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Integrity in racing will always be a priority of Harness Horsemen International, which supports the intent of the Standardbred Racing Integrity and Accountability Initiative proposed by the Woodbine Entertainment Group and Jeff Gural, the owner of the Meadowlands, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. However, HHI appreciates that WEG and Mr. Gural have postponed implementation of the Initiative after recognizing that several unintended consequences of the plan would have been detrimental to the racing industry. HHI shares the Initiative's concern that "beard" trainers - those who front for trainers who are ineligible for a variety of reasons - are a blight upon the industry and need to be eliminated. But this needs to be accomplished without punishing owners, who might be unfairly caught in a web of partnerships. The last thing anyone wants to do is discourage investors in horse ownership, so essential to the sustenance of our industry. There is no quick fix, andtheInitiative's original remedy would have deterred investors in racehorses by punishing rule-abiding owners and trainers solely due to a business relationship with a tarnished partner, virtually making them guilty by association. Attached, please find "HHI comments on the Standardbred Racing Accountability." Sincerely, Thomas Luchento, President   HHI comments on the Standardbred Racing Accountability   Harness Horsemen International supports the wisdom of regulation; however that regulation must be fair and reasonable to all concerned and geared towards the big picture goal. The big picture goal is to detect and prevent illicit substances from being administered to a horse leading to unfair performance enhancement in a race, and uniform unassailable enforcement with penalties adequate to deter such conduct. The overwhelming majority of North American owners, trainers and drivers are interested in having a level playing field in place for all competitors and are in favor of uniform, narrowly tailored regulations designed to bring that to fruition. The Standardbred Racing Integrity and Accountability Initiative (SRIAI) is not a regulation that is fair or reasonable, able to be uniformly applied, one that gives confidence of a level playing field, and will not be unassailable. SRIAl was a joint initiative between Woodbine Entertainment Group and Jeff Gural scheduled to commence January 1, 2018. SRlAI is a secondary, private, non-regulatory layer of enforcement in addition to the racing regulatory agency's enforcement process. If a racing regulatory agency returned a positive test as defined within the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification for Foreign Substances as a, Class I, II, TCO2 or steroid positive test, SRIAI bans any trainer, horse or owner (with at least a 25% stake) from participating in stakes races at Woodbine, Mohawk, the Meadowlands, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs in 2018. The ban was specific to the owner(s), trainer, and the horse. SRIAI further prevented transfer of the horse from an owner or trainer post-positive test. The issues with a secondary private, non-regulatory layer of enforcement are numerous. The most egregious issues are, (1) a lack of uniformity among racing regulatory agencies in medication and testing screening limits, thresholds, rules, enforcement practices, and penalties, (2) the statistical shortcomings of utilizing the existing system of Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) thresholds, (3) the lack of uniformity in regulation throughout the United States and Canada, (4) the lack of authority for private, non-regulatory enforcement, and (5) not including Horsemen's Associations to provide opinion or input on the initiative. Everyone agrees that it would be nice to see uniform rules in effect. But the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) backed ARCI promulgated model rules aren't the solution. First, no state has adopted the ARCI model rules verbatim in their entirety. Second, there isn't enough scientific research to establish the published thresholds as reliable or legal-challenge proof. Medication tests based on RMTC "standards" are set using 95/95 Tolerance Interval calculations. That means there is a 95% certainty that 95% of the test results will fall below a given threshold. The false positive probability is like playing Russian Roulette for each test sample taken. Finally, no other state or Country has control over any other individual jurisdiction's adoption processes and procedures, so in the industry there is realistically no "Model Rule". In conjunction with no control over what other jurisdictions implement and accept within their own borders, there is also no reliable information share system among the jurisdictions when they periodically revise their own rules, screening limits, or approved thresholds. As any one racing jurisdiction identifies shortcomings with one substance or another in their locale, they often do their own jurisdiction-specific research outside of the RMTC and ARCI framework. Then based off of their research they will tweak their rules using procedures to complement that research. So even-if one jurisdiction adopts an ARCI rule as a standard they then tweak individual components of those model rules to fit into their jurisdictional racing practices. So although the ARCI Model Rules and Therapeutic Substance thresholds are a good starting point, verbatim acceptance in their entirety by all jurisdictions hasn't occurred. One glaring area this occurs is with the controlled therapeutic medications. The therapeutic medications are essential to the welfare of the standardbred racehorse, the safety of racing, and are an important component of the standardbred racing business model. Another area this occurs is with the lack of a uniform environmental contamination threshold list with uniform screening limits. While some states have screening limits a majority of racing jurisdictions have no Environmental Contaminates thresholds. In addition to a lack of uniformity among medication and testing standards in Canada and across the United States, a licensee standing in the shoes of a regulator isn't the answer. Licensing and enforcement lies with an administrative agent of a State or Province by law giving them the regulatory and enforcement powers over racing. Racetracks like Horsemen are licensees, not regulators. The concept we are seeing play out with SRIAI is analogous to individual business owners forming a militia and aligning for the purpose of banning anyone convicted of a crime of any level from entering onto a public businesses' property and patronizing that business. A majority of Horsemen racing in jurisdictions everywhere pay for pre and post-race testing to the tune of millions of dollars a year, which are often deducted from Horsemen's Purse Pools. They already pay a high price to police themselves. They don't need two "regulators" with only one vested with the legal right to be a regulator. And they don't need a disincentive program for owners, which is what will happen here as applied. Harness Horsemen International appreciates the ability to provide their position relative to these issues. As set forth, the International Horsemen oppose SRIAI as a regulation that is not fair or reasonable, able to be uniformly applied, one that gives confidence of a level playing field, or provides unassailable enforcement. Harness Horsemen International

Harness Horsemen International (HHI) would like to remind all interested parties that the deadline to apply for the $4,000 Jerome L. Hauck Scholarship is May 1, 2018. The 31st edition of the Hauck Scholarship will be awarded to a son or daughter of a full-time Standardbred groom or member of an HHI-affiliated association. Jerome L. Hauck was one of the founding fathers of HHI, who served as the organization's president for 12 years. The scholarship named in his honor was first instituted in 1986, in an effort to assist students who exhibit outstanding qualities and achievements among their peers, and to promote the benefits of advanced education and citizenship. The Hauck Scholarship will be presented to a student who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and community involvement throughout their high school years, and who, after graduation, intends on pursing a college degree. The character of the individual is considered, as well as financial need. Applications for the Hauck Scholarship must be received in the HHI office by May 1, 2018. For further information and/or an application, horsemen are encouraged to contact their local horsemen's association or the HHI office at 319 High Street, Suite 2, Burlington, NJ 08016. As well, you may contact Donna at 609-747-1000 or at dhartmannhhi@verizon.net. HHI is comprised of horsemen's associations from the United States and Canada who collectively represents the agriculture based industry of harness racing in North America. HHI's governing body consists of representatives from its member associations. Harness Horsemen International, 319 High St. Suite 2, Burlington, NJ 08016 www.harnesshorsemeninternational.com Phone (609) 747-1000 Fax (609) 747-1012             Kimberly A. Rinker 708-557-2790 www.kimberlyrinker.com @Trotrink    

Harness Horsemen International will hold their Annual Meetings and Awards Luncheon beginning Sunday, February 25 at the Embassy Suites Deerfield Beach Resort & Spa, Deerfield Beach, Florida. Registration starts at 2 pm on Sunday (Feb. 25), followed by a welcome reception from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, with General Sessions beginning daily at 9 am on February 26, 27 & 28. Monday's (Feb. 26) agenda includes an opening address by HHI President Tom Luchento, followed by remarks from American Horse Council President Julie Broadway and USTA Executive Vice President Mike Tanner. HHI business and association reports will follow. On Tuesday (Feb. 27) John Campbell is the featured speaker, followed by HHI insurance, finance, legal, convention and foundation meetings. A luncheon at BT's Restaurant (in the hotel) will be held from Noon to 1 pm, with HHI's Appreciation Award presented to John Campbell. Wednesday's (Feb. 28) agenda features pertinent HHI business and elections, followed by the HHI Annual Awards Luncheon at 12:30 pm in St. Anne's Room, where Tom Charters will be honored as the Dominic Frinzi Person of the Year and Tim Bojarski feted as the Clyde Hirt Media Award winner. HHI is comprised of horsemen's associations from the United States and Canada who collectively represents the agriculture based industry of harness racing in North America. HHI's governing body consists of representatives from its member associations. Harness Horsemen International, 319 High St. Suite 2, Burlington, NJ 08016  

I am writing this response to a letter written by Joe Faraldo to HarnessLink. First of all, I feel qualified to respond because of the fact that I am president of Harness Horsemen International and past president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey.  The first thing that comes to my mind is this senseless vendetta that Joe has with Jeff Gural. I think Joe is an intelligent man, who truly has done his best to help the horse people at Yonkers Raceway, but I think in his letter he has his facts all wrong about Jeff's motives. He has taken Jeff's comments way out of context.  Let me begin by saying that the Jeff I know is honest, well meaning, and loyal to a fault. I am going to start from the beginning.   We raised $100,000 through a fundraiser by the horsemen of New Jersey for the then candidate for New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, based on his promises of how he was going to help our industry.  But after he was elected, Christie proceeded to tell me at a very early date, that we had 24 hours to come up with eight million dollars [$8 million] or he was going to shut down the Sports Authority racing facilities, which meant the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park would close immediately. I thought of only one person that I knew who could help, Jeff Gural, if he was so inclined. I proceeded to call him and tell him of our predicament. Without hesitation he told me he would meet me in Trenton the next morning.  As it turns out, Jeff was able to make a deal with the state to keep the Meadowlands open.    What is interesting about all of this, is that Jeff never thought or knew anything about a possible casino. Jeff's only thought was to save our horsemen and our industry from a sudden tragic end.  To address Joe Faraldo's comments that Jeff was saying that he did a favor for a couple of horsemen is ludicrous. He did it for all of us and the industry which he loves.  He saved harness racing for without the Meadowlands there would be no racing in New Jersey or,  for that matter, most racing in this country would probably succumb.    I sometimes wonder why some people want to take something good and turn it into something bad for their own gratification  Joe took Jeff's comments way out of context.  I don't care how you look at it, the Meadowlands is a success, especially when you look at the surrounding racinos with all their slot money.  They don't wager half of what the Meadowlands does without any help from the slot money, good horses, or many of the top drivers. I am not saying that horsemen should not think about themselves or their families, but don't act or think that Jeff did this solely for his own monetary enhancement, because he stepped up to the plate initially to save our industry.   So whenever you read the articles that criticize Jeff, remember (A) maybe someone has an axe to grind and (B) when you are racing at the Meadowlands some night, you probably wouldn't be there if it wasn't for Jeff Gural.  I know that many of you, including myself at times, don't agree with all of Jeff's decisions, but they all come from his love of the game and what he thinks is best.  So I am taking this time to thank him and all the GRATEFUL horsemen and women who can still enjoy making a living at what they love at the Meadowlands.  Sincerely, Thomas F. Luchento

Samantha Stafford has been awarded the 2017 Harness Horsemen International $4,000 Jerome L. Hauck Scholarship.   Stafford, 19, hails from Woodside, Delaware and will be attending Middle Tennessee State University this fall, where she plans on pursuing a degree in Audio Production.   "I take great pride in my academic achievements," Stafford stresses. "Since I began school, I knew that I loved to learn and my strength on the guitar, singing and songwriting makes me a rarity, which is why I am pursing audio engineering. Producing music will give me the boost in the industry that I will need in order to build a career. Music is my passion and I have never imagined myself pursing any other career."   Stafford is well-versed in a variety of both academic and non-academic endeavors--she is captain of the Polytech High School soccer team and has been a member of the National Honor Society from 2015 through 2017.   As well, Stafford has served her community via her involvement with Habitat for Humanity, Veteran's Memorial and the Milford Food Bank.   Stafford is the daughter of Randall and Carol Stafford of Felton, Delaware. Randall works as a caretaker for Victory Lane Farm, while Carol owns and operates a house cleaning service. Harness Horsemen International is delighted to present the Jerome L. Hauck Scholarship to such a deserving candidate as Samantha Stafford.   Harness Horsemen International 319 High St. Suite 2 Burlington, NJ 08016 (609) 747-1000                    

George Teague has been named winner of another prestigious award. Teague has been named Harness Horsemen International (HHI)'s "Dominic Frinzi Person of the Year." In addition to conditioning 1,631 winners of $35-million to date, Teague has been honored for graciously allowing the public to meet and greet his great pacer, 2015 Horse of the Year, Wiggle It Jiggleit, several times during 2016 to help promote harness racing. ---------------------------------------------------------- Nominations are now being accepted for the 2016 Caretaker of the Year Award, sponsored by Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in conjunction with USHWA honoring the sport's unsung heroes, the caretakers. Dover Downs leads in the number of grooms at the track who have won this award in the past. To nominate for this award with a number of benefits, contact USHWA president Tim Bojarski at a159star@gmail.com with a minimum 200 words, stating the special qualities of the caretaker being nominated. ------------------------------------------ Thursday racing is now the top pacing day at Dover Downs. The highlight events, the $30,000 Preferred has been won the last two times by Ideal Cowboy while Little Ben recorded his fourth win in his last five winning the $27,500 Delaware Special. During the rest of the racing week, Monday is now a top claiming feature day, on Tuesday the top female pacers meet in the $20,000 Open Mares pace and Wednesday continues as top trot day highlighted by the $20,000 Open Trot. ------------------------------------------ With the end of 2016 at hand, First place in Dover Downs leading driver category has become a three-driver battle for top spot. Through November, Vic Kirby led the roster in winning drives. In December, Yannick Gingras had several five win days; Tim Tetrick added a number of four-win cards to also challenge Kirby for the lead, now in a virtual tie. Allan Davis holds on to fourth place while Ross Wolfenden is fifth. ----------------------------------------------------- Jim King remains as leader in trainers statistics in wins and money won by his stable. Josh Green is in second place. Joe Hundertfund and Leigh Raymer are tied for third place with Wayne Givens, fifth. ------------------------------------------------ Well know Delaware stallion Tune Town who stood at Rhonda Owens-Whitehouse's Safe Haven Farms in Ellendale died recently at age 24, The former USHWA Pacing Horse of the Year and Nova Award winning Older Pacer in 1997sired 120 Delaware-bred foals, Dina's Gamble p,1:50.1 ($521,507) and Fine-Tuner p,1:50.1 and Tuneariffic p,1,50.2 topped the list. ------------------------------------------- In 2017, the American Horse Council (AHC) offers three different internships available to both high school and college students. Visit the AHC website for details at info@horsecouncil.org ----------------------------------------------- Australia has announced it will ban the use of existing whips in training and racing beginning on Sept. 1, 2017. Australia becomes the first country to do so. ------------------------------------ Two Dover Downs regulars who raced at Rosecroft Raceway during the just ended Fall season tied for the 2016 Leading Driver title, Roger Plante Jr. and Russell Foster had 52 wins each. Marv Bachrad

George Teague, Jr., has been awarded the Dominic Frinzi Person of the Year award by Harness Horseman International. Teague is best known for conditioning and owning such greats as Wiggle It Jiggleit and Rainbow Blue, among many. The 53-year-old Harrington, DE native has conditioned 1,631 winners to the tune of $35,161,481 in career earnings to date, and has graciously allowed the public to meet and greet Wiggle It Jiggleit on many occasions to help promote harness racing.   Chaplain Lee Alphen is honored with the HHI Appreciation Award. Since 2010, Alphen has led the non-profit, non-denominational Christian organization that serves the harness racing community. Prior to her current position, Alphen was the Chaplain at Rockingham Park in Salem, NH since 1975, ministering to both the harness and Thoroughbred racing industries, and also served as the Chaplain at Scarborough Downs and Suffolk Downs. Every fall, Chaplain Alphen comes to the Little Brown Jug for the week, administering a traditional, Wednesday morning prayer breakfast.   Tom Cassidy & Roger Huston are HHI's Clyde Hirt Media Award winners for this year. Huston is one of the most well-known voices in harness racing, serving as the announcer at The Meadows and as the voice of the Little Brown Jug. He has called well over 170,000 races in his career at 126 tracks in 17 states and seven countries. Tom Cassidy is an on-air horse racing analyst who has been with TVG since March 2012 and was also the former handicapper for Monmouth Park.   The HHI Lifetime Achievement Award winners are Mike O. Izzo of Pennsylvania and Leo McNamara of New Jersey (posthumously).   Izzo is the CFO of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, administering the health and pension programs and has also served as the Executive Administrator of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey and as former Executive Director for both HHI and PHHA.   McNamara was a third generation horseman who worked at Two Gaits Farm and Hanover Shoe Farm, and was the longtime Executive Director of the SBOA of New Jersey who passed away earlier this year. His contributions to the well-being of the Garden State's harness racing industry are numerous.   All of these gentlemen will be feted with their HHI Awards during the U.S. Harness Writer's Association's Dan Patch Awards Night of Champions on February 26, 2017.   Harness Horsemen International 319 High St. Suite 2 Burlington, NJ 08016 (609) 747-1000

Casey Elaine Hite has been awarded the 2016 Harness Horsemen International $4,000 Jerome L. Hauck Scholarship. Casey, 18, hails from Bentleyville, Pennsylvania and will be attending Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia this fall, where she plans on pursuing a degree in public relations. "My parents always helped the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association by giving patrons tours of the backside and I would tag along and help," Casey explained. "One day the publicity director of the track asked if I wanted to start getting paid to help, and I jumped at the chance. I want to help keep this sport alive and introduce people to an attraction that most don't realize is right in their backyard. "My goal is to pay for college on my own," she continued. "My parents have given me a great life and they work hard. This scholarship provides an amazing opportunity to reduce my student loans as well as to not need additional money from my parents." Casey is the daughter of Standardbred trainers and owners Wayne and Trudy Hite of Bentleyville, PA, and attended Bentworth High School where she maintained a 3.75 GPA and was active in many activities, including being an award-winning two-time team captain for Varsity Softball. She was also a volunteer at the Vacation Bible School church nursery and a volunteer assistant softball coach to the 14 & under team, as well as a pitching coach for 10 & under pitchers. Casey is also a member of the Grace United Methodist Church, the Christian Harness Horsemen's Association and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. Harness Horsemen International is delighted to present this scholarship to such a deserving candidate as Casey Hite. From Harness Horsemen International

Burlington, N.J....Harness Horsemen International reminds horsemen that applications for the 28th Jerome L. Hauck Scholarship are due May 1, 2016. The $4,000 award is granted annually to a son or daughter of a full-time Standardbred groom, or the son or daughter of a member of an HHI-affiliated association. The HHI Scholarship Foundation was organized in 1986 in memory of Jerome L. Hauck, one of the founders of HHI who served as its president for 12 years. The Foundation seeks to assist students exhibiting outstanding achievement among their peers, and to promote higher education and citizenship. The award is given to a student who has demonstrated exceptional scholarship, citizenship, and leadership, who has completed high school or its equivalent and is entering college for the first time. Character and personality traits are also reviewed in the selection process, and financial need is a consideration as well. Applications must be received in the HHI office by May 1, 2016. For more information or an application, contact your local horseman's association or HHI at 319 High Street, Suite 2, Burlington, NJ 08016, (609) 747-1000, or email dhartmannhhi@verizon.net. From Harness Horsemen International    

Harness Horsemen International's Annual Meetings concluded March 9 at the Embassy Suites Deerfield Beach Resort & Spa, Deerfield Beach, Florida.   The Wednesday session included a presentation from Joe Pennachio, President & Executive Director of Florida's S.B.O.A., who discussed "de-coupling," an issue which recently threatened the existence of harness racing in the Sunshine State.   Later that morning, HHI members voted to meet in Las Vegas in 2017, along with the USTA and US Harness Writers Association annual meetings. HHI elections then ensued.   Re-elected to serve new three-year terms to the HHI board are President Tom Luchento (SBOANJ); Kim Hankins (Meadows HHA) as First Vice President; Tony Somone (Illinois HHA) as Second Vice President; Mike Izzo (PHHA) as Treasurer; and Sal DiMario (DSOA) as Secretary.   Tim Powers (Maine HHA) and Gabe Prewitt (Kentucky HHA) were both re-elected to one-year terms as At-Large Directors, as were Peter Maranari (PHHA) and Andrew Markano (DSOA), who replace retiring directors Ron Battoni (PHHA) and Jerry Knappenberger (OHHA). Both Battoni and Knappenberger were honored as HHI Directors Emeritus via unanimous vote for their many years of service to the organization.   USTA Executive Vice President Mike Tanner, PHHA's retiring Executive Director Ron Battoni and Harness Racing Communication's Ken Weingartner were honored at HHI's annual awards luncheon that afternoon. Tanner was presented with the Dominic Frinzi Person of the Year Award; Battoni with the HHI Appreciation Award; and Weingartner with the Clyde Hirt Media Award.   HHI is comprised of horsemen's associations from the United States and Canada who collectively represents the agriculture based industry of harness racing in North America. HHI's governing body consists of representatives from its member associations.   Harness Horsemen International      

Harness Horsemen International's Annual Meetings got underway yesterday at the Embassy Suites Deerfield Beach Resort & Spa, Deerfield Beach, Florida. Tom Luchento, HHI President opened the March 7 General Session with welcoming remarks to the group members from the United States and Canada harness racing associations.   American Horse Council President Jay Hickey also spoke, followed by HHI association reports and a lengthy and lively discourse concerning current harness racing commission issues and concerns.   Keynote speaker Dr. Mary Robinson of the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, Chester, PA will speak this morning, beginning at 9 am, on medication issues, along with the USTA's Executive Vice President Mike Tanner, followed by HHI meetings and discussions that include insurance, finance, legal, convention and scholarship.   On Wednesday, March 9, the General Session begins at 9 am, with featured speaker Joe Pennachio, President & Executive Director of Florida's S.B.O.A., discussing the issue of "de-coupling" that has plagued the Sunshine State's harness horsemen for the past month.   The HHI Annual Awards Luncheon will follow at 12:30 pm, honoring USTA Executive Vice President Mike Tanner, PHHA's retiring Executive Director Ron Battoni and Harness Racing Communication's Ken Weingartner with HHI's top awards.   The HHI Annual Meetings will conclude with a farewell breakfast on Thursday, March 10.   HHI is comprised of horsemen's associations from the United States and Canada who collectively represents the agriculture based industry of harness racing in North America. HHI's governing body consists of representatives from its member associations. Harness Horsemen International  

Harness Horsemen International will hold their Annual harness racing meetings and awards luncheon beginning Sunday, March 6 at the Embassy Suites Deerfield Beach Resort & Spa, Deerfield Beach, Florida.   Featured speakers include Dr. Mary Robinson of the University Of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, Chester, PA, and Joe Pennachio, President & Executive Director of Florida's S.B.O.A.   Registration starts at 2 pm on Sunday, followed by a welcome reception at 5:30 pm, with General Sessions beginning daily on March 7, 8, and 9.   Monday's (March 7) agenda includes an opening address by HHI President Tom Luchento, followed by remarks from USTA President Phil Langley and American Horse Council Executive Director Jay Hickey. HHI association reports and business will follow.   On Tuesday (March 8) Dr. Robinson will speak regarding medication issues followed by HHI meetings and discussions including insurance, finance, legal, convention and scholarship.   Wednesday's (March 9) agenda features a presentation by Pennachio regarding the current 'de-coupling' legislation, followed by committee reports and pertinent HHI business.   The HHI Annual Awards Luncheon will follow, honoring USTA Executive Vice President Mike Tanner, PHHA's retiring director Ron Battoni and Harness Racing Communication's Ken Weingartner. Tanner is being honored as the 2015 Dominic Frinzi Person of the Year; Battoni will receive the 2015 HHI Appreciation Award; with the 2015 Clyde Hirt Media Award going to Weingartner.   The HHI Annual Meetings will conclude with a farewell breakfast on Thursday, March 10.   HHI is comprised of horsemen's associations from the United States and Canada who collectively represents the agriculture based industry of harness racing in North America. HHI's governing body consists of representatives from its member associations.   Harness Horsemen International, 319 High St. Suite 2, Burlington, NJ 08016 * (609) 747-1000 * Fax: (609) 747-1012        

Columbus, OH --- United States Trotting Association Executive Vice President Mike Tanner is working with staff members and pertinent stakeholders on activities of greatest priority, as voted on by Summit participants, in increasing foal crops and the number of horse owners. The Summit was held in Columbus, Ohio, on July 13 and focused upon foal crop and ownership issues. "We'll take the message of our recent Summit participants to those in a position to make a change that we anticipate will show improvement in the target areas," said Tanner. "There was unanimous sentiment that a shift in purse offerings to provide incentives for racing young, untested horses would yield an upturn in the breeding industry. We will be taking that message to both Harness Horsemen International and North American Harness Racing Secretaries, Inc." Education, in reproductive technology and husbandry practices, is also a priority. "Nationally, we have a conversion rate of about 60 percent of mares bred to foals registered," said Tanner. "However, there's wide variation in that percentage between breeders. We have more resources to reach our members now than ever before and we plan to use them to empower all breeders, whether they have one horse or 100, to help their mares conceive and carry a healthy foal and raise that foal to be a commercially viable racehorse." The USTA will also team up with tracks, horsemen and pertinent stake holders to educate those considering first-time purchase of a Standardbred. The first such event is planned as a four-hour workshop on Sept. 12 at the Goshen (NY) Yearling Sale. For more information, or to sign up, contact Chris Tully at tullytrot@yahoo.com or call 845.807.7538. Planning is underway for the next Summit, to concentrate on pari-mutuel wagering issues, that will be scheduled during the first quarter of 2016. USTA Communications Department

Harness Horsemen International wrapped up their annual meetings on March 4 at the Embassy Suites Deerfield Beach Resort & Spa, in Florida with elections and an Awards Luncheon. General Sessions began in the morning with re-election of the following HHI At-Large Directors: Dr. Tim Powers (Maine HHA); Ron Battoni (Pennsylvania HHA); Jerry Knappenberger (Ohio HHA); and Gabe Pruitt (Kentucky HHA).   "We accomplished a great deal during the past three days," noted Tom Luchento, HHI President. "But most importantly, we were happy to welcome back the Indiana Standardbred Association to HHI." During the Annual Awards Luncheon, a trio of harness racing personalities were honored with HHI's most prestigious crowns.   Gene Oldford, HHI past president was named the 2014 HHI Dominic Frinzi Person of the Year for his continued dedication to the organization. Jerry Knappenberger, former General Manager of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association, was awarded the HHI Appreciation Award for 2014 for his many years of service to the Ohio Standardbred industry, while Derick Giwner, the Daily Racing Form's harness racing editor and writer, accepted the 2014 HHI Clyde HIrt Media Award for his coverage of the sport.   Harness Horseman International will return to this same location from Feb. 28-March 3 in 2016 at this same location. HHI is comprised of horsemen's associations from the United States and Canada who collectively represent the agriculture-based industry of harness racing in North America. HHI's governing body consists of representatives from its member associations.   Kimberly A. Rinker

Harness Horsemen International's Annual Meetings continued with General Sessions and a keynote speaker on March 3 at the Embassy Suites Deerfield Beach Resort & Spa, Deerfield Beach, Florida. Dr. Mary Robinson of the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, Chester, PA presented "Equine Drug Testing in the 21st Century," discussing many of the current methods used by most equine testing laboratories today and future applications currently in development.   "Today's equipment is becoming so sophisticated you can identify a grain of salt in an Olympic sized swimming pool," Dr. Robinson stated.   Later, members of American and Canadian associations met to debate HHI issues, including budget, dues, finance, legal, insurance, convention and scholarship. Membership then unanimously approved welcoming back the Indiana Standardberd Association to HHI.   Tom Cook, President of the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association made a motion that was adopted by the full body of delegates, suggesting that: "The Standardbred industry and its racing fans are negatively impacted by the current dispute between the Mid-Atlantic Co-op and the Monarch Group. HHI encourages both parties to work diligently to reach a settlement; recognizing the impact the current stalemate has on multiple parties, including the betting public."   It was also agreed on by HHI membership that the 2016 meeting dates would be Feb. 28 through March 3 at this same location.   HHI elections and committee reports will highlight Wednesday's (March 4) General Session, starting at 9 am, followed by the Awards Luncheon at 12:30 pm, during which harness racing's Gene Oldford, Jerry Knappenberger and Derick Giwner will be feted with HHI's top honors.   Oldford, an HHI past president, is the 2014 Dominic Frinzi Person of the Year; Knappenberger, former GM of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association, will accept the 2014 HHI Appreciation Award; and Giwner, the Daily Racing Form's harness racing editor and writer, is the 2014 Clyde Hirt Media Award winner.   Kimberly A. Rinker

Harness Horsemen International's Annual Meetings got underway today at the Embassy Suites Deerfield Beach Resort & Spa, Deerfield Beach, Florida. Tom Luchento, HHI President opened the March 2 General Session with welcoming remarks to the group of harness racing association members from the United States and Canada.   After association member reports and HHI business topics were discussed, a lengthy and lively discourse followed concerning racing commission issues and frustrations on the perception of whipping and kicking at North American raceways.   Keynote speaker Dr. Mary Robinson of the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, Chester, PA will present "Equine Drug Testing in the 21st Century" during Tuesday's (March 3) General Session beginning at 9 am. HHI committees will later convene to deliberate insurance, finance, legal, convention and foundation issues. HHI elections and committee reports are the highlight of Wednesday's (March 4) General Session, starting at 9 am, followed by the HHI Awards Luncheon at 12:30 pm, during which harness racing's Gene Oldford, Jerry Knappenberger and Derick Giwner will be feted with HHI's top honors of 2014. Oldford, an HHI past president, is the 2014 Dominic Frinzi Person of the Year; Knappenberger, former GM of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association, will accept the 2014 HHI Appreciation Award; and Giwner, the Daily Racing Form's harness racing editor and writer, is the 2014 Clyde Hirt Media Award winner. Kimberly A. Rinker

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