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Columbus, OH — Harness racing horseman Lon Frocione, 88, who served for 15 years on the USTA board of directors, representing District 8, died Oct. 21, 2020. Mr. Frocione was first elected to the USTA Board in 1987, serving five years; he was re-elected to the Board in 1997, serving an additional 10 years. Mr. Frocione became interested in the Standardbred sport in 1959 after having met several racing fans while working as a salesman. He adopted their interest and soon became an owner, trainer and driver. He had a deep interest in amateur driving and in 2006 represented the United States in Italy in the World Cup of Amateur Driving. He was also the founder of the Women’s International Trot, showcasing the finest female drivers from the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, England and Ireland. Easily his best known horse over the years was Sportsmaster p,2,1:52.1 ($755,803), who won the 1991 Woodrow Wilson and went on to sire the winners of nearly $104 million. Mr. Frocione was inducted into the Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. He was a former president of the Harness Horse Association of Central New York, and was named Harness Horsemen International’s Man of the Year in 1988. In addition, Mr. Frocione served as a director of the Morrisville College Foundation and was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Mr. Frocione was the owner of Deli-Boy, Inc., Food for Thought, Food Features and Camillus Hills Developments. He also served as a director of Solvay Bank. Arrangements will be posted when available. From the USTA Media Department

On Oct. 19 Harnesslink received a letter from Lenna Terrill, a former groom and licensed trainer who expressed concerns about the elimination of freeze brands. You can read her letter by clicking here. The following response was received today from Mike Tanner, Executive Vice President/Chief Executive Officer of the United States Trotting Association. Harnesslink appreciates all letters and responses sent to us and will make every effort possible to see that they are published. Dear Leena, Thank you for sharing your feelings regarding microchipping, which we do take seriously.  Microchips were approved at the 2018 annual meeting of the USTA Board of Directors, and first implemented with the foal crop of 2019.  While recognizing the concerns that you raise, the Board concluded that using microchips as the means of Standardbred identification is less invasive and painful to the horse, allows for internal temperature monitoring by caretakers, aligns with the standards employed by other American breeds (most notably the Thoroughbreds) and around the racing world,  and provides the best, most accurate way to identify Standardbreds.     Every week, our Member Services team fields calls from folks trying to identify freeze brand tattoo numbers that are either obscured or have been deliberately obfuscated. In almost every case, these requests involve horses that are older and have long left the racetrack. I recognize that no system of identification, microchips included, is perfect.  Moreover, as someone who has visited the auctions to see what goes on there and, along with my wife, owns and cares for a retired Standardbred racehorse, I share your feelings about the need to prioritize aftercare for our equine athletes when their days of competition have ended.    The Association remains committed to working with accredited rescue groups and concerned individuals to assist in the identification of Standardbreds in need, and to help get chip readers into the hands of those who will use them in these efforts. Best regards, Mike Tanner, USTA

Gordon Banks, a prominent, international standardbred owner, reveals on this week's Harness Racing Alumni broadcast the about why the USTA refuses to support the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Act.   Banks, after having numerous conversations with the USTA leaders..., was told that the association will not change course and do what's right for our sport. It seems that they keep telling their United States Racing Association members, "half-truths." Owners and breeders are fed up and disgusted because they all support the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Act. Standardbred racing industry leaders, as they must, are stepping up to the plate to save our great race racetracks, trainer-drivers and fine horses.   To view the broadcast, click here.        

Columbus, OH - The North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians (NAARV), a group whose mission is to ensure the health and well-being of the racehorse through protecting and improving the veterinary care and welfare of the equine athlete, opposes the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, believing that its enactment would do just the opposite. Last week, the group wrote to the Congressional Budget Office to provide details regarding some of the devastating economic effects to the horse racing industry that the legislation would create. The U. S. Trotting Association, which, like the NAARV, the American Quarter Horse Association, the National Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association, and myriad other industry groups, opposes the HISA, urges all horsemen to read the CBO letter. To read the NAARV letter to the Congressional Budget Office, click here. From the USTA Communications Department    

The following is a statement from U.S. Trotting Association President Russell Williams in response to an announcement from The Jockey Club regarding constitutionality of the Horse Racing Safety and Integrity Act of 2020. Columbus, OH -- Just a few days ago, after the USTA refused to abandon the principles it has been advancing for several years, one of The Jockey Club's minions informed us that our principles did not matter, because the bill is assured of passage. The Jockey Club's sudden fury is baffling, at first. The white paper to which The Jockey Club's lawyer refers in his editorial is not secret. We have been using it to good effect on Capitol Hill for weeks, and state attorneys general are also reviewing it. For our opponents, who included us in the bill without our knowledge or consent, who have refused to consider changes to the language of the bill, who have obstructed our interest at every turn, and who disregarded a broad body of veterinary knowledge in drafting this bill, to act shocked that we decline to hand them our work product is right out of their arrogant form book. It is worth mentioning that the unconstitutionality of the HIA was known from the time the Congressional Research Service report on the bill came out in 2015. Nothing constitutionally relevant is different in the HISA. The USTA retained Gibson Dunn, one of the most eminent law firms in the United States, to advise on the constitutional problems in the bill. Our "hired gun," led by one of its partners, a former United States Solicitor General, recently beat the federal government in a case involving a federal statute that had fewer constitutional defects than The Jockey Club's private legislation contains. This explains all the commotion coming from The Jockey Club's direction. We do not intend to try the constitutional case in a series of blustering press releases. In the event that this legislation is enacted, there will be a better forum for that. To read the USTA's press release, "USTA obtains legal advice that HISA is unconstitutional," click here. From the USTA Communications Department    

Columbus, OH - Who will pay for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act if it is enacted? It won't be the federal government says the United States Trotting Association. In fact, the bill explicitly states that the feds won't be required to put one penny into it, nor will they be responsible for any debts or costs incurred by the newly created Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority (HADA). That mandate is a big reason why the bill has gained momentum on Capitol Hill. No, the government won't pay for any of it. But you will! Here's how. The text of the bill makes liberal mention of "per start" fees that likely will be assessed in order to fund this new bureaucratic entity. It's been the plan all along, and even was confirmed by a Jockey Club representative during a January subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C. Although proponents have been cagey, even evasive, in revealing what that figure will be, it's widely believed to be in the neighborhood of $45 per start. That means a few things. One, you'll take a pay cut. A $45 per start fee will, based upon 2019 start numbers, remove over $13 million from purse accounts. And two, since Standardbreds make more starts than their fragile, lightly-raced Thoroughbred counterparts, harness racing will contribute more toward the operation of HADA than Thoroughbred racing. Never mind that total Thoroughbred purses are three times those of Standardbreds. Maybe this cost is billed directly to owners. Perhaps money is taken straight out of purse accounts. Maybe drivers' fees are reduced. We don't know because the bill doesn't say. We just know that one way or another, you're paying for this. Don't believe the hype. Please contact your elected representatives to let them know you oppose the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, a bill that will put horses at risk and take money out of your pocket to do it. To find contact information for your U.S. Senators, click here and "Choose a State." To find contact information for your U.S. Representative (House), click here and enter your zip code. For a letter template to send to your U.S. Senators and Representatives, click here. The letter can be sent by email or you can call your Congressman's office directly to state your opposition to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020. We request that you share it with as many of your colleagues and fellow industry participants as possible and ask them also to contact their representatives in Congress. If you need additional information or have any questions, contact Dan Leary, director of communications at From the USTA Media Department

Columbus, OH - The U.S. Trotting Association is requesting the assistance of all members and other harness racing participants in contacting U.S. Senators and Representatives to express opposition to new legislation called the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 (S. 4547) recently introduced by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY). If enacted, the new law would: 1. Significantly increase your cost of racing 2. Eliminate the use of race-day Lasix 3. Place harness racing under the regulation of a new, federal Authority with little or no harness racing representation or consideration for our concerns. Attached is a letter template that can be customized by individuals and organizations to express opposition to the proposed legislation. To find contact information for U.S. Senators, click here and "Choose a State." To find contact information for U.S. Representatives (House), click here and enter the appropriate zip code. The attached letter can be sent by email or individuals can call their Congressman's office directly to state opposition to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020. Here's why the law is bad for both harness racing participants and the industry. Significant increase in the cost of racing The proposed legislation would establish a new fee structure approximated to be a $45 surcharge to owners and trainers for every horse in every race. This significant increase in the cost of racing will force many small horse owners and trainers out of business. Elimination of race-day Lasix The new law would phase out the use of race-day Lasix, the only known medication to treat Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (bleeding) for all horses. Before taking any action on Lasix, the USTA has recommended an independent, large scale study to examine its effects. The USTA along with the major veterinarian organizations endorse the use of Lasix because it is in the best interests of the health of the horses. New, federal racing Authority The newly-created federal, regulatory Authority would regulate horse racing nationwide with a board made up of a majority of members who have no experience in the horse racing industry and hand-picked by the same Thoroughbred elite interest groups behind this legislation. With little or no representation on that board, the interests of harness racing will be ignored as they have been in the formulation of this bill. Following is the letter template to use for contacting U.S. Senators and Representatives: September XX, 2020 The Honorable XX XX Senate/House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 Dear Senator/Representative XX: The United States Trotting Association advocates for the betterment of the horse and horse racing on behalf of Standardbred racehorse owners, trainers and backstretch personnel. In that context, the USTA and many others who are supportive of the horse industry are very concerned about, and have strong feelings against, the newly-introduced Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 (HISA). If enacted, the HISA would, over the next three years, mandate a phase out of an important, protective medication, commonly known as Lasix. Lasix is the only known medication to treat a condition called Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH), or bleeding in the lungs. Because EIPH threatens the health and well-being of many racehorses, we believe that, until an alternative treatment is developed, Lasix should be utilized on race day. Lasix is not performance enhancing, it is not doping, and due to the very sensitive capabilities of testing, it cannot be used to mask illegal medications. Science and national veterinary leadership groups continue to support the administration of Lasix on race-day. If bill sponsors truly care for the health of racehorses, they should consider an independent, peer-reviewed, U.S.-based, large-scale study on Lasix prior to implementing any ban on race day Lasix. Additionally, the HISA states that initial funding for the new horseracing regulatory Authority will come from loans taken out by the Authority. Those loans must then be repaid through a new fee structure determined by the Authority. Bill supporters have indicated that it would be funded by a surcharge to the owners and trainers of every horse in every race to cover operational costs and to repay the loans. Compounding this reality with the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic would force many small, agricultural-based business owners out of the industry. Finally, the new Authority created in the HISA would regulate horseracing nationwide through a board that will have a majority of members who have no experience in the horseracing industry. This board will be hand-picked by the same elite interest groups pushing this legislation. We believe that a majority of the board should be represented by those who will be impacted by the new regulatory scheme, and it should specifically include practicing veterinarians. According to a recent American Horse Council study, the horse racing industry contributes approximately $36 billion annually to the national economy and provides about 240,000 direct jobs. Any measure which will add further regulatory and cost burdens will only harm those state and local economies that depend on the industry. Accordingly, we urge you to oppose the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. Sincerely, [Insert Signature] Name Title To read more about the proposed federal legislation and why it is bad for you and harness racing, see the links below. USTA Opposes Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 (HISA) USTA President Russell Williams' statement of support of Rep. Kurt Schrader comments in House Energy and Commerce Committee From the USTA Communications Department      

Editor's Note: USTA President Russell Williams has issued the following statement regarding the analysis of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) by Gibson Dunn, the law firm that successfully argued for the United States Supreme Court to strike down a federal law prohibiting the states from permitting and regulating sports betting. "The United States Trotting Association has obtained legal advice that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) is unconstitutional. "HISA purports to create a national, uniform program regulating medication in horse racing. Only Thoroughbreds are mentioned in the bill, but it contains language providing for Standardbreds to inevitably be swept in. A private, 'self-regulatory' corporation called the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority would develop and implement the program. "According to Gibson Dunn's research, the bill suffers from several serious constitutional flaws. "One is the 'non-delegation doctrine.' Congress may not grant regulatory authority to private entities, yet HISA does exactly that in numerous ways. To describe a few, the bill delegates to the Authority the power to determine the identity of racing participants to be regulated, to commence actions in federal court to enforce its regulatory activity, and to issue subpoenas and carry out searches and seizures. These are public functions historically carried out by public agencies. If this kind of thing were legal, our entire lives might now be regulated by private, 'self-regulatory' corporations. "The Gibson Dunn report states another constitutional violation is that the Due Process Clause prohibits an economically self-interested private actor from wielding regulatory power over other private parties. "The (HISA) governing body and standing committees supporting the Authority's activities would have bare majorities made up of disinterested persons. The rest would be representatives of 'equine constituencies' exerting regulatory power over other equine constituencies throughout the sport. "Moreover, the Authority's initial funding is designed to come from loans (which racing participants would have to repay), creating an incentive to act in accordance with the wishes of lenders. "The bill contains conflict of interest (COI) rules aimed at controlling some of these problems. COI policies tend to work well in business, but not so well when constitutional protections are at stake. It only prohibits present conflicts, without reference to previous or future activities. Thus, it is subject to the same influence concerns as the situation where a legislator retires from office and becomes a lobbyist. "In addition, HISA's COI only applies to equine industry involvement, entirely overlooking other competing industries, the gaming industry being a conspicuous example. "Finally, no COI rules would apply to the Authority's employees, or to the lenders on whom the Authority would initially be financially dependent. "To the objection that HISA gives unfettered regulatory authority to a private company, the answer would undoubtedly be that HISA also gives the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) a supervisory role. As with the COI rules just discussed, it is important to remember that when we enter the realm of constitutional protections, the rules become more stringent. Exalted brooding over the Authority's activities is not nearly enough. "First, the bill gives the Authority important powers that would be free from FTC oversight. Chief among these are actual law-enforcement powers and other powers 'of the nature and scope exercised by state racing commissions.' Some of the most important powers that the bill purports to award to the Authority are outside the FTC's purview. "Second, because of the sensitivity of constitutional protections, the federal courts have developed a line of authority holding that, regardless of the mention in a statute of the FTC or any other government agency, the constitutional test is whether the Authority could cause enough administrative trouble for the regulated parties that the latter would `face powerful incentives to obey.' "In HISA, agreeing to comply with the Authority's program is a precondition to eligibility to participate in racing. Thereafter, the Authority's power to issue and enforce subpoenas and perform searches and seizures, backed by sanctions from fines up to lifetime exclusion, makes it obvious that it is at the Authority level, not at the FTC level, that the rubber meets the road in this scheme. "The white paper explains that the courts could decide, based on a line of cases about private organizations being given enormous regulatory power, that the Authority is actually a public government agency. If this happened, the bill would violate both the Appointments Clause, which requires that appointments to public agencies be made only by the Executive Branch, and Article II, which holds agency members accountable by making them subject to removal by the Executive. "The drafters of HISA and its predecessors faced many problems, and predictably so. One of these was what if the states, which are already doing the things that the Authority now seeks to do, refuse to cooperate? The drafters solved this problem the simple way. HISA says, `State law enforcement authorities shall cooperate and share information with the Authority.' The constitutional problem here, known as the anticommandeering principle, is that the U.S. Supreme Court held two years ago that Congress `may not issue direct orders to the governments of the States.' Congress 'may not command the States' officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program.' "The anticommandeering principle has the highest importance in our Constitution. To paraphrase the Supreme Court, it provides a structural protection of liberty by diffusing power, ensuring that voters know whom to credit or blame for a particular regulatory program (accountability), and preventing Congress from shifting the costs of regulation to the states. This principle, implicit in the constitutional structure and underscored by the Tenth Amendment's reservation of rights to the states, ensures that the states do not become "mere political subdivisions of the United States." "From a constitutional point of view, HISA stands out as a real patchwork of fixes designed to get around multiple constitutional prohibitions. "The most important of several troubling themes is the Authority's lack of accountability. We could debate how to get better performance out of our state racing commissions. But there is no question that the state commissions are answerable to the executive and, ultimately, legislative branches of their state governments. They are accountable, and if we don't like the job they are doing, we can do something about it. The Authority is not accountable. "The FTC's role is passive: it was only mentioned so there would be a government agency somewhere in the bill. It would literally take an act of Congress, as the old saying goes, to do anything about the Authority's malfeasance or wrongheadedness. Abdicating our destiny to this `self-regulatory' private entity would be a tragic step to take. "If this bill becomes law, there will certainly be litigation. As the white paper concludes, 'The constitutional concerns raised by HISA are substantial and pervasive. Those concerns embrace the structure and powers of the regulatory body at the heart of the bill and extend even to the bill's more peripheral provisions. We predict that enactment would lead to extensive litigation and the possible invalidation of the statute.'" To read the Sept. 11 story, "USTA Opposes Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 (HISA)" click here. From the USTA Communications Department

Richard D. Mannon, 93, of Raritan Township, N.J., died Sept. 7, 2020, at his home, East Lynne Farm. A lifelong resident of the Flemington area, Mr. Mannon was born in Trenton, N.J., Oct. 17, 1926, the son of the late Russell and Helen Bourgart Mannon. He was a United States Navy veteran of World War II and served in the Asiatic Pacific Theater of Operations during the Philippine Liberation. For 67 years, he was a longtime Flemington area businessman. He owned and operated Mannon Excavating & Paving Company, Rich-Hil Transportation, R&H Truck Parts and Service, Flemington Bituminous Corp., and East Lynne Farm. Mr. Mannon loved Standardbred racehorses. He was a member of the USTA and bred and raced Standardbreds more than 60 years, starting with ponies in the 1960s and 1970s. He hosted races for the New Jersey Fair circuit at his farm, East Lynne. He was a perpetual contributor to the harness racing industry in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, buying and raising yearlings to compete in all three state’s Sire Stakes programs. He still owned three horses until his death. He was a member of the 200 Club; Flemington Elks Lodge #1928; and Flemington American Legion Post 159. He was active in his support of the Raritan Valley Youth Center and was a member of the Flemington Presbyterian Church. His wife of 68 years, Hilda Ruple Mannon, died in December 2018, and his sister, Lucie Sheets, died in 2010. Mr. Mannon is survived by his daughters, Dianna (Matteo) Liberto, Vivian, Kathleen (Dean) Holcombe and Brenda (Joseph) Patnick; grandchildren, Mathew (Erin) Liberto, Brian (Marin) Liberto, Caitlyn Liberto, C. Ashley Holcombe, Allyson Holcombe, Amanda (Brandon) Kania, Tara Boszczuk and Tammy Boszczuk; and great-grandchildren, Cecilia Liberto, Abigail Liberto and Matteo Liberto. There will be a drive-by memorial held on Friday (Sept. 11) from 4-7 p.m. at East Lynne Farm, 173 River Road, Raritan Township, NJ.. Visitors will have the opportunity to drive around the East Lynne Farm horse track to pay their respects. There will be a calling hour on Saturday (Sept. 12) from 11 a.m.-Noon at East Lynne Farm, 173 River Road, Raritan Township, N.J. Funeral services will follow at Noon at the same location. Interment will follow in Union Cemetery, Ringoes, N.J., under the direction of the Holcombe-Fisher Funeral Home, 147 Main St., Flemington, N.J. Mask wearing will be mandatory. Memorial contributions may be made to Hunterdon Hospice, 215 Route 31 South, Flemington, NJ 08822 or the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, 1359 Broadway, Ste 1509, New York NY 10018. From the USTA

Columbus, OH - The newly introduced Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 (HISA) is, like its predecessors, a Thoroughbred bill written by elite Thoroughbred interests in an attempt to address elite Thoroughbred problems. Indeed, Senate Majority Leader McConnell's bill did not include Standardbreds or other breeds, and the press release that announced the bill repeatedly cited only Thoroughbred racing and its interests. The bill has since been bastardized by an array of outside interests, and harness racing again has been pulled into the mix. A review of the revised language reveals that the bill now is a virtual clone of H.R. 1754 (Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019), and will harm, not help, Standardbred horses and the harness racing industry. While the United States Trotting Association (USTA) strongly supports state-regulated, breed-specific, uniform medication rules for horse racing, the USTA strongly opposes the HISA for a number of reasons and sees several areas of significant concern to the Standardbred racing industry. Lasix (Furosemide) The legislation seeks to ban the race-day use of Lasix, a universally-accepted therapeutic medication. Veterinarians endorse Lasix as the only known treatment for Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH), a condition that causes varying amounts of bleeding in the lungs of racehorses as well as horses in the wild. Both the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians support the use of Lasix and oppose this legislation. Proponents of the ban on the use of Lasix have purposely disseminated misleading information on the percentage of horses that suffer EIPH when they say that only five percent of horses "bleed" during racing. That statistic is the percentage of horses that suffer epistaxis, the most severe form of EIPH involving patent hemorrhaging from the nose. In fact, about 90 percent of horses bleed into their lungs during racing, with each bout of EIPH causing irreparable damage to lung tissue. Lasix is not performance enhancing and, due to the very sensitive capabilities of testing, it cannot be used to mask illegal medications. Unspecified Funding Mechanism with Extremely Inequitable Costs to Harness Racing Various proponents of this legislation have indicated that a newly created, private Horse Racing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority would be funded by a surcharge to the owners and trainers of every horse in every race. Standardbreds are a different breed with a significantly different racing performance model than Thoroughbreds. Since the average Standardbred races 19 times per year while the average Thoroughbred only six, that fee structure would result in three times the cost to Standardbreds compared to Thoroughbreds. This newly created regulatory body will have to impose additional fees and costs on the industry with no oversight mechanism in place. Harness racing horsemen will be hit particularly hard because most of them are working-class people. It will drive many of them out of the business. Testing and Oversight The bill mandates a drug-testing authority that has no background in animal testing. The testing authority will be done by a private business - USADA - which tests certain human athletes. Nowhere in the bill is there mandated ANY consultation requirement with the National Veterinary Service Labs for drug testing or the USDA Veterinary Services. The bill snatches legitimate authority away from the states, forcing them to cooperate, and illegally delegates Congressional authority to a private company that is accountable to no elected official. The USTA promotes and insists upon the humane and ethical treatment of its horses. Despite its inaccurate title indicating that it will make horses safer, this bill does the opposite. Whether it is right for Thoroughbred racing - its intended target - is not our concern. It most certainly is wrong for harness racing, will harm our industry, and put our horses and participants at risk. From the USTA Communications Department    

Columbus, OH - On the same day that Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in the Senate, the Energy and Commerce Committee marked up the companion legislation in the U.S. House. Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute to the Horseracing Integrity Act (H.R. 1754) to mirror the bill introduced by Senator McConnell. The markup sparked fierce debate among the members of the committee. During debate Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), a veterinarian and co-chair of the House Veterinary Caucus, railed against the lack of any equine medical input on a bill that purports to promote the health and welfare of horses, the lack of veterinary expertise on the Authority that the bill creates, and the lack of any basis in veterinary science for banning race-day Lasix. In response, the United States Trotting Association (USTA) issued the following statement in support of Representative Schrader's comments. "Certain Thoroughbred interests have made race-day Lasix a red herring to distract the public from the fact that Thoroughbred racing itself causes many of the deplorable, catastrophic breakdowns in the Thoroughbred breed. Race-day Lasix is the humane therapy for horses being asked to stress their pulmonary systems to the utmost on a single day. Lasix is not performance-enhancing, it is not doping, and it does not mask illegal substances. Banning Lasix before it is scientifically studied, to echo Representative Schrader, is putting the cart before the horse. As Rep. Schrader explained, this bill is not ready for prime time," said USTA President Russell Williams. From the USTA Communications Department            

Columbus, OH - For the first time ever, the U.S. Trotting Association District Meetings will be held virtually, online rather than in person on site. As usual, all district members are welcome to attend. For members to participate, the free Zoom app will need to be downloaded to their computer or device in advance of the meeting. The meetings will be conducted on the Zoom Webinar platform. In addition, the USTA must have the current email associated with the member's account so that we can communicate specific instructions on how to participate. Members will receive those directions via email from the USTA 30 days before their meeting, then again as a reminder a week in advance. To see the complete schedule of District Meetings, click here. The agenda for each meeting will include messages from both USTA President Russell Williams and Executive Vice President Mike Tanner as well as voting on rule change proposals and discussions of other district business. To see the complete list of rule change proposals, click here. All meetings will be recorded, archived and posted on the USTA website. From the USTA

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

Columbus, OH – The U.S. Trotting Association announced Sunday (June 21) the relaunch of the USTA Integrity Tipline for industry participants to alert the organization of any concerns they have regarding integrity issues in harness racing. The toll-free number is 833/USTATIP (833/878-2847).  All callers have the option to remain anonymous or leave their contact information for a follow-up call from an investigator. “As indicated by USTA President Russell Williams in his published response to several prominent horsemen’s concerns about the care of horses and integrity in harness racing (read here), we are reestablishing our integrity tipline,” said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner in making the announcement. “With the plans for implementation of the Hanover Shoe Farms matching fund grant integrity initiative nearing announcement early next month, that could provide funding to assist with the costs of investigations for legitimate information obtained through the tipline,” added Tanner. When contacting the USTA Integrity Tipline, callers will be asked to provide as many specific details as possible regarding the situation that are important for the USTA to be aware of including names, horses, dates and locations as well as any other circumstances. from the USTA Communications Department

Columbus, OH — Due to the influx of stakes/added money event changes and cancellations due to COVID-19, the USTA has added enhancements to the “Feature Races” webpage on On the “Feature Races” page horsemen have always been able to input date parameters and then do a search by track, event name or division to pull up scheduled events. The USTA has now also added the following notations, the text of which you can also search by: Canceled – if the race has been canceled, it is notated underneath the date Postponed – there is a new date forthcoming, but it has not been determined yet; ‘postponed’ will show up underneath the original race date Rescheduled – the new race date will show up underneath the originally scheduled date. The event will also show up chronologically for the new date, along with any other changes, such as to the track, purse or leg number Races are updated as press releases are received. If a race you are interested in does not show an update, notification has not yet been received by the USTA that the race has changed. The USTA has added enhancements to the “Feature Races” webpage. by Jessica Schroeder, USTA Membership Enrichment and Outreach Coordinator

Columbus, OH — District 1 of the U.S. Trotting Association Board of Directors announced Friday (May 29) that Jason Roth has been selected to replace Stacy Cahill as a director for the harness racing organization. His term will begin immediately and will run through 2022. “It’s an honor to serve on the USTA board of directors with so many distinguished members of the industry,” said Roth. “I look forward to working with other directors and the USTA staff.” Roth is currently the race secretary at Eldorado Scioto Downs. His grandfather, Richard, was a lifelong starter and his dad, Mike, is a trainer based in Anderson, Ind. In 1995, Roth first got his driver’s license, racing a couple times a year at the fairs in northern Ohio while in high school and college. He graduated from Central Michigan University in 2005 and went to work at Scioto Downs, first as an intern, then in the race office. Roth lives in Orient, Ohio with his longtime fiancé, Jessica, and their son, Wesley. from the USTA Communications Department

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