ARCI Meeting To Tackle Evolving, Unsettled Issues In Racing

Ed Martin | Oaklawn photo

Edited Press Release

The Annual Meeting of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) convened Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio, in the midst of an evolving regulatory structure for Thoroughbred racing and great uncertainty for what the future may hold.

Outgoing Chair Tom Sage, the retiring Executive Director of the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission, gaveled the meeting to order saying, “One thing is certain, change is inevitable.   Whether the change is good or not so good, we shall see.  Regardless, the agencies that regulate this sport will adapt and continue to be independent voices for animal welfare and integrity in sport.”

A packed agenda will focus discussions on equine welfare and the work of the AAEP Racing Committee as well as HISA's racetrack safety program and what Dr. Sue Stover is learning from the data HISA collects. There will also be panels on challenges facing the testing labs, racing investigators, as well as the pressing need for equine aftercare.

The economic future of racing will be discussed in the context of a panel that will focus on how racing might benefit from the growth of sports betting. Projects currently in the works as well as ideas not yet tried will be discussed.

The attendees will be asked to explore the two distinctly different worlds of anti-doping in sport, those sports where Therapeutic Use Exemptions allow athletes to train and compete after being administered a medication that ARCI Model Rules (and the new HISA rules) do not allow and horse racing which does not permit TUE's.

“Human sports have decided that certain administrations are necessary to safeguard the health of their athletes with a documented medical need,” ARCI President Ed Martin explained. “Those betting and participating in those sports are just as sensitive as to how they perform in competition as those in horseracing are. They claim these drugs, although they can affect performance, do not permit the athlete to perform beyond their natural ability.

“We have never discussed this topic and nothing is being proposed, but in an environment where our primary focus is on the health of our horses, are there issues here that we collectively have never considered?” he explained.

The ARCI will also elect Board Members for the coming year and Commissioner Doug Moore of Washington will assume the Chairmanship of the Association on Friday.   The newly formed Board will also elect a Chair-elect who will automatically become Chair next year.

More information on the meeting can be found at the ARCI website.

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