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The governing bodies of the New Zealand racing industry are united in their support for the new Racing Amendment Bill, introduced by the Minister for Racing, Hon David Bennett. The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB), New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR), Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) and Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ), see the introduction of the bill a major milestone in the process towards enacting legislation that will bring a welcome increase in funding to the industry. The proposed legislation addresses the rapid and broad growth of online betting and the loss of potential industry income to overseas bookmakers. "We are delighted to see the recommendations from the Offshore Betting Working Group progressing through to legislation," says NZRB Chair, Glenda Hughes. "The support for our industry, which contributes $1.6 billion to GDP each year, is greatly appreciated and we sincerely thank Ministers David Bennett and Nathan Guy, and officials who have brought about today's landmark moment," says Ms Hughes. "We welcome the proposed legislation and look forward to engaging with the Racing Board and Government to maximise revenue opportunities for the industry," said New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Chair, Alan Jackson. "Harness Racing are naturally excited to now see this Bill enter the House for its first reading. We congratulate all those who have contributed to its progression and look forward to the benefits and opportunities it will provide our industry," says HRNZ Chairman, Ken Spicer. GRNZ Chairman, Craig Rendle agreed that the Bill introduced today is a momentous milestone, "the export market continues to be a growth area for greyhound racing, and the introduction of offshore charges will help strengthen our future and the contribution we make as a sport to New Zealand." "NZRB is also continuing to work on improving its competitiveness to enhance our customers' experience and ensure they can receive the same level of service and options as they find offshore," says Ms Hughes.   Kate Richards Head of Communications New Zealand Racing Board

We are intending to introduce the Racing Amendment Bill to the House of Representatives before the General Election. This Bill will make changes to the Racing Act to implement recommendations made by the Offshore Racing and Sports Betting Working Group, which was set up as a result of the racing industry calling for the Government to examine the issue of overseas internet sites taking bets on New Zealand events.  These companies make profits from bets on New Zealand racing and sports and from people in this country without making any financial contribution in return. The new legislation will introduce two charges – an information charge and a consumption charge. The information charge is similar to the system that has been established successfully in the so-called Race Fields Acts in Australia.  It will require offshore bookmakers to pay a charge for the New Zealand sporting and racing information they use in their betting products. The consumption charge will apply to bets that offshore operators take from people in New Zealand. It is an exciting progression for the racing industry to see this legislation come to fruition, and we are working hard to achieve the goal. Designing legislation which has extra-territorial effect is not simple, but the drafting is well underway.  The Bill is expected to get its first reading in August, putting it on track to becoming part of New Zealand legislation next year at some time. Hon David Bennett Member of Parliament for Hamilton East | Minister of Racing

If civil actions had bookies, these horse folks might be 100-to-1 longshots. Three years ago, a group of Ontario racehorse breeders took Kathleen Wynne’s government to court over claims the province made a “bad faith” decision in 2012 to abruptly end a lucrative revenue-sharing agreement with the horse racing industry. The standardbred breeders allege cancellation of the Slots at Racetracks Program damaged their livelihoods. But the rural plaintiffs — who in 2015 notched a legal victory in obtaining government documents tied to the agreement cancellation, as court-ordered disclosure — continue to battle the government. On Monday, the sides are back in a Guelph courthouse. Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Emery will hear motions from the province and co-defendant Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to quash summonses for 13 witnesses — including Wynne, her predecessor Dalton McGuinty, former finance minister Dwight Duncan and economist Don Drummond. “The evidence shows that these are the folks who are the only ones who can bring any level of transparency to the decision that was made and imposed in 2012,” said Toronto lawyer Jonathan Lisus, who represents the breeders seeking $65 million in damages. “They were directly and personally involved in the decision, its implementation and the response to the harm that was caused.” The province and the OLG deny all allegations of wrongdoing in their statements of defence. Earlier this year, both filed motions to have the case summarily dismissed, a matter scheduled for a November hearing. Emilie Smith, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General, said in a written statement that “Ontario has brought a summary judgment motion” to proceed in Superior Court “to have the action dismissed on the basis that it does not raise a genuine issue for trial.” “After Ontario confirmed that it would be bringing a summary judgment motion, the plaintiffs served fifteen summonses to witness,” Smith said. “Ontario has brought a motion to quash thirteen of the fifteen summonses on the basis that the evidence of the summonsed witnesses is not relevant to the summary judgment motion and that the summonses are an abuse of process.” She continued: “As this matter is subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.” OLG also declined comment. “It would be inappropriate for OLG to comment on matters before the courts,” said spokesperson Tony Bitonti. The defendants have already deposed 17 plaintiffs. Lisus said his clients want the opportunity to examine current and former senior government officials on their witness list, under oath. “I understand the government may not want this decision-making process to be scrutinized but it (ending the slots agreement) caused a lot of harm to a lot of people,” Lisus said. “The documents and evidence demonstrate they (the defendants) knew it would cause a lot of harm to a lot of people.” Around 1998, the slots agreement grew out of the Ontario government’s interest in installing the machines at racetracks. In 2012, then-finance minister Dwight Duncan announced the revenue-sharing deal would be scrapped. With a year’s notice to the horse racing industry, it officially ceased in 2013. Up to that point, horse racing’s share of slots revenue was about $4 billion. A key component of the breeders’ allegations hinges on the five-to-seven-year cycle needed to produce a standardbred racing horse from conception to the start gate. They claim the breeding cycle was well-known to the defendants, who also understood that breeders plan their businesses on this timeline. Lisus said the government’s one-year notice to end the slots deal devastated breeders, noting “the value of horses completely halved overnight.” “It’s not the plaintiffs’ position that the revenue share had to continue forever or could never be renegotiated,” the lawyer said. “The way the government did it, which was to essentially give no notice and say revenue sharing is going to stop, caused the bottom to fall entirely out of the market, and it never came back,” Lisus continued. “The documents show they knew that would happen.” The breeders claim that information contained in the court-ordered disclosure shows senior government officials were planning to cancel the slots program “without warning” even while the province was reassuring the horse industry that the partnership would continue, according to the plaintiffs’ responding factum to the motion to quash summonses. The disclosure documents also contain emails between government officials. Another aspect of the civil action pertains to the government compensating racetrack owners and not those who produce the racing animals after the slots deal was scrapped. “Ontario and OLG paid $80.6 million in compensation to those racetrack owners, while refusing to even discuss compensation for the standardbred breeders,” are among the allegations contained in the breeders’ statement of claim. The standardbred breeders were not a party to the slots contracts, which were signed by individual racetrack owners and OLG. However, Justice Emery, in his 2015 decision to order broad document access for the plaintiffs, wrote that “reports by (the Ontario Racing Commission) and other publications reflected the long-term nature of the commitments Ontario and OLG were making to racetracks and stakeholders in the horse racing industry.” The province, in its statement of defence filed by the attorney general’s office, denied “all allegations of liability and wrongdoing referred to in the plaintiff’s claim” and said at all times “the Crown acted in the public interest.” In addition, government decisions “made in relation to the implementation and termination of the Slots at Racetracks Program were core policy and fiscal decisions made in the public interest and made at the Ministerial and Cabinet level of government and are, accordingly, immune from suit,” according to defence pleadings filed by the attorney general’s office. The province also contends: “If the plaintiffs suffered any losses, which the Crown denies, those losses resulted from something other than actions of the Crown.” By Mary Ormsby Reprinted with permission of The Star        

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Wednesday, April 19, 2017) — Increased out-of-competition testing, investing in additional investigators and research into emerging threats is the most effective way to catch — and, more importantly, deter — cheating in horse racing. That was the big take-away from the drug-testing forum on opening day of the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s 83rd annual conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity at the Charleston Marriott. The panel featured Dr. Scott Stanley of the University of California, Davis, which conducts that state’s horse-racing testing; Dr. Anthony Fontana of Truesdail Laboratories; and, speaking via teleconferencing, Dr. George Maylin, the longtime director of the New York Equine Drug Testing and Research Laboratory. Also on the panel was Brice Cote, a former standardbred driver and detective in New Jersey State Police’s racetrack unit who heads the integrity efforts at The Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs harness tracks. Even if the panelists expressed varying beliefs on the prevalence of rules-violators, they all emphasized the importance of out-of-competition testing — taking samples from horses in between races — as a way to detect substances that no longer show in traditional blood or urine tests from samples taken immediately after a race but still could have an impact on a horse’s performance. "The only way we're going to stop this is by intelligence-based policing and out-of-competition testing," Cote said. “Most jurisdictions have very good drug testing,” Stanley said afterward. “We do robust testing, and most of the labs are accredited as well. Now we look at big challenges. And when you look at big challenges, you can make those mountains into molehills, or you can take them off one at a time and get them knocked down. We are doing both. We are taking the ones that have legitimate concerns for the industry, like cobalt when that came up. We found that, set a threshold, established rules and made that go away — quickly. Steroids, anabolic and corticosteroids, those now are well-regulated. This are big wins for the industry. They weren’t low-hanging fruit either. We still have some challenges that have now climbed the tree, they’re higher up. And we need to knock those off.” Stanley discussed the potential of “biological passports” as a tool, in its infancy of development for equines, that could be used in out-of-competition testing. The testing would provide a baseline result to which subsequent testing both pre-race and between races could be compared. “If they change abruptly, if the bio-markers tell us this horse was given an anabolic agent, we don’t have to detect it,” he said of the exact substance. “We’d be able to say, ‘This horse cannot naturally produce this profile. It has to be enhanced.’” “Informed testing, focused testing and targeting testing is something we need to put more emphasis on,” said ARCI president Ed Martin. “Out of competition testing should be expanded, but it’s real value doesn’t come until you’ve expended the research dollars to be able to detect the substances not being detected in the existing out-of-competition testing.” Also Tuesday: A panel of administrative veterinarians discussed keeping horses’ treatment records and the trust issues that arise among equine practitioners, horsemen and regulators as to proper use. Dr. Scott Palmer, New York’s equine medical director, said that regulators getting horses’ treatment records can benefit horsemen and veterinarians because of the research made possible. He noted that Depo-Medrol was the most popular corticosteroid used in joint injections up until 2012. Unknown at the time, the medication could pool in other tissue and stick around longer when used in hocks and stifles, trickier joints than ankles, Palmer said. “We discovered that Depo-Medrol could be found in the joint in a blood test of a horse as long as 100 days after the administration period,” he said. “The idea that you go on the (Racing Medication & Testing Consortium) guidelines and see 21 days for Depo-Medrol is a risky business. It wasn’t accurate, because there was such a variation in the amount of time that the Depo-Medrol would be discoverable in a post-race blood test.” Palmer said that, with what was learned from knowing the location of injections and the timing of administration, veterinarians were cautioned about using Depo-Medrol in the first place. He said that today in New York if a veterinarian uses Depo-Medrol, the horse must be tested for the substance before running. “That’s a good example how we can use the research findings from the medical records, the treatment records to protect people and help create a better regulatory policy,” Palmer said. A morning panel brought various perspectives on how to promote the good in horse racing while not ignoring issues facing the sport. Wagner to players: ‘Regulators do strive to get it right’ Judy Wagner, outgoing ARCI chair and horse racing’s First Lady of Handicapping, had a message for her fellow horseplayers. Wagner is the 2001 National Horseplayers Championship winner, the horseplayers’ representative on the board of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the vice chair of the Louisiana Racing Commission. With her one-year term as ARCI chair ending Thursday, she’ll hand the baton to chair-elect Jeff Colliton of the Washington Horse Racing Commission. “As a horseplayer — and this is a message that I want to get across to horseplayers: Regulators do strive to get it right,” she told the audience at the Charleston Marriott for the three-day conference. “We really want to make the players, everybody in the industry, feel that we have an industry of integrity. “Let handicappers know that they have a product that they can respect; they don’t have to handicap the rumors that this trainer is doping horses or whatever. And saying that, I wish that we could educate the public that there is a difference between d-o-p-e and legal medication to help the horse. There is a place for therapeutic drugs.” Committee recommends banning Clenbuterol for Quarter Horses The Quarter Horse Racing Committee voted 5-3 to recommend amending the ARCI model rule to prohibit the bronchodilator Clenbuterol in Quarter Horse and mixed-breed races, with testing in blood serum and plasma, urine and hair permitted. The recommendation now goes to the Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee for consideration, then the Model Rules Committee and ultimately the ARCI board, if approved at each step. Clenbuterol is a useful therapeutic medication to treat respiratory ailments, but its abuse to build muscle mass sparked American Quarter Horse Association officials to request that it be completely banned in their breed. The abuse is not seen with Thoroughbreds, for which such muscle build-up could impede running that breed’s longer distances, officials said. The AQHA officials requested that the rule be breed-specific. “We don’t feel it is our job to take it away from other breeds,” said Janet VanBebber, the AQHA’s chief racing officer. “But we readily acknowledge that there is abuse within our breed of the sport.” The three racing jurisdictions voting against the recommendation said they thought it should be banned for all breeds. Ed Martin ARCI president

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Tuesday, April 18, 2017) — Are our testing laboratories catching the cheaters? And are our racing officials getting it right? Those are among the hot-button topics that promise insightful and lively discussion at the ARCI Conference on Racing Integrity and Welfare that runs Tuesday through Thursday at the Charleston Marriott. The three days of panels and presentations address issues facing members of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, which represents the only independent entities recognized by law to license, make and enforce rules and adjudicate matters pertaining to pari-mutuel racing. Paul Matties Jr., winner of the 2016 National Handicapping Championship, will provide a horseplayer’s perspective into whether today’s racing officials are making the correct calls. Joining Matties on the “Questioning Whether Racing Officials Get It Right” session on Wednesday morning will be veteran steward Hugh Gallagher, chair of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program and the New York Racing Association’s first safety steward, and Maryland Racing Commission executive director and ARCI treasurer Mike Hopkins. Outgoing ARCI chair and 2001 NHC tournament winner Judy Wagner serves as moderator. “Any time I can represent the horseplayers, I’m always honored,” said the 47-year-old Matties, a professional gambler and horse owner from Ballston Spa, N.Y. “It’s become commonplace in the industry over time that the players are the ones who are forgotten when decisions need to be made. I’m optimistic that somebody is reaching out. All horseplayers go about things in different ways. I’ve been thinking about it, so I can represent everybody — not just what I believe. I’m going to think of it as we’re a group. “I’m not going there to be critical of anything that has been done in the past. Let’s look at future things. I’m excited to go, and I’m curious what kind of things I’ll be asked. I hope Judy doesn’t take it easy on me. I want it to be substantive.” Wagner, who is vice chair of the Louisiana Racing Commission and the horseplayers’ representative on the board of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said the panel is part of ARCI’s outreach to players to “listen and ensure a product that has a high level of integrity. “We want this panel — and the others at the conference — to provide unvarnished insight and dialogue on how we can improve, as well as what we are doing right.” “ARCI members work for the public and not any aspect of the industry,” said ARCI president Ed Martin. “We are always careful to keep the horseplayer in mind with everything we do.  Horseplayers outnumber everyone else and keep the sport going. We should never forget that. “There are many racing-related meetings each year by various groups, but the annual RCI conference is the only one where industry issues and potential solutions are discussed directly with the people who actually make and enforce the rules throughout North America and parts of the Caribbean. The regulatory standards determined at this meeting more often than not actually become the policy affecting everyone involved in racing.  The RCI members are the only truly independent arbiters of racing-related matters as designated by the various laws that have empowered them.” Other panels at the conference: “Drug Testing Forum: Are We Doing It Right? Are We Catching the Cheaters?” “Veterinarians: Racing Records and the Trust Issue” “The Adjudication System: Is there a Better Way?” “Policing the Backside: A View From the Front Line” “Regulating the Whip and Crop” “Promoting Racing - Putting our Best Foot Forward in a Storm of Negativity” Presentations include “The Challenge in Adapting New Technology and Opportunities to Statutory Limitations.” Meetings include: model-rules committee, drug testing standards, ARCI’s annual business meeting and board organizational sessions as well as the regulators’ Standardbred and Quarter Horse racing committees. Wednesday’s luncheon speaker features Bennett Liebman, Esq., the Albany Law School’s Government Lawyer-in-Residence, giving a talk entitled, “Confessions of a Recovering Racing Regulator.” The complete agenda and information about speakers can be found at Ed Martin, ARCI president

Lexington, KY -   The 2017 ARCI Conference on Racing Integrity and Equine Welfare will focus on a blunt discussion about what is working and what is not in harness racing regulation in an ongoing effort to continually strengthen current policing efforts. Although the annual ARCI conference is the only gathering of racing industry regulators, it is open to anyone involved with the industry in any capacity.   The conference will be held in Charleston, South Carolina from April 18 thru April 20, 2017 at the Charleston Marriott.     Those interested in attending may register online at this LINK.     Racing’s drug testing program will undergo an aggressive review by a panel of experts who will address the topic “Drug Testing: Are We Getting it Right and Catching the Cheaters?”.   Expect discussions focusing on emerging doping threats and possible ways to monitor horses through development of an equine biological passport.   There will also be a discussion of strategies as to how select horses for out-of-competition tests. The use of the riding crop will be discussed and debated at the conference, as will current policies which may be an impediment to emerging technologies intended to grow the sport.    There will also be a discussion about creative ways to adjudicate racing rule violations differently than what is now being done. The Horseplayers Association of North America and others have been invited to participate on a panel entitled:  “Do Our Stewards Know What They Are Doing?”. The ARCI (Association of Racing Commissioners International) is the only organization in racing whose members are the officially sanctioned racing authorities empowered by law to enact and enforce the rules of racing as well as adjudicate violations and disputes.    The April meeting will also host meetings of: the National Racing Compact; Association of Official Racing Chemists (AORC - US Section); the Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee; and the Model Rules Committee. Hotel reservations at the Charleston Marriott at the ARCI conference rate of $179 plus tax. Links; RCI Conference Registration Charleston Marriott    

MANALAPAN, NJ — January 30, 2017 — This past November, New Jersey’s racing industry suffered a major setback, as the Casino Expansion Referendum was defeated by the voters.  It was apparent that New Jersey’s surrounding states were funding the campaign against the cause. Since, the defeat the SBOANJ board members have been diligently working on an alternative plan that would generate another source of revenue for our racing industry to survive. The idea of Historic Racing was brought to their attention.  Most recently, the state of Kentucky has successfully implemented Historic Racing machines into both thoroughbred and standardbred racetracks. A Historic Racing Bill was introduced to the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey on January 9, 2017.  The bill is being sponsored by Senators Richard J Codey and Christopher “Kip” Bateman.  It has also gained co-sponsorship from Senator Oroho.  The bill will permit wagering at racetracks and off track wagering facilities in the State of New Jersey on previously recorded live thoroughbred or standardbred horse races that do not identify the actual race. To see the details of the bill go to “ State of New Jersey 217th Legislature Senate # 2886 “ After the bill was introduced to the Senate and General Assembly, a copy was sent to the SBOANJ for review.  Currently they are evaluating the bill and its content. In the meantime, they will continue to work on an alternative plan to help generate revenue that New Jersey racetracks need to compete with neighboring states that have casino revenue to support their purse accounts. “We continue to ask for your help and cooperation during these trying times.  Also, continue to show your support to both the Meadowlands and Freehold racetracks,” said SBOANJ President Mark Ford. Click here to view the bill Pacesetter Jan/Feb 2017 Courtney Stafford Publicity Consultant SBOANJ 732-462-2357

Harness racing followers should be interested in this.   It follows a litany of other cases where trainers have been burned based upon arbitrary thresholds and no one stands up against the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and guidelines not science based.   There is but one organization that has withdrawn funding for RMTC and correctly so as it seeks to do independent research that can be peer reviewed.   That entity is the United States Trotting Association.    Commissions calling false positives does not help individuals who follow published rules and is that very harmful to the individuals and industry itself. The RMTC data used to formulate the withdrawal times and threshold levels established for the substance Betamethasone and Dexamethasone by either the American Racing Commission‘s International and/or the National Uniform Medication Program that many, but not all, US Racing Commissions have  adopted,  and are promulgated,are  based upon allegedly data which has not been made available to scientific publications or  Peer Reviewed. Consider the Delaware Ruling regarding Todd Pletcher for the therapeutic medication - Betamethasone. Click here: Uncertainty as Delaware Drops Pletcher Case | RMTC not only has failed to correct  for the erroneous data that it has reported in any timely fashion before horsemen were penalized but has done so long after the erroneous  threshold and withdrawal times led many Commissions to mete out penalties to trainers who followed administration guidelines including days, fines, loss of purse as well as damage to their reputations. By way of additional documented examples, in 2013, RMTC adopted a threshold for Xylazine (Rompun) that was too low. That reportedly resulted in the disqualification and penalization of over thirty (30) horses and trainers.  In 2016, after those horsemen were penalized, RMTC increased the threshold 20 times higher than that used as the basis to penalize innocent horsemen and tarnish the sport. Little  good that did for those Florida horsemen who saw a spike in drug positives or for the sport.  Florida was one of twenty states adopting the much heralded National Uniform Medication Program.  Uniform rule recommendations not based upon scientific fact present a horrible scenario for individual horsemen, as well as for the industry.  Just this year, two more threshold changes occurred; one for the analgesic detomidine, the other for omeprazole (ulcer medicine).   The originally published RMTC thresholds are apparently not based on actual science at all, tantamount to perhaps being pulled out of a hat.  Lastly, the New York State Gaming Commission  considered  that the RMTC recommended threshold and withdrawal guidelines for Flunixin ( Banamine)  were erroneous and refused to adopt them and also the faulty withdrawal time for use of Clenbuteral in the harness industry. Had NY not done its homework the RMTC erroneous withdrawal times would have caused unnecessary or false positives in an estimated twenty (20%) of the race horses on that medication. The most recent evidence of the damage bad science can lead to is reprinted here with the kind permission of the Thoroughbred Daily News. Motion Responds to KHRC Ruling By Graham Motion Editor’s Note: Trainer H. Graham Motion has penned the following response to a KHRC ruling Tuesday fining him for a Robaxin positive with last year’s GIII Bewitch S. winner Kitten’s Point (Kitten’s Joy). Click here to read a TDN article on his initial appeal to the suspension and fine. After over 11,000 starters and more than 2,000 winners over the course of more than 20 years, [Tuesday] I was fined by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for the first positive in my career and Kitten’s Point was disqualified from her win in the 2015 GIII Bewitch S. at Keeneland. This hearing took place in a meeting where I was denied the opportunity to address the commission. Of course I wanted to defend myself, but moreover I wanted to address some of my concerns with this medication and how it was handled. The entire process has been extremely disappointing and troubling to me. I always felt that if the day ever came where, by some unforeseen circumstance, I was charged with a drug violation I would not lawyer up to defend myself, but rather would take my punishment and move on. It would upset me to see trainers go to such great lengths to defend themselves. But, when I found myself in that position I felt differently. I felt that my staff and I had gone to extraordinary lengths to protect myself and my clients. When I was made aware of a withdrawal time I would add plenty of cushion as was the case with Kittens Point. The last time she was treated with Robaxin was seven days before the race, more than double a recommended withdrawal guideline published by the KHRC. After all, if we as trainers can not rely on the guidelines that are given to us, how on earth can we be expected to operate within the rules? More over, I was troubled to learn that the current threshold for Robaxin as set by the RMTC and adopted by the KHRC was not supported by good science, including going completely against the recommendation set by the head of the KHRC’s testing lab Dr. Sams. Unfortunately in my case I was not allowed to defend myself based on the science, including a recently approved paper published by Heather Knych which clearly states that the RMTC guidelines for Robaxin are misguided. In my opinion this is information that should be turned over to horseman as quickly as possible. Surely the KHRC are not looking to trip up horseman with unsupported thresholds and guidelines? In a time of ever changing restrictions on certain medications it should be imperative that horsemen are kept informed. Equally as important to me is the way in which our samples are handled. I strongly believe that it is a good thing that post race testing has become increasingly more sensitive, but shouldn’t there be a responsibility with the commission that our samples are handled with the utmost of care. We are now being tested for nanograms, that is a billionth of a gram. It is disturbing to me that the samples are frequently collected and handled in unsecure environments, very little has changed with regard to this process over the years considering the technology and sensitivity of the testing process. So there, I have said it. All I was asking for was two minutes, it didn’t seem like an unreasonable demand. By all means we need to keep our game honest, but at what cost to the guys that are trying to play by the rules. Ends Harnesslink Media

Current Climate, Polling Data, Lack Of Specifics Make Campaign Untenable Roseland - Paul Fireman and Jeff Gural are today reluctantly announcing the suspension of the paid media component of the statewide OUR Turn NJ campaign. In doing so, they issued the following joint statement: "We believe deeply that gaming expansion to Northern New Jersey is a remarkable opportunity that should not be squandered. We have committed $4 billion in private investment to this state to create world class resort destinations with gaming. The benefits include 43,000 new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in recaptured revenue -- a rare opportunity for New Jersey. In addition, as New York debates allowing gaming in New York City, it is critical that we beat them to market or risk losing this opportunity permanently. "The data, however, speaks for itself. The current political climate in New Jersey and voters' concerns about the lack of details relating to the effort have proved overwhelming. Even knowing that an out-of-country gaming company that sends New Jerseyans' gaming dollars to Malaysia is funding opposition ads does not have an impact. As such, with great reluctance we have decided to suspend the paid media component of the statewide campaign." Recent internal and third-party polling data have noted how difficult the current climate is. As noted in the attached internal polling summary, "Voters have a very negative outlook on the direction of the state and have extremely low confidence that the revenue promised in the Casino Expansion Amendment will be delivered as it is promised. Just 19% of New Jersey voters believe that the state is headed in the right direction. And an even lower proportion (10%) have a high level of confidence that the state will deliver upon the promised revenue as stated in the ballot measure." The summary also notes that when asked to explain why they have low or no confidence in the revenue being delivered as promised in the amendment, 50% of respondents say it is because politicians will use the funds for their own priorities, while another 30% volunteer that it is a concern for them. The polling shows that, while there are strong arguments to be made for the benefits of gaming expansion, "Respondents react very strongly to reasons to oppose the Amendment, which play to the lack of specifics and distrust directed at state government in Trenton. For comparison, the highest testing positive message is viewed as a very strong reason to support the measure by 48% of voters. The four negative messages tested in the survey all receive anywhere between 56% to 60% of voters who say that each one is a very strong reason to oppose the measure." Polling released earlier this week by Rutgers-Eagleton reinforces this voter dissatisfaction. In that poll, only 25 percent of those surveyed believe New Jersey is headed in the right direction, while 68 percent say the state has gone off on the wrong track. The poll is available at: The current campaign to expand gaming is mirroring New Jersey's first efforts to legalize casino gaming in 1974. In that year, the New Jersey voters rejected a ballot initiative to legalize gaming due to a lack of specifics in the ballot question about where casinos would be located. Two years later, a revised ballot question passed. One of the main reasons the 1976 question passed, unlike the 1974 one, was that it was more specific in nature. The 1974 campaign indicated that casinos would most likely be in Atlantic City, but the resolution itself did not indicate a specific location. Thus, proponents of the 1974 resolution "later admitted that a large number of voters apparently rejected the proposal simply because they did not want to see casinos in their own community."[1] In 1976, the resolution clearly stated that casinos would only be legal in Atlantic City, making voters far more comfortable with the idea. Gaming Polling Summary  

The Maine State Harness Racing Commission plans on Friday afternoon to release more details about the cases of seven people who have been suspended or fined by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry for supplying cobalt to their horses, according to a report by Portland TV station WCSH. The seven are drivers, trainers or owners of horses and some are appealing the rulings, according to the report. The use of cobalt is banned, as it improves endurance, according to a report on, and can cause severe side effects in horses. Steven Vafiades of Corinth was hit the hardest for penalties, as he has been suspended 450 days and must repay $23,000 in purse money. He also has been fined $2,250. Others who received suspensions of 450 days were Randy Bickmore, Patricia Switzer and Stephen Murchison. Longtime driver Drew Campbell of Scarborough, who has more 3,500 career victories, was suspended for 270 days. He also was fined $1,250 and must repay $2,150 in purse money. Bickmore, Switzer and Murchison were each fined $2,250, and each must repay purse money ranging from $4,000 to almost $11,000. Allison McDonald was ordered to repay $1,250 in purse money, and Frank Hiscock must repay $1,200. The penalties for Bickmore, Campbell, Vafiades and Switzer were apparently handed down by the Maine Harness Racing Commission in February. The commission is part of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. A report by on March 6 said it received a penalty summary for those four people from Henry Jennings, the commission’s acting executive director. Although issues with the use of cobalt in horse racing reportedly surfaced as early as 2013, the misuse of the chemical appears to have increased dramatically during 2015. That is the time frame in which the seven Maine harness racing trainers/drivers were found to have abused the substance in their horses. In April, the New York State Gaming Commission levied what were termed unprecedented penalties against six Standardbred horse trainers who had administered doses of cobalt that were deemed potentially dangerous and performance-enhancing in nature. Those trainers are to be suspended or have their licenses revoked entirely and each has been fined at least $25,000, according to a report in the Daily Racing Forum. The cobalt levels in horses trained by three of the individuals were deemed to be so serious that those individuals will be banned from harness racing for 10 years. The violations involving the six New York trainers occurred at Monticello Casino and Raceway, Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Yonkers Raceway during March 2016. The New York State Gaming Commission also has referred the violations to law enforcement, opening the door for possible animal cruelty charges. According to, cobalt is a substance that occurs as part of the vitamin B12 complex and is present naturally in horses at low levels. However, it gained attention as a performance enhancer in horses because it stimulates the production of the hormone erythropoietin, which promotes the formation of red blood cells. The result is better endurance and decreased muscle fatigue. However, high doses of cobalt can have major health ramifications for horses. It can produce abnormal sweating, anxiety and trembling. A study by Dr. Mary Scollay, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission equine medical director, found that high doses of cobalt also interfere with the clotting of blood. Reprinted with permission of The Bangor Daily News

To help drivers understand how Stewards in NSW will regulate the new Australian whip rules, Harness Racing New South Wales has produced a full breakdown of the new interpretation.  HRNSW has developed penalty guidelines to impose penalties for those that breach the rules and encourage drivers to curtail their whip action to reduce the risk of infringing again. The follow penalty structure will be in use in NSW and is a reflection of the national policy. 1st Offence Fine $200 2nd Offence – if a driver reoffends in a period of 60 drives or a period 60 days, whichever occurs first, of the 1st Offence Fine $400 3rd Offence - if a driver reoffends in a period of 60 drives or a period 60 days, whichever occurs first, of the 2nd Offence Fine $400 and 7 days suspension 4th Offence - if a driver reoffends in a period of 60 drives or a period 60 days, whichever occurs first, of the 3rd Offence Fine $1,000 and/or 14 days suspension (at the discretion of the Stewards) 5th Offence - if a driver reoffends in a period of 60 drives or a period 60 days, whichever occurs first, of the 4th Offence 21 days suspension HRNSW interpretations of Rule 156(4), which essentially explains the correct use of the whip, are as follows: A Driver who drives (apart from activating approved gear), or uses the whip, with a free hand or in any or all of the following would be in breach of the whip Rules, that is using the whip in “an unapproved manner”. Draws the tip of the whip further than the Drivers shoulder. If the whip hand is drawn back further than or above the Driver’s shoulder. If the whip action involves more than a wrist or elbow action. If the reins are lengthened so as to result in loose reining regardless of whether the whip is being used at the same time.“Loose reining” is considered to occur, but not exclusively, when the reins act in a “whipping motion” on the hindquarters of the horse. If the whip is used other than in a flicking motion. If the whip continues to be applied to a horse which is considered to;                         (i)         not be visibly responding;                         (ii)         be out of contention;                         (iii)        no longer be maintaining or improving its position;                         (iv)        be winning clearly;   Use the whip in a "side" action so as to be outside the confines of the sulky Use of the whip irrespective of whether the whip is striking the splash sheet or sulky shaft, a driver's whip action can still warrant a charge under the rules In instances where a Driver is found to have breached the “Whip Rules” on more than eight (8) occasions in any twelve month period HRNSW may require the Driver to show cause as to why he remain licensed by the Controlling Body. In the event a Driver is required to show cause the Controlling Body may direct that the Driver not be permitted to drive pending the said Driver responding to such Notice. Greg Hayes

Harness Racing New South Wales is committed to the improvement of equine welfare measures and fully supports the new Whip Rules announced by Harness Racing Australia earlier this month.  The use of the whip in the racing industry is a major issue for some parts of the community and animal welfare groups and the industry, as a whole, must recognise these concerns and adapt to current welfare and safety expectations. After consultation and support from the UHRA, the accredited industry body representing trainers and drivers, HRNSW will continue to implement strategies to improve animal welfare. The new rules basically require a driver to hold a rein in each hand throughout a race or trial.  The changes have been designed to help eliminate any conjecture surrounding the previous rules while improving animal welfare and providing a better public perception.  The changes also take into account a driver’s capacity to control a horse. From April 1 2016 no driver competing in trials across NSW will be allowed to cross the reins and apply the whip with a free hand. HRNSW and Trial Supervisors will be monitoring trials and those in breach of the new rules may be subject to penalty.  The main reason for the implementation of this policy is to begin the education process for drivers so they can amend their driving styles in the lead up to May 1. HRNSW Stewards are currently working on a penalty structure for breaches of the new Whip Rules, however effective May 1 there will be no grace period for breaches.  All participants are required to familiarise themselves with the new rules. Here is Rule 156 – the new provisions are specified in italics Rule 156(1)(a) a)  A driver shall only use a whip “of a design and specification” approved by the Controlling Body. b)  “A whip, once approved:-                 i. shall not be modified in any manner;                 ii. shall be maintained in a satisfactory condition; c)  A whip that does not comply with sub-paragraph b) may be confiscated by the Stewards”. Rule 156(2) “A driver shall hold a rein in each hand at all times unless he or she is adjusting approved gear”. Rule 156(3) “A driver shall not use a whip in an unapproved manner”. Rule 156(4) “For the purposes of Sub-rule(3) a driver shall be deemed to have used the whip in an unapproved manner in the following circumstances which are not exclusive”:- a)  If the tip of the whip is drawn back further than the driver’s shoulder. b)  “If the whip hand is drawn back further than or above the driver’s shoulder”. c)  If the whip action involves more than a wrist and elbow action. d)  If the reins are lengthened so as to result in loose reining regardless of whether the whip is being used at the same time. e)  If the whip is used other than in a flicking motion. f)  “If the whip is applied continuously and/or without allowing the horse time to respond”. g)  “If the whip is applied when the horse:- i. is not visibly responding; ii. is not in contention”; iii. cannot maintain or improve its position; iv. “is clearly winning”; v. has passed the winning post at the finish of a race. Rule 156(5) “A driver shall not use the whip in a manner which causes injury to a horse”. Rule 156(6) A whip shall not be used so as to obstruct, strike or endanger another driver or horse. Rule 156(7) A driver shall not allow a whip to project outside the sulky.   Rule 156(8) A whip shall not be used in a prodding or jabbing motion. Rule 156(9) "A driver shall not be in possession of a whip that has not been approved by the Controlling Body." Rule 156(10) "A person who fails to comply with any provision of this Rule is guilty of an offence." Rule 156 B 1) “A person shall not instruct or offer an inducement to a driver to use a whip in a manner contrary to the provisions of Rule 156”. 2) “A person who fails to comply with Sub-rule 1) is guilty of an offence”. Here is the link to a short video has also produced by HRA. HRNSW would like to thank the NSW participants who were involved in the making of the video and would encourage all drivers to watch the short production. Greg Hayes  

The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity announced today that a number of additional members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed on in support of the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 (THIA) in recent weeks.   Representatives Steve Stivers (R-OH), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA), Luke Messer (R-IN), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Chris Collins (R-NY), and Tony Cardenas (D-CA) signed on in the first two months of 2016.   THIA now has a total of 25 co-sponsors, demonstrating the growing momentum of support for the horse racing medication reform bill.   "I'm grateful for the members of Congress from both parties who have stepped forward to support the goals of the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act," said Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY), co-author of THIA.   "Achieving this milestone is evidence of the growing support for uniform medication standards which will enhance the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred horseracing in America."   "I am energized to see this critical, bipartisan legislation approach 25 cosponsors," said Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), fellow co-author of THIA, "and I look forward to working with Congressman Barr to push this closer to the finish line."   "I am pleased to report that New York has 7 co-sponsors of H.R. 3084, the most of any state."   I will also continue to stress the importance of this legislation to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and advocate for a hearing on this issue."   Tonko continued, "As I travel throughout New York's Capital Region, home to the famed Saratoga Race Course, constituents everywhere are enthusiastic about this potential for this legislation to reinvigorate the sport of kings."   Last August, during the Saratoga meet, I had the opportunity to provide the keynote address at the Saratoga Institute on Equine, Racing & Gaming Law Conference, where I made the case that implementing uniform rules and enhancing respect for our equine athletes are essential elements to improve the image of the sport for today's discerning fans."   THIA, or H.R.3084, is the only legislative proposal with active support across the diverse stakeholders that make up America's horse racing community.   Signing on form both sides of the aisle, these new cosponsors also signify the widespread bipartisan support THIA continues to gain on Capitol Hill.   In supporting THIA, the representatives join House co-authors Andy Barr (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) as well as cosponsors Richard Hanna (R-NY), David Jolly (R-FL), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), David Joyce (R-OH), Jerold Nadler (D-NY), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Mark Takano (D-CA), and James Himes (D-CT).   The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity supports the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015, which would authorize an independent, racing-specific, non-governmental and non-profit organization to create uniform, high standards in drug and medication testing and enforcement for Thoroughbred horse racing.   The Coalition's membership includes major racing organizations, animal welfare groups, racing and wagering facilities and a grassroots organization with over 1,200 owners, trainers, breeders, and racing professionals.   Additional information, including a list of coalition members, stories from supporters and ways to contact Congress to express support for this legislation, is available at   Caroline Roth

On March 10, 2016, in Department 85 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the Honorable James C. Chalfant, Judge presiding, granted Quarter Horse Owner Gustavo De La Torre's petition for a writ of mandate directing the California Horse Racing Board to set aside its approval of the Los Alamitos Race Course “house rule” providing for disqualification of horses resulting from hair testing for albuterol and clenbuterol, both authorized medications in California. Additionally, the court ruled that De La Torre is entitled to declaratory and injunctive relief against both the California Horse Racing Board and Los Alamitos regarding enforcement of the illegal “house rule.” De La Torre was represented by Los Angeles attorneys, Darrell Vienna and Carlo Fisco. Commenting on the Court's decision, Vienna said: “The disqualification of Mr. De La Torre’s horse from the El Primero Del Año Derby was contrary to established Horse Racing Law and CHRB regulations. We were pleased the Court granted Mr. De La Torre's petition and are convinced that a return to the rule of law will benefit California horse racing.” Co-counsel Fisco noted: "Judge Chalfant's rebuke of the CHRB and Los Alamitos is just another in a long line of decisions where the CHRB was found to have ignored the law or failed to discharge its mandatory duties. These clear decisions warrant, in my opinion, a comprehensive review by the Governor or other principals into the policies, personnel and practices of the CHRB. The public interest cannot be held hostage by an agency bent on ignoring the mandates of California law and its own rules." Even though De La Torre’s horse, Runaway Fire, passed all official CHRB testing, he was disqualified by Los Alamitos from participation in the El Primero Del Año Derby after a hair sample taken from the horse was alleged to contain traces of clenbuterol. Evidence presented at the trial established that the Los Alamitos house rule conflicts with California Horse Racing Board rules, thus necessitating the abolishment of the private house rule.  March 10, 2016   Darrell Vienna:   Los Angeles, California      

Governor Tom Wolf today signed House Bill 941, which, among other things, includes much-needed reforms of Pennsylvania's equine racing industry. The governor was joined by state Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, members of each of the legislative caucuses, leadership from the House Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, and various representatives of the racing industry. "Racing today is drastically different today than what it was 35 years ago when the last reform effort was put into law," Wolf said right after signing the bill, which is now referred to as Act 6. "It was clear that the status quo was no longer sufficient to maintain the integrity of the industry, to protect the wagering public, and to ensure proper oversight of racing in the commonwealth. Simply put, the system was broken. We were operating under a structural deficit that undermined our ability to regulate the industry properly and maximize the economic opportunities of this industry." In October 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced it no longer had the financial resources necessary to maintain operations at the state's two racing commissions - the Horse Racing Commission and the Harness Racing Commission - or to operate the Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology Research Laboratory at West Chester University where samples from Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses are tested for performance-enhancing substances. As a result, the state faced the difficult prospect of suspending racing in Pennsylvania. The structural deficit in the State Racing Fund was the result of a 71 percent decline in wagers on live horse racing in the state since 2001. Pari-mutuel taxes on those wagers fund the oversight of racing in the state. That persistent imbalance had been noted by the Wolf administration, the administrations of previous governors, as well as the state auditor general and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. In response to this challenge, the Wolf administration convened a working group of state officials, members of the General Assembly, and stakeholders from the equine industry and the state's six licensed racetrack operators to develop a solution. The results of those negotiations are reflected in Act 6. Among other things, the new law combines the two racing commissions into one unified commission that strengthens the governance of the industry, yet retains the ability to render decisions on breed-specific issues. The new nine-member commission will be composed of five members appointed by the governor (one veterinarian, one representative of a Thoroughbred horsemen's organization, one representative of a Thoroughbred breeder organization, one representative of a Standardbred horsemen's association and one representative of a Standardbred breeder organization) and four members appointed by each of the four legislative caucuses. The Secretary of Agriculture, or a designee, will be a non-voting, ex-officio member. The new law also makes the industry, rather than taxpayers, responsible for bearing the cost of drug-testing horses, and it institutes new license fees for racetrack operators and for businesses that offer electronic wagering. Act 6 repeals the 10 percent advanced deposit wagering tax on horse races that had been challenged in the courts, and the law calls for a comprehensive industry study to assess the financial, regulatory and market factors of the horse racing industry. The Joint State Government Commission, with assistance from the Independent Fiscal Office, is responsible for conducting the study. "Getting to this point was not easy," Agriculture Secretary Redding, "but thanks to the involvement of the stakeholders, we were able to arrive at a sound compromise that accomplishes our objectives: strengthening the integrity of horse and harness racing in the commonwealth, and putting in place a financial model that will allow for the long-term viability of the State Racing Fund. I want to thank all of the stakeholders, particularly the members of the General Assembly, including the four chairs of the Senate and House Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees, for their leadership and continued engagement on this issue." For more information about racing in Pennsylvania, visit and search "racing." To view House Bill 941 in its entirety, visit Brandi Hunter-Davenport             William R. Nichols | Press Aide Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture | Press Office 2301 North Cameron Street | Hbg PA 17110 Phone: 717.787.5085 | Fax: 717.705.8402      

The New South Wales Betting Tax Legislation Bill was introduced into the Parliament by the NSW Government in November 2015. The subsequent Act provided for reductions in tax on wagering and was backdated to 1 July 2015. As a result NSW Treasury estimates the harness racing industry will receive a total amount of $29.9 million over the next five years. HRNSW is seeking industry feedback before considering priorities for funding which will flow from the 2016/2017 financial year. Submissions are invited from industry bodies, racing clubs and individuals. It is important to note the NSW Government has indicated that the allocation of funds provided via tax parity is to be distributed in accordance with the code's Strategic Plan. Therefore submissions need to conform to the strategies identified in the controlling body's Strategic Plans. The closing date for submissions is close of business on Monday 29th February 2016 and can be forwarded to Mr John Dumesny Chief Executive Harness Racing NSW PO Box 1034 Bankstown NSW 1885 Or submissions can be emailed directly to Greg Hayes

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