Congressman Rooney Named NTRA President & CEO

Thomas J. (Tom) Rooney, a former U.S. Congressman, has been named to succeed Alex Waldrop as the president and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA). As has been previously announced, Waldrop will retire at the end of this year. Rooney is an owner and breeder and has been part of his family's Shamrock Farm, a Thoroughbred breeding and lay-up operation in Maryland. The farm was founded by his grandfather, Art Rooney, Sr. He has also served on the board of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association for the past...

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DHS Orders Halt to Mass Worksite Immigration Raids

Edited Press Release Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas directed the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Tuesday to stop mass worksite raids and to take actions to promote a fair labor market by supporting more effective enforcement of wage protections, workplace safety, labor rights and other employment laws and standards. In accordance with a memorandum issued by Secretary Mayorkas, ICE, CBP, and USCIS will develop and update policies to enhance the Department's impact in supporting the...

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Eclipse Awards Ceremony to be Held at Santa Anita Feb. 10

Next year's 51st annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony, honoring Thoroughbred racing's champions of 2021, will be held at Santa Anita Park, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters announced Tuesday. Held in conjunction with the Stronach Group, the Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony at Santa Anita will take place Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, prior to the NFL's Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 13. Additional information will be announced in the coming weeks. The Stronach Group hosted the...

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COVID-Related Travel Restrictions To Ease

Edited Press Release COVID-19 travel restrictions into the United States by foreign visitors from 33 countries, including the United Kingdom and European Union, will be eased starting in November, according to a White House announcement Monday. The move is expected to clear the way to make it easier for foreign nationals to attend important equine-related events in the United States like the Breeders' Cup World Championships in California and the November breeding stock sales at Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland in Kentucky. The new rules will require all foreign nationals from the...

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RTN, Caesars, Bally's Presenting Partners for NHC

The 22nd Annual National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) will have 25 official partners and sponsors. Held Aug. 27-29 at Bally's Las Vegas, the NHC will be presented by Racetrack Television Network (RTN), Caesars Entertainment, and Bally's Las Vegas with another 22 entities named as official partners. The NHC is the culmination of a year-long series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments and features approximately 450 horseplayers competing for more than $2 million in cash prizes.

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CTBA To Participate In NTRA Checkoff Program

The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association (CTBA), which hosts a pair of Thoroughbred sales annually, will participate in the NTRA Legislative Action Campaign's 1/4% Checkoff Program, which supports the NTRA's federal lobbying efforts. Beginning with the Aug. 10 Northern California Sale at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, buyers and consignors/sellers at may elect to have 0.25% of the sale price of each horse donated to the Legislative Action Campaign. This percentage equals $2.50 for every $1,000 in sale price. The CTBA joins Keeneland, Fasig-Tipton, Ocala Breeders' Sales Company and the...

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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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