NTRA

H-2B Visa Language Removed from Bill

The H-2B visa guest worker program, used frequently by trainers to fill backside positions, has been the subject of potentially damaging language within the fiscal year 2022 Department of Labor Appropriations bill. United States Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) offered an amendment July 15 to remove certain sections from the bill that would have made it difficult for employers to use the H-2B visa. During committee consideration, the amendment passed by voice vote. "Thank you to all who contacted their Representative regarding this issue," said NTRA president and CEO Alex Waldrop....

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H-2B Visa Program Faces Severe Threat From Bill

Edited Press Release The U.S. House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider the fiscal year 2022 Department of Labor Appropriations bill Thurs., July 15, and language within the bill could devastate the H-2B visa program. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) is urging industry members to contact their Representative immediately and ask for this language to be removed from the bill. The language of concern appears on pages 46-50 of the bill and would make the H-2B visa program difficult for many employers to use. Specifically, the draft bill would:...

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NTRA, Dean Dorton Offer Survey on Farm Compensation

In conjunction with the accounting and business advisory firm, Dean Dorton, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is undertaking a nationwide survey focused on Thoroughbred horse farm employee compensation. The survey includes questions related to average hourly and salary pay rates for various positions, bonuses, health insurance, housing, visa programs, internships, retirement plans and more. The survey will serve to compare and share state-specific results to those of the nationwide respondents. All information from specific respondents will remain completely anonymous. Deadline to complete the survey is July 20: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/thoroughbredfarmcompensation2021

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Amendment Banning Transportation of Horses for Slaughter Passes House

An amendment that would ban the transportation of horses across state lines or to Canada or Mexico for slaughter for human consumption passed the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday. The amendment is part of the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST) Act, bipartisan legislation supported by President Joe Biden that now moves to the Senate for consideration. The amendment, which would effectively ban horse slaughter in the United States if it becomes law, was sponsored in the House of Representatives by Troy...

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Labor Reform in Washington: Could it Help Racing?

For many trainers around the country, their biggest practical worry from day to day isn't the patchwork quilt of medication rules and regulations, or the fear that one trainer has an unfair competitive edge over another, but whether they've enough grooms, hotwalkers and riders populating their barns to properly tend to the horses in their care. With fewer and fewer North Americans siphoning into horse racing, the sport has turned for relief, of course, with growing reliance on Central and South America--what has proven an increasingly tenuous stable of talent...

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Jabelman to Lead Third Session of Racecourse Manager Program

The inaugural Racecourse Manager Certification program, an online curriculum for turf surface maintenance personnel, will host its third and final session Monday, June 21 at 11 a.m. ET, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and University of Kentucky announced Thursday. Entitled "Measurement of Turf Condition," Monday's two-hour session will feature presentations from eight leading authorities on racing surfaces. Brian Jabelman, Senior Director of Track Operations for the New York Racing Association, will provide introductory remarks as the leader of the session. The Racecourse Manager Certification program curriculum is designed for...

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NTRA's Alex Waldrop to Retire at End of 2021

National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) President and Chief Executive Officer Alex Waldrop will retire at the end of 2021. He has been at the forefront of the NTRA for 15 years. During Waldrop's leadership, the NTRA transitioned from a member dues-driven organization into a self-sustaining, program-driven operation with more than 90% of the entity's revenues now derived from programs that support the industry. The organization also solidified its position as the industry's leading voice and the entity that represents all segments of the Thoroughbred industry in Washington, D.C., focusing its...

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Pendergest, Reeves Head Online Racecourse Manager Program

The inaugural Racecourse Manager Certification program, presented by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and University of Kentucky, will take place Monday, June 14 at 11 a.m. ET. Entitled "Cultivation of Turf for Compaction and Wear," Monday's two-hour session will feature presentations by Keeneland Director of Racing Surfaces Jim Pendergest and Atlantic Tractor's Jamie Reeves, who will present John Deere research and development findings. The upcoming program includes: "Turfgrass aeration--why, how, when" - Mike Boekholder, Boekholder & Associates "How often in practice: Lessons from Del Mar, Woodbine, Fair Grounds and...

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22K Additional H-2B Visas Available for Second Half of Fiscal Year

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor issued a joint temporary final rule published Tuesday in the Federal Register that offers 22,000 additional H-2B visas to employers for the second half of the federal fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, 2021. The visas, used by employers such as racehorse trainers seeking seasonal guest workers, are capped at 66,000 annually, with an even split of 33,000 available for each half of the federal government's fiscal year. Six thousand of these supplemental visas will be reserved for nationals of...

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Racecourse Manager Certification Program to Launch in June

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory (RSTL) will launch a joint initiative offering a Racecourse Manager Certification from the University of Kentucky. The initial three-course program, entitled "Turfgrass as an Equine Sports Surface," is designed for those already engaged in careers with turf surface maintenance. Free online classes will begin June 7 and will be archived. Individuals who complete the video courses and pass a test that requires a $50 fee will receive a...

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NTRA Legislative Annual Report Released

Edited Press Release The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) 2020 Legislative Action Campaign (LAC) Annual Report is now available on the association's website and can be downloaded here. The report reviews the NTRA's federal legislative activities in 2020 and the fundraising programs that support them. Specifically, the report includes:   A federal legislative summary of issues that are important to horse racing and breeding, including the latest on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, Sports Betting, Three-year Racehorse Depreciation, Immigration and other legislation;   A list of 2020 contributors to...

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NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance Resumes

The NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance (Alliance) is resuming on-track accreditation visits after an eight-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal regulations following the passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) note that the new Authority may extend provisional or interim accreditation to a racetrack accredited by the Alliance. "Racetracks across the nation are gradually beginning to welcome back customers and participants, so it is time to begin the process of re-accrediting many of the 21 racetracks currently accredited by the Alliance," said NTRA President and CEO...

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