El desafío para la Industria del Caballo en la Argentina es nuevamente
"Trabajar en forma INTEGRADA, HACIENDO QUE LAS COSAS PASEN"
Este año ¿lo lograremos?
Mario López Oliva

viernes, 26 de septiembre de 2008

NTRA REFORMS: WHO WILL FOOT THE BILL?

KEENELAND: CAN THE ELEPHANT LEARN TO DANCE?

By Ray Paulick

The change bandwagon is getting pretty crowded, both in presidential politics and in horseracing. Following on the heels of suggestions for reform at the Jockey Club Round Table in August and demands for reform by the Breeders’ Cup and American Graded Stakes Committee, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is getting into the act. NTRA president and CEO Alex Waldrop is convening a closed-door meeting in Lexington, Ky., today beginning at 9 a.m. to seek support and funding for widespread changes related to medication and horse welfare issues, many of which were detailed in a Paulick Report exclusive in July.

Today’s invitation-only meeting at the Griffin Gate Marriott Hotel, will have representation from a broad base throughout the Thoroughbred industry, unlike an earlier small gathering of insiders who met at Keeneland to draft a discussion document in reaction to the June 19 Congressional hearings that threatened federal intervention. The hearings came in the wake of revelations about legal anabolic steroid use and the death of Eight Belles in the Kentucky Derby.

The discussion document outlined reforms related to medication, drug testing, racetrack safety standards, jockey weights and insurance, 2-year-old sales and racing, wagering protocols, Eclipse Awards, and a national placement program for retired racehorses. The confidential document, which has since been amended since published in the Paulick Report, also had suggestions for implementation and enforcement, but no plan for funding, which is expected to be a major topic of discussion.

Waldrop, who has been traveling around the country with NTRA vice president Keith Chamblin to sell the reform platform to different organizations, said today’s meeting would be an “informational session.” At least 50 individuals will attend. The former Churchill Downs executive is expected to seek funding and may propose the hiring of an outside agency to serve as a “monitor” to hold the industry’s feet to the fire so that it will make enough changes to hold Congress at bay.

One invited participant said it would be a “miracle” if the industry supports the proposals but gives Waldrop high marks for his efforts. “Where is the money going to come from?” he asked. “The NTRA doesn’t have it, racetracks are strapped, and state governments are cutting budgets on racing commissions and drug testing labs.” Another said the plan needs to be scaled down and more realistic. “The Jockey Club Round Table made all these proposals about what the industry needs to do, and I said, ‘Hey, what about the proposals you made last year? When are you going to get around to addressing those?’”

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