Rick Williams has been named Safety Officer for Colonial Downs, it was announced Tuesday. Williams will begin his role when the Colonial backside opens up July 5 ahead of its summer race meet, which kicks off July 19. Williams has a diverse racing background that includes stints as a groom, jockey agent, and in several front side departments including photo finish, mutuels and track maintenance. Before retiring in 2012, he spent his prior 15 years in a regulatory position with both the Ohio and Kentucky Racing Commissions and was involved in the Breed Development Fund in both states.
“I learned something at every stop along the way,” said Williams. “In regulatory roles, I served on a lot of committees that addressed rules, safety and medication issues. I really enjoyed that part of it–digging into the rule book and making changes that helped better the game. In Ohio for instance, we came up with a process of reviewing the rule book annually–to take a chapter each year and tear it apart. Of all the things l've done, that aspect made me feel best–the process itself of a project I was working on.”
Jill Byrne, Colonial's VP of Operations, said, “Rick will be another set of eyes, watching horses in the barns, on the track, and reporting to track management with something that may not look up to our standards, the safety and integrity and care of horses and the horsemen that we expect. He'll also work with Dr. Caruthers (VRC Equine Medical Director) in assisting her and her veterinary team as well as the stewards and racing office.”