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Columbus, OH - The Standardbred Racing Investigative Fund (SRIF) announced its formal launch on Tuesday, Sept. 29. SRIF is a 501(c)(3) corporation formed to fund expert investigations into matters concerning the health and welfare of horses in the harness racing industry, such as prohibited medication practices and fraudulent trainer listings. "Independence and confidentiality must go hand-in-hand to generate a reliable investigative product. We took great care when planning to maximize these features, insulating the Oversight Committee within the organization. This, combined with the business model of outsourcing to top-level investigative firms, makes SRIF the first of its kind in racing," stated Russell Williams, SRIF's interim Secretary-Treasurer. SRIF will eventually be registered to operate in all harness racing jurisdictions. The Oversight Committee will supervise investigations and report results from completed investigations to the racing commissions or other appropriate authorities. The Oversight Committee, comprising retired federal and state judges and prominent attorneys at the law firm of Saxton & Stump, has impressive credentials as well as extensive experience in regional and national criminal and fraud investigations. Committee members include: Hon. Lawrence F. Stengel (Ret.) is a shareholder with the law firm of Saxton & Stump and currently chairs their internal investigations practice. He is the former Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and has served as a special investigator for the NFL Concussion Settlement program and chair of the oversight committee for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Independent Reparation and Reconciliation program. Kathleen Duffy Bruder, Esquire, is an attorney with the law firm of Saxton & Stump and chairs their regulatory and government affairs practice. Bruder is the former Deputy Chief of Staff for the Pennsylvania Office of the Governor under former Gov. Tom Corbett. She is a member of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Civil Procedural Rules Committee and is experienced in representing issues important to the state racing industry associations. Hon. Robert A. Graci (Ret.) is a former Chief Counsel to the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board, a retired Superior Court Judge and the former Chief Deputy Attorney General who headed the criminal appeals and investigating grand jury section. He has extensive investigative experience working with law enforcement officials at the local, state and federal levels. To see full bios on the three members of the Oversight Committee, click here. SRIF's initial funding comes from a $250,000 matching grant from Hanover Shoe Farms. Its initial officers and directors are Bridgette S. Jablonsky, VMD, Robert Boni, and Russell Williams. Several horsepersons' associations have expressed their solid support, and SRIF expects to be well funded for the long term. "The pending federal legislation includes nothing about investigative capability, so even if it becomes law, SRIF will be much needed," Williams added. Contributions can be sent to: Standardbred Racing Investigative Fund P.O. Box 339 Hanover, PA 17331 SRIF will maintain its own anonymous telephone tipline that cannot be accessed by any outside individual or organization. Information will go directly to the Oversight Committee. The SRIF tipline number will be published across all industry online journals once established. Media Contacts: Dan Leary, Director of Communications, USTA - dan.leary@ustrotting.com Jenna Wagner, VP Marketing and Development, Saxton & Stump - jrw@saxtonstump.com Russell Williams, Interim Secretary-Treasurer, SRIF - rcwilliams@hanoverpa.com From the USTA Communications Department    

The Standardbred Horse Sales Company announced today that its 2020 Annual Sale will be held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Lutherville – Timonium, MD. Yearling sale dates are Tuesday, November 3 to Thursday, November 5. Mixed sale dates are Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7, 2020. The Maryland State Fairgrounds is the well known yearly destination for Fasig – Tipton Mid – Atlantic Thoroughbred auctions, and offers a first class sales facility as well as conveniently located hotels and attractive restaurants, great shopping nearby at Towson Town Center, and good access to Baltimore – Washington International Airport (BWI). Details about the venue and area can be found at the Maryland State Fair website www.marylandstatefair.com. Additional information about the sale will soon be forthcoming on our website www.theblackbook.com.  “Standardbred is delighted to announce our new partnership with Maryland State Fairgrounds for our 2020 Annual auction,” said Paul Spears, President of Standardbred Horse Sales Company. “Sale dates will respect the travel needs of customers who will attend Breeders Crown races in Indiana. The live auction sale will be conducted with COVID – 19 precautions to protect the health of our consignors and customers. For the convenience of customers who prefer to remain at home, online bidding and extensive telephone bidding opportunities will be offered. Standardbred will work hard to make the 2020 sale accessible and safe for our customers and consignors.” President/CEO of Hanover Shoe Farms Russell Williams remarked, “I am very happy that the sale will be held at such an equine – friendly site with a long history of successful auctions. Standardbred Horse Sales has positioned its consignors advantageously on the threshold of 2021, when our industry will prove its courage and achieve better results than ever.” From the Standardbred Horse Sales Co.  

Columbus, OH – As part of the initiative that commenced with Hanover Shoe Farms’ Executive Vice President Bridgette Jablonsky’s announcement in April of a $250,000 matching fund grant to promote integrity in harness racing, on Monday (July 6), U.S. Trotting Association President Russell Williams announced the establishment of the Standardbred Racing Investigative Fund. The SRIF will exist as a division of the USTA but with independent, third-party oversight. “After announcing the $250,000 challenge grant, we heard from several industry stakeholders who were concerned about industry participants having the ability to exert influence on or make decisions regarding investigations into possible regulatory or criminal abuses,” said Williams, who is president and CEO of Hanover Shoe Farms. “These concerns are valid, so we have worked diligently with a leading Pennsylvania law firm to design a structure that would remove funding and investigative decision-making from the USTA and allow for total confidentiality.  This difficult task has taken time, but it is almost complete,” added Williams. The plan for the SRIF will be presented at an upcoming USTA Board of Directors Executive Committee meeting to be held within the next few weeks in order to gain Board approval. If approved, complete details including who will serve on the SRIF Oversight Board, the way that money from donations will be allocated, how investigations will be conducted, and details of the plan for cooperative efforts with state racing commissions and local, state and federal authorities will be announced. To read Dr. Jablonsky’s original announcement of the $250,000 matching funds grant from Hanover Shoe Farms, click here. From the USTA Communications Department

For some people, the federal indictments of over two dozen people in horse racing for drug adulteration and misbranding were a confirmation of long-held suspicions — that racing wasn't as clean as it should be. For Hanover Shoe Farms president and CEO Russell Williams, it was a call to action. Williams is the grandson of Hanover Shoe founder Lawrence Sheppard, who launched the Standardbred operation in Hanover, Penn., when he was a junior partner in the Hanover Shoe Company. The farm burst onto the Standardbred scene in the 1920s and emerged as one of the sport's largest commercial breeders. Hanover Shoe has been the country's top breeder by U.S. Trotting Association figures year after year. He is also the president of the U.S. Trotting Association. As such, the allegations in the indictments, of Standardbred and Thoroughbred trainers doping horses while escaping the detection of pre- and post-race testing, offended Williams deeply. “Here at Hanover Shoe farm, we sell about 230 yearlings, or that's what we're going to sell this year,” said Williams. “We try to raise them right and love them and take good care of them. To send them out into the world to be subjected to the things described in those indictments … it breaks our hearts. “We're going to show them we're not going to say goodbye to them when they leave here. We're going to put this challenge grant down and make some things happen.” To read the full report written by Natalie Voss in the Paulick Report click here.  

Hanover, PA - Pick your catastrophe. We face a world health crisis worse than any we've seen for over a century. Meanwhile, the Governor of Pennsylvania is engaging in some state budget buccaneering that would, if the General Assembly permits it, destroy a two-century-old, native horse racing industry that brings $1.6 billion in economic impact and 20,000 jobs to the state. If this succeeds, what will happen in other states? And, finally, a long list of Thoroughbred and Standardbred industry participants face a reckoning that, looking at their conduct as alleged, you would think they never expected. This last situation is in the forefront of the minds of our Board of Directors as we work through our "annual meeting from home" this week and next. We all abhor the allegations in the indictments and criminal complaints, and we roundly condemn all conduct of the kind. At the USTA, however, there is an obligation to forego the luxury of performative outrage and, instead, to concentrate on what concrete steps our mandate requires us to take. Our record in dealing as an association with cheating and horse abuse is excellent. Now I write to call for concrete action that will move us forward in the right direction. In this editorial, I offer some recommendations. Others will join in, I hope, offering additions and corrections. At last, I hope, everyone of good will in harness racing will contribute time and money to the work that must be done. We can resolve to embrace change and to bear its cost, because we know that only then can our racing sport thrive in the modern era. The Narrative We love horses. This is our narrative, its beginning and its end, and it consists of countless stories of courage, hope, and love for horses that totally contradict the acts of a criminal few. Perhaps our very survival as a sport requires us now to make sure that the world learns about our true selves. When a horse puts its nose ahead of another horse's nose, evolution is at work. Taking the lead is part of a horse's social nature, so (unlike dog racing, for example) horse racing is entirely natural, and horses thrive on it. Horsepersons can tell inspiring stories of horses that found a way to win against unplanned-for adversity, just as we must overcome adversity now. Caring well for horses, and we do care well for them, involves trying to understand these beautiful creatures that cannot communicate with us in human terms. But those of us who employ their intelligence to understand and communicate in something like horse terms become better people for it. There are wonderful stories of lives that have been transformed, not merely economically, but in a deeper way, by the bond with the horse, an animal that evolved along an entirely different strand of the net of creation from humans. Horses can teach us things about courage and beauty, even love, that we would otherwise never learn. Some people do not know that our award-winning writers and photographers have been telling the story of harness racing in Hoof Beats since before the USTA was founded. But today the USTA has more powerful resources for telling the story of harness racing than it has ever had: our website is the most visited in harness racing and is closely watched by other breeds, and our social media presence is a serious force on the internet. Our Communications Department is unrivaled among breed associations, and our ability to put these resources to use is limited only by the cooperation of our membership. Finally, the USTA Board of Directors is meeting as I write, by means of a series of teleconferences, and advanced communications is under discussion. As the USTA and the membership find new and more effective ways to tell the true story of harness racing, we can correct the cultural narrative and propel our sport into its rightful place in the future. "The Feds" In the United States, the federal level provides the services that a central government should provide, while the states retain authority over every other matter. Federal prosecutions are usually the best way to address criminal activity occurring in multiple states. Although the conduct alleged took place in several states, the indictments and criminal complaints under discussion issue from the Southern District of New York, one of the most sophisticated offices within the United States Justice Department. We must not fall prey to the ignorant notion that there is any magical connection between the Justice Department and the Horseracing Integrity Act which, if it ever were to see passage, would be governed by the Commerce Department. As Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (representing state authority), has pointed out: nobody needed a Horseracing Integrity bill to make these prosecutions happen. The laws that make the allegations in the indictments illegal, and the federal, state, and private agencies that built these cases already exist, and we should build on the existing system to prevent cheating and horse abuse, and to incentivize best practices in our sport. The serious problems that the Horseracing Integrity Act poses for harness racing have been explained elsewhere. Yes, we have problems of our own to solve, but instead of throwing this poorly-considered federal Hail Mary, instead of ignoring the states' established knowledge and experience in regulating horse racing, and instead of relying on some unspecifiable federal magic to solve our problems, our effort must be to support and extend the growing cooperation among state racing commissions. The state racing commissions themselves called for this over a year ago, by proposing a dedicated unit among key federal and state agencies to investigate racing matters and, where appropriate, to refer them for prosecution. This call was ignored by those proposing so-called racing integrity bills at the federal level, but individual state racing commissions are continuing nevertheless to strengthen their ties with state and federal enforcement agencies. An even more significant development is taking place. "Interstate compacts" provide a contractual structure that enhances cooperation among states regarding regulations and enforcement. This is not a new concept: for years an interstate licensing compact has existed, simplifying licensing for owners, trainers, drivers, jockeys, and other licensees across the country. In a similar but more important way, an interstate medication compact would bring about consistent medication regulation nationwide. (We don't use the word "uniform," because Standardbred and Thoroughbred medication rules can't be uniform. They must differ in a few areas because the two breeds have different performance models.) Interstate medication compacts are working their way through several state legislatures, and we may be approaching passage of a multi-breed medication compact in one of the leading racing states. If this happens, I believe that the other racing states will quickly follow suit. Reading legislative bills (and enacted statutes) can be extremely tedious for most people. But someone has to do it. And if you read the Horseracing Integrity draft bill, you will discover something very surprising: recognition in the bill's own language of the primacy and importance of interstate compacts and, by implication, state authority. It's almost as if the federalization special interests felt compelled to acknowledge that the states have already done all the work and already have all the know-how regarding medication regulation. Section 4(e) of the draft bill says that the whole federal house of cards collapses if, "after the expiration of five years following [the effective date of the Act]," an interstate compact is established. Amazingly, the draft then goes on, in subsection 4(e)(2), to recite important steps that we should take to develop an interstate medication compact. Let us not wait five years enduring some sort of expensive and pointless federal intermission before we do what should have been done in the first place: to fully establish the breed-specific medication compact that is presently evolving in the states. The Ethical Climate We can achieve a radically new regulatory process that will render extinct the criminal activity of a few horsepersons and veterinarians, and we can do it without having to purchase any expensive federal snake oil. The type of criminal activity under discussion was, in the past, often veiled by certain legal concepts and, to some extent, aided by a certain "don't ask don't tell" attitude within the industry. We now have the opportunity, maybe our last, to change this permanently. First, the days of turning a blind eye to suspicious activity are over. They never should have existed. I offer, as a good counterexample to horsepersons who failed, in the past, to report suspicious activity, the American bar. If a lawyer becomes aware of an ethical infraction and fails to report it, he or she becomes guilty in turn of another serious ethical infraction. In other words, the legal community has a self-policing system that can be expected to work much better than the "don't ask don't tell' system that we have tolerated in racing. In grade school, if you told on someone, you were a "rat." Unfortunately, this way of thinking persisted into adulthood among some horsepersons. It was never valid. We must police ourselves, because our obligation is not to be a "stand-up guy." Our obligation is to ensure the health and welfare of our horses, and to preserve the integrity of our industry. Second, we must recalibrate our internal affairs. No longer can we be excused for leaving investigation and enforcement up to our chronically underfunded racing commissions. But rather than pouring more of our money into the state commissions, we should develop private investigative capabilities that support the regulators' powers and we should demand the commissions' formalized cooperation with the investigations that must be carried out. Much of the investigative work that went into the current prosecutions was carried out not by the FBI, but rather by a private firm called "5 Stones intelligence" or "5Si." We have contracted with investigative firms in past years, but never did we make the sort of commitment that was made to 5Si. Maybe this should be the model going forward: use the power of private investigations wherever necessary to support the work of the racing commissions. Indeed, as Ed Martin pointed out, the current prosecution demonstrates the way to protect racing. No federal Hail Mary is necessary. Third, all licensees in racing should be required to consent to investigation by any racing authority, in any public or private place, at any time, and also to consent to all appropriate, effective corrective action pending a hearing. If you want to participate in our industry, this comes with the territory. I'm aware of a case in which a trainer was caught doing something blatantly wrong to a horse, behaved extremely guiltily when caught, and then influenced a veterinarian to lie about the matter. The USTA suspended this individual and never looked back, but the state racing commission did nothing about it, because it thought that its hands were tied. Let us untie the hands of the racing commissions and other racing authorities, including the USTA, which has always been a powerful investigative force in harness racing. Where are the large sums of money going to come from that will be needed for all of this? This is something that we will have to figure out, and now the discussion has begun. But I can tell you this: the funding we come up with to make effective the work of the state regulators is sure to be less than what the Horseracing Integrity Act would cost us. According to the testimony of a Thoroughbred witness before the Congressional subcommittee that is presently considering the Horseracing Integrity Act, the cost to the Standardbred industry would be about $13.8 million. Even if we had to put that much into the existing system to make it work effectively, at least we would know where the money was going. Conclusion and Invitation Times of peril are also times of opportunity. We're aware, we're outraged, we're worried. But we're also energized as perhaps never before. Now is our chance to do things that probably could not have been done before. The USTA will act. I invite industry stakeholders to join the USTA in developing a comprehensive template that will protect real integrity, support the health and welfare of our horses, and permit the beautiful narrative of horse racing to continue uninterrupted. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association

Columbus, OH - The U.S. Trotting Association has been cooperating for several years with official investigations, several of which now have reached the indictment stage in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. "Having worked in the criminal justice system some years ago, I'm acutely aware of the presumption of innocence that applies from indictment through trial," said Russell Williams, USTA President. "At the same time, it's essential to the administration of justice and to the health of our industry for anyone with knowledge of possibly illegal activity to cooperate with law enforcement authorities. It is imperative that our sport is conducted fairly and with integrity." In his official statement, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman states that "the care and respect due to the animals competing, as well as the integrity of racing, are matters of deep concern." We fully concur. The USTA will continue to monitor the situation, but as a matter of policy regarding all pending legal proceedings, will have no further comment. From the USTA Communications Department  

Columbus, OH - The United States Trotting Association has announced that its in-person 2020 Board of Directors meeting, scheduled for this coming weekend (March 13-16) in Columbus, Ohio, has been canceled due to travel concerns related to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. "The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Protection has characterized COVID-19 as an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, and has issued advisories regarding the travel of those at heightened risk to the virus," explained Russell Williams, President of the USTA. "In such matters, it is important to err on the side of caution. Canceling the meeting is the prudent course of action." It is not known at this time whether the assembly will be rescheduled. In the near term, USTA rule change proposals will be voted upon electronically, and officer elections will be conducted by an independent, third-party accounting firm, similar to how the Association operates district director elections. The Association will provide further updates as they become available. From the USTA Communications Department    

$200 Million PA Racing Fund In Jeopardy

Columbus, OH -- In an announcement from the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium on Wednesday (Nov. 21) regarding NSAID administration time and intra-articular injections, that organization inaccurately portrayed their relationship with the U.S. Trotting Association when they stated that, "The RMTC consists of 23 racing industry stakeholders and organizations that represent Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Quarter Horse and Arabian racing." "A review of the RMTC release reveals an unjustified and regrettable misrepresentation," said USTA President Russell Williams. "The RMTC does not represent the Standardbred breed in any way. Only the United States Trotting Association and the Harness Racing Medication Collaborative can speak for the Standardbred breed regarding medication issues." HRMC Chairman Joe Faraldo echoed Williams' declaration. "As chairman of the USTA's Harness Racing Medication Collaborative let me be quite clear that RMTC does NOT represent the Standardbred industry," said Faraldo. "The harness industry operates under an altogether different training regimen and is a more durable breed than our Thoroughbred counterparts," explained Faraldo. "The genesis for such a proposed rule is founded on the unfortunate reaction to the Santa Anita catastrophe, which has gathered significant negative public attention but has no relationship to any Standardbred experience. Our incidence of catastrophic breakdowns is a statistical anomaly as compared to other breeds and hence such rules such as these, should under no circumstances be made applicable to the Standardbred industry. "Rules such as these, referred to any state commission through RMTC or even RCI (Association of Racing Commissioners International), as its conduit, is not representative of rules more appropriately applicable to the harness racing industry and should therefore not be applied to it," added Faraldo. "The HRMC shall provide the state racing commissions and others with appropriate regulations that are consistent with any and all integrity concerns related to permitted, therapeutic medications whether directly or through RCI." On Sept. 25, 2013, the Executive Committee of the USTA unanimously voted to reject RCI proposed model medication rules and in a separate unanimous vote, agreed that the USTA would immediately withdraw its membership from the RMTC. "We have carefully considered the RCI proposals and have come to the conclusion that the physical characteristics of the breeds are significantly different. Trying to fit them together makes little sense," said then USTA President Phil Langley. "We believe both breeds, Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds, will benefit from having rules concentrated solely on their needs." On May 8, 2018, the USTA, through the Medication Subcommittee of the USTA Board of Directors, established the HRMC, a group that includes both academic and practicing veterinarians. The HRMC's purpose is to assist in identifying and developing the scientific background for medication regulation in Standardbred racing. The USTA utilizes HRMC's reports and supporting data to present to the RCI for dissemination to regulators in the various racing commissions. From the USTA Communications Department

Yannick Gingras, the leading driver in earnings in North America for the past four years, will represent the United States in the 2019 World Driving Championship in Sweden from May 24-31 next year. Conducted since 1970, the World Driving Championship brings together the world's best harness drivers for an exciting, international competition. "First of all, it's a great honor to be asked," said Gingras who will be making his first WDC appearance. "Only one person can represent the United States and I'm very humble and proud. "I'm looking forward to going to Sweden because I have made good relationships there over the years and have some great friends," added Gingras. "I'll get to spend a couple of weeks there during a beautiful time of the year. The timing and location make the whole package perfect." Gingras is currently the second-leading driver in purses earned this year with more than $7.6 million. For his career, he's on the verge of reaching 40,000 starts, 7,000 wins and $165 million in earnings. "Yannick has been an elite, big race driver for the past several years as demonstrated by his being the top money-winner for the last four years in a row," said USTA President Russell Williams in making the announcement of his selection of Gingras. "He is a fan favorite, is always very good with the media and he will be an excellent representative both on and off the track." Gingras, who turned 39 on Aug. 4, has a long list of career highlights. He was named the Driver of the Year last year and in 2014, when he had a career high $17.3 million in earnings. In 2003, he received the Rising Star Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association. He has been among the Top 10 drivers in earnings for the past 12 years and has been in the top five in each of the past eight seasons. His $164.9 million in career earnings rank eighth all-time and fifth among active drivers. Gingras is the regular driver of 2017 Horse of the Year Award winner Hannelore Hanover. In 2017, Gingras' top wins included the Maple Leaf Trot with Hannelore Hanover, four Breeders Crown finals (with Hannelore Hanover, Ariana G, Manchego, and Youaremycandygirl) and the Little Brown Jug with Filibuster Hanover. Gingras has won 20 Breeders Crown trophies in his career. Also among his many accomplishments, Gingras is known for his association with pacer Foiled Again, the richest horse in harness racing history with $7.59 million in lifetime earnings. With Gingras in the sulky, Foiled Again got career win No. 100 on July 8 at Harrah's Philadelphia and joined Hall of Famer Rambling Willie as the only pacers with at least 100 wins and more than $2 million in purses in the past 40 years. From the USTA Communications Department    

Columbus, OH --- A group of 13 people, representing a variety of sectors in the industry, has been assembled to lead the development of the Standardbred Transition Alliance (STA). The STA will accredit programs serving Standardbreds seeking placement outside traditional commercial uses and also serve as a conduit for partial funding to those groups. The group has filed articles of incorporation and is registered as a charity with the state of Ohio; documents have also been submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to file as a 501(c)(3)charitable entity. The STA will operate independently of the United States Trotting Association, though the USTA will provide operational support and will have an ex officio spot on the board. The USTA Board of Directors in March directed Chief Executive Officer Mike Tanner, with assistance from a steering committee comprised of Directors Don Marean, Jacqueline Ingrassia and Fred Nichols, to form the group. The STA will not directly care for horses, but will accredit and provide some funding for groups that meet accreditation standards. It will be modeled after the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, which provides financial assistance to about 60 groups annually. "It is past time that we have a pervasive and proportional system to provide some support to groups helping our horses when they are no longer viable on the racetrack or as bloodstock," said USTA President Russell Williams. "We have many horse owners that provide for their horses for all of their lives, but that is not an option for every person or every horse. We owe the horses that provide our living and enjoyment a coordinated effort to give them a secure future off the track. The STA will support that goal." The STA Board will convene for the first time in early November. The USTA Executive Committee is expected to consider and vote on actions to provide some funding for them at their November meeting. For questions and comments about the STA, email STA@ustrotting.com. The members of the STA Board are: Bill Abdelnour, horse owner and president of the New England Amateur Drivers Association Elizabeth Caldwell, owner and manager of Cane Run Farm, Kentucky Michelle Crawford, breeder and owner of Crawford Farm, New York Moira Fanning, chief operating officer of the Hambletonian Society Dr. Donna Franchetti, horse owner and veterinarian Kevin Greenfield, breeder and president of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association Dr. Patricia Hogan, horse owner, breeder and veterinarian Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, horse owner and veterinarian, manager of Hanover Shoe Farm Rick Moore, vice president and general manager of racing at Hoosier Park David Reid, owner of Preferred Equine Marketing Mitchel Skolnick, breeder and partner in Bluestone Farm Kelly Young, executive director of the New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund From the USTA Communications Department

Columbus, OH --- While the United States Trotting Association (USTA) strongly supports breed-specific, uniform medication rules for horse racing, the USTA, which has had no input into the preparation of the bill, opposes the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R.2651) for a number of reasons. Two of the primary objections to the proposed legislation are the elimination of race-day medications, specifically furosemide (Lasix), and the lack of separate, uniform regulations governing the use of therapeutic medications for the different breeds. In March 2012, the USTA announced its official position on furosemide stating, "The U.S. Trotting Association believes that the most humane way to address this problem (Exercised-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage) is through the continued approval of the race-day administration of furosemide under controlled conditions and by a licensed veterinarian." "After a year of considering all the issues concerning the race-day administration of furosemide, commonly known as Salix or Lasix, the U.S. Trotting Association believes the determining factor should be the welfare of the horse," said then USTA President Phil Langley in making the announcement at that time. The American Association of Equine Practitioners also endorses the use of race-day Lasix "based on the overwhelming body of international scientific and clinical evidence." The USTA has long been an advocate for separate rules for the different breeds in the use of therapeutic medications. "As the Association of Racing Commissioners International has recently agreed and the USTA has advocated all along, the differences in the racing breeds and their business models, particularly the frequency that the horses race, requires there to be separate rules for each breed in the use of therapeutic medications," said USTA President Russell Williams. "A 'one-size-fits-all' approach, which is what H.R.2651 appears to advocate, isn't right, isn't fair, doesn't promote equine health, and won't work." Further, the USTA has concerns about the makeup of the proposed federal board of the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority (HAMCA) created by the legislation. "The proposed board members will have no experience with or understanding of the horse racing industry or the welfare of the horses," said Williams. "It seeks to replace the current state regulatory system where uniformity largely exists and is made up of regulators with extensive experience and knowledge of horse racing. "Also, it is a significant concern to the USTA that this legislation would designate the Federal Trade Commission as the ultimate regulatory authority, bypassing agencies like the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration that have experience with animal welfare issues." In addition, the proposed legislation would create a regulatory commission that could mandate significant additional expenses to the horse racing industry. "There is no stipulation for federal funding in the legislation as there is for the United States Anti-Doping Agency in its testing of human athletes, which would give HAMCA a blank check to impose new costs to racetracks and horsemen with minimal oversight or accountability," added Williams. The USTA joins the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (the two major, national organizations representing Thoroughbred owners, breeders and trainers); Harness Horsemen International (the international organization that represents Standardbred owners, breeders and trainers in the U.S. and Canada); Association of Racing Commissioners International (the national organization representing independent state racing commissions); the American Association of Equine Practitioners and North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians (the two principal organizations representing the equine veterinary community); and the American Quarter Horse Association as well as numerous other racing and breeding organizations in opposing the proposed Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R. 2651). Ken Weingartner USTA Communications Department

Washington, DC --- Russell Williams, the president of the United States Trotting Association (USTA) chairman of Standardbred Horse Sales Co., and chairman of Hanover Shoe Farms has been named to the American Horse Council's (AHC) Board of Trustees following the organization’s Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum, which was held in Washington D.C. June 11-14. Williams replaces Michael Tanner, executive vice president of the USTA and joins Matt Iuliano, the executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club in this role. “Russell Williams has served as both a member and chairman of the American Horse Council board and we are grateful that he will be re-joining the board to lend us his extensive knowledge and understanding of not only the harness racing industry but the equine industry itself,” said Julie Broadway, president of the AHC. “At the same time, we deeply appreciate the guidance and commitment Mike Tanner provided to the council.” Williams earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia, as well as a law degree from the University of Richmond. He also currently serves as a trustee of the Harness Racing Museum and the Hanover Foundation for Excellence in Education. Additionally, he is a member of the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Mr. Williams previously served on the AHC’s Board from 2001-2008 and as chairman of that board 2009-2012. “Working with the trustees and staff of the AHC adds energy to the other work I do in the horse industry,” said Williams. “I’m very glad to be back on the board.” Iuliano was elected upon the expansion of the board of trustees from 14 to 15 and was also named treasurer of the AHC, succeeding Alex Waldrop in that role. He was named executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club in 2010, after more than eight years as the organization’s Vice President of Registration Services. He oversees all matters concerning The American Stud Book and represents The Jockey Club as it interacts with national and international industry organizations and committee. “Matt Iuliano has played an active role with the AHC while serving on our Racing Advisory Committee, and we are looking forward to his increased involvement as a board member and treasurer,” Broadway said. Prior to joining The Jockey Club in 2011, Iuliano served in several executive capacities at Churchill Downs Incorporated. He also spent seven years as the Director and Operations Manager of Lasma East, a prominent Arabian horse farm that was located in LaGrange, Ky. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and a Master’s degree in Equine Physiology and Biophysics from Colorado State University before earning an MBA and a law degree from the University of Louisville. “The Jockey Club is grateful for the support and dedication of the American Horse Council as an advocate for the entire United States equine industry, and I am honored to have been selected as a member of the board of trustees,” said Iuliano. In addition to Williams and Iuliano, the other AHC board members are: Chairman Dr. Jerry Black (American Association of Equine Practitioners - AAEP), Vice-Chairman Jim Gagliano (The Jockey Club), Dr. Glenn Blodgett (American Quarter Horse Association - AQHA), Marilyn Breuer-Bertera (USTA), Craig Huffhines (AQHA), Dr. Tom Lenz (AAEP), Don Marean (USTA), Dr. Richard Mitchell (United States Equestrian Federation - USEF), Chrystine Tauber (USEF), Johnny Trotter (AQHA), Bill Thomason (National Thoroughbred Racing Association - NTRA), Alex Waldrop (NTRA), and Joe Wilson (Thoroughbred Racing Associations) for the 2017-2018 term. At the annual meeting, the AHC Board of Trustees also approved a name change for the AHC’s Recreation Committee. The new name will be the “Recreation, Trails and Land Use Committee.” Historically, this committee has dealt with trail and land use issues in addition to traditional recreational riding. In addition to the election of two new Board members, the Chairs of the five AHC Committees were also confirmed: Animal Welfare Committee: Dr. Tom Lenz, American Association of Equine Practitioners Health & Regulatory Committee: Dr. Richard Mitchell, United States Equestrian Federation Horse Show Committee: Gary Carpenter, National Reining Horse Association Racing Advisory Committee: Alex Waldrop, National Thoroughbred Racing Association Recreation, Trails and Land Use Committee: Jim McGarvey, Back Country Horsemen of America by Ashley Furst, for the American Horse Council 

The first in a monthly series of USTA Presidential Town Halls with President Russell Williams will begin on Thursday, April 21st at 10:30 AM on the Post Time with Mike and Mike harness racing show. The show can be heard live every Thursday morning at 10:30 AM at posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on-demand at betamerica.com/barn. Questions from racing fans, horsemen and women, industry participants, etc. are encouraged and maybe asked on the air. Questions can be sent via e-mail to mike@posttimewithmikeandmike.com. The deadline to submit questions for the first Town Hall is this Monday at Midnight. “This will be a great way to enlarge the conversation between our organization and its members," said President Williams. "I expect to learn a lot from the questions that come in, and I hope to get some news out there that people might not already know.” Post Time with Mike and Mike is a weekly harness racing show co-hosted by Harrah's Philadelphia Track Announcer Mike Bozich, and Northfield Park's Mike Carter.

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