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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

First Annual PDJF Awareness Day Slated for July 26

Over 30 Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racetracks throughout the U.S. have been invited to participate in the first annual Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund (PDJF) Day Across America.  Racetracks, fans, jockeys, and industry leaders are being asked to unite in a show of support for the PDJF and its mission on Saturday, July 26.

The day of awareness-building and fundraising with the theme “Taking The Reins” is to become an annual event. Working with their local jockey colony, racetracks will promote the PDJF in fan-friendly ways that may include autograph sessions, photo opportunities, video spots, and much more.

“We have contacted each racetrack that will be running on July 26th and have had a positive response that will raise funds for, and awareness of, the PDJF,” said Thoroughbred Racing Associations President Scott Wells. “Our goal is to educate our sport’s fans that the PDJF is a charity that must be sustained for the welfare of disabled riders and their families.”

“Naturally we are also hopeful that tracks continue to engage their patrons on behalf of the PDJF throughout their race meets,” Wells added. Racetracks are welcome to use PDJF-provided signage and marketing ideas and are encouraged to draw up some of their own.

“PDJF is not just an industry acronym or letters on a ball cap,” said Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, Chairman of Jockeys’ Guild and PDJF Board member. “This organization is dedicated to improving the lives and welfare of the men and women who face lifelong challenges due to their disabilities. They can no longer compete or provide adequately for their families. PDJF Day Across America is an opportunity to educate our fans about the PDJF and emphasize the importance of raising funds.”

The PDJF is a 501(c)(3) charity that provides financial assistance to former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries. Founded in 2006, PDJF has disbursed more than $5 million to permanently disabled jockeys, most of whom have sustained paralysis or brain injuries. The fund is a cooperative effort among race tracks, jockeys, horsemen, and enthusiasts.

For more information, go to www.pdjf.org.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dates Announced and Registration Open for RTIP Symposium

University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program today announced that registration is open for the 41st annual Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming to be held December 8-11, 2014, at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson, Arizona. Each year, Symposium panelists address the cutting-edge issues facing the racing industry.

Events in 2014 include the biennial Global Simulcast Marketplace; the one place where representatives of organizations from around the globe can break down the barriers of time and distance to meet in one place, at one time, to buy and sell their racing product.

Visit the conference website www.ua-rtip.org/symposium to register online or to download a registration form. Information on sponsorship of conference events and commercial exhibit/vendor opportunities – including both the main floor exhibit area and private meeting room space – is also found there.

Become a “Friend” of the Race Track Industry Program by supporting the RTIP's 2014 Fundraising Campaign – A donation of $500 before Nov. 14, 2014 qualifies you for free general registration (regularly $550) for the 2014 conference.

Donations at a higher level will qualify for additional free registrations for each $500 increment donated.

How to take advantage of this offer:

1. Become a “Friend of the RTIP” by donating $500 before Nov. 14, 2014. Download form at: ua-rtip.org/news/rtip_fundraising

2. Once you have made your donation, contact Betty Prewitt at (520) 621-5660 or bprewitt@ag.arizona.edu to let her know you’d like to attend the conference and she’ll take care of the registration.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit Available via Live Video Stream

The fifth Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, scheduled to be held on Tuesday, July 8, and Wednesday, July 9, will be streamed live in its entirety at grayson-jockeyclub.org/WelfareSafety/default.asp. (A link to the live stream will be available at jockeyclub.com.) The summit, underwritten and organized by The Jockey Club and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, is being hosted by the Keeneland Association in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion in Lexington, Kentucky.

The summit is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday with the last presentation scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m. The program on Wednesday will also begin at 9:00 a.m., and the last presentation is scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

The two-day summit will feature participation from industry leaders including trainer Todd Pletcher, surgeon Dr. Larry Bramlage, and owner Bill Casner. Topics include racetrack surface technologies, the status of the modern Thoroughbred, and an update on the National Uniform Medication Program.

The complete agenda for the summit is available at grayson-jockeyclub.org/WelfareSafety/default.asp.

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is traditionally the nation’s leading source of private funding for equine medical research that benefits all breeds of horses. Since 1983, the foundation has provided more than $20.9 million to fund 310 projects at 41 universities in North America and overseas. Additional information about the foundation and the summit is available at grayson-jockeyclub.org.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Chaplain Tom LaPointe is a True Inspiration on Gulfstream Park Backstretch

Chaplain Tom LaPointe (in white shirt) helps out in a variety of ways on the backside, including organizing trips to a local water park for workers and their families.
When the main track closed at Gulfstream Park one recent morning for a renovation break, a faded old van began to slowly snake its way through the backstretch.

At every other row of barns, the van would stop and Chaplain Tom LaPointe would swing open the back and side doors to reveal boxes of sandwiches, Manatee River tomatoes, Del Monte bananas, burritos and gallons of milk.

“Who wants a sandwich?” asked the affable LaPointe while handing shopping bags to grooms and hotwalkers streaming out of the nearby barns.

“Hey, Tom, you have a pizza with any pepperoni?” someone shouted.

“For you anything,” LaPointe said laughing. “Come on, take a bag.”

Since the late 1980s, Chaplain Tom LaPointe has been a constant on racetracks in Florida. Whether helping those with substance abuse problems, holding bible study classes, funding a weekly medical clinic each winter, or organizing fishing trips, soccer leagues or barbeques, LaPointe has been ready at a moment’s notice to pitch in and help.

“I love it,” LaPointe said as he handed out bags with food and small-talked with backstretch workers. “I love giving back to these guys. It’s really amazing how I got here. I was asked to share my progression of addiction and recovery with a group of teenagers 30 years ago and it slowly turned into this.”

Gulfstream Park President Tim Ritvo said LaPointe has been a great help to the backstretch workers and their families.

“Tom has been a source of inspiration for many people,” Ritvo said. “People at Gulfstream and Palm Meadows know they can count on him to inspire and help them during good times and bad. He’s always available, always organizing events and meetings, and he’s out there almost every morning giving back to the Thoroughbred community.”

Phil Combest, president of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA), said; “I can’t say enough about Chaplain Tom and the job he does for our backside workers. The guy is absolutely amazing, as are his assistants. Any problem a groom, hotwalker or exercise rider has, his or her first thought is, ‘I’ll go see Chaplain Tom.’ He makes sure everyone has medical care and enough to eat. He provides solace in bad times and fishing trips or picnics in good times. We are really lucky to have this guy on our team.”

Originally from the Bronx, LaPointe, a Christian and a recovering alcoholic since 1980, opened a youth center in South Florida in 1986 and began narcotics and alcoholics anonymous meetings.

“I was working a lot with kids who were high-risk and a guy I knew said, ‘Tom, you have to relax. You’ve got to come for a cup of coffee one morning.’ I met him one morning and he told me he had to make a stop before we got coffee. It turned out he owned a few horses and the stop was at the track,” LaPointe recalled.

“I couldn’t believe how many people worked back here, and some of the guys were a bit raggedy. I told my friend to call me anytime he went. I slowly began to get to know some people, but I wasn’t an insider. I had long hair and I think the guys on the backstretch thought I was a narc and the owners thought I was selling drugs.

“I was making some headway when my friend asked me to help his trainer’s wife, who had a habit. I got her into rehab and suddenly I had credibility.”

After running as many as eight halfway houses and helping backstretch workers at Calder, LaPointe met Jim Ryan of Ryehill Farm. “He asked me why I was doing everything that I was,” LaPointe recalled. “I said, ‘Someone reached out to me at a time I needed it and I thought it would be great to help others in the same spot.’ ”

Ryan not only helped support LaPointe’s programs but also asked him to help backstretch workers at Gulfstream. He’s been a fixture ever since.

LaPointe, who also runs a small, non-denominational church near Gulfstream, organizes a mobile medical clinic to visit Gulfstream each week during the winter as well as a barbeque where dozens of bicycles, appliances and clothes are given out. This summer, LaPointe organized a fishing trip and another barbeque. He also has alcoholics anonymous meetings held in Spanish.

“Things have gotten a lot better on the backstretch, and what Mr. (Frank) Stronach did here at Gulfstream, building these apartments for the backstretch workers, well…it’s like night and day compared to what it was,” LaPointe said. “But I want to give back, help the people I can. I love coming here and I love the people here.”

LaPointe pulls up to another barn and swings the doors of the van open. “You like tomatoes? No. What about bananas. Take some bananas and a sandwich and, please, take some milk….”

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Elite Program Announces Mid-Summer Educational Classes in Louisiana and Oklahoma

Dr. C. Reid McLellan, Executive Director of The Elite Program, Inc. and senior instructor of the nationally recognized Groom Elite certification program announced the following mid-summer class schedule.

July 28 –August 1 Equine Behavior and Care clinic for Teachers, Trainers, Owners and Students at Florida Parishes Campus of Northshore Technical Community College in Greensburg, Louisiana

Clinic will be an intensive four days of continuing education discussing principles of horse care and the teaching of those principles. Using the Groom Elite format of lecture and hands on learning, Dr. McLellan will demonstrate methods of teaching Horse Behavior and how it relates to handling, grooming and riding horses. Participants will see different teaching aids and methods available such as anatomical models and PowerPoint slide shows. Discussion will include how to make your PowerPoint slide show more effective. Horse owners and students interested in learning more about their horses will benefit from the hands on experience and opportunity to work with equine trainers & instructors. Regularly $599, special summer tuition of $499 if registered by July 25. ($399 for students).

August 12-14 –Trainers Exam Prep Class at Remington Park, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

A popular class for individuals considering taking a state licensing exam to become a racehorse assistant or trainer. Owners and horseplayers are invited to take the class (provided space is available) to learn more about the rules of racing under which racing is governed in most states. Space is limited to 15. Tuition prior to August 5th-$299; Tuition after August 5th-$349.

August 18-20 –Philosophy & Methods of Training Racehorses at Remington Park, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

A recent addition to The Elite Program curriculum, this class was requested by trainers and owners interested in learning about latest information regarding conditioning horses and running a racing stable business. Using an open discussion format, topics include selecting a racehorse, conditioning young horses, owner-trainer interaction and daily training activities. Current topics in racing including proper use of therapeutic medications, options for Lasix-free racing and post racing responsibilities are included in this 2 and ½ day class. Tuition until August 14 -$249.00 –Tuition after August 14 -$299.

Individuals wishing to attend both classes at Remington Park can save $150 off the “door” tuition by paying $499 by August 4th.

Detailed program outlines, information and online registration for each of these three classes is available at www.purplepowerracing.com or by calling Dr. McLellan at 859-321-4377.

America's Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest Launched by Retired Racehorse Project

The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) announced today a lineup of ten Thoroughbred ex-racehorses being trained in ten equestrian disciplines by ten prominent trainers for a purse of $10,000. The teams make up America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest, an event designed to educate the public about the versatility and trainability of Thoroughbreds that have raced.

Retired Racehorse Project’s web site features pages for each horse where training updates and videos will be posted. RRP’s online followers will be asked for commentary and opinion as the horses prepare for appearances on October 4-5 at the Thoroughbred Makeover: a Marketplace and National Symposium at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore. The winners will be determined by popular vote and the input of celebrity judges.

“This is the fourth competition that RRP has organized to prove to the public that Thoroughbreds off the track are the most trainable, generous, and talented four-legged animals on the planet,” said RRP’s founder Steuart Pittman. “The trainers this time are some of the best in their disciplines and the past racing connections of the horses are engaged. Everyone is in it for the horses and the result will be a larger and better educated market of buyers and adopters.”

“As a racing owner nothing is more important to me than educating equestrians who might someday own and care for one of these horses,” said Bourbon Lane Stables partner and RRP vice president Carolyn Karlson. “These ten horses and trainers will inspire us and they will inspire the public.”

The Thoroughbred Makeover at Pimlico also includes this year the TCA Thoroughbred Marketplace (made possible by a grant from Thoroughbred Charities of America), an expanded schedule of educational seminars, special demonstrations, and a sponsor fair.

More information may be found at this link.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hazel Park Raceway becomes first converted racetrack in Michigan

Chrissy and George Kutlenios, president of the Michigan HBPA, stand with their winning Thoroughbred race horse, Wall Cloud. Jockey Angel Ortega Stanley with groom (holding the horse) Santos Perez. Photo by Sharon Greene
By Sharon Greene, The Oakland Press

Thoroughbred horse racing has returned to Oakland County.

Hazel Park Raceway will be the first converted race track in Michigan with new surfaces, new railings, rehabilitated barns, improved facilities and infrastructure.

Horses began moving into the stalls and exercise areas this past Monday, June 16. The horses will begin their race meet on Friday and Saturday nights starting June 27 and June 28 with a Grand Reintroduction planned for Friday, July 4. Every Friday and Saturday evening (16 weekends) until Oct. 11 will have a 7:30 p.m. post time. “I began working and negotiating with all three racetracks in southeast Michigan in 2010,” explained George Kutlenios, president of the Michigan Horsemen’s Protective and Benevolent Association (Michigan HBPA) for two years and board member for five. “After this long-sought agreement was in place in January of 2014, the Michigan Gaming Control Board issued executive orders that allow for Thoroughbred racing to return to the Metropolitan Detroit Area.”

Kutlenios and his wife, Chrissy, are very familiar with operating a business and they understand the cycle of economics in Oakland County as they are successful owners of the Holly Hotel. They live on a 60 acre horse farm in Holly where they have raised race horses and have also kept retired racehorses for the past 12 years.

“The MiHBPA organizes each racing meet, coordinates the availability of Thoroughbred horses to race at Michigan race tracks and generally oversees each race meet every year,” added Kutlenios. “We also provide benevolent services to our members like health and dental care.”

Kutlenios believes that it doesn’t matter if a horseman has one horse or a stable of horses, he sees the Michigan Horsemen’s Protective and Benevolent Association as being the voice of thoroughbred owners, breeders and trainers that race in Michigan and throughout the country.

“We are horsemen helping horsemen,” he said.

To read the complete article from The Oakland Press, click here. For more information about the Michigan HBPA, go to www.mihbpa.com.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Agenda Set for Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit V

The Jockey Club and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation today announced the agenda for the fifth Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, to be held on Tuesday, July 8, and Wednesday, July 9, 2014, and hosted by Keeneland Association in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion.

Debuting in 2006, this two-day, semi-annual workshop brings together a wide range of professionals and stakeholders in the industry to discuss relevant equine safety issues. It is open to the public and will be streamed live on jockeyclub.com and grayson-jockeyclub.org.

The topics to be addressed include racetrack surface technologies, the status of the modern Thoroughbred, the National Uniform Medication Program, advanced horsemanship, the Jockey Injury Database, and how the relationship and interaction among owners, trainers and veterinarians can enhance the wellbeing of Thoroughbreds.

“Keeneland is proud to be hosting the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit for the fifth consecutive time,” said Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason. “This event has made significant strides toward widespread change for horse health and safety in just a few short years.”

“The Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit has been influential in implementing positive changes for the racing industry,” said Edward L. Bowen. “The past four summits have resulted in the development of such programs as the Equine Injury Database, Jockey Injury Database, and the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, and we look forward to seeing what new initiatives may come from this gathering.”

Tuesday’s agenda will feature talks from industry leaders including Dr. Lisa Hanelt, Finger Lakes examining veterinarian; Steve Koch, vice president of Thoroughbred racing, Woodbine Entertainment Group; Dr. Jennifer Durenberger, director of racing, Massachusetts Gaming Commission; Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission; Mike Ziegler, executive director, NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance; Dr. Dionne Benson, executive director and chief operating officer, Racing Medication and Testing Consortium; Edward L. Bowen, president, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation; Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board; Dr. Rick Sams, director, HFL Sport Science; and Dr. Larry Bramlage, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS.

Tuesday will also include an appearance by leading trainer Todd Pletcher, who will be participating via video connection.

On Wednesday, the group of industry leaders speaking will include Dr. Scott Palmer, the new equine medical director of the New York State Gaming Commission; Dr. Heather Knych, UC-Davis assistant professor of Clinical Molecular Biosciences; Dr. James N. MacLeod from the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center Dept. of Veterinary Sciences; Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, Colorado State distinguished professor; Dr. Carl Mattacola, associate professor and division director of Athletic Training, University of Kentucky; Dr. Mick Peterson, executive director, Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, and professor, University of Maine; Glen Kozak, New York Racing Association vice president of Facilities & Racing Surfaces; and Dixie Hayes, academic coordinator and trainer, North American Racing Academy.

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is traditionally the nation’s leading source of private funding for equine medical research that benefits all breeds of horses. Since 1983, the foundation has provided more than $20.9 million to fund 310 projects at 41 universities in North America and overseas. Additional information about the foundation and the summit is available at grayson-jockeyclub.org.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Thoroughbred Charities of America Awards More than $512,000 in Grants

Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) announced today grants totaling $512,105 have been awarded to 74 Thoroughbred industry-related non-profits that work to uphold TCA’s mission.

TCA distributes grants to several categories of Thoroughbred industry-related nonprofits including rescue, rehabilitation and adoption organizations; backstretch and farm employee programs; therapeutic riding programs; and research organizations. Grant applications for the 2015 grant cycle will be available on www.tca.org in early January.

“We are very pleased to announce our 2014 grants,” said TCA president Dan Rosenberg. “These grants are only possible due to the generosity of our donors; without their support these grants would not be possible. We are committed to being a good steward of any and all donations made to TCA and, accordingly, employ an extensive application and review process. Our 2014 grantees are working hard to uphold our mission and we are proud to support them.”

TCA has granted over $20 million to more than 200 Thoroughbred-related charities since its inception in 1990. TCA grants funds to organizations that successfully meet the criteria set forth in its annual grant application.

Formed in 1990, TCA’s mission is to provide a better life for Thoroughbreds, both during and after their racing careers, by supporting retirement, rescue and research and by helping the people who work with them. TCA raises money for distribution to charitable organizations that work to uphold its mission. From 2000-2013, more than 95% of TCA’s expenditures were allocated to program services including direct grants. Donations to TCA are always accepted and can be made as direct donations or as donations in lieu of flowers, birthday gifts or other occasions. TCA’s largest annual fundraiser is a Stallion Season Auction held each January. For more information please visit www.tca.org. TCA is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Interactive, Electronic Edition of The Horsemen's Journal Summer 2014 Issue is Now Available

The interactive, electronic version of The Horsemen's Journal's Summer 2014 issue is now available online. It is an enhanced version of our Summer 2014 issue, which is currently being mailed. To view it, either click here or click on the flipping magazine icon above.
Features in the issue include:
  • Balancing Act - Jockeys not only face danger every day on the track, but also challenges on the homefront
  • To Salix or Not to Salix - Examining the question after the release of the PETA videos
  • Nutrition for Young Racehorses - Proper feeding of yearlings and 2-year-olds can help lead you to the winner’s circle 
  • A Cautionary Tale: PETA and Federal Investigation - Simple steps to protect your business from immigration and labor issues
Much more than a PDF, the interactive electronic edition of The Horsemen's Journal includes the ability to save, print, email, or share content on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Please enjoy this exciting offering from the National HBPA and share it with anyone you think might enjoy it.

All hyperlinks/URLs and email addresses in the electronic edition are working, clickable links. So be sure to click on some of them - especially those in the advertisements to get more information on the great products and services being offered by the companies supporting your horsemen's organization.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Equibase Introduces Push Notifications, Other Enhancements for Virtual Stable

Equibase Company LLC, the Thoroughbred industry’s official database for racing information, has enhanced its free Virtual Stable service to include push notifications for its Today’s Racing app, Twitter delivery and email calendar functionality, it was announced by Equibase Company President and COO Hank Zeitlin.

“People use smartphones for virtually everything these days and now Virtual Stable users can get reminders sent to their phone whenever one of their horses runs,” said Zeitlin. “And, for those who love to play big carryovers they can now follow @TopCarryovers to get daily tweets.”

Virtual Stable users can now opt to have entry and result notifications “pushed” to their smartphone within the Today’s Racing app. Email calendar functionality has been added, so people who use iCalendar, Outlook, Gmail, etc., to remember their activities can also receive their Virtual Stable horse notifications in the same manner.

Twitter users can now follow daily tweets for top carryovers and graded stakes entries and results from Virtual Stable. Each tweet will include a link to the full notification. Twitter users will also be able to follow daily tweets for the leading contenders on the Road to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships when it begins in early July.

The Equibase Virtual Stable is a free service that notifies users of racing activity that is important to them. In addition to horse notifications, Virtual Stable also enables users to follow individual jockeys, trainers and tracks, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse stakes races, the leading contenders on the Road to the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup World Championships, and large carryover pools.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

National HBPA, Kentucky HBPA Help Trainer Affected by Deadly Fire

The National HBPA Foundation, along with the Kentucky HBPA, presented trainer Gerry Carwood with a check for $7,000 in emergency assistance aid in the paddock at Keeneland Race Course on May 22. On May 9, eight Thoroughbreds were killed when a barn leased by Carwood and located across the street from Keeneland’s barn area was destroyed by a fire.

Carwood, a native of Ireland, previously worked for trainers Eddie Kenneally and Jeff Thornberry as an assistant trainer before going out on his own about four years ago. He signed his KHBPA membership card in 2010, his first year as a trainer.

“I talked with Jeff Thornbury, and Keeneland’s Chaplain, Bobby Aldridge, and both had high praise for Gerry, his work ethic and his love for his horses,” said Marty Maline, executive director of the KHBPA. “In fact, Gerry, who lives in a house next to the barn, nearly lost his own life rushing into the fire. He saved two horses, just before the roof collapsed.

“I talked with Gerry and expressed the condolences of the KHBPA for his tragic loss,” continued Maline, who added that Carwood also lost all of his tack and equipment in the fire.

Some of the horses, who Carwood described as like family to him, were insured by clients and others were not. Carwood did not own any of the horses, but the funds will help him buy new equipment and get back to training.

“The HBPA, both at the national and state level, has always been about horsemen helping horsemen, and this is a great example of that,” said Phil Hanrahan, CEO of the National HBPA. “We wish Gerry the best after this tragic event.”

Other horsemen also pitched in to help Carwood with a benefit at McCarthy’s Irish Bar in downtown Lexington.

The National HBPA Foundation (NHBPAF), a tax-exempt Sec. 501 (c)(3) fund, was developed as a safety net for horsemen when other forms of assistance are unavailable or have been exhausted after disaster strikes.
(From left) Marty Maline, executive director of the Kentucky HBPA; trainer Gerry Carwood; and Phil Hanrahan, CEO of the National HBPA (Photo by Laura Plato, NHBPA)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"Behind the Gate" Movie to be Released June 12

From National HBPA President Robin Richards:

A few weeks ago, while perusing the Internet, I came across a comment about a new film about racing. Curious, I Googled it and watched the trailer. It is called “Behind the Gate.” A link to it is now on our website and also posted below. Please, I encourage you to watch it, put it on your affiliate websites (they will pay you a commission) and support the efforts of two frustrated racehorse owners! Mark Giardino and his wife are California owners and breeders who got tired of all the negative press and the state of racing, and they had the wherewithal to do something about it. They have addressed two dilemmas in their documentary: how to introduce racing to a total neophyte and how to acknowledge and question what has gone wrong and our tendency to “eat our own” within the industry. They have plans for four more films. I hope we can support them. Let this be the first of many ways in which we can come together to change the image of racing. This is a great PR opportunity.


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Behind The Gate

Mark Giardino and Daryle Ann Lindley Giardino take you on a tour of the Sport of Kings in a way no other film ever has. Starring Joe Pesci, Oscar De La Hoya, Bob Baffert, Ron McAnally, Doug O’Neill and many other stars of racing.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Benard Chatters Elected as President of Louisiana HBPA

Benard Chatters was elected President of the Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association in the runoff election conducted April 28, 2014. The Presidential term is for three years. Benard is a Louisiana native and has owned and trained horses for more than 20 years. He is committed to serving with honesty and integrity and looks forward to working on behalf of all Louisiana HBPA members.

For more information, go to www.lahbpa.org.

Online Registration Now Available for National HBPA Summer Convention in OKC

The National HBPA’s Summer Convention is set for August 14-17 in Oklahoma City, and online registration is now available. Hosted by the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma (TRAO), the convention will include a night at Remington Park for the opening of the track’s Thoroughbred meet. The host hotel is the historic Skirvin Hilton in downtown Oklahoma City, which was built in 1911 and is the city’s oldest and most acclaimed hotel. A schedule of events is listed below, and more information about hotel rates, registration and transportation is available by clicking here.

Schedule of Events:

Thursday, 8/14 – Registration & Welcome Cocktail Reception
HBPA Registration Desk Open 2:00 – 6:00 PM
5:30 – 6:30 – Arrival Cocktail Party
Dress Code: Casual
Dinner On Your Own

Friday, 8/15 – Meetings & Evening at Racetrack
HBPA Registration Desk Open 8:30 – 5:00
Meetings All Day
Group transportation via bus from hotel to racetrack
Dinner at Remington Park, sponsored by Remington Park
First Post is at 7 PM
Dress Code: Business Casual (no shorts or flip flops; Men please wear a collared shirt)

Saturday, 8/16 – Meetings
HBPA Registration Desk Open 9:00 – 5:00
Meetings All Day
Dinner On Your Own

Sunday, 8/17 – AM Meeting, End of Function
NHBPA Full Board of Directors Meeting, 8 AM start

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Retired Racehorse Training Project Expands with New Name, Website and Resource Directory

Retired Racehorse Training Project, a charitable organization whose mission is to “build the bridges to second careers and increase demand for Thoroughbreds,” announced this week that its name will shrink while its work expands. The organization has adopted the trade name Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) and launched a new web site to serve racing owners, service providers, horse shoppers, and OTTB owners. It is also producing a state-by-state Retired Racehorse Resource Directory.

“When we chose a name in 2010 our work was limited to educating riding people about training Thoroughbreds off the track,” says the organization’s founder and president Steuart Pittman. “We still believe that effective training is the key to moving these horses into second careers, but the popularity of last year’s Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium at Pimlico showed our board that we must do more to connect the racing side, the riding side, and all the good people who do this work.”

The new RRP web site includes a Resource Directory with entry portals for racing owners, horse shoppers, OTTB owners, and service providers. For each group the site presents how-to articles, resources, and geographically mapped placement organizations, racetracks, farms, trainers, agents, and online horse listings. During the next six weeks RRP will accept additions to this database, and later in the summer 10,000 copies will be printed for distribution through racetracks and equestrian venues nationwide.

“This Resource Directory will offer placement and sale options to thousands of racing owners who might otherwise lack the connections to find the best options for their retiring horses,” said Dan Rosenberg, president of Thoroughbred Charities of America. “Retired Racehorse Project’s approach to facilitating placement of Thoroughbreds after racing is effective, efficient, and respectful of Thoroughbred horses as versatile and valuable mounts for multiple riding disciplines.”

For additional information about RRP’s initiatives, click here for a pdf of our most recent newsletter or visit www.retiredracehorseproject.org.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Golfing Legend Gary Player to Deliver Keynote Address at Inaugural Owner Conference

Gary Player, a legend in the golfing world and a long-time Thoroughbred owner, breeder and advocate of Thoroughbred aftercare, will deliver the keynote address when OwnerView, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and The Jockey Club host the inaugural Thoroughbred Owner Conference in Lexington, Ky., October 13-16, 2014.

Player has owned the 20,000-acre Gary Player Stud in South Africa since 1974 and is consistently among the leading breeders in South Africa. He has frequently implored those involved in horse racing to come up with innovative ideas that would generate interest in the sport.

The Thoroughbred Owner Conference will take place at historic Keeneland Race Course and it will be co-presented by Del Mar, Keeneland, NYRA and The Stronach Group.

“Our goal in hosting this conference is to showcase a unique lifestyle, whether you are an experienced owner or a potential investor in the Thoroughbred industry,” said Bill Thomason, the president and chief executive officer of the Keeneland Association. “Del Mar, NYRA, The Stronach Group and Keeneland all realize and appreciate that Thoroughbred owners play a critical role in our industry, and we all want to make the ownership experience immensely enjoyable at every juncture.”

Attendees at the conference will enjoy a welcome reception at Adena Springs Farm, an evening dinner, a day of racing and numerous opportunities to network with panelists and industry personnel alike. “The OwnerView initiative has really grown tremendously in a short period of time, and this conference is just a natural extension of our efforts to retain and attract owners,” said Gary Falter, vice president of Operations for OwnerView. “We are grateful to Keeneland for making its facility available and to all four racing organizations for their sponsorship support.”

Conference details, including the complete schedule of events, registration forms, host hotel information and other tourism tips for the Bluegrass Region, are available at ownerview.com.

Friday, April 18, 2014

National HBPA's Comments Regarding The Stronach Group's Integrity Initiatives

The National HBPA supports various aspects of the Stronach Group’s integrity initiatives while at the same time questioning the reality and practicality of some other aspects of the initiatives.

“The Stronach Group’s support of national uniform therapeutic medications and severe penalties for multiple medication violators is consistent with the National HBPA’s often-stated position on these topics,” said Phil Hanrahan, CEO of the NHBPA.

“As we have consistently demonstrated, the devil is in the details with regard to the regulation of medications and violator penalties,” Hanrahan said.  We believe that the NHBPA’s six point plan for medication regulations has been, and continues to be, a valid model for the industry to follow,” stated Hanrahan.

Significant components of the Stronach Group’s integrity initiatives directly align with the NHBPA’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.

2.      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 USTA and TOBA, among others) not dominated by an 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 relevant medical and veterinary science.

3.      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.

4.      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.

5.      The National HBPA believes that RMTC and ISO-17025 accredited laboratories should perform all medication testing.

6.      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.

“What is important is to keep our eye on the prize, developing regulations and reasonable ‘house rules’ that promote safety, integrity in racing and the care of our equine athletes,” stated Robin Richards, the President and Chair of the National HBPA.

“Horsemen welcome Mr. Stronach’s initiatives, however they must be practical enough to implement,” Richards said.

Phil Combest, the President of the Florida HBPA cautioned that the Stronach Group’s initiative may have an unattainable timeframe in many states.

“While there are some positive suggestions in the Stronach Group’s initiatives, the September 1, 2014 deadline is virtually impossible to achieve in Florida,” Combest said.  “The Florida legislature adjourned without taking any action on the legislation that the Florida HBPA, working with The Jockey Club, proposed.  It is unlikely that the Florida Legislature will take this matter up in a special session before September 1, 2014”.

Combest went on to add, “I suspect there are other racing jurisdictions throughout the United States that will face similar hurdles with regard to obtaining legislative approval of thoroughbred racing medication rules before September 1, 2014”.

“On behalf of Florida’s horsewomen and horsemen, the Florida HBPA is committed to working with the management of Gulfstream Park to improve the quality of racing and the care and safety of our horses” said Kent Stirling, the Executive Director of the Florida HBPA and the Chair of the NHBPA’s Medication Committee.”

“There are a significant number of real-world problems associated with the Stronach Group’s central pharmacy concept, and these problems likely will cause radical negative changes in the way veterinary medicine is practiced at the racetrack that could potentially put horses’ lives and health in jeopardy and which may increase the cost of veterinary services to owners,” Stirling said.

Monday, April 14, 2014

National HBPA Applauds the ARCI's Actions Regarding Medication Regulations

The National HBPA commends and applauds the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s (ARCI) actions last week approving various changes to some of the Medication Model Rules.

“The fact that the ARCI has been able to take a step back from where it was before, and making revisions based upon both scientific measures and veterinarian needs, represents a resurgence of reality-based rulemaking,” said Phil Hanrahan, CEO of the NHBPA. “For many industry observers, this isn’t exactly man-biting-dog news, but the NHBPA thinks it’s important for horsemen to recognize positive steps when they occur,” added Hanrahan, who noted that in the ARCI’s approved medication related changes, in general, represented good news for the health management of our equine athletes and the safety of jockeys.  

“The various changes to recently passed medication model rules recommended by the RMTC and adopted by the ARCI earlier this week, will move the industry closer to the uniformity that the National HBPA has always hoped would be realized,” said Dave Basler, the Chair of the NHBPA’s Model Rules Committee, and Executive Director of the Ohio HBPA. Basler added, “The NHBPA is in complete agreement with Ed Martin, the President of the ARCI, that the industry needs to break free from what he referred to as a ‘culture of negativity.’ In that vein I very much respect Mr. Martin for his acknowledgement at Tuesday’s ARCI Model Rules Committee meeting that the ARCI moved forward too quickly on certain model rules based upon various outside pressures.”

Robin Richards, Chair and President of the NHBPA added, “The NHBPA agrees with Mr. Martin that uniformity is a worthy goal, but we as an industry have to get it right.” Richards further stated, “The NHBPA believes that action taken at the ARCI’s meeting is a positive step to get it right and that, in fact, the Schedule of Controlled Therapeutic Medications is a ‘living document’ that will be periodically amended based on scientific research.”

The actions by the ARCI are consistent with the NHBPA’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.
2. The National HBPA believes a truly independent and transparent Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (“RMTC”) composed of industry stakeholders (including the NHBPA, Jockey Club and TOBA, among others) not dominated by an 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. The National HBPA believes that RMTC and ISO-17025 accredited laboratories should perform all medication testing.
6. 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.

Phil Combest, the President of the Florida HBPA stated, “The Florida Horsemen are gratified to hear that the ARCI has displayed a willingness to step back and revise and update some of the important aspects of the Medication Model Rules. There is no question that uniform medication rules are one, if not the, most critical challenges to racing universally. That’s why we have to get it right and that’s simply not an easy process.”  Kent Stirling, the Executive Director of the Florida HBPA and the Chair of the NHBPA’s Medication Committee, added, “Horsemen across the country want just one thing, a level playing field, and that’s what Uniform Medication is all about. Florida is 100% on board with that goal and we’ll continue with an open and frank dialogue with the ARCI, the Jockey Club and the RMTC as we move forward united toward that common end.”

Friday, April 11, 2014

National HBPA's Quest for the Crown: Preview of the Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass Stakes

Welcome to the sixth edition of the National HBPA's Quest for the Crown, a weekly look at the major prep races on the road to the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

Below you will find a variety of links to previews, analysis, video, free PPs and more for the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park on April 12.

After the links, you will also find useful information about the Kentucky Derby prep race schedule, points standings and leading contenders.

If you have a link to suggest, please email hj@hbpa.org. You may also post your comments or selections to this blog by clicking the comment link at the bottom of this posting.

$1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) * Oaklawn Park * 4/12 * Approx. Post - 6:07 pm CT

Bayern Takes Oaklawn Spin for Arkansas Derby - Bloodhorse.com

Triple Crown Insider: Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass Stakes Preview (video) - Onefasthorse.com

HRRN Plans Blue Grass, Arkansas Derby Show - Bloodhorse.com

That Handicapping Show: Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby (video) - Bloodhorse.com

Oaklawn Park News and Notes - Oaklawn.com

Bayern, Tapiture meet in Ark. Derby - ESPN.com

Arkansas Derby video preview - DRF.com

Arkansas Derby & Blue Grass Stakes Preview - Horseracingnation.com

Arkansas Derby – Post Positions, Picks, M/L Odds, Free Past Performances - Downthestretchs.com

$750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (G1) * Keeneland * 4/12 * Approx. Post - 5:45 pm ET
Helpful Links:

Complete Kentucky Derby Prep Schedule with Point Values - KentuckyDerby.com

Road to the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard - KentuckyDerby.com

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Info - KentuckyDerby.com

Kentucky Derby Power Rankings from Leading Handicappers - KentuckyDerby.com

Profiles of Leading Kentucky Derby Contenders - KentuckyDerby.com

Daily Racing Form's Derby Top 20 – DRF.com

Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen - BloodHorse.com