of this periodical is necessary in the transaction of the public business required of the association. Views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and/or advertisers and do not necessarily represent the opinion or policy of the publisher or HBPA board or staff. Query the editor prior to sending any manuscripts. Periodicals Postage Paid at Round Rock, Texas and additional mailing offices. CANADA POST: Publications mail agreement no. 41530527. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: P. O. Box 503, RPO West Beaver Creek, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 4R6. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Horsemen’s Journal, P.O. Box 911188, Lexington, KY 40591-1188.
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KENTUCKY DERBY TV RATINGS HIGHEST SINCE 1989, HANDLE RECORDS SET
Racing fans weathered rainstorms and unseasonably cold temperatures to watch posttime favorite Always Dreaming win the 143rd Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs in Louisville on May 6. Wagering from all sources was the highest of all time on both the Kentucky Always Dreaming winning the Run for the Roses Derby Day program and on the Kentucky Derby race, and the attendance of 158,070 was the seventh-highest in track history. All-sources wagering on the Kentucky Derby Day program totaled $209.2 million, a 9 percent increase over the 2016 total of $192.6 million and an 8 percent increase over the previous record set in 2015 of $194.3 million. All-sources wagering on the Derby itself totaled $139.2 million, a 12 percent increase over 2016’s $124.7 million and a 1 percent increase over the previous record of $137.9 million set in 2015. The race also delivered big numbers for NBC, which reported a total audience delivery (TAD) average of 16.5 million viewers across NBC and NBC Sports Digital platforms—marking the largest Kentucky Derby audience since 1989 (18.5 million viewers for Sunday Silence’s win on ABC).
TAD measures consumption across multiple platforms, combining the average minute audience for television and digital. Following are viewership highlights from NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage: • TV-only Kentucky Derby viewership peaked at 19.1 million viewers from 6:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET when Always Dreaming crossed the finish line 2 ¾ lengths ahead of Lookin at Lee—up 7 percent from the peaks of the past two Kentucky Derby races, won by Nyquist in 2016 and Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in 2015 (17.9 million for both). • The Kentucky Derby was television’s most-watched Saturday afternoon program since the NFC Divisional Playoff (January 14, 2017). • This is the fifth consecutive year and seventh time in nine years (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017) that NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage averaged more than 15 million viewers. • NBC Sports Digital’s presentation of the Kentucky Derby ranks as the most-streamed Kentucky Derby ever, delivering 9 million minutes, up 30 percent from last year. The stream also delivered a record 281,000 unique users. Equibase reported record pageviews to equibase.com on the days of the Kentucky Oaks and Derby, totaling 3.8 million according to Google Analytics, an 18 percent increase over the comparable two-day period in 2016. Traffic also continued to grow on the Today’s Racing app, with 5 million screen views on Kentucky Oaks and Derby days, a 6 percent increase from one year ago.
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GOLDIKOVA, JAVIER CASTELLANO, VICTOR ESPINOZA, GARRETT GOMEZ ELECTED TO THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF RACING AND HALL OF FAME Three-time Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Goldikova, Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza and multiple Eclipse Award-winning jockeys Javier Castellano and the late Garret Gomez have been elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in the contemporary Goldikova category. The electees will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 4 at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs, New York. The ceremony is open to the public and free to attend (limited seating). Goldikova, Castellano, Espinoza and Gomez will be inducted along with the previously announced steeplechase selections, Tom Voss and Good Night Shirt. Irish-bred Goldikova posted a career record of 17-6-3 from 27 starts and earned $7,176,551. The only three-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner (2008, 2009, 2010)—and one of only two horses (along with Beholder) to win three Breeders’ Cup races—Goldikova earned the Eclipse Award for champion turf female in 2009 and 2010. Based in Europe, Goldikova was bred and owned by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer and trained by Freddy Head. Castellano, 39, has won the Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey each of the past four years (2013 through 2016). Through May 25, he has 4,684 career wins and ranks fifth all time in purse earnings with more than $278 million in a
career that began in 1997. North America’s leading rider in earnings each year from 2013 through 2016 and the leader by wins in 2013 and 2015, Castellano set a single-year earnings record with $28.1 million in 2015. Espinoza, 44, has won 3,319 races through May 25 with purse earnings of more than $193 million in a career that began in 1992. He ranks 17th all time in earnings. The regular rider for 2015 Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah and two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, Espinoza twice won the first two legs of the Triple Crown—with War Emblem in 2002 and California Chrome in 2014—before sweeping the series with American Pharoah. Gomez (1972–2016) won 3,769 races with earnings of more than $205 million in a career that began in 1988 and concluded in 2013. He ranks 14th all time in earnings. The winner of the Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey in 2007 and 2008, Gomez captured 13 Breeders’ Cup races and earned the Bill Shoemaker Award as the top jockey at the Breeders’ Cup four times. He won a record 76 stakes races in 2007 and was the North American leading rider by earnings each year from 2006 through 2009. John R. Gaines, Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps and Matt Winn, three of the most influential and respected individuals in American Thoroughbred racing history, were elected to the Hall of Fame as the 2017 Pillars of the Turf selections. The Pillars of the Turf category is designated to honor individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to Thoroughbred racing in a leadership or pioneering capacity at the highest national level. Candidates must be deemed to have represented the sport with indisputable standards of integrity and WWW.HBPA.ORG
commitment through disciplines such as breeding and ownership, innovation, philanthropy, promotion and education. Gaines (1928–2005) made numerous contributions to Thoroughbred racing, including organizing the creation of the Breeders’ Cup and developing Gainesway Farm into one of the sport’s elite stallion operations. Gaines was a founder of the National Thoroughbred Association, which later merged into the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. He was also instrumental in the founding of the Kentucky Horse Park and Maxwell H. Gluck Center for Equine Research at the University of Kentucky. He bred a total of 48 stakes winners individually or in partnership. Phipps (1940–2016) was born into a family that had already been successful in Thoroughbred racing and breeding for multiple generations. Phipps provided inspiration and leadership to the sport on many levels. As chairman of The Jockey Club for an unprecedented term length of 32 years (1983–2015), he transformed the organization from one with a primary role of maintaining the stud book into a diverse group of companies to fill specific needs within the sport. Phipps changed the composition of The Jockey Club as a company, but first he caused a major improvement in the core responsibility of maintaining the American Stud Book. Under Phipps and the management teams he recruited, the registration and naming process was transformed and made more efficient. Throughout the years, the registration process has been altered in the face of improving technology, such as DNA testing and microchipping. The Jockey Club also branched out to create or acquire numerous companies that perform a variety of essential services for the industry,
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN FOR THOROUGHBRED OWNER CONFERENCE AT DEL MAR OwnerView announced that registration is now open for the fourth edition of the Thoroughbred Owner Conference, which is scheduled to take place at Del Mar in California October 30-November 1, immediately preceding the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The 2017 conference is hosted by OwnerView and BloodHorse. A limited number of reserved seats are available for the Breeders’ Cup races on both Friday, November 3, and Saturday, November 4, to those attending the conference and will be included with the full registration fee on a first-come, first-served basis. Prospective attendees can register or find additional conference information at ownerview.com. “OwnerView once again is excited to partner with Breeders’ Cup and expose owners and prospective owners to two days of championship racing,” said Gary Falter, project manager for OwnerView. “The Breeders’ Cup World Championships provide a grand finale for a conference that caters to people interested in owning Thoroughbred racehorses and experiencing the thrill that accompanies it.” This year’s panel discussions and social events will complement those of past conferences, which have been held at Keeneland, Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park. Each conference has covered practical issues for Thoroughbred owners, including business plans, methods of entering into ownership and insights from
including Equibase Company, The Jockey Club Information Services Inc., BloodHorse magazine, InCompass Solutions Inc., The Jockey Club Technology Services Inc., and TJC Media Ventures, a commercial subsidiary that oversees fan development through America’s Best Racing. Phipps bred 89 stakes winners and in recent years was a principal in the family’s Phipps Stable, as it was organized to include his children. Martin J. “Matt” Winn (1861–1949), a native of Louisville, watched Aristides win the inaugural Kentucky Derby in 1875 and saw every edition after that until his death at the age of 88 in 1949, catching the race’s 75th running before he died. Winn helped guide the Kentucky Derby on a path from humble beginnings into America’s signature race, among other contributions to the sport. In 1902 Winn formed a syndicate of investors that purchased struggling Churchill Downs for $40,000. He made immediate renovations to the track’s clubhouse and used his unique marketing skills to help Churchill turn a profit for the first time in its history. In 1908 Louisville officials began enforcing an anti-bookmaking law that threatened the viability of Churchill Downs, so Winn began using long discarded French pari-mutuel machines to handle betting. They were immediately popular with the betting public, and more were added. In 1911 Winn changed racing forever by introducing the $2 minimum bet; in the past, the minimum pari-mutuel bet had been $5, beyond the feasibility of most working people. Winn also saw the new economic power of women and desired to make Churchill Downs and the Derby interesting to them, too. He began the practice of inviting—and using money to lure—celebrities, male and female, to the Derby and publicizing their attendance.
trainers and jockeys. The keynote speakers for the first three conferences were golfer Gary Player, sportscaster Jim Rome and racing analyst Eddie Olczyk. All three are Thoroughbred owners. Attendees at the first three owner conferences had high praise for the social events and networking opportunities, and several such events are scheduled
for this edition as well, including the Breeders’ Cup Post-Position Draw and reception on Monday evening, the Breeders’ Cup Breakfast Marquee on Tuesday morning, a conference dinner and reception on Tuesday evening and a day of racing and lunch on Wednesday.
NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR SECOND ANNUAL THOROUGHBRED INDUSTRY EMPLOYEE AWARDS Nominations are now open for the 2017 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards, which were held in the United States for the first time in 2016. Nominations can be submitted until August 1 at midnight. This year, six awards will be presented, with total prize money of $128,000, an increase of $13,000 over last year. Godolphin, the global racing stable founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is the principal sponsor of the awards in association with The Jockey Club, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association. Godolphin also sponsors the equivalent Stud and Stable Staff Awards in Ireland, Australia, Britain and France. The Keeneland Association has graciously offered to once again host the awards, which will take place Friday, October 13. A new award category has been added, “The Newcomer Award,” which
will recognize an individual who has been working in any area of Thoroughbred racing or breeding for less than five years as of May 8, 2017. In addition to the prize money, the winner will receive a five-day educational tour of Dubai with flights and accommodations included. Dan Pride, COO of Godolphin in America, said, “On behalf of Godolphin, we would like to thank everyone that made the first year of the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards a huge success, including the nominators. The involvement of the NHBPA, The Jockey Club and TOBA, as well as media support from the TDN, BloodHorse, Daily Racing Form and TVG, was instrumental in bringing these awards to fruition. The first group of nominees was so impressive across the board, and we fully expect to see that again this year. It’s extremely heartwarming that the hardworking men and women in our industry receive the recognition that they truly deserve.” For more information and to nominate online, go to godolphinusawards.com. The site includes a video of the 2016 ceremony, frequently asked questions and the nomination form.
AFTERCARE ADVOCATES STRESS OWNER RESPONSIBILITY, HUMANE TREATMENT International advocates for equine aftercare emphasized owner responsibility and humane treatment in addition to sharing insights on retirement programs for horses whose racing or breeding careers have ended during the two-day International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR), which held its first conference in Washington, D.C., on May 17 and 18. The IFAR event coincided with the Pan American Conference, an international conference on Thoroughbred racing hosted by The Jockey Club and the Latin American Racing Channel. “The IFAR conference featured presentations from a unique international gathering of aftercare participants from some of the sport’s top organizations in Thoroughbred aftercare,” said Di Arbuthnot, chair of IFAR and chief executive of UK-based Retraining of Racehorses. “Having our conference coincide with the Pan American Conference enabled us to share our views on aftercare best practices with a truly global audience, which is part of our mission.” IFAR conference topics covered all aspects of Thoroughbred aftercare, including post-racing options, connecting aftercare and horseplayers, harmonization of the rules of racing for owners and standards for aftercare providers. In her presentation at the Pan Am Conference, Arbuthnot discussed IFAR’s vision for aftercare in the global Thoroughbred industry and reminded attendees how important aftercare is to the entire industry. “We all have a shared responsibility for the welfare of racehorses, which
extends beyond the track,” Arbuthnot said. “Across the entire animal welfare debate, the spotlight is on an animal’s quality of life and the emerging concept of a life worth living. The welfare of racehorses throughout their lifetime is one of the single greatest issues facing the racing industry. A key function of IFAR is to provide help and support by sharing expertise and good practice on a global basis whilst recognizing cultural differences.” The keynote address was delivered by Michael Blowen, a former film critic for the Boston Globe and founder and president of the Thoroughbred retirement facility Old Friends. He also made his presentation at the Pan Am Conference. “Horses have value, and I consider [equine] retirement a legitimate career,” he said. “This is their third career. These horses are priceless. Racing is based on competition on every level: racing, breeding, sales and others. When these horses come to our farm, that competition is over. They tell us how they want to be treated. I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to have the thrill of a lifetime every day.” The IFAR conference was hosted by The Jockey Club, supported by Godolphin and open to all racing jurisdictions, aftercare organizations and other interested parties. A video of the event and PowerPoint presentation will be available soon on the IFAR website, internationalracehorseaftercare.com. IFAR is an independent forum that recognizes geographical and industry differences among racing countries and is designed to enhance Thoroughbred aftercare worldwide. Working with the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, IFAR will raise awareness of the importance of welfare for Thoroughbreds, improve education on lifetime care and help increase demand for former racehorses in other equestrian sports.
Ellis Park C
THOROUGHBRED INDUSTRY EMPLOYEE AWARDS PRESENTED BY
Spotlight on the unsung heroes The Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards recognize and reward the outstanding people at the heart of our industry. The awards are divided into six categories, with trophies for the winners and prize money totalling $128,000. NOMINATIONS OPEN NOW. GO TO WWW.GODOLPHINUSAWARDS.COM FOR ALL THE CATEGORIES AND FULL DETAILS
RED BRAND ADDED TO NATIONAL HBPA STABLE OF CORPORATE SPONSORS The National HBPA is pleased to announce that Red Brand, a leading manufacturer of American-made premium agricultural fencing products for more than a century, is the newest corporate sponsor for North America’s largest horsemen’s association. The company was founded in 1889 as Keystone Steel & Wire Company and began in a humble shed on a rented farm in Dillon, Illinois. It was there that Peter Sommer invented a machine that wove steel wire fence to replace traditional wooden timber fences. The first “Red Brand” fence appeared around 1925, with, in a display of modern marketing savvy, Keystone wire and fence posts dipped in red paint, making the new Red Brand products instantly recognizable on farms all over America. That tradition continues to this day, as Keystone still tops off these
products with a coat of red paint—even the barbs on coils of barbed wire. Today, Keystone Steel & Wire Company’s Bartonville, Illinois, campus is one of the largest wire mills in the world with more than 2 million square feet of manufacturing space on more than a thousand acres. The company’s nearly 900 employees produced more than 700,000 tons of steel last year. “When it comes to fencing, Red Brand is the first name most horsemen think of, and it’s easy to spot the familiar red tops on fencing everywhere that horses are raised and trained,” said Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA. “We are excited to have Red Brand as a partner, and I hope that all members will consider Red Brand products for their fencing needs.” For more information about Red Brand products and to find a dealer near you, go to redbrand.com or call (800) 447-6444.
NATIONAL HBPA MISSION STATEMENT Founded in 1940, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) and its affiliates operate on behalf of Thoroughbred racehorse owners, trainers and backstretch personnel throughout the United States and Canada. Our mission is to improve and preserve Thoroughbred horse racing by: 1. Providing a representative voice for all Thoroughbred horsemen on matters integral to the advancement of Thoroughbred racing in the United States, Canada and at the state level. 2. Encouraging the highest standards of horsemanship to continuously improve the care, health and safety of the horse. 3. Facilitating guidelines to ensure the safety of the jockeys, trainers, grooms, exercise riders, hot walkers, farriers, veterinarians and all others who regularly come in contact with the racehorse.
Supporting the development, adoption, implementation and enforcement of nationwide uniform rules which promote safety and integrity in racing. Disseminating information on critical issues facing our industry to HBPA affiliates and to the general public as appropriate. Supporting and promoting programs and entities which provide general benevolence and other beneficial programs for affiliates and members. Assisting in the development of programs at affiliated tracks providing for the aftercare of our horses when their racing careers are over. Promoting the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing.
NATIONAL HBPA’S POSITION REGARDING THE REGULATION OF RACING MEDICATION 1.
The National HBPA’s focus has always been, and remains, the health and safety of the horse, the safety of the jockey, and the safety of all individuals coming into contact with the horse including grooms, hot walkers, trainers and veterinarians. The National HBPA believes a truly independent and transparent Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) composed of industry stakeholders (including the NHBPA, The Jockey Club, the United States Trotting Association and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, among others) not dominated by any individual organization, with input from appropriate medical and veterinary professional bodies such as the American Association of Equine Practitioners, must be the final evaluator of medical and veterinary science. The National HBPA believes that RMTC approved medication rules should be reviewed by the Association of Racing Commissioners
International on behalf of state racing commissions, and following an evaluation based on science and medical research with all industry stakeholders being heard, the rules should be adopted or rejected by a majority vote. The National HBPA contends that uniform medication rules must be based solely on published scientifically determined regulatory thresholds, with published scientifically determined withdrawal time guidelines, all based on and supported by data published in the scientific literature. The National HBPA believes that RMTC and ISO-17025 accredited laboratories should perform all medication testing. The National HBPA does not tolerate cheating in this sport. The NHBPA supports rules wherein repeat offenders of medication rules, after due process, should be severely penalized, including permanent expulsion from the industry.
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ALL-TIME WINNING TRAINER GOES FROM SKEPTIC TO ENTHUSIAST Scott Lake SeeS dramatic improvement in hiS thoroughbredS // by mark hanSen
hen you’re one of the top all-time winning thoroughbred trainers, you’re not about to jeopardize the health of your horses, your winnings, or your reputation by giving them a new performance supplement without doing your research first. That is why Scott Lake, a thoroughbred trainer with more than 5,000 alltime career wins, was - at first - hesitant to try a supplement that his colleague insisted would dramatically increase his horses’ performance. Scott said, “I was skeptical about trying anything promising to boost EPO levels because I have heard too many horror stories about horses being harmed by doping. But a friend of mine in the industry kept giving me information on this new, all-natural supplement. Then I did my own research, and I realized this isn’t the synthetic EPO that damages horses. This is a 100% all-natural supplement, with data to
back up its claims.” So Scott chose 6 horses that he felt were under performing to try EPO-Equine®. “The horses had coats that weren’t where I thought they should be. They were dull, dry and wiry. Plus, their blood levels were a little messed up, and they were training just ‘OK’. I thought, let’s try it. Let’s see if this supplement will help them.” After feeding his horses EPO-Equine® for a month, Scott noticed a huge improvement. “All of my horses looked better and their coats were shinier. Then 4 of the horses on the supplement won the first time I ran them. Coincidence? I don’t think so. They looked better and performed better. They really turned it around. I liked seeing that.” Scott’s quite certain that EPO-Equine®, the natural supplement he tried, is making a huge difference in his horses’ performance. And because of the results, he plans on putting more
of his horses on this natural “blood builder”. But why is it important to “build blood,” and how does this supplement work as a blood builder? Just like in people, a horse’s muscles require oxygen. Red blood cells are the oxygen-carrying cells that deliver oxygen to muscles. A higher red blood cell count = more oxygen = more muscle energy. Elevated muscle energy helps the horse perform harder, faster and longer during endurance events. EPO-Equine® contains a natural “bloodbuilder.” Bioengineers at U.S.-based Biomedical Research Laboratories (BRL) discovered a proprietary strain of Echinacea angustifolia that’s promotes red blood cell production. Veterinarians at the Equine Research Centre in Canada ran a double-blind trial investigating the blood building properties of the active ingredient in EPO-Equine® in healthy horses. For 42 days, one group of horses was supplemented with the active ingredient in EPO-Equine® and another group of horses was given a placebo. The supplement delivered significant blood building results, increasing red blood cell count and hemoglobin levels. Optimized blood levels leads to elevated exercise physiology…for remarkable speed, strength and stamina right out of the gate. Trainers not only trust and rely on EPOEquine® because it’s effective, but also because of its strict quality control, extensive product testing and adherence to banned substance regulations that guarantee safety. EPO-Equine® does not contain any banned or harmful substances. Every batch of EPOEquine® is tested by an independent laboratory to guarantee that it’s clean for use in competition. EPO-Equine® is easy to use. Just add just 1-4 scoops (3.2 grams) of EPO-Equine® to the horse’s daily feeding routine. Within 3-4 weeks of daily use, you can expect to see increased red blood cell levels with no undesirable side effects. According to Scott Lake, “I absolutely recommend EPO-Equine® if your horse isn’t performing or competing to its potential. Give it a shot. It definitely turned my horses around.” Trainers also find that EPO-Equine® is very affordable at the low price of just $59.95 per jar. Or even more affordable by saving $180 when purchasing a 12-jar case for just $539.55 and getting FREE shipping. EPO-Equine® can be ordered at www.EPOEquine.com or 1-800-557-9055, and comes with a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee.
+ RESEARCH MEDICATION UPDATE
RCI CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON OUT OF-COMPETITION TESTING, NEED FOR MORE RESEARCH
Increased out-of-competition testing, investing in additional investigators and research into emerging threats are the most effective ways to catch—and, more importantly, deter—cheating in horse racing. That was the big takeaway from the drug testing forum on opening day of the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s 83rd annual conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity, held April 18-20 at the Charleston Marriott in South Carolina. The panel featured Dr. Scott Stanley of the University of California, Davis, which conducts that state’s horse racing testing; Dr. Anthony Fontana of Truesdail Laboratories; and, speaking via teleconferencing, Dr. George Maylin, the longtime director of the New York Equine Drug Testing and Research Laboratory. Also on the panel was Brice Cote, a former Standardbred driver and detective in New Jersey State Police’s racetrack unit. Even if the panelists expressed varying beliefs on the prevalence of rules violators, they all emphasized the importance of out-of-competition testing—taking samples from horses in between races—as a way to detect substances that no longer show in traditional blood or urine tests from samples taken immediately after a race but still could have an impact on a horse’s performance. “Most jurisdictions have very good drug testing,” Stanley said afterward. “We do robust testing, and most of the labs are accredited as well. Now we look at big challenges. And when you look at big challenges, you can make those mountains into molehills, or you can take them off one at a time and get them knocked down. We are doing both. We are taking the ones that have legitimate concerns for the industry, like cobalt when that came up. We found that, set a threshold, established rules and made that go away—quickly. Steroids, anabolic and corticosteroids, those now are well regulated. These are big wins for the industry. They weren’t low-hanging fruit either. We still have some challenges that have now climbed the tree; they’re higher up. And we need to knock those off.” Stanley discussed the potential of “biological passports” as a tool—in its infancy of development for equines—that could be used in out-of-competition testing. The testing would provide a baseline result to which subsequent testing both pre-race and between races could be compared. “If they change abruptly, if the bio-markers tell us this horse was given an anabolic agent, we don’t have to detect it,” he said of the exact substance. “We’d be able to say, ‘This horse cannot naturally produce this profile. It has to be enhanced.’ ” Judy Wagner, outgoing RCI chair and horse racing’s “First Lady of Handicapping,” had a message for her fellow horseplayers. Wagner is the 2001 National Horseplayers Championship winner, the horseplayers’ representative on the board of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the vice chair of the Louisiana Racing Commission. With her one-year term as RCI chair ending, she handed the baton to chair-elect Jeff Colliton of the Washington Horse Racing Commission. “As a horseplayer—and this is a message that I want to get across to horseplayers—regulators do strive to get it right,” she told the audience. “We really want to make the players, everybody in the 16
industry, feel that we have an industry of integrity. Let handicappers know that they have a product that they can respect; they don’t have to handicap the rumors that this trainer is doping horses or whatever. And saying that, I wish that we could educate the public that there is a difference between d-o-p-e and legal medication to help the horse. There is a place for therapeutic drugs.” RCI President Ed Martin closed out the conference by urging member organizations to extend an invitation to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to bid on their equine drug-testing contracts. USADA is the national anti-doping organization in the United States for Olympic, Paralympic and Pan-American sports. Some prominent people in horse racing believe USADA has a contribution to make in regard to drug testing. “If USADA wants to get involved in racing, there’s nothing stopping them,” Martin said. “They could do that today, by responding to a procurement from a racing commission to do their drug testing. I don’t believe USADA has bid on any drug-testing contract from any commission. I do know, when I read about them doing boxing or mixed martial arts, that they apparently have done work for other state agencies that regulate professional sports. So, it might be good if every commission, the next time you do a procurement for lab services, included USADA on the bid list. Let them make a proposal. Then it would be really interesting, if you had a commission that had USADA be their lab, to see the difference with the labs we now have. If you look at the USADA testing results, the percentages that are clear and the percentages that have an adverse analytical finding, it’s comparable to all the world anti-doping labs and it’s comparable to the labs doing the testing in professional horse racing. “Nobody is against talented people who maybe can help us do better,” he added. “Rather than have a 20-year debate over how to re-structure the world of racing regulation … if somebody thinks USADA ought to be involved in horse racing, then let’s give them that opportunity. Let’s give them the opportunity to compete for a state’s drug-testing contract, and let’s see how they do. If they do better, I’m sure everybody in the room is going to want them.” Martin concluded by telling the regulators, “This association’s strength is based on the efforts of everybody in this room and your colleagues who are not. Collectively we take a tremendous amount of heat, and usually take heat from people who have absolutely no idea of some of the challenges and obstacles that stand in your way running a government agency to try to police a sport with tremendous moving parts. We’ve made a lot of important progress—individually and collectively. There’s more work to be done—just as there will always be more work to be done.”
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MEDICATION COMMITTEE CORNER TURNING A NEGATIVE INTO A POSITIVE By Eric Hamelback, National HBPA CEO
As a horseman tasked with navigating complex political waters on behalf of many of my fellow horsemen and horsewomen, I am in constant search of positive news about our great industry. We regularly are assaulted with unflattering reports that don’t provide all the facts and instead highlight “bad” tests and a perceived blurring of lines when necessary therapeutic medications are proclaimed by some as performance-enhancing drugs. Thankfully, the ever-increasing sensitivity of our testing laboratories provides the technology for identifying substances that might unfairly impact the outcome of a horse race. However, this extreme sensitivity within laboratories also provides the ability to detect substances associated with inadvertent environmental exposure at insignificant concentrations in our horses—concentrations shown scientifically to have no effect on our athletes but nonetheless detected. Many owners and trainers have suffered from significant sanctions for such exposure. These results are often so low they could not possibly reflect nefarious behavior, nor would the findings have bearing on a race’s outcome. The good news is there is constructive work behind the scenes, even if it rarely makes the headlines. I want to applaud the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) for taking a step toward separating innocence from guilt, making a giant leap for all of horse racing. In the past year, there have been three dextrorphan positive tests in horses racing in Kentucky. While “dextrorphan” is a mouthful and a substance that sounds anything but innocent, it is actually a breakdown product of dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in many over-the-counter cold remedies such as NyQuil. If you haven’t already, please read the excellent article on this topic in the last issue of The Horsemen’s Journal, which is also available online at hbpa.org.
Recently, the KHRC has taken the unprecedented step of dismissing the three recent dextrorphan positive tests, deeming them inconsequential based on recent research. I want to encourage racing commissions across North America to take notice. Research performed at the University of California, Davis, by Dr. Carley Corado and others was published in September 2016. While the KHRC could have taken the approach that the presence of any foreign substance represents a violation because of the absolute insurer rule, instead the KHRC took the high road. The Corado paper clearly shows that the breakdown product, dextrorphan, can be identified in urine well beyond a timeframe to have any effect on the athlete. The levels identified in the three dextrorphan positive cases in Kentucky could not possibly be consistent with anything other than inadvertent environmental exposure to a groom or other horseman/woman suffering from a cold. The entire National HBPA salutes the KHRC for working to distinguish right from wrong. In this current regulatory environment, too often any laboratory finding—regardless of how insignificant the amount and its impact on the horse—results in a commission levying fines, disqualifications and suspensions. That’s inevitably followed by negative headlines, which then drag all of horse racing through the proverbial mud. This time, however, the headline is positive and represents a major victory for all industry stakeholders. It is time to separate meaningless laboratory findings from true cheating and get back to the business of growing our industry and working toward meaningful uniformity. Thank you, KHRC, for taking the lead, and let’s hope other commissions follow in your footsteps.
s the final tour of the day approaches the paddock behind the main house at Old Friends in Georgetown, Kentucky, the group sees a gray horse grazing peacefully in the afternoon sun at the far end of the pasture. Seeing how beautiful the horse is from a distance, they begin to hope he will head over so they can get a closer look at him. When the visitors reach the paddock fence, the horse looks up, sees the people and begins to walk toward them. Then, his walk turns into a trot, and then he’s running. Wondering if he’ll be able to stop in time, the tourists back up a bit as he gets closer. But they need not have worried. The horse stops on a dime and then puts his head over the fence as if to say hello to everyone. “This is Silver Charm, the 1997 Kentucky Derby winner,” the tour guide announces as the group “oohhhs” and “aahhhs.” As the guide tells the rest of Silver Charm’s story, many in the crowd take his picture, while others offer him a carrot. All the while, Silver Charm just stands there patiently posing for photos and happily accepting some treats. Such is the happy retirement life of the first—but not the only—Kentucky Derby winner to call the Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm home.
Two Decades of Memories
It’s hard to believe how much time has passed, but this year marks the 20th anniversary of Silver Charm’s Kentucky Derby win. He also won the Preakness Stakes but fell short of the Triple Crown when he lost a heartbreaker (depending on your rooting interest) to Touch Gold in the Belmont Stakes. What makes the 20-year span harder to believe is that when you look at Silver Charm today, he’s still in great physical shape. His muscles still show the power that carried him to 12 wins, $6.94 million in earnings, an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old colt and a Hall of Fame induction. About the only thing that gives a hint of his age is that his gray coat is now almost white, as it shines brightly in the afternoon sunshine. After his racing career ended, Silver Charm stood at Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Kentucky, before being moved to Japan, where he stood for the remainder of his breeding career. Before Silver Charm went to Japan, however, his owners, Bob and Beverly Lewis, made certain that when he was retired from stud duty they could bring him home to the United States. In the intervening years, Bob Lewis passed away. But, when Silver Charm was pensioned in 2014, the couple's son and daughter-in-law, Jeff and Marge Lewis, followed through on that promise and brought Silver Charm home to the U.S., where he was sent to Old Friends to enjoy his retirement. In addition,
Old Friends’ Most Charming Retiree Silver Charm is one of several Triple Crown race winners enjoying the good life in retirement By Rick Capone
Silver Charm (inside) holds off Captain Bodgit to win the 1997 Kentucky Derby.
they built in a stipend so that money would be sent to Old Friends each year to help take care of the horse. Silver Charm arrived at Old Friends on December 1, 2014, with more than 100 people in attendance on a cold, rainy afternoon to watch him take his first step on the farm. He was led off the van by Sandy Hatfield, stallion manager at Three Chimneys. Standing at the bottom of the ramp was Michael Blowen, founder and president of Old Friends, who could not wait to greet the Kentucky Derby winner. The arrival of Silver Charm was a dream come true for Blowen, as the now 23-year-old stallion is his all-time favorite horse. Foaled in Florida on February 22, 1994, Silver Charm, who is by Silver Buck out of Bonnie’s Poker, by Poker, was bred by Mary Lou Wootton. In an interesting coincidence, Silver Charm’s dam, Bonnie’s Poker, also had been a retiree at Old Friends. She died in 2010. As a 2-year-old in 1996 for trainer Bob Baffert, Silver Charm raced three times and won twice with his first stakes win in the Del Mar Futurity (G2). At three, Silver Charm put his name into horse racing’s history books. Ridden in his first two races of the season by Hall of Famer Chris McCarron, the colt
Touch Gold just got up at the wire to foil Silver Charm’s Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes, and now they live together at Old Friends. 22
opened with a win at Santa Anita in the February 8 San Vicente Stakes (G3) by 1 ¾ lengths over Free House. He followed up with two second-place finishes, also at Santa Anita. The first was in the San Felipe Stakes (G2), which he lost by three parts of a length to Free House, and the second was in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), also to Free House, this time by a head. While his final two Kentucky Derby preps resulted in runner-up finishes, Baffert and the Lewises felt very good about their chances in the Kentucky Derby. There are two interesting things about Silver Charm that should be noted here. First, jockey Gary Stevens, who would enter the Hall of Fame that year, got the mount on Silver Charm starting with the Santa Anita Derby because McCarron decided to ride Hello for Ron McAnally. The trainer had been good to McCarron during his career, giving him a number of successful mounts, including John Henry, so McCarron decided to ride for his top trainer at the time. Second, Silver Charm was never one to win his races by big margins. If you look at his race results, you’ll see wins by a head, a nose, a neck. According to McCarron, Silver Charm was “a very dogged fighter. Anytime a horse ran up alongside of him, he almost never would let the horse go by. He did a few times, but most of the time, he would out-game his competitor.” That would play a crucial part in all three Triple Crown races, especially the Belmont Stakes. In the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, with Stevens riding, Silver Charm battled hard and won by a head over Captain Bodgit. Free House was third. Two weeks later at Pimlico Race Course, Silver Charm won the Preakness by a head over Free House and set himself up for an attempt at the Triple Crown. At Belmont Park, Silver Charm looked like he just might accomplish the task. Leading down the stretch on the inside, with Free House just to his outside, Silver Charm took dead aim at Triple Crown immortality. However, because McCarron knew about Silver Charm’s ability to fight off a charge if he saw a horse coming, his plan was to try and keep his horse, Touch Gold, behind and to the outside of Silver Charm for as long as possible and then to charge to the front late in the stretch.
McCarron’s plan worked to perfection in the race, as he kept Touch Gold to the outside of Free House, while Silver Charm raced in the lead on the inside. As they got closer to the finish line, McCarron urged Touch Gold forward, and his horse hit the wire for a three-quarters length win. Silver Charm never saw him coming. For his efforts, Silver Charm was named the 1997 Eclipse Award winner as champion 3-year-old male. Silver Charm raced two more seasons, which included a victory in the Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba in March 1998. He was retired at the end of his 5-year-old campaign.
Silver Charm Comes Home
Since the arrival of Silver Charm at Old Friends, Blowen has seen a large increase in visitors, most of them wanting to see the Kentucky Derby winner. Silver Charm has also had some big-name visitors as well; his former trainer Bob Baffert and his wife, Jill, and son, Bode, have visited him on a number of occasions, as has Gary Stevens. “Silver Charm is like having Elvis here,” Blowen said just before this year’s Kentucky Derby. “I mean, our visitors are doubling. And the reason that they’re doubling is because of him. He’s the big star. He always was a star. He knows he’s a star. He fits in great. “Look, it’s a week and a half before the Kentucky Derby, and who’s on the cover of the BloodHorse? Silver Charm. Who’s the major article? Silver Charm.
This is the 20th anniversary of his Triple Crown victories and they still can’t get enough of him. And I don’t blame them because he is spectacular.” In an interesting twist of fate, among some of the unique things about Old Friends is what Blowen likes to call the “Old Friends Triple Crown.” Blowen, a former film critic for the Boston Globe, got the idea from one of his first horse racing articles. The story is on his mentor, trainer Carlos Figueroa, known as the “king” of the New England horse racing fairs. During the three-week race circuit, there was a promotion called the “Triple Crown of the Fairs.” The goal was not to pick the horse, but the trainer who would win all three races. The Old Friends Triple Crown doesn’t have to be the same horse that wins the races; it just has to include horses that won all three Triple Crown races in the same year. So, standing in the paddock diagonally across from Silver Charm is his old Belmont Stakes rival Touch Gold, which gives the farm the 1997 Old Friends Triple Crown. In addition, the farm is also home to War Emblem, the 2002 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, while just down the lane is Sarava, the 2002 Belmont Stakes winner, giving the farm its second Old Friends Triple Crown.
Touch Gold arrived at Old Friends in December 2015, thanks to the horse’s co-owner, Frank Stronach of Adena Springs. At first, because of his love for Silver Charm, Blowen had a hard time getting used to having the horse who prevented a Triple Crown winner at the farm, but that soon changed. “With Silver Charm, it was love at first sight,” he said. “And because I was so in love with Silver Charm, I kind of held it against Touch Gold that Silver Charm lost the Triple Crown. But, as time has gone on, I’ve really gotten to like Touch Gold. Rick Capone
Touch Gold and his jockey Chris McCarron, 20 years after their Belmont victory.
The 23-year-old champion still looks like a winner and is one of the main draws at the retirement farm.
“It’s like Ali-Frazier or Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Those are the kind of rivalries that you’re talking about. With the Celtics, I loved the Celtics like I love Silver Charm, but I respect the Lakers like I respect Touch Gold.” Touch Gold, a son of Deputy Minister, had his best season as a 3-year-old when he captured the Haskell Invitational Handicap (G1) and Lexington Stakes (G2) in addition to the Belmont. He was retired after his 4-year old season with six wins, three seconds, one third and $1,679,907 in earnings. His career was capped in 2011 when he was inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame. WWW.HBPA.ORG
Another Old Friends Triple Crown Horsephotos.com
As for the second Old Friends Triple Crown, it starts with War Emblem, who arrived at Old Friends in the fall of 2015 to become the second Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner on the farm.
because he thinks you’re going to tell him what to do. He doesn’t like to be told what to do. He wants to call all the shots. Every shot, no matter how small it is. “But now, I think he’s getting a little bit more relaxed, and he allows me to pet him a little bit now and touch him without trying to bite me.” Sarava makes up the final part of the 2002 Old Friends Triple Crown. He was the first classic winner to come to Old Friends in September 2012. A son of Wild Again trained by Ken McPeek, Sarava made history as the longest shot to win the Belmont when he hit the wire at odds of 70-1. The Belmont was also the last win of his career. He ran eight more times, seven of those at five, but never again found the winner’s circle. He retired with three wins, three seconds and $773,832 in earnings in 17 career starts. “When Sarava first arrived, he was the first classic winner on the farm, so he meant a lot,” Blowen said. “And the fact of the matter was Gary Drake, who owned him [along with] Paul and Susan Roy of Great Britain, they donated money [to Old Friends as well], which was really, really nice. So, we got a tremendous endowment. “He was our first classic winner, and I think he set the stage for the rest of them, the rest of the big horses to come, because people would come and they could see how good he looked, and they could see how we treated him and they could see he got great health care.” Rick Capone
War Emblem, winner of the 2002 Kentucky Derby (pictured) and Preakness, headlines Old Friends' second Triple Crown combination.
Foaled in 1999, the son of Our Emblem won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, along with the Haskell Invitational Handicap and Illinois Derby (G2), in 2002. He lost his bid for the Triple Crown when he finished eighth after stumbling out of the gate at Belmont Park. War Emblem was retired at the end of his 3-year-old season with seven wins in 13 starts and $3,491,000 in earnings. He was also named the Eclipse Award winner as champion 3-year-old colt. He was then sent to Japan for his breeding career but was eventually retired from stud duty due to a lack of interest in breeding. Unfortunately, that continued when he was returned to the United States, as he couldn’t clear quarantine until he bred two test mares. After a month at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, he was
Sarava is the longest shot to ever win the Belmont at odds of 70-1. brought to Old Friends and placed in a specially-made, double-fenced paddock to continue his quarantine. Still, he wouldn’t breed, so the decision had to be made—geld him or return him to Japan. The decision was made to geld him, and with many precautions taken, the surgery was a success. Today, he is enjoying his retirement at the farm. “He’s been here a year-and-a-half just about, and for the first year, you couldn’t go near him,” Blowen said, “because he doesn’t like to be messed with 24
Old Friends’ founder Michael Blowen with the miniature and full-size Silver Charms. Old Friends was also home to 1999 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Charismatic, who returned to the Bluegrass State after a stallion career in Japan. Sadly, in February, not long after returning home, Charismatic died suddenly in his stall as a result of a pelvic fracture. With all the Triple Crown horses at Old Friends, there is one horse who never won a race but who holds a special place. As another day ends, Blowen walks Little Silver Charm, who is the farm’s mascot and official SpokesHorse, over to Silver Charm’s paddock. Blowen had named the miniature horse after his favorite full-size horse. From time to time, he brings the little horse over to meet his bigger version, where they go nose-to-nose in greeting, before Blowen gives them each some carrots. For Blowen, and many other Thoroughbred racing fans and horsemen, things don’t get much better than these enjoyable moments at Old Friends. For more information about Old Friends and how to take a tour or make a donation, go to oldfriendsequine.org.
Rick Capone is the sports editor for The Woodford Sun in Versailles, Kentucky, a weekly newspaper based just down the road from Keeneland. He is also a freelance writer and a volunteer at Old Friends, where he owns a retired Thoroughbred, Miss Hooligan, in partnership with his friends Michael Blowen and Tim Ford.
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NO LASIX RACING: Good Idea or Failed Experiment? A closer look at the concept and what it means for the safety of horses and riders By Clara Fenger, DVM, PhD, DACVIM; Thomas Tobin, DVM, PhD, DACT; Peter Ecabert, JD The watch showed :51 3/5. Not a stopwatch breaker, but our trainer liked the way the big bay horse did it. He galloped strong to the pole and quickened with each quarter, reaching a little further with each stride, and the gallop out was strong. Our trainer had only a few years of training under his belt, but he had a solid foundation of experience growing up in a racetrack family. He had owned only one other horse and was ready to jump back in. He’d had his eye on the bay for a while and was ready to pull the trigger. The horse’s breeder was ready to move him along, and our trainer thought there were a few different things to try with the runner. Besides, having never won a race, the 4-year-old gelding still had all his conditions. The big bay was a pleasant horse and quiet in the stall but all business
on race day. He was somewhat remarkable for a horse with all his conditions in front of him and 17 starts behind him; he understood his job and tried hard every time. This positive, hard-trying attitude made him a barn favorite … aside from being the “house” horse, owned by the trainer. The big bay didn’t run on Salix/Lasix (furosemide). In his early starts, he had the bleeding preventative, but his previous trainer had made the switch to drop Lasix, and his form seemed to improve. Our trainer didn’t think there was any reason to add it back, although the horse flattened out in more than one race. Nonetheless, in addition to historical improvement in form, there was a $1,000 bonus for horses winning without medication, so why not go for the extra cash? On a warm summer day with scattered clouds and a light breeze, our trainer
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walked his horse over to the paddock for their seventh start together. The gelding had hit the board in most of those races, earning enough to pay his way, and the two had bonded. Our trainer knew that any horse that tried as hard as this one did would knock it out eventually, and the bettors shared his confidence, sending the gelding off as second choice. He thought today would be the day, as he legged up the jockey, his own brother, and sent the pair to the track. The bay broke sharp, as our trainer knew he would, but ended up at the back of the pack by the first call. He settled into position on the outside of competitors and gradually moved up on several of them. As he hit the top of the stretch, he was off the lead by 5 ½ lengths but gaining on the outside. As he picked up tiring rivals, it became evident that he was tiring himself, and four strides after the wire, he collapsed. Fear gripped our trainer’s heart. His own horse, the one he had carefully watched and clocked for months before deciding to buy and caring for him tirelessly, was laying on the track. It was not hot enough for a heat stroke, and the horse had been as clean and sound as any under his care. Our trainer ran to the wire, where his precious gelding was motionless. Nothing could be done. Perhaps it was a heart attack—certainly, most likely a heart attack, as the gelding’s legs were all intact as he lay there in a heap. At least he did not suffer, our trainer thought. He pulled off the bridle and blinked back tears as he made his way to the barn area. He had never lost a horse this way, and his mind was racing, going over everything that led up to this event to figure out if there was anything he could have done. If only he could have known. The racing commission sent the horse off for a post-mortem examination to determine the cause of death. Our trainer thought, “At least I will know what happened, which may give me an opportunity to prevent this from happening the future.” After a few days, he inquired of the commission for the cause of death report and was informed that it was not available. Due to other
circumstances surrounding that day (see sidebar on pg. 31), it took too long for our trainer to receive the report from the commission that revealed that his prized racehorse perished from exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH). As the gelding ran his last strides, the capillaries in his lungs began to fail, with more blood leaking into his airways with every stride. The blood crossed into his airways, at first a trickle and then a gush, but the Thoroughbred would not give up because it was not in his nature to give up. However, as his lungs filled up, his ability to take in life-sustaining oxygen decreased to nothing, and he drowned in his own blood. Our trainer has since dispersed his horses and moved on to a new job. However, in an admonition to others, and armed with the knowledge of what happened that day, he is anxious to tell this story to other trainers, owners and regulators. Needless loss of life can be avoided. How? With Lasix.
What Is Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH)? What happened to this gelding afflicts a small fraction of horses racing throughout the world. Horses are highly efficient athletes, molded by eons of evolution to move huge volumes of blood across their exercising muscles as well as their lungs with each stride. They have been carefully designed for every stride to contribute to both active and stored energy—much like a rubber band stores energy—to minimize energy expenditure and maximize speed. Among the unique adaptations for optimal economy of motion are coupling the respiratory rate to galloping, a large powerful heart and high blood flow across the lungs (pulmonary circulation). In fact, blood traverses the pulmonary circulation so rapidly that it fails to fully oxygenate, a feature unique in the animal kingdom to horses. This exercise-driven high blood pressure in the pulmonary vessels pushes the pulmonary capillaries to the edge of failure.
In any racing horse, a fraction of these pulmonary blood vessels rupture, with the ruptures routinely appearing as blood in the windpipe post-race. About 80 percent of horses show blood in their tracheas postrace, and about 1 percent of horses will bleed from the nose. This blood at the nose has been long recognized and termed “epistaxis,” originally made famous by the great-grandsire of Eclipse, an unraced but prolific son of the Darley Arabian, Bartlett’s Childers, aka “Bleeding Childers.” A tiny percentage of the horses that bleed will die acutely on the racetrack, either while racing or within minutes of the end of the race. Death is caused by massive acute bleeding into the lungs, as happened to this gelding. The lungs fill with blood and the horse goes down, sometimes during the race, other times in the winner’s circle or maybe as the horse comes off the track. The cause of death—massive hemorrhage into the lungs and drowning in his own blood—can only be determined by a full post-mortem examination. This is a significant cause of death in racing horses; the best estimates are that somewhere between 60 percent and 80 percent of non-musculoskeletal fatalities in racing are caused by acute EIPH, and when this happens during a race or when a horse is galloping out, it places the life of the rider and possibly other riders and horses at risk.
Bleeding Risk Factors Lasix and EIPH may be the most extensively researched topic in the history of horse racing. However, because of different study designs, many of the studies appear contradictory. Nonetheless, several risk factors rise to the top as convincingly real from the studies available. First, EIPH causes damage in the lungs, and this damage is structural, which means that it is irreversible. The progressive nature of EIPH means that as horses that have bled accumulate more racing starts, the damage worsens over time. Since geldings tend to have more starts, they also appear to be at a higher risk. Training and racing at altitude has repeatedly been associated with a higher risk of EIPH. Horsemen in the western United States have long considered EIPH to be altitude-related. The first formal identification of such a relationship came from Caracas, Venezuela, where the observed rate of EIPH was considerably greater than rates reported elsewhere at lower elevations. Following this identification, the EIPH rates at three different Venezuelan racetracks were compared and showed a direct altitude effect. Reviewing the scientific literature for a potential basis for this effect, it was noted that moving horses from sea level to altitude is immediately associated with quite a significant increase in pulmonary artery pressure, providing a physiological basis for the effect of altitude increasing the susceptibility to EIPH.
Effect of Lasix on Bleeding So, what is the effect of Lasix on the incidence of epistaxis and EIPH? The best data we have is from New York racing, where Lasix was a prohibited substance until September 1995. This regulatory experiment in New York, when virtually all other jurisdictions permitted the use of Lasix under very strict controls, provides a clear answer to the benefits of the medication on the health and welfare of the horse. Prior to September 1995 and the introduction of Lasix, the incidence of epistaxis, as determined by the chief examining veterinarian of the New York Racing Association, was about 58 cases per year. The epistaxis cases dropped dramatically to average 10 to 11 per year in the years after Lasix was approved. Given these facts, a reasonable conclusion is that running a horse “off Lasix” increases the risk of an EIPH-related event, such as occurred in this matter, approximately four-fold.
About 80 percent of horses show blood in their tracheas postrace, and about 1 percent of horses will bleed from the nose. WWW.HBPA.ORG
U.S. Jurisdictions with No-Lasix Races The administration of Lasix on race day is legally permissible within all U.S. racing jurisdictions. Its administration is regulated by the local racing authority, and it is required to be administered no less than four hours prior to post for the race. In 18 of the 34 racing jurisdictions in the country, the administration must be performed by a third-party licensed veterinarian who is employed or approved by the local racing authority. The use of Lasix in every jurisdiction in the country is an example of how uniformity comes about when the regulations in question are in the best interest of both the sport and the athletes. However, the narrative outlined above is a grim reminder of the reason that the use of Lasix has become widespread. Where monetary incentives are offered to trainers or owners to put their horses at risk, this outcome is unavoidable. To date, incentives for horses competing in medication-free races have been offered by tracks in Colorado, Arkansas and Florida. In addition, California’s racing authority, California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), has recently adopted a regulation to permit tracks to establish medication-based eligibility requirements that could prohibit the administration of any medication for a particular track even though such medication and its administration on race day is permitted by the CHRB. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) also adopted a regulation entitled “International Medication Protocol” that permitted a track to prohibit the administration of furosemide less than 24 hours prior to post time as a condition of a race. The Kentucky attorney general found that this was an improper delegation of the discretionary function committed by statute to the KHRC and not a private racetrack.
Conclusion The horseman profiled in this article has hung up his trainer’s license and moved on to other endeavors. While he misses the lifestyle, the last chapter was one of the worst series of events to ever befall a dedicated conditioner. He has continued his work with horses, just in the background, away from the excitement of the track. He was informed of the cause of death of his precious gelding too late to help any other horse under his care. The courage and heart of the big bay gelding, not overly talented but distinctive in his desire to try, had laid its imprint on the man’s life. The tragedy of the gelding’s death and the failure of the racing commission to pass on this information to the trainer in a timely manner—to at least aid in the prevention of this tragedy repeating itself—are inexcusable. For a modest monetary incentive, a horse is raced without Lasix, immediately placing him at a four-fold greater risk of an adverse EIPH-related event. On top of this basic EIPH risk rate, this horse was running at altitude, thereby increasing his adverse event risk rate on the order of 10-fold more than at sea level. Given these circumstances, the sequence of events occurring in this horse was not completely unexpected: The horse initially ran well, then slowed toward the end as his lungs filled with blood, and he died from asphyxiation very shortly after crossing the finish line. As is not uncommon in these acute death situations, there is no obvious blood at the nostrils, and the diagnosis of death from EIPH requires a necropsy examination. It was a tragic outcome for the horse and his trainer, but it could have been worse; incidents of acute sudden death from EIPH have the potential to result in injuries to riders and other horses, as has previously been noted. The trainer knows it is too late for his gelding but hopes that it is not too late for others. Lasix is not just the letter “L” in the program. It is permitted in every jurisdiction in the United States under carefully controlled conditions, and any attempt to eliminate or ban it, especially with the offer of bonus money or other advantages for racing without it, is an egregious assault on the health and welfare of Thoroughbreds and the brave men and women who ride them.
Lasix's administration is regulated by the local racing authority, and it is required to be administered no less than four hours prior to post for the race. In 18 of the 34 racing jurisdictions in the country, the administration must be performed by a third-party licensed veterinarian who is employed or approved by the local racing authority.
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A CRUEL TWIST OF FATE The story outlined in this article sounds fanciful, but it is a true-to-life account of a chapter in racing gone terribly wrong. It is further complicated by another turn of events that would change this trainer’s life forever. As the horse ambulance rounded the clubhouse turn, the vet wasted no time in drawing up the contents of the vial into a large syringe. As the association vet, employed by the racetrack to ensure that the horses competing were sound to race, he loaded quickly into the ambulance in the case of injury. The only vial that he carried on the ambulance was euthanasia solution. If a horse suffered a catastrophic injury, his role was to quickly dispatch the horse from this earth, so when the adrenaline of the race dissipated, pain would not ensue. It can be a gruesome job, but our vet understood it was more humane than the fate of horses that experience the same injury in a field or pasture and must wait for relief from suffering, sometimes for hours. While some might say it’s “part of the game,” catastrophic injuries actually afflict horses of all types and in all careers, even in retirement. The ambulance pulled up next to the horse, just past the wire, partially blocking the view from the grandstand. As quickly as he drew up the solution into his syringe, our vet pushed it back into the vial. This horse had already expired and the fatal injection was unnecessary. An assistant starter and ambulance driver quickly pulled out the screen, which blocked the view from the spectators as the horse was winched into the ambulance. Next to the euthanasia syringe lay an empty syringe that our vet used to draw blood from the ill-fated horse for a drug test. While most catastrophic deaths in horses, racing or otherwise, are unavoidable, there is always a chance for foul play, for a trainer to play fast and loose with the rules by using drugs for an edge in callous disregard for the welfare of the athlete. For those cases, a drug test and a complete post-mortem exam are necessary, so such actions can be identified, protecting other horses in the future. Several days passed, and our trainer continued to inquire about the post-
mortem examination on his horse. Each loss of a horse, whether in a field or on the racetrack, is a tragedy for its human connections, and this gelding was no exception. Our trainer anxiously awaited the results to ensure the safety of his remaining string if there were any way such a fate could be avoided in the future. The racing commission was soon to descend upon his barn but not to aid him in the future management of his racehorses. Security guards accompanied state investigators as they unceremoniously pulled up to the barn of our trainer. The barn was searched for contraband; none was found. He had been summarily suspended by the racing commission and given 72 hours to move all horses to other trainers or off the grounds. He scrambled to find places to ship the horses. Some went to the farm, some to other trainers and most left the state. In the middle of the confusion, our trainer sought to understand why. The horse had tested positive for pentobarbital, a euthanasia solution—the very substance that the association vet had started to pull up to end the horse’s suffering and then discarded. Of course, the vet carefully chose a different syringe to take blood for the drug test … or did he? Weeks passed, and our trainer was now a thousand miles away from the track. He had spent his miniscule life’s savings to hire an attorney to determine how to fight this strange and very serious positive test—a positive test in a horse that raced with no medication. An assistant starter had mentioned that he had seen the association vet use the same syringe that held the euthanasia solution to draw the blood for the drug test, but the vet testified to the contrary to the racing commission. Years of laying the foundation for a training career were on the line. His cell phone rang and the caller ID showed the racing commission. Good news: The penalty had been rescinded and the trainer was in good standing, no explanation. Unfortunately, the die had been cast, the horses disbanded, his owners moved on and the attorney fees paid. For a young trainer, jaded by this experience, a lifetime had passed. WWW.HBPA.ORG
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SMART TECHNOLOGY TRACKERS
By Kimberly French
A. Aleksandravicius - stock.adobe.com
REMOTE MONITORING DEVICES ARE SET TO HAVE A BIG IMPACT ON THE HORSE INDUSTRY
Although wearable tracking devices for humans and horses have some similarities, in many ways the equine versions are far more sophisticated.
Before the first Macintosh computer was introduced and cell phones were still devices few owned or even desired to possess, Steve Jobs, the former CEO, co-founder and chair of Apple Inc., spoke before a small gathering in Aspen, Colorado. The year was 1983, and the occasion was the fledgling International Design Conference. Over the decades, the contents of this lecture went largely unnoticed, but since 2012, when much of the full wording was revealed a year after Jobs’ untimely death, much attention has been focused on how this speech foretold the future of modern day wireless networking, the introduction of mobile computing and other facets of what are now referred to as “smart technology.” Remember, this was from 1983. Despite the brilliant innovator’s prescience in regard to what billions around the world now incorporate into their daily routine, Jobs failed to address the development of wearable sensors and monitors. Then again, that technological arena was clearly not his forte, yet the use and possession of devices incorporating these wearable sensors, such as the extremely popular Fitbit and similar products, have clearly proven they are here to stay for mankind. For the uninitiated, a Fitbit is a small wireless and wearable device that can track a variety of things from your heart rate to sleep patterns to activity, such as distance walked or run. So, what does that mean for horses and specifically for the racing industry? Plenty.
According to a recent report the wearables market for humans is expected to reach a brisk $28 billion in 2019, and these very same wearables for livestock, including horses, is one of the swiftest growing areas of that market. In fact, it is projected to be worth an estimated $2.5 billion by 2025 according to research conducted by Sensors Online. As with the circumstances surrounding the creation, development and marketing of the Fitbit, those within the horse community have recognized how wearable sensors can be incorporated into the equine industry to improve not only the quality of life for the humans that work with them, but also for the animals themselves.
THE RISE OF THE FITBIT One of the first examples of wearable technology was the abacus ring. Developed in China, this piece of jewelry enabled bean counters to perform mathematical tasks without using a pen and paper by moving beans up and down in nine rows. Naturally, the abacus ring is quite rudimentary, but three centuries later the technological boom of the early 1990s provided opportunities to introduce forms of wearable technology, such as cameras and mini-computers. While none of these inventions initially swept the world by storm, true to human nature, efforts WWW.HBPA.ORG
to develop devices people could wear that would serve a number of purposes did not wane and due to the advances in technology, along with this dedication, the Fitbit was born. While initially it may appear there is little discernible connection between this device and the development of wearable technology for equines, that is really not the case. Without the overwhelming success the Fitbit has enjoyed, the technology may have well been introduced for horses in another medium or fashion, but quite possibly not with the momentum it has gained over the last two years. The Fitbit was born in 2007 when developers James Park and Eric Friedman realized the potential of placing small sensors—another form of smart technology that had vastly improved—in objects that could be worn or held. They initially campaigned on their own to raise funds for their project, but when they determined the actual completion of their brainchild required much more than they could provide on their own, they began to approach investors. Their presentation of the Fitbit was little more than a wooden box containing circuits. Park and Friedman desperately hoped pitching their idea at the TeleCrunch 50 conference in September 2008 would supply at least 50 pre-orders. On the first day, they took more than 2,000. Filling those orders, however, proved to be daunting. “We probably spent about three months in Asia looking at suppliers, bringing up production lines,” Park told wareable.com in a 2016 interview. “Several times, we were pretty close to being dead. Seven times we were close to death. “In my hotel room, I was thinking this is it,” Park said, regarding performance issues with their antenna. “We’re done. We literally took a piece of foam and put it on the circuit board to fix an antenna problem.” Flash forward to 2015, and Fitbit had become the world’s leading company for wearable devices. It sold more than 18 million Fitbits that year, and in 2014 it had revenues of $745.4 million.
The Equisense Motion is attached to the girth of a horse’s saddle with a leather strap.
USING WEARABLE TRACKING DEVICES TO MONITOR HORSES' HEALTH While Fitbit types can range from watches to clip-on devices, the main task for all is to track activity. This includes heart rate, sleep patterns and amount of daily exercise. This data can then be evaluated through a computer or smartphone app. Although horses don’t carry around smartphones and don’t spend countless hours typing away on a keyboard, their human handlers do. As horsemen are already incorporating this technology in their own lives, it would only make sense they would seek similar devices to use for their horses. Wearable technology for horses, either modeled after the Fitbit or some other extension of this type of technology, can be invaluable for a number of reasons. For horses, wearable technology not only can provide medical monitoring and diagnosis for overall general health and wellness, but it can also serve as a medium for identification tracking during transport, as a safety precaution and for behavior monitoring. Since horses do not possess the ability to verbalize how they feel or why, they cannot relay what transpires during very long journeys or vocalize their whereabouts when lost or the victim of a crime or case of mistaken identity.
TYPES OF WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY FOR HORSES While Fitbit and Apple Watch, one of the most highly touted and recently released wearable technology devices, have been dominating the headlines, several devices for horses have also received some headlines over the last two
Billed as the world’s first smart halter, NIGHTWATCH provides GPS tracking among other features.
years. One of those is Equisense Motion, from the French start-up company Equisense (equisense.com/en/). Developed by a team of engineers, scientists and veterinarians, Equisense came into existence in September 2015 and commenced a Kickstarter campaign for its first product, Equisense Motion, only a month later. Consisting of a nineaxis motion sensor, the device attaches to the girth of a horse’s saddle with a leather strap. Created with the goal of incorporating technology to enhance an equestrian sport rider’s workout experience, Equisense Motion provides lameness alerts and summary reports via a mobile application that include session intensity, the level of lameness, time spent at each gait in each direction and the number of jumps. Equisense Motion also provides course tracking for jumping, dressage, endurance or eventing by using a smartphone’s GPS function. Data reports can be generated and shared with a coach, colleague or veterinarian to improve the performance or health of the horse. As a result of the company’s success with its initial foray into the wearable technology market, Equisense recently began another campaign for its second product: Equisense Care. Featured on Forbes.com, Equisense Care is a connected bodysuit for horses that wraps over their withers, around their chest and underneath their front legs. Its task is to monitor a horse’s heart rate, respiratory rate, perspiration, heart variability rate and temperature. Equisense Care can also track a horse’s daily activity (when in motion, when asleep or at rest, etc.). It functions exactly like its predecessor Equisense Motion by using motion sensors and GPS. It can also be used through a smartphone app and computer. “For two years, we have been working on analyzing horses under exertion with the development of our first product, Equisense Motion,” explained Benoît Blancher, CEO of Equisense, to California Riding Magazine in December 2016. “The product gives riders the ability to access objective and reliable information about their training sessions.”
For Marine Slove, a veterinarian and Equisense product director, the equipment also serves another life-saving purpose. “Colic is unfortunately the leading cause of death in horses, and a lot of owners are facing this life-threatening illness,” she said. “We know that early treatment of colic lowers the mortality rate, reduces medical costs and enables horses to go back to work earlier. Through Equisense Care, the owner is alerted as soon as symptoms start.” Forbes.com also reported on another wearable technology device for horses, NIGHTWATCH (nightwatch24.com), the world’s first smart halter. Available either as a breakaway halter or as a safety collar, it is designed to alert a horse’s owner or caretaker via text, phone and email at the first signs of danger or distress, like for colic, casting or foaling, so they can intervene early. Developed by Austin, Texas-based biomedical engineering firm Protequus LLC, NIGHTWATCH incorporates several types of sensors to simultaneously monitor real-time information on a horse’s vital signs and behaviors. It leverages machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence, to learn a horse’s normal parameters, to make decisions and to adapt over time to improve accuracy and reduce false positives. The device works across both cellular and Wi-Fi networks, meaning horse and owner can always be connected even if the owner is halfway around the world. NIGHTWATCH can monitor a horse anywhere by pinpointing its location via GPS and can provide real-time and historical information via an intuitive smartphone application and web dashboard. NIGHTWATCH is a labor of love that began in 2013 when founder and CEO Jeffrey Schab lost of one his show horses to colic overnight. Driven by his frustration with the status quo, Schab formed Protequus, sponsored research at the Rochester Institute of Technology and assembled a multidisciplinary team of engineers, equestrians and veterinarians to create a better solution. Schab himself is a biomedical engineer and two-time world champion equestrian. “It’s funny that when we are with our horses we do everything other than bubble wrap them, but at night we shut the doors, bless ourselves and say a prayer that they will be standing and looking back at us when we arrive in the morning,” he said. “In today’s day and age, I find it unacceptable that we can’t offer these animals better protection at night. “This is not a Fitbit for horses,” he added. “We will not tell you how many calories your horse has burned or how many steps they have taken. Rather, we will tell you when they are in trouble and need your help.” Schab admits that the NIGHTWATCH program has not been without struggle. They had the unique challenge of taking cutting-edge technology and making it work within a very small space, not to mention having it work for an extended period of time in the dynamic and harsh environment of a barn. NIGHTWATCH has been accepting pre-orders since last summer and is now pending FCC/IC certification before fulfillment of orders and commercial launching in the near future. A third wearable technology recently introduced into the equine world is SeeHorse (seehorse.ca). Located in Cambridge, Ontario, the company also incorporates sensors into its product, which can be attached to any area of a horse’s body to measure its biometric signs in real-time. Like Equisense and NIGHTWATCH, the data can be viewed on a computer or through the company’s smartphone app. The concept for SeeHorse was initially not geared toward horses at all, but rather for dogs and cats. Peter Mankowski, an engineer and former employee at Blackberry in Canada, had previously worked on the human artificial heart. When he left Blackberry, he sought to create a product that would combine his desire for innovation with his skill set. When he met Jessica Roberts, with whom he eventually co-founded the company, Mankowski realized the path he was on for his idea should and could be geared toward equines. “Dr. Mankowski came into my business class to give us a presentation,” WWW.HBPA.ORG
The NIGHTWATCH app displays a wealth of information including heart rate, respiratory rate, activity, motion and posture.
to 18 months. We are all extremely excited not only with how SeeHorse has been received, but also that the feedback has been so positive. Naturally, we are always seeking to improve our product but we feel our device provides such valuable information and is a tremendous leap forward to preserve and maintain the health of horses all over the world.” With numerous companies putting increasing amounts of money and research into wearable devices for horses, the industry is poised to see a quick expansion of products and features that could parallel the current trend for the human market. Courtesy SeeHorse
Roberts said. “It was a marketing class where we were challenged with producing marketing plans for these products. While I was listening to him speak, I immediately thought, ‘We need this for horses, not for cats and dogs.’ I have been involved in showing horses for a number of years and as an equestrian, I knew our market would love to have a device like this to gauge the health of their horses.” In short order, Roberts convinced Mankowski this was the direction he needed to pursue and after several years of research and design, SeeHorse entered the market in 2015. In the short time the product has been available, it now has distributors on every continent except Asia, and the device is used for a variety of applications. “That is one of the novel components of SeeHorse,” Roberts said. “It can be used for training purposes, to measure recovery from training, for health purposes, as a preventative measure or even for foaling. Unfortunately, people cannot be around their horses 24-hours a day, and SeeHorse is a way to know exactly what is going on with your horse at that moment when you are with them. With this device you don’t have to install an expensive camera or surveillance system in your barn to monitor your horses. Honestly, all that shows you anyway are certain angles of your horse and does not reveal to you what is going on internally. With SeeHorse, we can accomplish that goal and produce results that be used in numerous ways.” Although the device currently only tracks biometrics for horses at rest, Roberts explained the next goal for SeeHorse is a system for measuring these vital signs for horses while they are moving. “A product that can be used for racehorses and other eventing horses during competition or exercise is our next plan,” she said. “It is currently in production and we hope to have something available within the next year
In the future, the SeeHorse device may be able to provide real-time data while a horse is racing or exercising.
Kimberly French is the Internet News Manger for the U.S. Trotting Association and an award-winning freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in more than 20 international and national publications in addition to her experience in horse racing television which includes ESPN, NBC, HRTV, Fox Sports, CBS Sports and Abu Dhabi television. 36
ACUPRESSURE FOR HORSES NONINVASIVE CHINESE THERAPY USES ACUPUNCTURE POINTS TO EASE PAIN, PROMOTE WELL-BEING
By Denise Steffanus • Photos courtesy Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute
For 5,000 years, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have used acupressure to maintain the health of their horses. Over the centuries, horses in Chinese civilization, as well as in other cultures, have been essential in war, farming, industry, transportation and sport. So maintaining their health has been vital to the civilization’s survival. While there are few scientific studies of the use of acupressure in horses, the successful outcome of certain acupressure techniques over the years has led to their continued use, while techniques that did not provide consistent, successful results were abandoned. Acupressure, as it is practiced today, is a product of centuries of successful, reproducible results. Acupressure, like acupuncture, focuses on energetics—the free flow of energy or chi through the body and promotion of balance in that energy flow. Pathways for chi are called meridians. Numerous scientific studies of the use of acupuncture in horses have proven its efficacy, and veterinarians at many notable equine clinics and university veterinary hospitals offer acupuncture as a complementary therapy. Acupuncture is invasive—it employs special needles to stimulate specific acupoints in the horse’s body. Because it is invasive, only veterinarians are permitted to administer acupuncture therapy. Acupressure is a noninvasive way to administer the same type of therapy using the fleshy portion of the thumbs, and it is a therapy that most horsemen can learn.
WHAT ACUPRESSURE CAN DO
The horse’s body contains 361 known acupoints. Acupressure can also identify trigger points called ah-shi that are evident when a specific problem arises. A few local sites, such as the bridge of the nose to
stimulate appetite, also are employed. Acupressure stimulates endorphins, the body’s natural pain relievers and muscle relaxers. Release of natural cortisone is believed to reduce inflammation. This leads to enhanced blood and energy flow, with—in a bit of a chicken-or-egg situation—endorphins and cortisol being the byproducts of that enhanced blood and energy flow. Unlike massage therapy, acupressure goes further than identifying a problem via muscle spasms and inflammation, said Amy Snow, who with Nancy Zidonis founded Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute in Castle Rock, Colorado, 40 miles south of Denver. Snow and Zidonis are among the foremost authorities in veterinary acupressure, publishing a line of books on the subject. “If the horse is experiencing some issue around the shoulder, for example,” Snow said, “you can feel that blood and chi are not moving through that area very well because it’s cold. The temperature actually is lower. So if you can bring blood and chi through that area by working specific points that stimulate movement, you can help the horse’s body heal itself. “The word ‘balance’ is the key to our approach,” Snow continued. “We’re looking to balance the horse’s body so that the needed nutrients are reaching the tissues, whether those tissues are in internal organs, bones, tendons, muscles, neural reactions or the life force of the animal.” Snow and Zidonis respect the value of traditional Western veterinary medicine and consider traditional Eastern medicine as its complement, much like the philosophy of yin and yang, the perfect balance of energy. At Tallgrass, they promote cooperation between veterinarians and acupressure therapists to benefit the horse. Students are required to take a pathology course, taught by a veterinarian, and the first step in an acupressure assessment is to
recognize any obvious problem, such as lameness or digestive issues, and refer that horse first to a veterinarian. The hands-on assessment begins with a process of moving the heel of the hands, applying slight pressure, over the bladder meridian, a series of 12 acupoints directly connected to each of the 12 major internal organ systems. “The bladder meridian runs from the inside of the eye and down over the dorsal midline, off it by about three inches, all the way down the hind leg to bladder 67, the point on the hoof,” Zidonis said. “That meridian has association points with all the organ systems. So by just that, it helps to balance the entire organ and also gives the practitioner a clue where there may be imbalances in different organ systems.” Snow explained that finding a blockage in the flow of energy along the bladder meridian does not necessarily mean a problem exists with the horse’s bladder. It means the horse may have a problem with hydration, the body function that produces urine or the organs involved in maintaining water balance in the horse’s body. Zidonis explained exactly how acupressure is applied. “Using the fleshy part of the thumb,” she said, “you go into a point, applying pressure gently at first. You always want to see how that point is going to react and how the horse is going to react to it. Then you do an assessment of what you feel. “When the horse invites you in more, the point literally becomes softer and your thumb will sink in farther,” she continued. “You want to work the point for 15 to 45 seconds. The horse will give you some indication of what is enough. Usually, he will move away, or sometimes a horse will move into you because it feels so good. These are just good horsemanship skills. “We would use [the bladder meridian] line in the opening. If based on what we find it appears to be out of balance, we would make a selection of points for that particular issue. Say, there is an issue with the hip. We could use gallbladder 29 and 30 and bladder 54, which are points around the hip called local points. Then we could also add in one or two distal points.” After the acupressure session, the horseman is asked to walk the horse so that the whole energy can move through its body. After that, most horses simply are turned out in a paddock until the next day. “A lot of times they’ll go out and roll, which is another way of integrating all that energy work that has just happened to them,” Zidonis said. Snow added, “You’ll often see them give a good shake, and that’s a way for them to move their own chi and blood.”
A FEW CAVEATS
Generally, acupressure is safe to perform, with a few caveats. Snow and Zidonis note that certain points can stimulate contractions in a mare. Acupressure to these points, if performed soon after breeding, could cause the mare to expel a fertilized egg. In a pregnant mare, stimulation of these points could cause abortion. On the flip side, stimulating these points in a mare with a retained placenta or infection of the reproductive tract could help the body expel harmful tissue and pathogens. Acupressure also could aid during a difficult birth. Again, Snow and Zidonis stress the need for veterinary attention in these situations and advocate acupressure as a helpful complementary therapy. Administering acupressure therapy to the horse after a strenuous workout or a heavy grain meal also is contraindicated.
Unlike acupuncture, acupressure is noninvasive and can achieve comparable results, plus it does not require a veterinarian to administer.
Mimi Porter, the first equine therapist to be selected by the Olympic Committee, is regarded worldwide for her work using complementary therapies and modalities to promote the horse’s well-being and aid in rehabilitation from injuries. “If I could give a gift to the world of horse people, I’d give knowledge of acupressure to every horse owner,” Porter said. “Because if you’re used to putting your hands on and feeling those points, you’re going to know your horse’s body a little bit better, and you can recognize a change in their behavior or their gait before it turns into a problem.” Porter said there is observable evidence that acupressure works. “When we stimulate those points, we recognize the response by the horse exhaling, its body getting softer, licking and chewing, the ears getting softer,” she said. “So we have real physical evidence that a physiological change has taken place in the horse’s body.” Moreover, Porter believes the bond acupressure builds between the horse and its owner, rider or groom is invaluable in promoting trust and confidence. The more hours a horseman lays kind hands on a horse, the greater the bond will be. To learn how to perform equine acupressure, Porter recommended that a horseman start by reading as much on the subject as possible to gain an understanding of the principles and techniques. A more dedicated pursuit would entail taking courses, such as those offered by Tallgrass. Both hands-on and online courses are offered at animalacupressure.com. Snow provided this advice to novices: “With learning more and taking training courses, acupressure can become a life-long study. The more you know, the more effective the work with your horse is going to be.” Zidonis added, “Approach the horse with healing intent and be respectful of the horse … Explore and rely on your horse to find the points. “That energy flow between human and animal is pretty life-changing,” she added. “You look at your horse entirely differently. It really gives you a way to give back to your horse, who serves you so well.”
Denise Steffanus is a freelance writer and editor based in Cynthiana, Kentucky. A longtime contributing editor for Thoroughbred Times, she earned the prestigious Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award and the USA Equestrian (now the U.S. Equestrian Federation) Award for Media Excellence. Steffanus, a Pittsburgh native, is a licensed Thoroughbred racehorse trainer and a member of American Mensa. WWW.NHBPA.ORG
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Horsemen have a habit of taking care of their own. If someone was sick or down on his luck, they “passed the hat,” taking up collections, which is a time-honored tradition among racetrackers. It was in 1940 in New England that a group of committed horsemen brought into existence what is now known as the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. From this meager beginning the National HBPA has developed into an organization representing the horsemen’s interests on a myriad of issues. Today, there are approximately 30,000 owner and trainer members throughout the United States and Canada focused on a common goal—the betterment of racing on all levels. With this purpose in mind, we welcome and encourage all horsemen to join the National HBPA, and we urge our members to take an active role in the direction and policies of our organization. It is our members who make a difference. We horsemen are the National HBPA.
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A PRIMER AND A PLAN FOR CHANGE FOR HORSEMEN By Peter J. Sacopulos, Esq.
The phone rings and you look at the caller ID. It’s the stewards’ office. Upon answering, you learn that a recent allowance winner owned by a valued client has tested positive for a prohibited substance. You know the horse and the medication that horse has received and do not understand how there could be a positive. Yet you are the trainer of record, and the trainer responsibility rule, aka the absolute insurer rule, applies to you. You know you must deal with the positive, so you schedule a meeting with an attorney to help you prepare your case. What you learn makes your jaw drop, causing you to incredulously ask the attorney things like: • “You mean to tell me that the state racing commission/board appoints and pays the administrative law judge who will hear my case?” • “And this judge almost always recommends in favor of the commission?” • “And my only option is to complete the lengthy and expensive administrative process, thereby exhausting my administrative remedies before I can get to a ‘level playing field’ before a court of law?” • “And you’re saying that fighting this allegation is going to cost me how much?”
Two “Options” but a Missing Choice
When faced with a complaint from the commission, trainers, grooms, jockeys and veterinarians often seek my counsel. After explaining the issues, I find myself sitting across a desk fielding questions such as those above on a regular basis. Virtually no licensee is aware of what they are up against, until they receive a positive test or are accused of a violation and meet with an attorney. The licensee usually faces the “option” of either taking the deal offered by the commission or preparing for a lengthy and expensive administrative process before being able to be heard in a court of law. 42
I believe these options should include an additional choice. This option is already offered to nearly every civil litigant in state courts across the country but not to horse racing licensees accused by state racing commissions of wrongdoing. That additional choice is mediation, an informal process in which an independent third party attempts to assist in resolving differences. As an attorney who litigates as well as mediates, my experience is that mediation is a less costly and less stressful route for clients. Unfortunately, administrative law judges appointed by racing commissions have flatly rejected the requests for mediation that I have made on behalf of my clients. This is not only true in the state of Indiana where I practice but also in many other racing jurisdictions. Although alternative forms of dispute resolution are common in tort, contract, real estate, divorce, environmental and many other areas of law, in the administrative forum governing state racing commissions, it is exceedingly rare that a request for mediation is approved. It is in the best interest of the commission licensees to allow alternative dispute resolution, and specifically mediation, in resolving administrative complaints or actions filed by commissions against licensees. The reasons include lower costs, a quicker resolution and a fair and impartial third party that can assist in resolving or achieving compromise in a dispute. All of these form the basis to support mediation becoming part of the administrative process and becoming an option for licensees faced with administrative complaints and allegations of violations. To better understand why mediation should be adopted and used by state racing commissions, let’s first take a look at the administrative process itself, along with the Administrative Procedures Act, which governs most proceedings in an administrative forum.
The Little-Known Facts About Commission Complaint Resolution
THE JOURNEY OF A COMMISSION COMPLAINT: A PRIMER
Many licensees, industry participants and even lawyers do not understand the interrelated and conflicting components of the administrative law process. Following is a basic breakdown.
Phase 1: HEARING BY THE STEWARDS When a licensee receives a positive drug test or notice of a violation, they are presented with a proposed penalty and the opportunity for a hearing. The hearing is held before the stewards of the commission. The stewards, at the conclusion of a hearing, issue a decision that may include a monetary fine,
a suspension for a specific period of time and/or the redistribution of purse money or some combination of other penalties. If the licensee is dissatisfied with that decision, they may appeal the decision within a designated time frame, typically less than 30 days.
Phase 2: ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE HEARING If the stewards’ decision is appealed, the state commission, in most jurisdictions, assigns an administrative law judge. The judge oversees a discovery process that includes interrogatories (written questions that must be answered under oath), requests for production of documents that are served by and between the parties and the taking of depositions (sworn testimony provided under oath by a party or a witness). Think the TV show “Law & Order.” The judge, at the conclusion of the discovery process, schedules a hearing, and the state commission and its counsel and the licensee and their counsel present evidence and testimony. The judge then makes a recommendation to the commission. That recommendation may include no penalty (a result as rare and uncommon as a sighting of the illusive ivory-billed woodpecker), a monetary penalty, a suspension from racing for a set number of days, months or years and/ or redistribution of purse money, or a combination of some or all of the above. In the majority of cases, the licensee is unhappy with the judge’s recommendation. Why? Because nearly all of the recommendations are in
favor of the commission. The reason is that the judge is often appointed and paid by the commission. If the judge is smart and wants to keep being referred cases by the commission, it stands to reason that they will rule in favor of the commission. You might be asking yourself, “Isn’t this a conflict of interest? Isn’t this judge automatically biased against recommending for the licensee?” I believe that the answer to both questions is yes. Regardless, this is how the system is set up in many jurisdictions. In short, once an administrative complaint is filed, the licensee is required to exhaust all administrative remedies before they are entitled to a hearing before a state court of law. Translation: The licensee must navigate the administrative gauntlet and climb the financial administration mountain before they will be heard in a state court. The result, in the case of most licensees, is that most simply cannot afford to litigate and the cost/benefit analysis results in the alternative position of “just take the deal.”
Phase 3: APPEAL TO THE FULL RACING COMMISSION BOARD Assuming the administrative law judge rules in favor of the commission, the licensee may appeal the recommended ruling to the full racing commission. Upon review, the commission, in most cases and jurisdictions, may accept and adopt the judge’s recommended ruling, reject the recommended ruling, modify the recommended ruling or remand the matter
back to the judge for additional hearing and consideration. The decision of the full commission, absent the matter being remanded to the judge for further hearing, ends the administrative process, thereby exhausting all administrative remedies and providing the licensee with the option to petition a court of law for judicial review of the commission’s final decision.
Phase 4: A MOVE FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE FORUM TO THE JUDICIAL FORUM If the licensee receives an unfavorable ruling from the full commission, they may appeal that decision to a court of law. Procedurally, this involves a filing with a state trial court. The filing is often styled as a petition for judicial review, which seeks to have the court review, by way of appeal, the
administrative agency’s final decision. Significantly, this is the first point in the appeals process at which the decision maker—the trial judge—is not an employee/representative/appointee of the state commission that is prosecuting the violation.
I am often asked, “If the deck is stacked against me in the administrative process, can’t I simply skip that process or concede to the commission’s position and then fight the battle in the court of law?” The answer is no. The reason is that the trial court requires there to be a record of administrative proceedings. In short, the evidence, testimony, exhibits, arguments and rulings relative to the defense of the alleged violation have to be substantiated, recorded and memorialized in the administrative proceedings so there is a proper record to file with the court. All of this, of course, comes at a significant cost.
Take Action for Change: What Licensees Can Do
Enter the Administrative Procedures Act (APA)
Most states have several elected representatives who are interested in the state racing program and agribusiness issues and who are “friends of the horsemen.” Send a letter or email as an industry individual asking that state legislators propose a bill to adopt the APA provision that allows mediation as an option in racing commission cases.
The APA (sometimes referenced as AOPA for the Administrative Orders and Procedures Act) is a set of federal rules for administrative proceedings. It provides procedural code for the operation of state agencies when action is taken affecting the rights and duties of the public. For “contested cases” being adjudicated by an agency, the APA contains a non-mandatory option to resolve the conflict through alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation. I have long thought mediation would provide a logical alternative to litigating a licensee’s disputed issue through the entire administrative process, or alternatively, “taking the deal.” In fact, I have, on numerous occasions, filed motions with state administrative law judges to submit disputed matters for mediation. Those motions have been denied as have my appeals to the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. Each and every time, the idea of mediation has been rejected. Here’s the rub: States can choose whether to adopt the APA, and even those that have adopted this code may choose to do so in full or in part. So, even if a state does adopt the APA, it does not guarantee that the state will adopt the provision that correlates to alternative dispute resolution. For the APA’s mediation provision to be available to licensees in horse racing, it must appear as a mandatory duty under the state’s Administrative Procedures Act generally applicable to all state agencies, or the state commission itself must promulgate its own mandatory (or discretionary at the licensee’s wishes) regulation, expressly making alternative dispute resolution/mediation available in commission disputes. That’s a long way of saying that if your state hasn’t specifically adopted the APA and there’s no provision for allowing mediation for all state agencies or horse racing specifically, it’s highly likely that an administrative law judge will turn a licensee down every time mediation is suggested as an alternative to the current administrative law process.
Below are three actions that licensees can take to move their state toward allowing mediation for horse racing disputes.
1. W rite your
2. C ontact your state
owner, trainer or breeder organization.
Encourage your organization to flex its muscles through lobbying or other political influence. You could argue that the lack of mediation as a choice is an injustice to members and must change. Find out if your state association will contact a state senator or representative to sponsor and carry a bill that enforces the APA mediation provision. If your state hasn’t yet adopted the APA, the lawmaker could be a champion for change.
3. R equest an opportunity to address your state racing commission.
Explain that integrity encompasses fairness and opportunity and to those considering making and modifying rules of racing, the adoption of mediation as an additional choice of resolution makes sense.
Most state commissions have, as part of their mission statement, the words “maintaining and providing integrity in racing.” It is very difficult for licensees who have been accused to find integrity in a system in which the other side is choosing, assigning, paying and retaining the sole individual—the administrative law judge—who will decide a recommended penalty to the governing body—the state commission. It is even more difficult to find integrity in a system that does not provide the licensee an option of change from the appointed judge. Finally, integrity is eclipsed in a system that denies mediation and denies a review or attempted resolution by an independent third party—the very method used, if not mandated, by state courts in civil actions and by many administrative state agencies, just not racing commissions. Mediation—the missing choice—needs to become part of state racing commission conflict resolution. This article is intended for general information only. Laws and regulations can vary in different states and provinces. Please consult with a qualified attorney for legal advice.
Why Mediation Needs to Be a Choice In its simplest form, mediation is a negotiation between two parties that have a dispute. Together, the parties decide their outcome. Unlike a judge, a mediator is a facilitator, not a decider. “The biggest benefit to mediating a settlement is that the parties control the process,” said Robert D. Litz, president of U.S. Arbitration and Mediation and an attorney, arbitrator and mediator. “Mediation is collaborative and informal. The parties craft their own settlement and control the timeline.” According to Litz, mediation limits downside risk for the parties. “When a dispute goes before an administrative law judge, there is risk of not knowing what the judge is going to do or decide, or when a decision will be made,” he said. “And if it’s a decision the parties don’t like, the appeal process costs more money, takes more time and could be reversed or re-tried with the same judge.” A mediator is usually selected by the parties or their attorneys. In the event an agreement cannot be reached regarding the selection of a mediator, a panel of three mediators is named and each side strikes one name with a remaining listed person to serve as the mediator. This process allows both the state commission and the licensee some input and control in the selection of the mediator. Conversely, the appointment of the administrative law judge by the commission does not allow for the same input by licensees, and in most jurisdictions, the licensee has no rights under the APA to a change of the judge absent showing prejudice—often a difficult task.
Peter Sacopulos is a partner in the law firm of Sacopulos, Johnson & Sacopulos in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he represents clients in a wide range of equine matters. He is a member of the American College of Equine Counsel and serves on the board of the Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and Indiana Thoroughbred Breed Development Advisory Committee. Sacopulos has written extensively on equine law issues and is a frequent speaker at equine conferences.
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Horseman Labor Solutions assists in the immigration visa process for individuals who are: • Jockeys • Hot Walkers • Exercise Riders • Stable Attendants • Grooms • General Laborers OFFICIAL SPONSOR of the National HBPA OFFICIAL SPONSOR of the National HBPA
ALABAMA-BRED UPDATE The third annual Kenneth Cotton Memorial Race, sponsored by the Alabama HBPA with assistance from the Louisiana HBPA, was run April 29 at Evangeline Downs with a field of eight. The $25,000 race was contested at six furlongs for Alabama-breds that were maidens or had broken their maiden for a claiming price of $25,000 or less and never won two races. The winner was Miss Mississippi, a 3-year-old filly owned by James A. Boyd and trained by Ronnie Ward. Jairo Rodriguez rode her to a 1 ½-length win in 1:12.80 in her career debut. Bred by co-owner Boyd and Diane M. Harrington, Miss Mississippi is by Lion Tamer out of Miss Cortina, by Roar. Her victory came exactly three years to the day after she was foaled. Running second was Babalight, owned by Hackett Brothers Thoroughbreds Inc. and trained by Tim Dixon. Third was Alabama Brass, owned by Carol Howell and trained by David Lowry Jr. The Alabama HBPA once again thanks Evangeline Downs and the Louisiana HBPA for all their help and support in the running of this Alabama-bred race. The Jefferson County Racing Commission has said the Magic City Classic will be run again this year, but no details on purse amount and date are available at this time. The race will most likely be held at Fair Grounds in December. As the details are known, we will help get the word out. For those of you running Alabama-bred horses in Louisiana, there are still added purse funds available to those horses running in open company races at the four tracks in the state. This is in addition to the Alabama HBPA supplemental purse funds for any Alabama-bred running in open company. The newly updated Birmingham Race Course had a crowd of 5,100 with a handle of approximately $900,000 for the Kentucky Derby this year, which was an improvement from 2016. Maybe this is the start of a new trend in horse racing.
ARIZONA HBPA TURF PARADISE WRAP-UP On May 7, Turf Paradise closed out the meet with its traditional Hasta La Vista race as the last race of the meet. Excitement filled the air as Go Max crossed the finish line first for owner Doug Blair and trainer Debbie O’Brien. Congratulations to the winning connections! It’s always a sad day as you watch horsemen pack their barns and move out and on to the next meet. However, we wish them all a great summer and look forward to their return in the fall. The following topped the Turf Paradise leader boards for the meet: Trainer: Robertino Diodoro Jockey: Andrew Ramgeet Owner: Charles Garvey Horse: Yo Y Me Arizona HBPA President J. Lloyd Yother, lobbyist Bas Aja and Executive Director Leroy Gessmann, along with Marvin Fleming and Filippo Santoro from the Arizona Thoroughbred Breeders Association, spent many days down at the capitol working on breeder award money and reduction of the regulatory wagering assessment (RWA). Their challenging work paid off with breeders getting $250,000 in award monies for certified Arizona-breds and the RWA tax bill being reduced from .085 percent to .05 percent. Both have been signed by 50
Views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinion or policy of the publisher or National HBPA board or staff. the governor. Thank you to everyone who worked on these projects, and thanks to the senators and representatives who helped make this happen. This will be a big boost to the racing industry. This was an election year for the Leading jockey Andrew Ramgeet Arizona HBPA board of directors. Our new directors are President Robert Hutton; Vice President J. Lloyd Yother; owner directors Kristin Boice, Debi Ferguson and Peggy Thompson; first alternate Filippo Santoro; owner-trainer directors Mike Chambers, Kevin Eikleberry and Valorie Lund; first alternate Larry O’Brien; and second alternate Curt Ferguson. The new board has had a couple of meetings already, and they are very excited about the 2017–18 Turf Leading trainer Robertino Diodoro Paradise meet. The Arizona HBPA office will be closed again this summer; however, President Hutton and Vice President Yother will continue to work with the regulators and management on racing matters. If you need to contact the office for anything, you can reach Wendy at (602) 920-6996 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Have a good, safe summer. Remember, safety first. Your loved ones expect you home.
ARKANSAS HBPA ANOTHER STRONG OAKLAWN MEET Culminating with 62,500 fans turning out to watch champion Classic Empire win the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), the 2017 Oaklawn Park live racing season concluded with nearly a 5 percent gain in total handle and another record-setting season for purses. Good weather along with large, competitive fields led to total handle of $189,534,228 in 2017, compared with $180,582,197 in 2016. Horsemen racing at Oaklawn benefited from the country’s highest purse structure for the time of year. Maiden special weights grew from $72,000 to $80,000 during the season, while allowance races ended as high as $84,000 after starting out at $74,000. The record average daily purse distribution of $502,781 also contributed to plenty of action at the claim box with 456 horses claimed for nearly $6.23 million. “Our goal is to offer our racing fans an entertainment value that is second to none and I couldn’t be more proud of our team for helping us achieve that goal in a big way,” General Manager Wayne Smith said. “I want to congratulate
CHARLES TOWN HBPA 2017 GENERAL MEETINGS The next Charles Town HBPA general meeting is scheduled for noon on June 17. Please join us at the Holiday Inn Express at 681 Flowing Springs Road in Ranson. Additional dates for general meetings this year are September 16 and December 16. These meetings are also at noon at the Holiday Inn Express in Ranson. RACE DATES Effective June 1, live racing at Charles Town will be offered three nights
owner Danny Caldwell, trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. for leading our standings. They and all the horsemen helped us put on quite a show. It was a terrific season.” Asmussen and Santana both enjoyed highly successful meets topped by Gun Runner’s victory in the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) and Ever So Clever’s win in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) for Asmussen and Whitmore’s victory in the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) for Santana. Asmussen earned his eighth leading trainer title with 41 victories and $2,763,845 in earnings, while Santana earned his fifth straight leading riding title with 53 wins and $2,753,797 in earnings. Caldwell earned his fourth leading owner title with 22 wins and $965,728 in earnings. Among his best horses was Domain’s Rap, who won the $125,000 Fifth Season Handicap and finished second in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2). Oaklawn made a major change to its stakes schedule in 2017, which proved successful, when it increased the purse of the Razorback Handicap to $500,000 and moved it to the Presidents’ Day card along with the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3). Race winner Gun Runner went on to finish second to Arrogate in the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1). The added excitement in February carried over to March, when Oaklawn enjoyed one of its best Rebel Stakes days. A crowd of 36,000 was on hand, and total handle reached $10,752,313.15, which was a non-Arkansas Derby Day record. “We’re extremely pleased,” Director of Racing David Longinotti said. “Gun Runner set the bar high when he won the Razorback so impressively in February, and the quality of our stakes just got better from there. Rebel Stakes Day was super. We had last year’s champion 2-year-old in the Arkansas Derby, thrilling renditions of the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap and Apple Blossom Handicap and absolutely beautiful weather throughout the final few weeks of the season—a true crescendo. It will be exciting to see what champions Classic Empire and Stellar Wind do from here as well as impressive stakes winners Ever So Clever and Whitmore.” Among the other highlights of the 2017 season was the Show Bet Bonus, which was designed for casual on-track patrons and offered higher payoffs to customers. “A lot of our patrons are brand-new racing fans on their first-ever trip to a racetrack,” Longinotti added. “We designed the Show Bet Bonus as a way to introduce new fans to racing in the hopes that they would be able to cash more tickets and have a more enjoyable experience. It exceeded our expectations in the first year. Show wagering has become one of our most popular wagers, and in fact, the show pool increased 34 percent over last year. You could hear people in the grandstand every race day talking about their show parlays.” Oaklawn’s 2018 live racing season begins Friday, January 12, and runs through Saturday, April 14.
per week through December 23. Post time is 7 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. A new change to our schedule is the addition of live racing on Thanksgiving Day. CHANGES TO THE WV RULES OF THOROUGHBRED RACING Effective June 2, the West Virginia Thoroughbred Rules of Racing have been updated to adopt the April 8, 2016, version 12.0 schedule for the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) Controlled Therapeutic Substances List, the RCI Environmental Contaminants List and the RCI Uniform Guidelines for Foreign Substances List. The rules also adopt the RCI non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs stacking rule. In addition, the West Virginia rules adopt the newest version of the model Multiple Medication Violation rule that was adopted by RCI in December 2016. Other revisions in the rules of racing include changes to the coupled entry rule to allow more wagering options, a duty to cooperate provision for permit holders, an expanded out-of-competition testing rule, a provision for a voided claim for a fatality on the racetrack, a 180-day option to declare a horse to be ineligible to be claimed (also known as the waiver claiming rule) and authorization for jackpot carryover wagers. A link to the new rules will be available at cthbpa.com. 2017 WEST VIRGINIA LEGISLATIVE SESSION The West Virginia Legislature approved the new racing and wagering rules outlined above. The West Virginia Racing Commission and its counsel did an excellent job to help update the RCI medication rules, which were not released until December 2016, just weeks before the session began. Horsemen requested these updates at the January commission meeting to ensure uniformity with other jurisdictions as well as the best available science to ensure horsemen are treated fairly. As of May 10, the Legislature hadn’t completed its budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. West Virginia is facing challenging financial circumstances with a projected deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars. Horsemen and women diligently advocated supporting the 5,500 Thoroughbred industry jobs and $250 million in annual economic impact the Thoroughbred industry provides to West Virginia’s economy and is hopeful the Legislature does not balance the budget on the backs of horsemen and women.
FLORIDA HBPA DECOUPLING AVERTED AGAIN The 2017 Florida legislative session ended in early May, and no new gaming proposal was passed. Decoupling of slot facilities from their parimutuel facilities was front and center again, except the House would not go along with the Senate decoupling plans for South Florida’s Miami-Dade and Broward counties unless there was a countywide referendum vote in the county approving decoupling. The two chambers could not resolve this and many other conflicting issues during this session, and all gaming bills died. There is a possibility gaming could resurface in a special session this year. Otherwise, the Legislature does not reconvene again until January 2018. The Florida HBPA will be busy between now and then meeting with key statewide leaders and also local leaders who may be instrumental if decoupling ever comes down to a local referendum. Additionally, the Florida Supreme Court authorized a ballot question for WWW.HBPA.ORG
November 2018 that, if enough signatures are collected, would put it to the voters of Florida to require a statewide vote for any future gaming expansion. There are also anticipated state court decisions that could affect gaming expansion in Florida. For now, the FHBPA believes that its message has been heard in Tallahassee and that we remain steadfast in our opposition to decoupling in any fashion. MEDICATION In mid-March, the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering acknowledged the impropriety of serum samples being reopened and handled in the test barns after they were initially drawn and sealed in front of required witnesses. An order was entered in a test case dismissing that case and, as a result, the division ultimately dismissed all pending serum sample cases. Those cases, numbering more than 100, were nearly all claimed overages of Class III, IV and V therapeutic medications. The division also acknowledged the problem with its split sample procedures, wherein a request for a split sample resulted in the division pouring off a portion of the already positive-tested serum sample and sending that to another lab. The division will now draw two separate samples and store one sealed sample for possible split sample testing purposes. It took the willingness of trainers to step up and be test cases along with good investigative and legal work to get the division to correct what should have been obvious scientific procedural errors. The result of these efforts should be a more effective and fair system for all concerned. RACING For the second year in a row, the winner of the Florida Derby (G1) has gone on to win the Kentucky Derby (G1). Gulfstream Park is cementing itself as the premier road to the Triple Crown. The Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) returns to Gulfstream Park on January 27, 2018, with an enhanced purse of $16 million and more return for the also-ran finishers. Again, no purse monies will be expended on this race, but the purse account/horsemen will benefit from this massive handle day. For the first time, the Caribbean Classic races, which began in 1966, will be held outside of Latin America or the Caribbean. Gulfstream Park will host the five races on December 9, with total purses of around $650,000. No Gulfstream purse account monies will be used for these races either. These very popular races consist of horses bred in the participating Confederation of Caribbean Racetracks including Panama, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Columbia and the Dominican Republic. Extensive plans are in the works for quarantine, health and safety protocols. We expect good handle on this day and a very excited crowd that may increase local interest in live racing.
INDIANA HBPA LOOKOUT ANGEL WINS SEASON OPENER AT INDIANA GRAND Indiana Grand Racing & Casino kicked off its 15th season of Thoroughbred and American Quarter Horse racing Tuesday, April 18, with a nine-race card. Newcomer Deshawn Parker won his first start over the track in the season opener aboard Lookout Angel. Parker used the stretch to get the most out of Lookout Angel and rally home for the win in her first start of 2017. Lookout Angel was a 1 ½-length winner over Craftys Lil Sis and Tommy Pompell while Duchessofoldenburg and Rodney Prescott rounded out the top three. 52
Lookout Angel, owned and trained by Dawn Martin, scored her first win in two years. The 6-year-old Indiana-bred daughter of Benny the Bull paid $6.40, $3.00 and $2.40 for her win, her first attempt since a mid-October race at Indiana Grand. Parker, who has more than 5,200 career wins, is best known for his many leading rider titles at Mountaineer Park. He moved his tack to Sam Houston Race Park this past winter, finishing third in the standings before a short stay at Oaklawn Park and on to Indiana Grand. To officially launch the season, Indiana Grand hosted a kickoff celebration on Saturday, April 22, with evening racing and fun for the entire family. Saturday’s festivities included a free live performance by Jai Baker Band, free face painting and airbrush tattoos and an appearance by the world’s tallest jockey. To conclude the evening, Indiana Grand offered fireworks following the last race. In the first week of the meet, Indiana Grand hosted a welcome back barbecue for horsemen at the track kitchen and a crawfish boil for horsemen in the frontside tent at the track. Live racing is conducted Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 2:05 p.m. and Saturdays at 6:05 p.m. Thursday racing will be added in July and August with a post time of 2:05 p.m. through August 24. The 120-day meet concludes Saturday, October 28. INDIANA HBPA HOSTS FIRST GRAND MORNING OF 2017 After a week of nothing but rain and more rain, the Indiana HBPA and Indiana Grand co-hosted the first Grand Morning of 2017, aided by a special guest appearance by the sun. The May 6 program featured a continental breakfast, giveaways and an informational tour of the jockey quarters and paddock. Grand Mornings at Indiana Grand will take place the first Saturday of each of the first four months of the 2017 meet. Visitors will get to see a different behind-the-scenes aspect of the track at each program. On June 3, guests were to take a test barn and receiving barn backstretch tour. On July 1, the tour will be in the racing office, and visitors will learn about jockey agent duties. That Saturday will be held at the Backstretch Cafe, which is located outside the stable gate on the backstretch. And on August 5, the tour will go through a backstretch barn. Visitors will be able to talk to trainers. Most of the guests at the 2016 events came from Shelbyville, just a few miles away. And most of the guests at the initial 2017 event were repeaters from last year. Going forward, the Indiana HBPA hopes the word gets out to a broader interested public. In the meantime, we’re glad it stopped raining long enough for the program to get started this year. 2017 LEGISLATIVE SESSION AUTHORIZES ADW IN INDIANA The 2017 Indiana General Assembly permitted advance deposit wagering in Indiana for the first time since banning it in 2005. Legislators authorized the Indiana Horse Racing Commission to promulgate a structure and rules for ADW, while appropriating revenues from the proceeds to be divided among the racing breeds in the same proportion as track casino revenue is currently divided. In addition, the General Assembly eliminated the state sales tax on claiming transactions in Indiana. “The General Assembly showed great vision in the way they initially set up the Indiana racing and breeding industry for success,” said Indiana HBPA President Joe Davis. “Since we began, they have been willing to build on that vision with improvements when we’ve needed them. We appreciate their ongoing efforts to help us bring home a winner for Indiana.”
Coady Photography Coady Photography Coady Photography Coady Photography
2016 AWARDS BANQUET FOR IOWA HBPA AND ITBOA The annual Iowa HBPA Awards Banquet held for the category winners of the 2016 racing meet was a tremendous success with an excellent turnout. This was the sixth year the banquet was held in combination with the Iowa Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association, and it will continue this way for Patrick Sullivan (left) and J.R. Boeson accept the foreseeable future. It was the Claimer of the Year Award from National decided after both organizations’ and Iowa HBPA President Leroy Gessmann. 2011 banquets occurred within a week of each other that combining the two would be easier for both groups and our representative members. The results have been a resounding success from all of the compliments that have been received following the banquet. As always, the Prairie Meadows buffet was well received by those Trainer Kelly Von Hemel accepts Smack in attendance. Smack’s Horse of the Year Award from Danny Caldwell won Owner National and Iowa HBPA President Leroy of the Year for the IA HBPA. This Gessmann on behalf of Dream Walkin’ Farms. is the third time Danny has earned the title. In 2016, he had 171 starts, and his horses won 42 races for earnings of nearly $734,000. A job well done, Danny! The 2016 Horse of the Year honors went to Smack Smack, who started 12 times in 2016 with two wins, six seconds, a third and earnings in excess of $427,000. Trainer Manny Villafranco accepts the Owner Both of his wins were at Prairie Meadows. Smack Smack is owned of the Year Award from National and Iowa HBPA President Leroy Gessmann on behalf by Dream Walkin’ Farms and of Danny Caldwell. trained by Don Von Hemel. Claimer of the Year for 2016 went to Tarty to the Party, with earnings of $144,670. This beautiful mare had eight starts with five wins, a second and a third. Tarty to the Party is owned by Patrick Sullivan and J.R. Boesen and trained by Ray Tracy. Trainer of the Year went to Karl Broberg. He had 254 starts Dr. Brad Brown accepts the TCA Award with 61 wins and earnings of more of Merit from National and Iowa HBPA than $1.1 million. President Leroy Gessmann and ITBOA President Steve Rentfle (right).
This year during the awards ceremony, Thoroughbred Charities of America presented an Award of Merit to local veterinarian Dr. Brad Brown for his work in aftercare for horses that have come off the track at Prairie Meadows. Brown has been a strong advocate working with the local aftercare organization Hope After Racing Thoroughbreds (HART) by donating many hours and resources to help all the horses that HART has brought into the program over the years. Again, congratulations to all IA HBPA award winners and to Brown on his Award of Merit! At left are a few pictures of the award recipients in their respective categories. HART SILENT AUCTION SET FOR FESTIVAL OF RACING On Saturday, July 8, during the Prairie Meadows Festival of Racing, the local horse rehabilitation/retraining program Hope After Racing Thoroughbreds (HART) will be holding a silent auction in the Prairie Rose Room located on the fourthfloor clubhouse level. All proceeds will benefit HART and aid in the placing or retraining of Thoroughbreds when their racing careers are over at Prairie Meadows. A few of the highlighted items for this year’s auction are three photos of American Pharoah winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic signed by trainer Bob Baffert. If you would like to donate an item to the silent auction or want to make a monetary donation to HART, please contact the IA HBPA office at (515) 967-4804. Also, follow us on Facebook! IA HBPA CROSSES FINISH LINE WITH IRGC BILL IMPLEMENTING THIRD-PARTY LASIX ADMINISTRATION The IA HBPA supported an Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission bill (HF 568) earlier this year that helped align Iowa closer to the National Uniform Medication Policy. Within the bill was a revision on how Lasix (furosemide) could be administered and by whom. With passage of the bill, along with rules that allowed for the change in administration, the IA HBPA, Prairie Meadows and IRGC have now successfully begun third-party Lasix administration for the 2017 racing season. As of this writing, horsemen have been very welcoming of the policy, with state veterinarians and third-party Lasix veterinarians commenting on how smoothly the process has gone. Another aspect of the bill was the removal of a felony provision for anyone who had ice on a horse’s leg within two hours prior to post. The law had been around for quite some time, and the reasoning for having it was not completely understood; however, horsemen had many legitimate reasons why the removal of this law was important. After discussion between the IRGC and IA HBPA, it was agreed to remove the language to bring Iowa again closer in line with normal allowable practices nationwide. Thus, with the passage of HF 568 and signature by Governor Terry Branstad, horsemen now no longer have to be in fear of possibly facing a felony for having ice on a horse’s legs within two hours prior to post. Pictured is Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signing HF 568 into law. From left: IA HBPA Secretary/Treasurer Jamie Thompson; IA HBPA Executive Director Jon Moss; IA HBPA director spouse Vicki Cosaert; IA HBPA director Dick Cosaert; Senate President Jack Whitver; Senator Dan Dawson; Governor Branstad; Representative Jake Highfill; ITBOA President Steve Rentfle; Representative and former IA HBPA director Rick Olson; former ITBOA President Deb Leech; Rasmussen Group lobbyist Scott Newhard; Prairie Meadows board member Paul Rogness; and IA HBPA/ITBOA lobbyist Scott Weiser.
KENTUCKY HBPA PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Historical horse racing at Kentucky Downs continues to provide huge dividends, not only to the track’s purse structure but also to the purses at Ellis Park in Henderson, Kentucky. Our agreement with Kentucky Downs enables us to utilize a portion of the tremendous revenue stream from historical racing to supplement the purses at Ellis Park. While Kentucky Downs continues to offer purses that are unrivaled anywhere for its five-day race meeting, Ellis Park now offers a balanced purse structure with $40,000 maiden races. By a balanced purse structure, I mean that claiming horses as well as allowance and stakes races have benefited from the infusion of the supplemental revenue from Kentucky Downs. We continue to monitor Turfway Park’s status as it relates to implementing improvements to the facility as a prelude to installing historical racing machines. The timetable for beginning construction appears to be this summer. The Kentucky Legislature is planning a special session later this year devoted to tax reform. Why is this a concern to horsemen? Because many issues will be on the table, including perhaps historical racing. It is important that the racing industry educate the General Assembly on the economic benefit of horse racing to the state of Kentucky and the jobs it represents. Unlike other major racing states like New York, Florida, Louisiana and Arkansas, Kentucky does not have casino gambling to supplement racing. We must rely on pari-mutuel handle and historical racing to maintain a competitive purse schedule. Earlier this year, we lost two respected horsemen, both friends of mine. Lynn Whiting will be remembered to the general public as the trainer of a Kentucky Derby winner, but to the many horsemen on the backstretch, he was respected as an accomplished horseman who was fiercely loyal to his friends. Clem Frank was an owner in western Kentucky who also trained horses later in life. Clem served on the KHBPA board for a few years and was a strong advocate for the rights of horsemen. I will miss them both. We dodged a bullet regarding the Returning Worker Exemption for the H-2B visa program (see next item). Many of our horsemen faced a real crisis when it appeared that they may be looking at the loss of their returning workers. However, the problem was averted, and trainers’ workers were able to return to the United States to work. Will Velie, attorney for Horseman Labor Solutions, and Julio Rubio, KHBPA Hispanic Coordinator, worked tirelessly, crisscrossing the country and alerting horsemen of the issue. Dale Romans, KHBPA Vice President, also was very active, contacting several influential people to facilitate arriving at a solution to the work shortage problem. Good luck in your racing endeavors, Rick Hiles, President, KHBPA H-2B VISA SHORTAGES Trainers across the country, as well as employers in other industries, were affected by the shortage of H-2B visas. Congress did not act fast enough to pass the Returning Worker Exemption for H-2B, which allowed workers with previous visas to be exempt from the H-2B cap. Workforce shortages happened this spring due to the Returning Worker Exemption not being passed. This measure would have effectively increased the number of H-2B visas issued in a given year. The effect on some of our trainers was that none of their returning workers were able to come into the country to work. The H-2B visa cap was reached on April 1 this year. 54
There is good news, however, as open borders advocates slipped EB-5 and H-2B extensions into the spending bill. On April 26, the H-2B Workforce Coalition organized a fly-in during which industry members who rely on the H-2B visa went to Washington, D.C., telling their story to legislators, which was a powerful way to get the message across that H-2B is a vital program that supports the U.S. economy. And it appears their effort was a great success. This May, congressional leadership, aided by the Appropriations Committee, has once again extended the EB-5 program and a loophole in the H-2B program by inserting language in the massive interim budget bill. The provisions, which were due to expire in May, will now remain in place until September 30, the end of the fiscal year. Republican and Democratic leaders agreed to the text of the budget bill, which is expected to be passed shortly. What this means is that those workers who were stuck in their countries due to the cap being met will now be able to come in to work. Julio Rubio and William Velie this past winter traveled to tracks in Louisiana, Florida and Indiana, where they held pro bono clinics for workers to see if they would qualify for any of the existing immigration programs, like DACA, 601 Waivers and 245i, available at the moment. They also met with trainers and advised them on the importance of having an I-9 for each employee to prevent them from being fined in case of an audit. Also emphasized was the importance of applying for H-2B visas in a timely manner to prevent delays in their workforce and to keep everyone in status. For those trainers who don’t rely on H-2Bs, it was recommended they apply. Thank you, horsemen, for contacting your lawmakers. It was a great success. TWITTER CAMPAIGN CONTINUES The Kentucky HBPA continues to make a major push toward promoting horse racing, and Kentucky Derby Week provided excellent opportunities. #KyDerbyKids, the Twitter initiative we sponsor to have the sons and daughters of Kentucky Derby horsemen tweet about their experience, was back for the second Bailey Romans, daughter of trainer Dale Romans, year under the supervision with radio personality Tony Cruise of communications consultant Jennie Rees. This year, we added the kids of Kentucky Derby jockeys and even jockeys in their 20s who were riding in the Derby. We ran into some issues with time constraints but continued to get favorable media attention on television and radio. Bailey Romans, daughter of Kentucky HBPA Vice President Dale Romans and co-founder of #KyDerbyKids, again was a star. So was Jane Motion, the 20-year-old daughter of trainer Graham Motion. Bailey and Jane were outstanding in multiple live broadcast spots talking about being involved in the Derby, horse racing and #KyDerbyKids. Jane cheerfully came out with her parents on a raw, rainy Kentucky Oaks morning at 5 a.m. to participate. Another highlight was Hannah Pletcher announcing on @KyDerbyKids (the Twitter address) who would ride Patch for her dad in the Kentucky Derby. This concept will only continue to grow in participation and awareness. We also added “Kentucky Derby: Full Court Press,” a multimedia program to give an insider’s view to a Derby contender, in this case the Dale Romanstrained J Boys Echo, with full cooperation from the owners and regular jockey
THE HBPA IS YOU The HBPA, established in 1940, is an organization of owners and trainers numbering approximately 30,000 nationally in 23 states and Canada and more than 6,000 in Kentucky. The association is governed by a board of directors consisting of owners and trainers volunteering their time and elected by the membership every three years. The HBPA is committed to working for the betterment of racing on all levels. The HBPA represents owners and trainers on several fronts: • The HBPA is present in negotiating sessions with each racetrack regarding purse structure, equitable share of simulcast revenues, overall track safety, sanitation and security. • The HBPA provides benevolence to horsemen in need, education and recreation programs to the backstretch, and various insurance packages that include—free of charge to members—fire and disaster insurance and claiming coverage. Visit one of the fully staffed HBPA offices at the currently running racetrack in Kentucky for details. • The HBPA works in conjunction with the chaplaincy program and the Kentucky Racing Health and Welfare Fund to provide support and benefits for horsemen. • The HBPA supports scientific research and marketing initiatives on a regional and national level to help promote interest in Thoroughbred racing. • The HBPA is at the forefront in litigation and legislation on issues
Robby Albarado (who was injured before the Derby). This wound up dovetailing with Gwen Davis of Davis Innovation doing terrific daily behind-the-scenes video of the barn, taking on a different aspect each day. The venture started with the Blue Grass. You can find the videos at facebook.com/KyHBPA. At Dale Romans’ suggestion, we added Facebook Live, not just for his barn but for real-time interviews conducted by Jennie with other Kentucky Derby and Oaks participants. These attracted a following, with the introduction and wrap-up citing the video as “Kentucky Derby: Full Court Press, presented by the Kentucky HBPA” bringing positive exposure. Facebook Live is a fantastic marketing tool that we highly recommend for all HBPA affiliates. It’s really easy to use, and many fans told us they appreciated feeling like they were on the backside. You just have to be sure everybody understands that you are live. The KHBPA also had a strong presence at K.E.E.P. Day during the Kentucky legislative session. The multi-breed Kentucky Equine Education Project, which has an excellent relationship with the Kentucky and National HBPAs, staged a day when horsemen and anyone working in the horse industry in any capacity, including fans, could come and interact with legislators. Kentucky HBPA Executive Director National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback with KY State Marty Maline, along with Representative Sannie Overly (D) National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback and General Counsel Peter Ecabert, participated and got valuable face time with lawmakers and the opportunity to explain industry issues and the importance of equines to the economy of every district in the commonwealth.
involving horsemen’s rights in regard to interstate simulcasting, proprietary rights, casino gambling, therapeutic medication, sports betting and many other areas of concern to horsemen. How can I join? You are invited to drop by the HBPA office to meet the staff and learn more about current projects and how you can get involved in helping to improve the industry. There are no membership fees. Remember, this is your organization. Become an active participant and one of the horsemen helping horsemen. To join, all you need to do is fill out our membership card and fax, mail or email it back to us. For more information, please visit our website at kyhbpa.org and click on “How to Join.”
LOUISIANA HBPA EVANGELINE DOWNS The Racing Employees Assistance Program is an organization that supports the good work of Chaplain Dwight Brown and provides financial assistance to horsemen in need. REAP will hold its annual fundraiser this summer. We would like to thank everyone who supports the event each year. For more information regarding this year’s event, call Chaplain Brown at (337) 308-0960. The 2017 Thoroughbred meet at Evangeline Downs began on April 12 and ends on September 2. The meet features 20 stakes races highlighted by Louisiana Legends Night on July 8, with more than $750,000 in purses to be awarded to Louisiana-bred horses. For additional information, contact the Evangeline Downs racing office at (866) 349-0687. LOUISIANA DOWNS The Backside Benevolence Fund will hold its annual Chaplain’s Awards Banquet on Friday, September 8, at the Horseshoe River Dome in Bossier City. The evening will include a live auction, a raffle drawing and basket raffles. Proceeds from the event help the BBF continue its support of the Louisiana Downs chaplaincy, thrift store and laundromat. Tickets are available at the Winners’ Circle Church and at the LTBA office. If you would like to help the BBF, please contact Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk at (318) 560-7466. The 2017 Louisiana Downs Thoroughbred meet began on May 6 and concludes on September 27. The meet features Louisiana Cup Day and the Super Derby. DELTA DOWNS The 2017 American Quarter Horse Meet at Delta Downs began on April 21 and ends on July 8. Closing day features the $200,000-added (historical total for this race is more than $500,000 each year) Lee Berwick Futurity for 2-year-olds. The Firecracker Futurity will be contested on July 1 with a purse of $100,000-added (historical total of more than $250,000). The track estimates stakes for the 46-day meet will exceed $2.8 million and total purses will be approximately $10 million. For additional information, contact the Delta Downs racing office at (888) 589-7223. FAIR GROUNDS The 2017 American Quarter Horse meet at Fair Grounds begins on August 18 and concludes on September 9. The meet will average more than $200,000 per day in purses and will feature the LQHBA Sales Futurity on September 9 with the trials conducted on August 18. WWW.HBPA.ORG
Harrahâ€™s Louisiana Downs 2017 Race Meets
Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino 2017-2018 Race Meets 2717 Delta Downs Dr., Vinton, LA 70668 * 337-589-7441 * www.deltadowns.com Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu
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Fair Grounds Race Course 2017-2018 Race Meets 1751 Gentilly Blvd. New Orleans, LA 70119 504-944-5515 * www.fairgroundsracecourse.com Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu
2235 Creswell Lane Extension, Opelousas, LA 70570 337-594-3000 * www.evangelinedowns.com Fri
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FINALLY...ADVANCED DEPOSIT WAGERING FOR MICHIGAN!
JOCKEYS AND AGENTS AT HAZEL PARK Following is a list of jockeys and agents at Hazel Park: Frank Garoufalis, agent. Represents Ricardo Barrios, Terry Houghton and Federico Mata. (813) 495-6400. Gary Terrien, agent. Represents Wayne Barnett, Angel Stanley and Javour Simpson. (248) 703-8691. Shane Biddinger, agent. Represents Alfredo Clemente and Gilberto Santiago. (734) 277-7642. Jockeys with no agent: Michael Henry, Glenmore Mayhew, Godofredo Laurente, Cesar Rodriguez, Rogelio Diaz-Romeo Jr., Brittany Vanden Berg, Kelly Spanabel and apprentice Melissa Zajac. Always feel free to contact the Hazel Park Racing Office for information and questions at (248) 398-1000, prompt 1, or the Michigan HBPA at (231) 206-4884.
Hazel Park is attracting big crowds for live racing.
After a nine-year battle to allow advanced deposit wagering in Michigan, it appears (at this writing) that we are there! With the cooperation of the governor’s office staff, the Michigan HBPA and the Legislature, an amendment to Public Act 504 (the Michigan Horse Racing Act) has been introduced in Lansing to allow immediate implementation of ADW. It is anticipated that this provision will be in effect by the beginning of June 2017. For many years, Michigan remained almost alone as a state that offered live Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing without an ADW platform for horse racing fans. With the significant growth in online, mobile and telephone wagering throughout the country, Michigan will now be able to somewhat level the playing field. There’s a Thoroughbred racing renaissance in Michigan. In 1933, and for many decades, Thoroughbred racing in Detroit was one of the standards for racing in the country. With the passage of the new Michigan Racing Act in 2016, ADW in 2017, the formation of the Michigan Horse Racing Commission and a renewed interest in breeding, Michigan will continue to fight our way back to racing respectability. Hazel Park Raceway continues to be a most welcoming place for Midwest horsemen. You’ll find a helpful and supportive staff in the racing office, in the barn areas and in the Michigan HBPA office. With a Friday and Saturday night post time at 7:20 p.m., Hazel Park features nine races for Thoroughbreds and American Quarter Horses each evening. We often see owners and trainers bringing their families for a weekend of racing in the “New Detroit.” Although Hazel Park is not fueled by slot machine revenues, you will find the stands filled with 4,000 to 7,000 fans, all there for the races. That’s certainly something you don’t typically see at most other racetracks. Pure Michigan Horse Racing!
MINNESOTA HBPA NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR I recently became executive director of the Minnesota HBPA, based at Canterbury Park, a model for other tracks, large and small. Before joining the MNHBPA, I had formulated and overseen marketing programs for over two decades at tracks such as Arlington Park, Calder Race Course, Hialeah and Gulfstream. This experience is why I have great respect and admiration for Canterbury’s marketing efforts. Their management has a holistic approach to the sport. They realize everything they do, from maintaining the grounds to social media to the beer being cold, is marketing. Best of all, they have a genuine love for the game and an energy to ceaselessly craft innovative and attractive events and amenities and match it with superb customer service. There is a reason there’s such a term as Minnesota-friendly. The results of Canterbury’s efforts are an abundance of young fans and very strong paid attendance. Imagine that … people paying to see racing! The folks at Canterbury know if you put on a great show in an attractive and comfortable facility the price point for admission ($7 and $9 general admission) is downright cheap compared to any other sport or form of entertainment. This sensibility doesn’t stop with the frontside. Rather, its foundation is the backstretch. Years and years before I arrived, horsemen and management forged a respectful and trusting partnership. They had to if racing was to survive, in the right way, in Minnesota. They understood that then, and they understand it now. A few years ago, horsemen and management were on the same page in attaining a multiyear agreement with a Native American casino group that effectively doubled purse money and promoted racing to a new market. And today, horsemen and management have launched a multipronged campaign for legislation that will keep Canterbury open should the government shut down. Frankly, this legislation is for nothing less than survival. Both parties get that. But it’s not just the highly publicized issues that matter. Consistent and open meetings and dialog between horsemen and numerous department heads address issues before they elevate to crisis level. This doesn’t mean there is perfection. As we all know, there is a plethora of moving parts at a racetrack. But when you talk with and get a perspective from each other, problems can be solved and good ideas found. One such good, if not great, idea reopens this month in the backstretch administration building: the dental clinic. Equipped with X-ray machines and two dental chairs, it brings the vastly underrated health benefits of dental care WWW.HBPA.ORG
that would have eliminated Greyhound racing. The West Virginia Thoroughbred racing industry highlighted its contribution to state tourism during West Virginia Adventure Day at the state capitol. The Mountaineer Park HBPA, Charles Town HBPA and West Virginia Thoroughbred Breeders Association joined efforts to promote Thoroughbred racing in our state. EASTER EGG HUNT ON THE TURN Just prior to the beginning of the meet, the children of backstretch workers were treated to a visit from the Easter Bunny, an egg hunt, crafts and treats. Jana Tetrault
directly to those who need it most and oftentimes lack access to transportation. Also on the backstretch, the chaplaincy is very active with new programs for sports and education, in addition to holding services and putting together numerous events. And not to be forgotten is our volunteer chiropractor, who is now in his 20th year. With all of the above in place, Canterbury Park opened Kentucky Oaks/ Derby weekend, two weeks earlier than has been the case the past eight years. More than 20,000 made their way to Canterbury on Derby Day, one of multiple days this meet when the track will have hit that magic number and then some. So as there are multiple and serious issues confronting horsemen, one that sometimes gets overlooked is the necessity for track management to provide an environment that can meet the expectations of customers who frequent other sports venues, a place that you would be proud to take your friends and family members who are novices. Canterbury does this, which in turn showcases the sport and its participants, from the Thoroughbred to the owner to the jockey to, of course, the trainer. Michael Cronin, MNHBPA Executive Director
MOUNTAINEER PARK HBPA
2017 RACING MEET As of May 2, Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort began racing four days a week on Sundays through Wednesdays. The post time remains 7 p.m. In an effort to maximize the dwindling purse fund, the Mountaineer Park HBPA looked at options to maintain the purse structure and the overall length of the race meet in an effort to ensure that horsemen had the opportunity to race year-round. The centerpiece of the meet is the Grade 3 West Virginia Derby on August 5 with a 2 p.m. post. During the winter months, the Mountaineer Park HBPA worked with the West Virginia Racing Commission to rectify an issue with test results. After these discussions, no action is taken on a race until the official lab results are received. Second-place horses will now be treated as non-winners until and if the winner has an official positive test. As ordered by the racing commission, the NTRA Safety and Accreditation Committee visited Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort as part of the overall process of accreditation. The Mountaineer Park HBPA worked with the committee to review procedures and safety requirements. 2017 LEGISLATIVE SESSION The 2017 legislative session ended on April 8 without an approved budget. The governor has called a special session to resolve the budget issues. Part of the budget includes the appropriation to the horsemen’s purse fund. The governor has voiced his support for the horse racing industry A joint effort by horsemen helped promote racing at in the state, and he West Virginia Adventure Day at the capitol. recently vetoed a bill
The Easter Bunny was a big hit again at Mountaineer.
WEST VIRGINIA RACING COMMISSION RETIREMENT PLAN FOR BACKSTRETCH WORKERS The application period for the 2016 plan year of the West Virginia Racing Commission Retirement Plan for Backstretch Workers took place in April. Members must complete their application each year to be eligible to participate in the plan. Allocation reports for the 2016 plan year will be sent out in the fall of 2017. UPDATE CONTACT INFORMATION The Mountaineer Park HBPA will be having an election in the fall of 2017. Please confirm your mailing address with the HBPA office to ensure that you receive election information and a ballot.
NEBRASKA HBPA HORSEMEN’S PARK MEET EXPANDED TO THREE WEEKENDS Horsemen’s Park will conduct its 2017 meet with three weekends beginning July 7-9. The meet will continue on July 21-22 and conclude July 28-29. The highlight of the upcoming meet will be the new barns that will be completed in time for the first live day of racing. There will once again be a jumbotron in the infield and numerous other improvements at the facility. Post times are 6:30 p.m. on Fridays, 3 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Live music will be performed in the parking lot every Friday and Saturday of the meet. Family Day is Sunday, July 9, with face painting, pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids. Any questions regarding the meet should be referred to the main office at (402) 731-2900.
SUFFOLK DOWNS UPDATE By Lynne Snierson While the New England HBPA’s board of directors and supporters continue to work creatively, diligently and relentlessly for the development of an innovative, state-of-the-art, nonprofit equine park and racetrack in Massachusetts to be operated by horsemen for horsemen, genuine excitement is building for the return of live racing to Suffolk Downs in July. Although the 2017 meet will be limited to just six days run over three weekends on July 8-9, August 5-6 and September 2-3, there may be two days added to the schedule on a Saturday and Sunday later in the fall should the funding be granted by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Moreover, there is every indication this meet will build upon the smashing success of last year’s. With the daily purse distribution averaging around $500,000, three open company stakes races offering $75,000 each, nine $50,000 stakes restricted to state-breds and a strong overnight program, competitive opportunities exist for horses in all divisions. Even better, participating horsemen stand to be rewarded with enticements topping those bestowed during last year’s six-day season. “The plan, if approved by the gaming commission, would be to increase the monetary incentives for the owners and trainers,” said Lou Raffetto, consultant to NEHBPA. “In 2016, owners whose horses finished in the first five received a check for $300 as a participation reward, and this year that will be increased to $500. Owners whose horses finish in sixth place on back will get $1,500. We think that is a very solid incentive for owners to support the program. An additional change in 2017 is that the trainer bonus doubles from $200 to $400 per starter.” Raffetto said that he anticipates field size to average eight horses per race, just like last year, when there was an average of 10 races on each card. As there is no longer any seasonal stabling and training at Suffolk Downs, horsemen will ship from all over. “I really do believe the participation level will be very similar to last year, especially when the incentives are out there,” he said. “We’re not looking to peel horses away from other jurisdictions. We’re just looking to provide opportunities to race for those horsemen who can’t find them for their horses at the various [other] racetracks.” On each weekend of live action, Suffolk Downs will be the stage for a racing festival, just like in 2015 and 2016, but this season the festivals are being beefed up to be bigger and better than before. “We’re planning more activities for families and fans, and there will be more fun events geared specifically to the kids,” Raffetto said. “This year, the festivals are going to be more theme-oriented, as opposed to being just food festivals (with food trucks and craft beers). We’re looking at doing an allAmerican BBQ in the month of July and an Italian festival. Many other ideas covering a wide variety of events are under consideration as we finalize the details.” Meanwhile, the impending sale of the Suffolk Downs 161-acre property to a major Boston real estate development company, which has declared no interest in racing or simulcasting, has been unanimously approved by the MGC. The deal, which calls for Suffolk’s ownership to retain its racing license and lease back the racing and simulcasting operations for this year and possibly 2018, was slated to close on April 27 but has been delayed in the short term. With an expiration date stamped on Suffolk, the last of the 17 Thoroughbred tracks that once dotted New England, it is imperative that a long-
term fix for the survival of racing and breeding in the region be reached. “A lot of us have been waiting patiently,” said Paul Umbrello, NEHBPA’s executive director. “However, at the same time, we have undertaken a diverse, large-scale project that will be a permanent solution, and it just doesn’t happen overnight. The good news is we’re closing in on putting the final package together.” To date, the NEHBPA has accomplished a great deal toward turning the dream of a horse park, which includes a one-mile dirt track and turf course and a retirement farm for 40 horses, into reality. Those accomplishments include securing the legislation required for a feasibility study by the University of Massachusetts; performing a land site evaluation by U-Mass and narrowing 10 selected properties in towns down to a workable four; and completing preliminary engineering reports to make sure the land has no major obstacles like wetlands or protected species. Furthermore, the four final towns selected were notified to determine each’s receptivity to the plan for the horse park. All of the town officials liked and welcomed the plan, especially as a result of the benefits to be gained from the multimillion-dollar project. The NEHBPA is currently putting the finishing touches on a master plan designed by one of the best equine engineering firms in the country, CMW in Kentucky. The plan will include the layout of the horse park, create a timeline for completion, estimate the costs associated with it and complete a pro forma accounting statement. The NEHBPA has determined that once the one-mile racetrack portion of the project is built, temporary barns for stabling and other structures can be erected to facilitate racing and training while the remaining development is ongoing. Under this scenario, live racing could begin in a year. Favorable legislation for the project—SB 185—soon will be submitted as a complete package, with all the above, to lawmakers for approval to move forward with the development of the horse park, which will protect open green space, protect hundreds of jobs and provide a $100 million-plus economic impact to the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Visit mahorsepark.org for more information and updates as this innovative and exciting project moves forward in the coming months.
NEW ENGLAND HBPA
OHIO HBPA THISTLEDOWN, BELTERRA PARK UPDATES The racing seasons at both Thistledown and Belterra Park are underway. Thistledown is racing on a four-day per week schedule with live racing held every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The live racing season runs through October 23, and post time is 1:40 p.m. daily. The highlight of the Thistledown meet is the $500,000 Ohio Derby, which will be run on Saturday, June 24. The Ohio Derby has regained graded stakes status and will be run as a Grade 3 event in 2017. There are many changes on the racing side at Belterra Park this year, including a new racing secretary. Industry veteran Allan Plever, who currently serves as racing secretary at Hawthorne Park, is in the midst of his first season in that position at Belterra Park. There is also a new stewards’ stand at Belterra Park. Ron Herbstreit is serving as state steward with Jean Chalk and Tanya Boulmetis serving as association stewards. Belterra Park is racing four days per week on a Thursday through Sunday schedule with additional live racing dates to be held on Monday, July 3; Tuesday, July 4; and Labor Day, Monday, September 4. There will be no live racing conducted on the following Thursdays: June 29, July 6 and September 28. Belterra Park will host the Best of Ohio series on Saturday, October 7. The Best of Ohio features five $150,000 stakes events for Ohio-breds. Post time at Belterra Park is 1:40 p.m. daily. OHIO HBPA SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM WITH OHIO UNIVERSITY Thanks to the generosity of a former Ohio HBPA board member, the Ohio HBPA is proud to partner with Ohio University in offering a terrific scholarship opportunity for sons and daughters of Ohio trainers. The scholarship will include full tuition, room and board at Ohio University and is renewable for four years. Eligibility requirements include being the son or daughter of a trainer who has been licensed for at least five years and is currently racing horses in Ohio. The student must also be a resident of Ohio and graduate from an Ohio high school. The student must also apply to and be accepted to the Ohio University Athens Campus. The Ohio HBPA Ohio University scholarship will be awarded for the first time in 2018. Any student who is graduating from high school in 2018 and meets the above requirements must apply to the Ohio University Athens Campus during the fall of 2017 and fill out the scholarship application form available at ohio-hbpa.com by December 31, 2017, to be eligible for this great scholarship opportunity. Ohio HBPA members are encouraged to visit our website for details on our other benefit programs sponsored by the Ohio HBPA, including the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Health Fund, the claiming insurance program and the retirement assistance program.
THOROUGHBRED ASSOCIATION OF OKLAHOMA (OKLAHOMA HBPA) WILL ROGERS DOWNS STAKES RECAP The Thoroughbred meet at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Oklahoma, concluded May 20. Final meet figures and leaders were not available at press time, but following is a recap of the eight stakes contested during the meet. 60
Blue Valley Farm LLC’s Rockin the Bleu’s scored her first open company stakes win on April 3 with a half-length victory in the $50,000 Miranda Diane Stakes. Bryan McNeil rode the 6-year-old Rockport Harbor mare for trainer Mike Biehler and stopped the timer at 1:09.81 for six furlongs over a good track. Bred in Minnesota by Jeff and Debora Hilger, Rockin the Bleu’s has won nine of 26 starts with earnings of $262,183. The Miranda Diane is named for the Oklahoma-bred mare by Fistfite who won six stakes at Will Rogers during a career that included 13 wins and earnings of more than $400,000. Oklahoma-breds battled to the wire in the $55,000 Will Rogers Handicap on April 25, and it was Rick Engel’s Makin the Dough who prevailed by a neck under Bryan McNeil. The Roger Engel trainee clocked a mile and 70 yards in 1:43.17 in the race for 3-year-old state-bred colts and geldings. Bred by Rusty Roberts and sired by Service Stripe, Makin the Dough picked up his first stakes win and increased his earnings to $80,157. After finishing off the board in his debut, Makin the Dough has run in the top three for five consecutive starts, including a third-place effort in the Don C. McNeill Stakes at Remington Park. The gelding sold for $5,200 at the 2015 Heritage Place Thoroughbred Mixed Sale. The only two-time stakes winner during the meet was Oklahoma-bred Welder, who took the $51,500 Highland Ice Stakes on April 4 and the $55,000 TRAO Classic Sprint Stakes on April 25. Travis Cunningham rode the 4-year-old gelding in both stakes wins and an allowance victory at Will Rogers for trainer Theresa Luneack and owner Ra-Max Farms LLC. Welder was bred by Center Hills Farm and sired by The Visualiser, a Giant’s Causeway stallion standing as property of Center Hills at Mighty Acres in Pryor, Oklahoma. Welder, the 2016 Horse of the Meet at Will Rogers, has only finished off the board once in his career with a record of 12-8-1-2 and earnings of $243,151. He is undefeated in five career starts in Claremore. Welder covered six furlongs in the Highland Ice Stakes in 1:09.83 and the same distance in the TRAO Classic Sprint Stakes in 1:09 flat. The Highland Ice Stakes is named for the top Oklahoma-bred in the 1990s who won 16 of 48 starts and nearly $500,000 with much of his success coming at Remington Park. Odds-on favorite Hailstorm Slew rolled to a decisive victory in the $55,000 Great Lady M. Stakes for older Oklahoma-bred fillies and mares on April 24. Bred, owned and trained by C.R. Trout, the 4-year-old filly by Munnings sprinted six furlongs in 1:09.34 with Luis Quinonez aboard. An earner of nearly $200,000, Hailstorm Slew has a record of 13-5-3-1. This marked her second stakes win after capturing the Useeit Stakes last December at Remington Park. The race is named for the dam of Oklahoma-bred Lady’s Secret, the 1986 Horse of the Year and a member of the National Racing Hall of Fame. The $55,000 Cinema Handicap on April 24 for 3-year-old Oklahoma-bred fillies came down to a photo finish, but there was no doubt the winner was from the Scott Young barn as his two runners finished more than 10 lengths clear of the rest of the field. At the wire, it was Shirley Wheeler’s homebred JS Pearljam who prevailed over Center Hills Farm’s homebred Hey Baby by a neck. Ridden by Bryan McNeil, JS Pearljam set the pace in the one-mile-and-70yard event and held on as the odds-on favorite. The daughter of Dance Master stopped the timer at 1:43.74 for her first stakes win. This was her third career win and pushed her earnings to $74,481. Hey Baby, a daughter of Mighty Acres stallion Save Big Money, ran a strong second in her stakes debut to improve her record to 5-2-1-1 with a bankroll of $54,654. Henry Thilmony’s Hyper Drive drew clear to a 4 ½-length win in the $55,000
CONGRATS TO TRAINER JOE OFFOLTER ON 1,000 WINS Trainer Joe Offolter recorded a milestone win on May 8 at Will Rogers Downs as he saddled his 1,000th win with Oklahoma-bred Heademoffatthepass. Quincy Hamilton was aboard the maiden winner by Caleb’s Posse for owners Don Von Hemel, Bill Sparks and Joe Alexander. For good measure, Offolter recorded career win 1,001 later on the card. His first training victory came in November 1988 at Remington Park, and since then, Offolter has been a consistent presence in Oklahoma. His starters have banked nearly $14 million, and some of his top runners include six-figure earners Holiday Mischief, Miss Natalie and Capture the Flag. Congrats again, Joe!
OREGON HBPA IT’S SUMMERTIME IN OREGON Hello from Oregon! The sun has finally made an appearance here, and it has lifted everyone’s mood. We are in negotiations with the Stronach Group here at Portland Meadows to put a 2017–18 contract in place. Our hope is to have a contract as soon as possible so our horsemen and horsewomen will be able to make plans for the next season. The horsemen and horsewomen have either moved to another track or laid up their horses. The ones that laid up will be getting ready for our first summer fair meet in Union. It will run June 9, 10 and 11. Grants Pass opened up for training on May 1, so a few have traveled there to get started. One of our favorite contributions to the summer fairs is the Trainer of the Day Award, and we will be doing this again this year. Also, we contributed $70,000 in purses so the horsemen and horsewomen can look forward to making a little money. The Oregon Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association is having a wonderful summer race series for Oregon-breds. Please visit oregonhbpa.org for up-to-date information on our summer fair meets. They are going to be great!
Cherokee Nation Classic Cup Stakes for Oklahoma-breds on May 16. Lindey Wade rode the 4-year-old Don’t Get Mad gelding for trainer Randy Oberlander. Bred by Tracy Strachan, Hyper Drive sold for $12,500 at the 2014 Carter Sales Company yearling sale, and the gelding has since banked $154,295 with a record of 18-5-2-2. This marked his third career stakes win after taking the Jim Thorpe Stakes and a division of the Oklahoma Stallion Stakes last year at Remington Park. Winning for the third time in as many starts at the Will Rogers Downs meet, Inagoodway scored a 2 ¼-length victory in the $55,000 More Than Even Stakes for Oklahoma-bred fillies and mares on May 15. Ridden by Curtis Kimes for trainer Roger Engel, the 4-year-old filly clocked one mile and 70 yards in 1:41.23. Bred by Mike Caster, Inagoodway has now earned $112,662 for owners Steve Dupy, Kent Blair and Mike Caster with a record of 10-5-2-1. Prior to her first career stakes win, she picked up an allowance win and a victory against $15,000 claimers at Will Rogers. Inagoodway is a daughter of the Storm Cat stallion Save Big Money, who stands at Mighty Acres in Pryor, Oklahoma. The More Than Even Stakes is named for the Oklahoma-bred mare, also trained by Engel, who won 15 of 35 starts and more than $560,000. The 2013 Oklahoma Horse of the Year won four stakes at Will Rogers.
PENNSYLVANIA HBPA INACTIVE HORSEMEN’S BOOKKEEPING ACCOUNTS The Pennsylvania HBPA announces inactive accounts in the Horsemen’s Bookkeeping Account at Penn National. In accordance with the Live Racing Agreement, Penn National furnished a list of accounts that have been inactive for a period of four years. The names on those inactive accounts are set forth below. Holders of inactive accounts should contact the PA HBPA at P.O. Box 88, Grantville, PA 17028, by phone at (717) 469-2970 or fax at (717) 469-7714. All inactive accounts that remain unclaimed one year after the date of this publication will be paid to the PA HBPA’s Benevolent Fund. Albert P. Abdala; Albert Tassone, Martin Scafidi, Carmella Scafidi, James Masterson; Alicarrera Stable Inc.; John G. Allen; Jessie Allred; Andrew Farm; Armstrong, Barbara and Young, Jay F.; Aventura Stable; Morris Bailey; Shaun Baker and Robert Folk; Barbara Amrstrong & James Wasserson; Elaine L. Bassford; Evelyn Bean; Graeme Beaton; Beaton, Graeme, Sciamanna, David and Colangelo, Anthony; Karen Beattie; Robert Beller; Mondello & Russo Racing, Inc.; Cesar O. Benavides; David C. Benson; Bertram, R & Firestone, Diana J.; Joseph E. Besecker and Doug O’Neill; Blue Lotus Breeding and Racing LLC; Daniel Borislow; Brindia Stables; Carrie L. Brogden; Marcy Brooks & David Diamond; Bonita Farm; Joseph Bucci; Mary K. Burgess Mauck; Gene Burkholder; Burton Butker & Anita Hicken-Butker; Bush Family Trust LLC; Joseph T. Capriglione; David Caprio; Klobia S. Carroll; Karl Chan; Jerry D. Chapman; Charles E. Martin, Jr. and Susan Walmer; Taconic Racing Stable LLC; Mrs. William G. Christmas; CJZ Racing LLC; Christine F. Clagett; Walter J. Clark; Equus Bloodstock LLC; Clorevia Farm; Concepts Unlimited; Sandra Conner; Kevin Constable; Valentin A Contreras; Corms Racing Stable; Corporation Trinity Racing; Council Rock Racing; Alan P. Crago; Cunningham, Marty and Hushion, Michael E.; D A S L Stable and Stephanie Beattie; Philadelphia Public Adjusters; Richard C. Davis; William N. Delgado; Danny P. Divver; DJ Stable & William Cassese; Kevin Dove Jr.; Escape Group LLC; Rafael A. Espinoza; John Falcone; Farnsworth Stables; Ben M. Feliciano Jr.; Beverly Ferguson; Louis Filoso, Michael Nannini and Charles Carlesimo; Finish Line Farm; Charles E. Fipke; Fortunate Stable; French Riviera Farm; Jill Gagliardi; Charleville Stable; R.L. Glosson; Ann Gomez; Andrea Gonzalez; Dian Goss; Grabes Racing Stable and Joe Dunphy; Granny Stable; Edward Griffoul; Jaime Guerrero; Guy American Racing Stables; James V. Hardesty; Anthonoy J. Haynes; Sylvia E. Heft; High Goal Racing Stable LLC; Daniel C. Hurtak; Roxanne W. Hyden; J P S Stable; JAC Racing LLC; Parmanand Jaisingh; James W. & Marcia S. Equils; Byrnes, Shavelson & Janowski; JC Summit Farm; Jester, Michael W. and Conza, Valerie; Justice Farm, Inc.; Kamikaze Stable; Frank A. Kasper; Katierich Stables LLC; South Branch Equine LLC; Michael Laurato; Jay Leimbach; Carol Lynn Levine; Robert P. Levy Stable; Long Shot Racing Stables LLC; Myron Kelby Lowry and Donald Revels; M & M Farm; Partrick Q. Maguire; John J. Maria; Gerald A. Martin and Tom F. McCrocklin; Ruben Martinez; Mary E. Eppler Racing Stables Inc.; MBW Stables; Jason M. McCutchen; John P. McDaniel; Edward T. McGettigan, Jr.; James McIngvale; Adrian L. Merton; Shane T. Meyers; Michael Jester & Jordan Stable; Beth Miller-Saul; Marcel Moquin; Morning Moon Farm, Inc.; Maleke Mundle; Joseph R. Nash; Irvin S. Naylor; Fanella O’Flynn; Okolona Plantation & Hassan Elamri; Rick L. Olson; One Time Racing LLC; Osborne Farms; Robin B. Oswald; Jeannie Pantazes; Richard E. Paulus; Peter E. Blum Thoroughbred LLC; Sheldon Pettle; Pewter Stable; Premier Stables Unlimited; Quee’s Stables Inc.; Stephen E. Quick; Racing Corp et al.; Trevor Rainford; David Rakoff; Javier Ortiz Ramos; Richard Ravin; Rayzin The Bar Stables and Hilltop Winners Circle WWW.HBPA.ORG
Stable; Robert Reber, Jr.; Lindy M. Redding; Barbara K. Rehbein; William N. Richards; Javier Rivera; Ralph R. Riviezzo; Robert Abbo Racing Stable LLC; Robson Thoroughbreds LLC; Sagamore Farm LLC; John A. Salvato; Jeffrey Sanchez; Brent Savage; Charles M. Schnelle; Stonewall Farm; Sea Industries LLC; Sequoia Stables LLC; Douglas J. Seyler; Shelansky Partnership; Linda Simon; Deena Hillis Sindler; Slew Thoroughbreds; Kenneth L. Small; Wright A. Smith; Sperry’s Saratoga Stables; Spring Meadow Farm; Stephen E. Quick and Christopher Feifarek; Suarez Racing, Inc.; Michael T. Sutherland; The Gray Horse Inc.; Team Green Stable Inc.; Toner Racing LLC; Paul Bruce Thomason; Michael F. Thompson; Timber Bay Farm; Tiro Racing Stables; Costas Triantafilos; Trident Stables, PTR; Kenneth Ulrich; USA Thoroughbred Racing Management Inc.; Grapestock LLC; Wahoo Stable & Marshall E. Dowell; Howell Wallace; Candice J. Wanner; Phillip Ward; Bruce Wells; Whitehall Stable Inc.; Heidi Wilson; Mrs. Orme Wilson Jr.; Windy Hill Stable; Winterhawk Farm; Double Luck Racing Stable; Richard Wukich; Y-Lo Racing Stables LLC; Zona Cat Stables.
making for a memorable day. It is our hope that this partnership will continue to grow in the future. Congratulations are also in order for the following TBD HBPA Groom of the Week winners: March—Ramone Alvarez, Trainer C. Harvatt; Bernado Villasalda, Trainer K. O’Connell; Miguel Herraro, Trainer J. Simms; Daniel Major, Trainer J. Sienkewicz; Santiago Ramos, Trainer W. Mogge. April—Hector Perez, Trainer C. Harvatt; Sergio Marroquin, Trainer E. Harty; Raynaldo DaCosta, Trainer P. Wasiluk; Theodore Esparza, Trainer K. O’Connell; Juan Molina, Trainer G. Motion; Jose Sanchez Torres, Trainer G. Motion. Many thanks to our chaplain, Don Stover, for the wonderful job he did this year. We appreciate his readiness to shuttle people to and from doctor and dentist appointments as well as looking after the spiritual needs of our horsemen. We hope to see him back next year. Best wishes for a wonderful summer.
TAMPA BAY DOWNS HBPA
TAMPA BAY DOWNS MEET RECAP The first leg of the 2016–17 meet at Tampa Bay Downs concluded on Sunday, May 7, which was also Fan Appreciation Day. Once again, Gerald Bennett captured the leading trainer title and jockey Daniel Centeno was leading rider. Activities held on the backside of Tampa Bay Downs this spring included the following: March 28— The 14th annual Horsemen’s Barbecue, sponsored by the TBD HBPA. A super turnout and decent weather contributed to one of our most popular events of the meet. As always, Sonny’s Real Pit Tampa Bay Downs HBPA President Bob Jeffries (left) Barbecue came through with a memorable with Chaplain Don Stover feast. April 2—Florida Cup Day, sponsored by the Florida Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, Tampa Bay Downs and the TBD HBPA, showcased Florida-breds in an exciting day of racing. Of the 12 races on the card, Tampa Bay Downs-based horses had eight wins, including four of the $100,000 stakes races: • Tiger Blood, trained by Darian Rodriguez and owned by MK Stables • Muggsmatic, trained by Kathleen O’Connell and owned by Stonehedge LLC • R Angel Katelyn, trained by Gerald Bennett and owned by Averill Racing LLC • Family Meeting, trained by Tom Proctor and owned by Glen Hill Farms As in the past, the TBD HBPA and Tampa Bay Downs each put up $600 so that one groom in each race was awarded $100 for the best turned-out horse. Through the cooperative efforts of the Florida TOBA, Tampa Bay Downs and the TBD HBPA, stake purses were increased this year from $75,000 to $100,000, 62
OPENING NIGHT AT EMERALD DOWNS UNVEILS NEW SIMULCAST CENTER AND CARD ROOM Emerald Downs Racetrack & Casino opened its 2017 race meet on Saturday, April 8, with a seven-race program followed by an opening night fireworks show. The uncooperative weather was unseasonably cold, but an enthusiastic crowd was in attendance. The 70-day season also marks the opening of a completely remodeled fifth floor that includes 15 card tables, a sports bar, deluxe simulcast area and café. The Clubhouse Casino is open 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week, including late night racing from Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Los Alamitos and Cal Expo Harness. Unlike many racinos, horse racing is very evident on the fifth floor with a beautiful view of the racetrack and an incredible simulcast center and sports bar. “In addition to playing their favorite table games, guests can wager on horse racing from around the world,” said Emerald Downs Racetrack & Casino President Phil Ziegler. “The entire fifth floor is amazing.” 2017 WTBOA SUMMER SALE SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST 22 The ever-popular and highly successful Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association’s annual summer sale will be held on Tuesday, August 22, at the WTBOA Sales Pavilion located on the grounds of Emerald Downs Racetrack & Casino. More than 130 promising yearlings by both top national and local sires make up the majority of the catalog, which also offers breeding stock and horses of racing age. Among the recent sale graduates are three-time graded stakes winner and 2014–16 Washington Horse of the Year Stryker Phd and 2016 California juvenile champion California Diamond. Also, a WTBOA sales graduate, Squeeze Me, became the first Washington-bred juvenile winner of 2017 after she took a 4 ½-furlong trial at Turf Paradise by 6 ½ lengths. Runners who stem from WTBOA sale graduates include 2014 Canadian Horse of the Year Lexie Lou, who just added her fourth Sovereign Award; 2015 Canadian champion and 2017 Santa Anita Handicap (G1) winner Shaman Ghost; Champagne Stakes (G1) winner and sire Officer; Grade 2 stakes winners Old Fashioned and What a Song and many more!
DON MUNGER: A WASHINGTON HORSE RACING LEGEND PASSES Washington horse racing lost an icon on May 14, and the United States lost an incredible soldier. Don Munger, a trainer, breeder and owner and one of Washington’s most beloved racing figures, died that morning of congestive heart failure in Enumclaw. Munger enlisted in the Marines the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, serving three campaigns in the South Pacific during WWII. He shared vivid memories of his experience at Iwo Jima much more eloquently than the event was recorded in history books. In a 2009 Seattle Times profile, Munger said he was often thanked for his service but would remind people that many of his fellow Marines paid the ultimate price. “I’m still alive,” Munger said in the article. “How about the Washington racing icon Don Munger ones who died? How can we ever thank them?” Remarkably, until his passing, the 93-year-old was still training 18 horses
Courtesy Emerald Downs
CHAPLAINCY HOSTS WELCOME BACK DINNER On Thursday, April 6, Chaplain Bryan Kahue and the Emerald Downs Chaplaincy Board of Directors hosted a welcome back dinner in the barn area at the Fletcher Center. Emerald Downs’ management graciously provided the meal, and the WHBPA donated door prizes and dessert. The dinner was the first of the Backstretch Chapel’s “Thursday Night Dinners” held at the track during the live race season. Every week a group of volunteers provides a no-cost meal, fellowship and Bible study for anyone in the industry who would like to attend. Donations to the 501(c)(3) Backstretch Chapel are the sole support of the programs. For more information about the chapel programs at Emerald Downs, visit its Facebook page by searching for Emerald Downs Backstretch Chapel or write to Backstretch Chapel, c/o Emerald Downs, P.O. Box 617, Auburn, WA 98071-0617.
at Emerald Downs. His career spanned nearly 70 years. The 2017 meet started well for Munger. After the first few weeks of the meet, he had 21 starts with three wins, two seconds and four third-place finishes. All of his charges were horses he owned and bred at his farm in Enumclaw. This was the norm for Munger for all of his 3,310 starts with a record of 369 wins, 362 seconds and 395 thirds as a trainer. In an earlier interview, he reported that he had good years and bad years as far as winners went but said he loved his work and that it was the horses that kept him going all these years. A breeder whose stallions included Barbaric Spirit, Cold Steel, Kaneohe Bay and, more recently, Nacheezmo, Munger campaigned homebreds in his familiar green and white silks and had at least one win every Emerald Downs season except 2003, when he was runner-up six times. His best horse was stakes winner Diamond Villa. The 1977 Washington-bred daughter of Barbaric Spirit out of Country Village, by Kaneohe Bay, had 50 career starts and more than $70,000 in earnings. Munger’s horses were most often by a stud he owned out of mares he bred (and sired by another one of his stallions). His horses were known to be sound and durable. In fact, according to Equibase, his career top five horses ran a combined 324 times, averaging 64.8 starts each! Because of those trademark characteristics, in Washington racing circles his name is often used as an adjective when describing strong-structured, solid bone horses with incredible spirit. Looks like a “Munger” horse—needs no further description. In 2012 Munger was leading owner at Emerald Downs, and his 20 wins at age 88 also earned the track’s Top Training Achievement Award. He was also honored with a 2009 WTBOA/WHBPA Special Recognition Award, and he was an honorary steward for the 2013 Longacres Mile. In total, his achievements spanned every facet of the industry. In 2013, at age 89, he suffered a bout of pneumonia that resulted in an extended hospital stay. Upon recuperation, he immediately returned to training, and in 2016 he notched his 100th win at Emerald Downs. This year Munger showed signs of slowing down, but no one expected him to give up training. His daughter would take him to the frontside in a wheelchair, but he would stand in the winner’s circle, like always. His back was bent from shoeing horses over the years, and he carried an oxygen tank when needed. Although his hearing wasn’t quite as good as it used to be and he needed a magnifying glass to mark his chart, he still was very involved in the daily training routine. Emerald Downs won’t be the same without him. “All of my troubles go away when I think about horses,” Munger once said while in the WHBPA office. He vowed to train until he could no longer do it. Like a good Marine, Don Munger was certainly a man of his word. Munger is survived by Wanda, his wife of 55 years; a son, Tyler Munger; and two daughters, Dawn Marie Dickson and Debbie Keyes. A graveside service was held on May 20 at Evergreen Memorial Park in Enumclaw.
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Catalogs for the sale will be available mid-July. A supplement will be available after August 4, when entries for the paddock session close. For further information about the sale, go to washingtonthoroughbred.com, email sue@ washingtonthoroughbred.com or call (253) 288-7896. To be put on the catalog mailing list, contact the WTBOA at maindesk@ wtboa.com, call (253) 288-7878 or fax (253) 288-7890.
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