Search Results
1 to 16 of 119
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association announced Monday that it will fund a research study by renowned equine researchers Dr. George Maylin from Morrisville State College in New York and Dr. Karyn Malinowski and Dr. Ken McKeever of Rutgers University in New Jersey to evaluate the effects of cobalt on red blood cell production (erythropoiesis) and performance enhancement in horses. Dr. Maylin anticipates that the study will commence at the beginning of September. "The purpose is to study the effects of cobalt on racehorses with the exercise physiology model used by Dr. McKeever to study drugs such as EPO," explained Dr. Maylin. "It's the only way to assess the pharmacological effects with this type of compound. It will be a dose-response study to see if some level of cobalt has an effect on performance." In a previous study funded by the USTA, the three researchers determined a baseline for what the normal levels of cobalt are in a Standardbred horse. "Most of the research has established that the naturally occurring levels in a horse are below 25 ppb but occasionally can range as high as 70 ppb," said USTA President Phil Langley in making the announcement. "The problem remains that, other than establishing the natural levels, little is really known about the effects of cobalt on horses when it is given in excessive amounts." Racing jurisdictions have set thresholds to regulate the use of cobalt because it is known to be toxic in humans. However, there is currently no scientific evidence to determine an appropriate threshold for horses because dose-response studies have not been reported. "The recent action of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on cobalt pretty much reflects the actions taken in many racing jurisdictions and the prevailing thought is that a warning at readings in excess of the 25 ppb level and a more severe penalty when the results exceed 50 ppb will dramatically reduce any improper use of cobalt," said Langley. In addition, there have been no controlled studies to document the purported performance enhancing effects of cobalt. The goal of the proposed study is to test the hypothesis that cobalt administration will alter biochemical parameters related to red blood cell production as well as markers of exercise performance. "The important questions are whether cobalt can dramatically improve a horse's performance or is detrimental to the horse's health," added Langley. "That's what this research aims to discover." Eight healthy, trained Standardbred mares will be used for this experiment. Before receiving any drug treatment, all animals will complete a series of baseline testing. According to the study plan, 50 mg of cobalt (Co HCl in one liter of saline) will be administered at 9 a.m. on three consecutive days. Blood samples will be obtained before and at one, two, four and 24 hours after administration. Administration will commence seven days after the first Graded Exercise Test (GXT). Plasma and blood volume will be measured two days after the last dose of cobalt. A post administration GXT will be performed the next day. Testing will be comprised of measurement of maximal aerobic capacity and markers of performance, measurement of plasma volume and blood volume as well as lactate, erythropoietin (EPO), thyroid hormones and various blood hematological factors. Cobalt toxicity and its ability to increase red blood cell production in humans have been known for more than 50 years. Recently there has been renewed interest in cobalt as a performance enhancing drug (PED) in race horses and human athletes. The possible toxicity associated with its use as a PED has become a welfare concern in the horse industry. The USTA Communications Department    

Nichols, N.Y. -- In conjunction with a United States Trotting Association initiative to boost purses for horses just beginning their racing careers, Tioga and Vernon Downs have elevated purses for select races, effective Friday, July 31, 2015.   Tioga Downs will increase purses for maiden, non-winners of two, and non-winners of five events by approximately 15 per cent. Those races will now be contested for $4,800, $5,600, and $6,400 respectively (formerly $4,200, $4,800, and $5,500).   Likewise, Vernon Downs will boost purses for maiden, non-winners of three, and non-winners of five races by approximately 10 per cent. Those races now will carry purses of $3,300, $4,000, and $5,600 respectively (formerly $3,000, $3,600, and $5,100).   For more information and current condition sheets, visit www.tiogadowns.com and www.vernondowns.com.   by James Witherite, Tioga and Vernon Downs

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

Columbus, OH --- The United States Trotting Association has invited 40 key industry stakeholders to meet in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday (July 13) for an industry-wide summit to discuss the issues regarding declining foal crops and USTA membership as well as to investigate new ways to recruit owners to the sport. The USTA Summit will be held in the Hilton Columbus at Easton hotel starting at 8:30 a.m. “I am looking forward to hearing the thoughts of the many people from all economic levels of our industry during the discussions,” said USTA President Phil Langley. “Hopefully many of the ideas presented can be used to move the industry forward together as a whole instead of having several different segments working separately.” Following registration and breakfast, the Summit will commence with an introduction of the day’s moderators: 2015 Communicators Hall of Fame inductee, Bob Marks, and USTA Chairman of the Board, Ivan Axelrod. Led by Marks, the morning portion of the agenda will focus on a discussion of the annual decline in foal crops and membership in the USTA and ideas for reversing the trends. Axelrod will moderate the afternoon sessions that will be led by an examination of the current state of ownership and the recruitment of new owners into harness racing. The afternoon’s final segment will be aimed at formulating the initial phase of a strategic plan dealing with these industry issues and initiatives. Following both the morning and afternoon sessions, there will be a 15-minute media Q&A and open discussion with the panel. Harness Racing Update’s Bill Finley and Gordon Waterstone fromThe Horseman and Fair World magazine are expected to attend. Scheduled to participate in the Summit are USTA directors -- Chairman Ivan Axelrod, President Phil Langley, Sam Beegle, Joe Faraldo, Mark Ford, Alan Leavitt, Dr. John Mossbarger, Jim Reynolds, Nick Salvi, and Jason Settlemoir -- and USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. Also expected to attend are: Myron Bell – Brittany Farms Bob Boni – Northwood Bloodstock Agency Murray Brown – Hanover Shoe Farms Bob Carson – Writer Tom Charters – Hambletonian Society Eric Cherry – Owner Bob Debolt – Owner Mike Freibert – Bluegrass Staking Teena Freibert – Bluegrass Staking John Gallinger – Standardbred Canada Kevin Greenfield – Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association Tom Grossman – Blue Chip Farms Rob Key – Converseon social media agency Milt Leeman – Owner Mark Loewe – Penn National Gaming Tom Luchento – Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of N.J. Joe McLead – Sugar Valley Farm Dot Morgan – New Vocations Virgil Morgan Jr. -- Trainer David Reid – Preferred Equine Marketing Robert Schmitz – Ohio State Racing Commission  David Siegel – TrackMaster Steve Stewart – Hunterton Farm & Sales Agency Ann Straatman – Seelster Farms Janet Terhune – Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame Joe Thomson – Winbak Farm USTA Communications Department 

Harness racing tote bags will be given out to the first 250 paid fans at Goshen Historic Track on Thursday, July 2, to celebrate county fair racing day for New York-bred horse, with 10 of the bags containing gift cards for area businesses. The tote bags, produced by the United States Trotting Association (USTA), will be given out at fairs hosting harness racing across the country. Ten of the bags at Historic Track will contain gift cards ranging from $25 to $75 and good at Goshen businesses, Steve's Deli, Delancey's Restaurant, Harness Racing Museum Gift Shop and Kelley Jean's restaurant. The tote bags will be given to the first 250 box seat holders and paid admissions at the track on July 2. Children 12 and younger, who are admitted free, will also be given a tote bag. Admission is $5 and includes a program. The gift cards were purchased with a marketing grant from the USTA. Grand Circuit racing will be held at Historic Track on July 2, 3, 4 and 5 at 1 p.m. each day. For more information, call 845-294-5333 or go to www.goshenhistorictrack.com. Ken Weingartner

Goshen, NY --- Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter gave the keynote speech at Wednesday's opening session of the U.S. Trotting Association's 17th annual Driving School.   Takter's talk followed dinner at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. He discussed his roots in the sport, training philosophies, and reflected upon his memorable 2014 campaign, which included driving Trixton to victory in the Hambletonian Stakes and seeing Shake It Cerry named Trotter of the Year.   A three minute PROMO with excerpts from the speech can be found on the Museum's YouTube channel by following this link: http://youtu.be/-ztAqnWZ02o   "Jimmy Takter was a very gracious and accommodating speaker. He offered the USTA Driving School students a heart-felt and humble inside look into the life a superstar horse trainer. It's hard to imagine getting any greater inside access to success," noted Janet Terhune, the Museum's director, who has several staff members participating in the four-day driving school program.   The Driving School has attracted 24 participants, from 12 states plus the Canadian province of Quebec, for four days of hands-on activity at the Mark Ford Training Center as well as classroom presentations at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame.   Participants have the opportunity to take the written portions of the trainer's and driver's exams at the conclusion of the program.   The entire 45-minute keynote address can be found at this link: http://youtu.be/jEha6OBfdDo   by Chris Tuly, for the Harness Racing Museum

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association announced today it has retained the services of the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau to conduct a variety of integrity services. "The USTA is committed to integrity in harness racing and working with the TRPB will provide our industry with a wide variety of investigative, security and analytical services from the most experienced and professional integrity services organization in horse racing," said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. "We look forward to assisting and supporting the USTA's integrity initiatives in horse racing and wagering, and tapping our shared resources to better serve customers, participants, racetracks and regulators in the Standardbred industry," said TRPB Vice President J. Curtis Linnell. The TRPB will utilize its in-house resource database to provide investigative reports and intelligence on topics, organizations, vendors and people as requested by the USTA. The TRPB will also seek to expand and develop information relevant to the Standardbred industry. TRPB Senior Agent Douglas Murray, working out of the headquarters office in Fair Hill, Md., will be the primary contact for the USTA to coordinate research and information requested by the USTA. Murray will support the USTA's role in integrity issues, including allegations of illegal medications, the identification and investigation of suppliers of such, and involvement of organized crime in any aspect of Standardbred racing. Also, the TRPB Wagering Integrity Unit will consult with the USTA in the event of allegations of wagering integrity issues, including tote security lapses, alleged altered races, and possible betting malfeasance of any type. Among other services to be provided to the USTA, the TRPB will conduct due diligence and background examinations of selected associations and vendors in the pari-mutuel industry. The TRPB will include Standardbred matters of mutual concern in USTA's existing industry relationships in France, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand, as well as throughout the U.S. and Canada. Located in Fair Hill, Md., the TRPB operates as a multi-jurisdictional investigative agency in the horse racing industry. The mandate is to expose and investigate all activity prejudicial to horse racing and to maintain public confidence in the sport. The USTA Communications Department   

New York, NY --- The Harness Racing Social Media Initiative, in partnership with the U.S. Trotting Association and key partners, today announced the launch of a new marketing campaign to help recruit new owners into the sport. The "Ownership Experience" initiative is designed to target potential owners in key regions through online media targeting based on location, income and interests across multiple media channels. Initially the channel will include Google, Facebook and Twitter but is expected to expand over time to test other media, including the WSJ.com, Smart Money and select Thoroughbred magazines. The campaign encourages potential owners to sign up for an "ownership" brochure with specific information on the benefits of harness racing ownership at http://owner.harnessracingfanzone.com/ownership-opportunity. The most qualified prospective owners will eventually also have the chance to be invited to exclusive "Ownership Experience" meetings conducted at select participating tracks. The campaign appeals to all levels of ownership, ranging from low-cost, limited risk "fractional ownership" offerings to larger investments. In conjunction with the USTA, a limited "fractional ownership" offering is being tested at both The Meadows and Scioto Downs where new owners can invest a nominal amount for a partial, percentage ownership in a racehorse. Based on the success of the effort, the concept is expected to be rolled out more broadly with the goal of making harness racing ownership more accessible and affordable to the general public. The campaign is being fully integrated with other social media marketing activities, including the www.harnessracingfanzone.com and through signage, video and other supporting marketing materials and activities at key tracks. Profiles of current owners will increasingly be featured describing their experiences as owners and why they believe others should also get involved in the sport. The campaign will initially run through June 30, 2015 to determine best performing channels and approaches before broader expansion in key regions, such as Pennsylvania, where the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association has already allocated some supporting funds. "Being an owner of a racehorse is not only prestigious, but also offers up great experiences for the entire family," said Rob Key, CEO of Converseon, which is heading up the effort with the USTA. "With horses racing for more money than ever -- more than $400 million in 2015 -- never has there been a better time for potential owners to get involved. It's important we help make the experience of ownership as compelling as possible, because whether you own one percent of a racehorse or a group of expensive stakes horses, the excitement and ability to participate in the thrill of the winner's circle is second to none." "This important effort builds on all the social media efforts to date and is the initial step in addressing a key issue of focus for us -- the decline in owners and foals over the last several years," said Mike Tanner, executive vice president and CEO of the USTA. "This will be a test, learn and expand approach working in partnership with various tracks and horsemen's groups. We look forward to expanding this program over time to spread the word about all the benefits of harness horse ownership. Clearly, recruiting new owners is not only critically important for the future of the sport, it benefits everyone involved in the industry." About the Harness Racing Social Media Initiative The Harness Racing Social Media Initiative is a partnership between the U.S. Trotting Association, the social media consultancy, Converseon, and key industry groups to help drive marketing innovation and engagement with current and new fans for the sport. The initiative's mission is to help support key racetracks, industry groups and help provide foundational support and a common, "best practice" framework by leveraging social technologies, platforms and strategies to help positively brand the sport of harness racing and generate greater awareness, visibility and engagement with a new generation of fans and owners. Converseon    

Racing industry officials in late March and early April said they again expect to see federal legislation filed this year that would authorize the United States Anti-Doping Agency to oversee equine medication and drug testing procedures. Last summer The Jockey Club at its Round Table conference indicated it would advocate for federal involvement in addition to current state-by-state efforts to adopt the National Uniform Medication Program. Also last August Travis Tygart, chief executive officer and counsel for USADA, outlined a strategy at a briefing put together by the Water Hay Oats Alliance. WHOA, which has a growing membership of Thoroughbred stakeholders, in its mission statement supports passage of a federal bill that would "prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of horse racing" via an independent anti-doping program run by USADA. During the Racing Officials Accreditation Program conference in late March, industry officials said there will be a heightened push in 2015 for federal legislation that would be similar to a bill introduced in 2013. Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, suggested the legislation would identify USADA to oversee the program. "RCI does not have a position on any piece of legislation," Martin said at the ROAP conference. "It does believe in using a compact that lets states maintain their authority. We can spend a lot of time and money playing musical chairs to address the issue. Organizations are spending money on lobbyists that can be used for equine welfare or funding the TRPB to hire investigators. That's the problem we have to address, not the rearranging of the chairs." Details on the 2015 strategy aren't yet known, though Jim Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, indicated April 2 the organization is maintaining the course it outlined last year. "The Jockey Club continues to closely monitor the progress of the National Uniform Medication Program and, at the same time, consider strategies to broaden our advocacy for improved and uniform regulation for Thoroughbred racing," Gagliano said. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association also predicted lawmakers will be solicited to sponsor federal legislation on medication regulation and testing. The organization, as it has in the past, won't take a position on the issue. "The NTRA has taken no position on these bills as our membership remains divided on the issue of federal or central authority over testing for banned substances and the regulation of therapeutic medications," NTRA president and CEO Alex Waldrop said. "However, the association continues to provide information and data to interested parties and remains committed to achieving consensus on this issue." The NTRA on its board has representatives of horsemen's groups and racetracks, some of which oppose federal involvement. Others on the NTRA board, such as The Jockey Club, believe more must be done regarding medication and drug testing.  Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association chairman Alan Foreman, who also spoke at the ROAP conference, said whether there is federal oversight or not, the research and scientific advice will have to come from the horseracing industry because USADA hasn't done equine drug testing. He also cited progress on adoption of all or parts of the National Uniform Medication Program. "You'll hear the only answer is for the federal government to regulate horse racing," Foreman said. "If (supporters) a year ago got behind a uniform message that racing has a better story to tell than any other sport, I guarantee you the public's impression of the sport would be different at this time." The National Uniform Medication Program allows for the use of race-day furosemide, also called Salix or Lasix. The proposed Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act of 2013 called for a ban on all medication within 24 hours of a race, with a two-year exception for furosemide. Whether the same language is included in the 2015 version of the bill remains to be seen. Foreman indicated he believes it will be part of the bill. "Lasix is going to be like gun control or abortion," he said. "It's going to divide this industry." Tygart last year made a point to note the issue is about federal legislation, not federal regulation or intervention. If USADA was authorized to handle equine drug testing and enforcement, the organization would have to develop rules, with industry input, that would be unique to horse racing, he said. USADA isn't a federal agency, though it does receive federal grant money. Tygart also said there is an inherent conflict of interest when a sport promotes and polices itself, and suggested horse racing falls into that category under its current structure. Martin of RCI, meanwhile, has repeatedly stated that state regulators are independent by virtue of their responsibilities. Written by Tom LaMarra Reprinted with the permission of bloodhorse.com Read more on BloodHorse.com: 

WASHINGTON, PA, April 9, 2015 -- On Friday, April 10, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $10,000 total-pool guarantee for its harness racing Pick 4 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the "instant" guarantee after Wednesday's Pick 4 was uncovered, resulting in a carryover of $2,131.37. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (Races 4-7) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Friday's program is 12:55 PM. Evan Pattak The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Harness racing is a worldwide industry which is getting more and more international as time goes on. Stallions move between hemispheres and bloodlines are getting to look the same no matter where in the world you are. The World Trotting Conference brings together all the administrators from around the world to try to smooth some of problems with horses moving between countries and different systems. One issue which they seem to ignore repeatedly is the one with regards to money won in different countries and how it is counted in the overall scheme of things. In Canada and Australia, a dollar won anywhere in the world is counted as a dollar won when assessing a horse's lifetime earnings. In America and New Zealand, every dollar earned outside of the country is converted back to the local currency equivalent in dollar terms. With so many horses moving back and forth between Canada and America and also between Australia and New Zealand it can either inflate or deflate a horses earnings which to us here at Harnesslink is just absolutely ridiculous. It can also alter siring charts as we saw last year in the two year old ranks in North America. In Canada where they count every dollar won as one dollar, Sportswriter topped the charts for two year olds with a lead of $125,000 over his nearest rival Art Major. In America where they convert money won outside America to American dollars at the exchange rate on the day the money is won, Art Major finished $26,000 dollars in front of Sportswriter. We are of no doubt that Sportswriter was the leading money earning two year sire in North America in 2014 and we recognize him as such in all our articles. When we quote any money won either by a sire or individual in a story, the figures we use are always sourced via Trackit from the Canadian Harness Racing Site as Trackit is the only database with a true money won system in our opinion In our view the American system is an absolute joke and is done primarily to protect the stallion owners based in America from those upstarts across the border whose stallions just happen to earn more money in a season. The same anomaly occurs between Australia and New Zealand. Harness Racing Australia to its credit counts every dollar won anywhere in the world as one dollar earned for all its lifetime records for horses. New Zealand on the other hand converts all money won overseas back to New Zealand dollars on the day the money is won overseas. That results in inflated lifetime earnings for a lot of New Zealand horses who spend big parts of their racing careers in Australia. In some cases it has turned horses into millionaires when in reality they are still a fair way off the magical seven figure mark in actual earnings. We will highlight a couple here just to show the difference it can make. Take our latest millionaire in Stent who according to Harness Racing New Zealand has earned $1,010,053 to date where in actual dollars earned the figure is $984,460. Another horse to have his earnings inflated was Vulcan who was lucky in that when he raced in Australia the New Zealand dollars was worth in the high seventy cents range in relation to the Australian dollar. So why Harness Racing New Zealand records Vulcan as having earned $1,006,002, in actual dollars won, his earnings stand at $898,855. Now these are two absolute champions and should be respected as such but the system has let them down badly in our view. Let us have a look at a horse that raced extensively in both hemispheres in Tupelo Rose. Tupelo Rose's earnings as recorded on the four countries data bases we have mentioned in this article. * Harness Racing New Zealand  -  $1,146,603 * Harness Racing Australia  -  $879,867 * Standardbred Canada  -  $586,785 * United States Trotting Association  -  $578,671  As you can see the current system has left us with four different figures. Which one is the correct one is a hard question to answer but we would lean towards the Australian as probably being closest to the truth in this instance. As the above example shows the current system between these four countries is open to ridicule and rightly so in our opinion. We need some commonality on these important statistics and all four countries on the same page. A dollar earned anywhere in these four countries should be treated as a dollar earned by the governing bodies by each of the four countries. Until that happens you should treat all claims with regards to money won and sires stakes earnings coming out of America and New Zealand with a high degree of skepticism. JC  

Columbus, OH --- The Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association informed the U.S. Trotting Association Friday that the organization will contribute $25,000 to the harness racing industry's social media initiatives being conducted by the USTA in partnership with the award-winning social media agency Converseon from New York. The PHHA becomes the first industry organization to add to the USTA's annual budget of $250,000 and provide additional funding to support the ongoing social media effort. "We're committed to promoting the sport of harness racing," said Sam Beegle, PHHA president, "and for the industry to grow, we need to reach a new demographic. I watch my grandchildren and no matter where they go or what they do, they're on their phones, connecting with friends via Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. The benefits of social media are just so obvious and we're proud to support what the USTA is doing." "We are excited that Sam Beegle and the PHHA are the first ones to step up and assist us with our social media program and are hoping that we can get other racetracks, horsemen's associations and industry organizations interested in contributing, too," said USTA President Phil Langley. "Maybe this will open the dam a little bit and we can make this grow even more." In the first year, the focus of the social media initiative was to build the foundation and develop the required assets to begin a transformation. During this initial phase, the USTA/Converseon program created the Harness Racing FanZone website with a Facebook following of 30,000 and a Social Ambassador program with 1,800 members. There was training for and collaboration with racetracks, horsemen's associations and other industry organizations. Different concepts were tested, analyzed and assessed. Vital content was created and the beginning of sponsorship support was formed. "From our initial conversations with Converseon CEO Rob Key a year-and-a-half ago to as recently as his presentation at the USTA Board of Directors meeting two weeks ago, we have talked about the need for industry collaboration and commitment as well as a mechanism for funding our long-term efforts," said USTA Executive Vice President Mike Tanner. "As Rob (Key) keeps telling us, 'this is a journey.'" At the recent Board meeting in describing the next steps, Key talked about the need to "Go Over the Top" to become the media, own our assets and distribute through direct channels in 2015. He explained that in the digital world, "the experience of the product is the product," and emphasized the need to enhance that product to provide the highest quality for the digital customer because online is how the consumer will experience harness racing. Further down the road, the goals will be to scale and monetize the social media effort and expand it globally.  USTA Communications Department  

COLUMBUS, Ohio - In remarks made before the Board of Directors of the United States Trotting Association this past weekend, Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) President Ed Martin indicated that he expected regulators would set a uniform approach on cobalt when they meet in Tampa, Florida, at meetings held April 21-23, 2015. Martin predicted that the regulators would act to set in motion a ban on intentional cobalt administrations out of equine welfare concerns and the possibility of performance enhancement. Horses found with elevated cobalt levels would be excluded from competition until such levels subsided. Trainers of horses with cobalt levels indicative of an intentional administration would face sanctions and suspension. "Regulatory veterinary staff in several jurisdictions have received complaints and/or observed instances where a cobalt administration has caused distress and colic in horses, causing cramps and muscle twitching, sweating, and pain," said Martin. "We are obviously concerned about the use of cobalt with the belief that it will enhance performance. But while the published science is not fully settled at what point that actually happens, we believe it is wrong to deliberately put a horse in discomfort absent a compelling medical reason to treat a serious ailment or injury. This issue is about the horse and not just about doping," he said. The RCI Executive Committee met last week and was unanimous in its desire that a uniform approach be adopted to prohibit cobalt administration in a way that does not impact those who have not deliberately administered it. RCI's Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee will meet on Thursday morning, April 23, 2015 to consider options on cobalt regulatory thresholds. Recommendations from RCI science advisors as well as other organizations such as the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) will be considered. In addition, Dr. Terrance S.M. Wan, the head of the Racing Laboratory and Chief Racing Chemist for the Hong Kong Jockey Cub, will be participating in the RCI meetings. Dr. Wan is the author, along with others, of a 2014 study entitled "Controlling the Misuse of Cobalt in Horses". The Association of Racing Commissioners International is the only umbrella organization of official rule making entities dealing with the totality of all professional horse racing. The ARCI sets standards for racing regulation, medication policy, drug testing labs, tote systems, racetrack operation and security, and off-track wagering entities. Its members are the only independent entities recognized to license, enforce, and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing. Steve May  

Columbus, OH --- Phil Langley was re-elected as president of the U.S. Trotting Association by a 38-13 tally over challenger Jason Settlemoir during the general session of the USTA Board of Directors meeting on Sunday (March 16), held at the Hilton-Easton. Langley was re-elected to a fourth consecutive term -- his first in which there was an election -- and vowed to continue his current platform of leading medication research and social media marketing. In the other officer elections, Ivan Axelrod (chairman of the board), Barbara Brooks (secretary) and Richard Brandt (treasurer) were all unopposed and retain their respective seats. Ohio State Rep. Jim Buchy, a former horse owner and a longtime political friend of harness racing, gave the opening remarks. He stressed that those in the harness racing industry should never forget that the sport is built on the horse, and the horse is a vital part of the agriculture industry, both in Buchy's home state of Ohio and around the country. "We need to look at going back to our roots," said Buchy, who was first elected to the Ohio House in 1983. "Don't ever forget that we are in this room because farmers raced their horses against each other a couple hundred years ago. That led to the county fairs, and that is where we need to look to expand our fan base." Buchy suggested some areas of focus for harness racing leaders in order to continue to enjoy the level of economic prosperity that the Ohio harness racing industry has recently seen. "It's absolutely imperative that the integrity of the sport continues to be positive," he said. "The fans have to know that we have honest racing on the track and we're respectful to the animals." In his report to the board, Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner summarized the association's busy year, including the launch of Online Entry, the expansion of the social media initiative, and increased medication funding and research. One major undertaking was the sale of the Columbus office and the subsequent move to the northeast suburbs of Columbus, a four-month undertaking that did not result in interruption of service to members. "Out of everything that has happened this year, how our staff reacted to the move, and never took their eyes off the ball, that might have been our biggest accomplishment," he said. "We continued to deliver near-flawless service to members." Five new directors were introduced to the board: In District 2, Scott Peine, director of racing at Hoosier Park, was introduced by District Chairman Ken Marshall. In District 6, Joe Pennacchio, president of the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association, and Brett Revington, director of racing operations at Pompano Park, were introduced by District Chairman Alan Leavitt. In District 9, Steve O'Toole, general manager of racing at Plainridge Park Casino, was introduced by District Chairman Don Marean. In District 12, Nick Salvi, stakes coordinator for Gural Racing, was introduced by District Chairman John Brennan. Former District 9 Director Paul Fontaine and former District 6 Director Jay Sears were named Directors Emeritus in a proclamation by USTA Chairman Ivan Axelrod. Presentations by Rob Key, Founder of the social media marketing firm Converseon; Ed Martin, president of Racing Commissioners International; and Jay Hickey, president of the American Horse Council, were also on the morning agenda. Meetings will continue throughout the afternoon, including the Registration and Owner/Breeder Committee, the Driver/Trainer Committee, the Regulatory Committee and the Pari-Mutuel Committee. From the USTA Media Department  

The United States Trotting Association's Save Our Standardbreds (SOS) program assisted the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) recently in the expense of the seizure of two adopted horses. The first seizure was for Kokorama. The SPCA of Delaware helped SRF when the adopter stopped complying with his agreement to produce a semi-annual veterinary follow-up form. "This was Kokorama's third home since he came into our program in 2009. Much time and money goes into protecting these horses," notes Paula Campbell, SRF's President. "Leaving a horse out there puts not only the horse at risk but defeats the purpose, it reflects poorly on racing, and doesn't serve what our supporters intentions are." SRF knows that without an implemented follow-up system for life, the risk of a horse to neglect, abuse, and being sold to slaughter is great. The second horse seized was with the assistance of the SPCA of New Jersey and the case is still under investigation. The follow-up form from the veterinarian of the adopter of Here Taz, a 13 year old gelding indicated non-compliance. SRF's staff did a home visit with a trailer and found deplorable conditions and many emaciated animals. Here Taz stood struggling to get a chance at a bite of hay from the round bale that was surrounded by more than fifteen animals including pigs, goats, miniature horses, lactating mares and their foals, and a bull. Taz was walked through three fields of knee-deep manure and urine to the trailer. "Even with a very time intense screening system, this happens," says Judy Bokman, SRF's Executive Director. "Saving these two horses is a result of SRF's mandatory follow-up program which clearly indicates the need for it." Statistics show that adopted horses go through four homes in their lifetime due to circumstances such as financial hardship, divorce, loss of interest and many other reasons. No one knows what happened in these two homes to cause this neglect, but the help of the USTA's SOS program to provide financial assistance to horses whose care has fallen to a criminal level and who are subject to legal intervention because of that was very helpful. The remaining expenses for the rescue and rehabilitation for these 2 horses comes from the support of SRF's donors. SRF is the only Standardbred program that implements follow-up for life and fully supports 130 retirees no longer attractive to adopters due to age or injury. Where would a horse like Rubbernecker be, a 30-year-old Standardbred, if SRF was not there? He lost his adopted home of 12 years just after his 29th birthday. Standardbred Retirement Foundation | 353 Sweetmans Lane, Suite 101 | Millstone Twp. | NJ | 08535

Lloyd Arnold and Stan Bergstein, two legendary figures in harness racing, have races named in their honor this weekend at Cal Expo. The Lloyd Arnold Pace is set for Saturday night and the Stan Bergstein Trot is the feature on Sunday. Lloyd Arnold was an owner and track operator of the highest caliber. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 83. Originally the owner of Arnold Cattle Co. in Iowa, Mr. Arnold raced hundreds of horses in Illinois and across the Midwest throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. During that era, Mr. Arnold raced horses like Warm Breeze, who earned more than $250,000 in two seasons of racing in the mid-1970s, and Dancing David, who earned more than $200,000 in the 1960s. Warm Breeze took Mr. Arnold to racings pinnacle for the first time when he set the all-age world record at over this track, then known as Golden Bear Raceway. His top horses in later years included the pacing mare Sanabelle Island, who earned $1.6 million lifetime and won 57 of 110 starts. Also of note was Bagel Beach Boy, who won the 2001 Messenger and Matron stakes. In August 2003, Mr. Arnold bought Chevie Duramax, who then went on to set world records for 2-year-old pacing geldings on both mile and half-mile tracks. The fastest 3-year-old pacer in North America in 2004 belonged to Mr. Arnold as Quik Pulse Mindale won in 1:48 at Balmoral. In addition to being a prominent standardbred owner, Mr. Arnold operated this track during those Golden Bear Raceway years and also bought Los Alamitos in the late 1980s, eventually selling the track to his partner, Ed Allred. Mr. Arnold was inducted into the California Harness Hall of Fame in April of 2008. He also enjoyed personal honors in 2001 when he was feted by the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters at their annual awards dinner and received the Owner of the Year Award from the U.S. Harness Writers' Association. Chris Bardis said, Harness Racing was one of Lloyd's great passions. He accomplished so much for the sport not only in California, but nationwide. He was Mr. Harness Racing. He conducted race meetings at Cal Expo, Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Fields, Del Mar, Pomona, Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos. I know of no one else who has had a greater impact on the harness world. Sundays Stan Bergstein Trot is named for the legendary figure in harness racing who passed away in 2011 at the age of 87. Mr. Bergstein was a harness-racing titan who advocated for cooperation between the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries to solve the sports' common problems. He stepped down in 2011 after 50 years as the executive vice president of Harness Tracks of America, the Standardbred industry's trade association. He was immediately appointed as the organization's first executive emeritus, and continued to advise the association and write guest columns for the Daily Racing Form until the weeks before his death. The only person to ever be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and its Communicators Hall of Fame, Mr. Bergstein worked in a wide variety of roles at racetracks, auction houses, announcer's booths, and racing publications, and he maintained extensive collections of harness-racing books and artwork. He was widely respected not only in the harness industry, but also in the Thoroughbred industry, and he served as a mentor to generations of young racing professionals through a close association with the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, located in Tucson, for the past 40 years. Mr. Bergstein was a forceful proponent of forging closer ties between the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries, most notably in tackling medication abuse and problems with drug-testing. In dozens of commentaries, Bergstein maintained that the Standardbred industry's problems were, or would be those of the Thoroughbred industry, and that neglect of a problem in one sport would damage the other. Bergstein borrowed from the Thoroughbred industry early in his career, incorporating claiming races as a racing secretary while working at the Chicago tracks in the 1950's. At the time, the harness racing industry did not run claiming races, and they are now as commonplace in Standardbred racing as they are in Thoroughbred racing Bergstein also spearheaded the creation of Standardbred Investigative Services, a security agency modeled on the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau. A native of Illinois, Bergstein attended harness races as a young man and received a journalism degree from Northwestern University. He was the former executive editor of Hoof Beats magazine, and the former vice president of publicity and public relations for the United States Trotting Association. Cal Expo trackman/program director Marty Bridges credits Stan Bergstein with bringing him into harness racing as a profession. After college and two years in the Army, I was employed by the small business association. At night, after work, I was a regular patron at Sportsmans Park and Maywood in Chicago. My supervisor, a former sportswriter for the Chicago Daily News, knew of my interest and called Stan to set up a meeting. Surprisingly, I was to meet him at Du Quoin on Hambletonian Day. Watching Stan call the races from a slightly elevated booth on the infield adjacent to the finish line was thrilling and between races we talked about racing, horses, drivers and trainers. His knowledge of the sport was amazing and I had never met anyone like him, and still havent. He introduced me to John Tinsley, the program director for all the Chicago tracks and John hired me on the spot. Its been a great ride, doing something I love. Gene Vallandingham first met Stan Bergstein in 1959 when he was working for the legendary Joe OBrien. Stan came to Joes farm every spring for the annual Camptown racing weekend, when all of Shafter would be there for a day of racing. Stan was the true voice of harness racing, he was liked by all and I miss him. Chris Schick said, "Stan was foremost a kind and compassionate person. He was a true visionary in the harness racing industry. In 1979 well before simulcasting, he so rightly stated the future of the industry was in how well we brought the product to the public. He was also very vocal of the industry for being reluctant to embrace change. Our industry lost a giant when he passed. Arnold Pace, Sire Stakes, Jackpot 6 spotlighted The $10,000 Lloyd Arnold Free-for-all Pace, a pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes and a $48,130 carryover in the Jackpot 6 are among the main attractions Saturday night at Cal Expo. A 14-race card is on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with first post set for 6:10 p.m. The Jackpot 6 is one of four wagers on the program that feature a reduced 16% takeout rate. The others are the Hi-5, which like the Jackpot 6 is a 10-cent minimum bet; the 50-cent Pick 5; and the 20-cent Pick 4, which comes with a $25,000-guaranteed pool. Looking at the Arnold Pace, China King is fresh from a 22-1 upset in last weeks Open when he hung a narrow decision on heavily-favored Pancetta in a 1:52 1/5 mile He drew the outside post in the field of seven. A 7-year-old American Ideal gelding who carries the banner of Gary and Jen Sabot with Gene Vallandingham training and Steve Wiseman in the sulky, he went-to-coast to capture the January 17 Open at 19-1, then came back last time to score from a tracking position at another nice price. Taking him are Pointsman, who gives the Vallandingham barn two looks at the outcome; Rusty Skipp and J C Onthebeach for conditioner Ray Burt; Alligator Falls from the Sal Wenceslao shedrow; the Junior Wilkinson-trained A Real Miracle; and Love Live Laugh for trainer Denise Maier. Uringoodhands and Hi Hos Little Rev have dominated the sophomore pacing colts Sire Stakes to this point and get another chance to settle the score on Saturday, while Placer gets top billing in the stakes gathering for the 4-year-old trotters. By Mark Ratzky, publicity Cal Expo Harness                            

1 to 16 of 119
1 2 3 4 5 Next »