For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Monday, June 4, 2012

How Hard Does This Have to Be?; Peelers Retired

People in the industry claim we need to have one set of rules.  People in the industry and outside say we have a medication problem and too many rules.  I think almost everyone agrees we have an image and integrity problem.  How hard is it to fix?  If you get egos and people who feel no changes should be made because right now they have things pretty good to let the process work, I don't think it would be too hard.

To show you it doesn't have to be that hard, I am going to give you the 50,000 foot view of one such proposal.  Is it the end all?  Heck, not.  Does it address the financing issues?  Certainly not.  Are there things missing?  I am sure. 

The point is, does the concept sound logical?  If it does, investigate it, and find ways around the problem.  The point is you have to start somewhere.  So for discussion purposes, here is a starting point:

The Players
  • United States Trotting Association - Remains what it should be. 
    •  An organization that promotes harness racing and manages the breed registry.
    • No longer would it handle the rule making with the exception of those issues related to breeding. 
  • Hambletonian Society - Remains as it is.
  • RMTC 
    • Establishes medication guidelines.
    • Suggests penalties.
    • Certifies tests to be used for drug testing.
    • Coordinates the development of future testing. 
    • Certifies labs eligible to do drug testing.
    • Tests and certifies veterinarians and trainers in knowledge of medication rules.
    • Assists in development of smart phone and other applications to track the who, what, when, and how medication is given to a horse.
  • Harness Racing America (HRA)
    • A new regulatory organization
    • Develops the rules for harness racing, including fines and penalties using the most recent USTA set of rules as a starting point.
    • Adopts the RMTC rules regarding medication
    • Certifies racing officials.
    • Approves or modifies the penalties suggested by RMTC for medication violations.
    • Mandates horses be micro chipped in order to assist in regulating medication.
    • Mandate horses in training may only be treated by a RMTC certified veterinarian unless an emergency.
    • Suspend or revoke RMTC certified veterinarian status for vets found violating RMTC drug protocol.
    • Mandate suspensions be honored nationally.
    • Work on developing a 21st century tote system.
  • Harness Racing Kentucky (or fill in your state)
    • Still has commissioners.
    • Appoints HRA-certified racing officials for race meets.
    • Adopts HRA's rules and penalties.
    • Assigns race dates within the state and licenses  racetracks..
    • In charge of promoting breeding and horse racing in the state.
      • Defines  sires stakes, state bred, and other types of residency programs.
    • Licensing of participants to ensure they meet state requirements.
    • Supplements HRA rules, fines and penalties only in regard to rules regarding state racing programs (example: What happens if someone claims to be a state resident but turns out not to be?)   
    • In charge of enforcing HRA rules and penalties and report findings to HRA .
    • Appoints test lab (must be RMTC approved)
    • Administers drug testing.
    • Approves simulcast agreements.
    • Investigates possible problems.
    • Continues to approve the type of wagering allowed.
    • Approve ADWs (can't fix everything at once)
  • State of (Fill in the blank)
    • Approves a compact to allow HRA to set rules and regulations and to have the state follow them.
    • Decides on alternate gaming issues.
    • Still determines takeout rates.
  • Federal Government
    • Legislates Existence of HRA and its responsibilities
    • Legislates RMTC as official horse racing drug testing body.
    • Modifies Interstate Horse Racing Act to ban importing and exporting of race signals in s states that don't approve the compact ceding establishment of rules and regulations to the HRA if not approved as of a certain date.
Funding Mechanism - Likely will have to be from within industry.  In the case of RMTC and HRA, they would bill the state racing organizations as well as those states like Connecticut, that don't race but accept wagers on horse racing.  The state racing organizations would then determine how to allocate the expenses amongst the licensees.

The Interstate Horse Racing Act sword probably surprises everyone.  You see, states have the right to run racing they way they want to.  However, they can control interstate commerce.  So if the state wants to go on the way they are, they are free to, but if they want to participate in interstate commerce, they need to meet a certain standard.

See You At Peelers is Retired.  I had expected this for sometime and Harness Racing Update reports about it today.  While SYAP came back well this year in the Matchmaker series, it seemed to fall apart relatively quick in the final of the Bluechip Matchmaker final.  Peelers seemed to rebound in a qualifier at the Meadowlands but then quit once again in the final quarter at her home track (Yonkers). 

Clearly, this was not the Peelers we remember at 2 and 3.  Was it the heart problem from last year took its toll?  I'm sure it may have taken a step away from her and going against the older mares was not going to make things easier as the season went on.  I for one am glad she is done racing, for I had fears we may have seen something similar to what happened to the late Snow White.

Thank you Peelers for the memories.  It was one heck of a ride.   

No comments: