SACRAMENTO, CA - Ralph Scurfield, who served more than eight years on the California Horse Racing Board from January 1991 through September 1999, passed away Tuesday in a Sacramento hospital at the age of 85. Mr. Scurfield devoted 40 years of his life to public service, including terms with the Sacramento Planning Commission, the Sacramento City Council, and the California State Fair and Exposition Board. He was greatly respected within the horse racing community during his years of service on the CHRB. He devoted countless hours of his personal time to the business of the Board and the betterment of the California horse racing industry, especially in matters concerning the health and safety of racehorses and workers in the industry. He was so respected by his fellow commissioners, they elected chairman for seven consecutive years, making him the second-longest tenured chairman in CHRB history. The Association of Racing Commissioners International also named him chairman in 1998. Mr. Scurfield is survived by his wife, Barbara; three sons, Donald, David, and Steven; two stepsons, Ken and Chris, and 14 grandchildren. A celebration of his life will be held Tuesday, October 22, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Sutter Lawn Tennis Club in Sacramento. by Mark Ratzky for Cal Expo Harness
Columbus, OH --- The Executive Committee of the United States Trotting Association unanimously voted to reject The Association of Racing Commissioners International proposed model medication rules last Wednesday (Sept. 25). In a letter to RCI President and CEO Ed Martin, USTA President Phil Langley explained the reasons behind the USTA's decision. So that our members and the industry might further understand and be aware of the USTA’s stance regarding uniform medication rules, that letter may be read by clicking on this link. USTA Communications Department
Columbus, OH --- The Executive Committee of the United States Trotting Association unanimously voted to reject The Association of Racing Commissioners International proposed model medication rules last Wednesday (Sept. 25). In a letter to RCI President and CEO Ed Martin, USTA President Phil Langley explained the reasons behind the USTA's decision. So that our members and the industry might further understand and be aware of the USTA’s stance regarding uniform medication rules, that letter may be read by clicking on this link. Reprinted with permission from the USTA Communications Department
Chicago, IL --- Members of Harness Horsemen International today unanimously agreed to support the Sept. 25 decision by the Executive Committee of the United States Trotting Association to reject The Association of Racing Commissioners International proposed model medication rules, and to withdraw the USTA membership from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, Inc. The harness racing industry has provided more than $1 million in funding to the RMTC in the past decade. The consensus from the USTA is that while they support uniform medication policies, breed customization should be mandatory, given that the breed characteristics between Standardbreds, Thoroughbreds and Quarter horses are significantly different. “We believe the money can be better spent on research and testing in areas more concentrated on harness racing,” USTA President Phil Langley stressed. “We believe both breeds, Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds, will benefit from having rules concentrated solely on their needs. Trying to fit them together makes little sense.” “We work closely with the USTA,” confirmed HHI President Tom Luchento. “We are in full agreement with the decisions they have made regarding this issue.” The USTA, with the combined support of Harness Horsemen International and Harness Tracks of America, will ask RCI to maintain the current rules in effect for Standardbreds, instead of having one set of model rules for two breeds with significantly different requirements. by Kim Rinker for HHI
The Executive Committee of the United States Trotting Association unanimously voted to reject The Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) proposed model medication rules on Wednesday. In a separate unanimous vote, the committee agreed that the USTA will immediately withdraw its membership from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, Inc. (RMTC). "We have carefully considered the RCI proposals and have come to the conclusion that the physical characteristics of the breeds are significantly different. Trying to fit them together makes little sense," said USTA President Phil Langley. "We believe both breeds, Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds, will benefit from having rules concentrated solely on their needs. "Many safeguards now in use in harness racing would never be acceptable to the more high-strung Thoroughbreds, including Lasix barns, two- to four-hour paddock times and racing on a weekly basis," added Langley. "On the other hand, both the frequency that Standardbreds race and the lack of catastrophic breakdowns in harness racing make the utilization of some therapeutic medications much different between the breeds." As a result, the USTA, with the support of Harness Tracks of America (HTA), will ask RCI to maintain the current rules in effect for Standardbreds instead of having one set of model rules for two breeds with significantly different requirements. "After studying these proposed rule changes, it is apparent to us that they are entirely focused on the needs of Thoroughbreds with little consideration for Standardbreds," concluded Langley. The USTA supports uniform medical medication policies, but thinks that they need to be customized for each breed. "We want to make it very clear the USTA supports uniform rules," said Langley, "but we strongly believe they should be by breed. Things like blood doping, out- of-competition testing, EPO and Shock Wave Therapy are high on the list of USTA research projects." In other action, it was determined that the USTA will immediately withdraw from RMTC. During the last 10 years, the harness racing industry has supported the RMTC with more than $1 million in contributions. "While we applaud the intentions of the RMTC, we also feel that their efforts concentrate on the Thoroughbreds with little consideration for Standardbreds," explained Langley. "We believe that the money can be better spent on research and testing in areas more concentrated on harness racing." by Dan Leary for USTA
The Racing Commissioners International Regulatory Attorneys Committee has advanced a proposal to enhance penalties for harness racing trainers with multiple drug violations similar to the approach taken by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines that imposes an additional penalty to an underlying violation based on multiple offenses.
Reports of federal legislation to be introduced next week have raised concerns that the bill being considered would weaken the current anti-doping program in horse racing.
The Board of Directors of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) has voted to direct its committees to develop a 'One Strike, You're Out' proposal for those licensees found to be responsible for putting substances in horses that endanger the horse.
At the most recent United States Trotting Association annual meeting in February, USTA President Phil Langley appointed a committee of harness racing horsemen and track operators to study drug testing and to investigate what the industry can do to improve testing procedures, including providing more financial support.
Standardbred racing regulators from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware said that they would work to harmonize regional harness racing rules and explore implementation of time-based limits on medication administration following a meeting at the Meadowlands prompted by calls for uniformity by Meadowlands operator Jeff Gural.
Whether controversial harness racing trainer Lou Pena is guilty or not some of the United States best conditioners are now worried and looking over their shoulders in light of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board (NYSRWB) last week suspending Pena for 1,700 equine drug violations in nearly 700 races.
Last week, Racing Commissioners International (RCI) Chair William Koester announced the appointment of Alan Leavitt of Kentucky as the Chair of their Standardbred Racing Committee. Leavitt, a member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, currently serves as a Kentucky racing commissioner, a board member for both the United States Trotting Association and Hambletonian Society, and is a successful Standardbred owner and breeder.
Racing Commissioners International Chair William Koester of Ohio has announced the appointment of several new committee chairs in an effort to expand the association's efforts affecting a number of aspects of the harness racing industry.
Several changes were recently adopted by the Association of Racing Commissioners International Model Rules Committee, including rules limiting who can administer race-day furosemide and the reporting of changes to the condition of a horse on race day.
The Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee of Racing Commissions International yesterday (July 20) voted to specifically add Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and related analogues (bath salts), Dermorphin, as well as synthetic cannabinoids as Class 1 prohibited substances in horse racing and called for any violators to be sanctioned with the highest recommended penalties contained in the RCI Model Rules.
The Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee of the Association of Racing Commissioners International will hold a special meeting later this month in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to consider expert opinions relevant to the association's review of current regulatory policy.