Eric Hamelback

Claiming Crown Returns to Gulfstream for Ninth Year in a Row

The 22nd edition of the Claiming Crown, a nine-race event offering $835,000 in purses to the blue-collar horses that are the backbone of the Thoroughbred industry's day-to-day racing schedule, will return to Gulfstream Park for the ninth consecutive year Saturday, Dec. 5. Handle on the Claiming Crown has climbed each of the last eight years since being held at Gulfstream. The Claiming Crown is a partnership between the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA). "The Claiming Crown from its inception has...

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HBPA ‘Never Consulted’ on New Version of Integrity Act

Six hours after an Aug. 31 press conference at which United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other proponents of a federal bill announced newly achieved compromise among industry stakeholders in crafting new anti-doping oversight for horse racing, Eric Hamelback, the CEO of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), told TDN that his organization is actually not on board with the plan. Hamelback's emailed clarification was in response to a request for comment from TDN that did not arrive in time to be included in the...

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Mental Health Concerns Rising Amid Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the subject of mental health seems to be working its way closer to the forefront of the news media and the public's attention. Data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month revealed that as many as one in four people between 18 and 24 years of age surveyed between June 24 and 30 had had suicidal thoughts in the past 30 days. The study showed that 11% of adults in the general population had considered suicide during the...

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Pandemic Affects Visas, Limiting H-2B Workers

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- George Weaver feels it. So do Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher and Shug McGaughey. Among the many new issues that Thoroughbred trainers across the country must contend with during the 2020 pandemic is a shortage of skilled staff. In recent years, it has become more difficult for horsemen to secure all the H-2B visas that they desire to legally bring foreign nationals into the country as guest workers. The arrival of COVID-19 in late winter closed U.S. consulates, compounding the problems, preventing visa holders from getting their...

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A Spotlight on Stress in the Era of COVID: Eric Hamelback

ERIC HAMELBACK, CEO of the National HBPA  Working in racing has always been a stressful occupation; a roller-coaster of emotions, triumphs and tragedies, long hours and travel. Add a global pandemic and unprecedented economic worry, with many participants fearing for their health, livelihoods and businesses, and the stress can become almost overwhelming. It's the sort of topic many people don't like to talk about, but we asked several industry participants to open about what particular stresses they were feeling during these very concerning times, and how they were dealing with...

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Funeral Arrangements Set for Trainer Coty Davidson

Funeral arrangements have been finalized for trainer Coty Davidson, who was killed in an automobile accident Feb. 14. His girlfriend, jockey Megan Fadlovich, was seriously injured in the accident. A gathering of family and friends in Davidson's honor will be held Feb. 24 from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Day & Deremiah-Frye Funeral Home in Bloomington, Indiana, with the funeral service Feb. 25 at 1:00 p.m. at the same location. For more information on services for Davidson, click here. Davidson died when the vehicle in which he and Fadlovich...

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