Racing Integrity Teams
Racing Integrity Teams
The American Quarter Horse Association is committed to protecting the welfare of the American Quarter Horse. As part of this pursuit, AQHA is regularly teaming up with racetracks and racing commissions to deploy Racing Integrity Teams to racing events.
One such partnership was a Racing Integrity Team recently sent to Energy Downs in Wyoming. These teams are deployed to ensure integrity at racetracks. Their work might include assisting local racing commission and track staff; performing searches of barns, stalls or cars; sharing knowledge and intelligence with local enforcement teams; and other general security and deterrent actions.
The Racing Integrity Teams are made up of members of the Organization of Racing Investigators, and the teams often have hundreds of years of combined experience between them.
“Our efforts are to partner with both the commissions and the tracks to help enforce all rules of racing,” said AQHA Chief Racing Officer Janet VanBebber. “This can include monitoring proper licensing, checking for the presence of prohibited substances, searches for illegal equipment, and even keeping an eye out for possible human drug use. Assisting each jurisdiction in implementing its own Integrity Team will help serve as a valuable deterrent for improper and illegal activity at racetracks.”
The Racing Integrity Teams are just one step in AQHA’s commitment to protecting the welfare of the American Quarter Horse and protecting the interest of the public.
Wyoming has made great strides in welfare issues in recent years, including things like hair testing, zero-tolerance clenbuterol, racing soundness exams, out-of-competition testing and the additional education and licensing of stewards and safety stewards.
“Our (horse racing) future is being played out in the media and at several high profile tracks and jurisdictions across the United States, as regulators we need to pause (briefly) and pay attention; reevaluate our programs and make changes,” said Charles E. Moore, executive director of the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission. “Our mission statement which was developed 50 years ago ‘The protection of the wagering public, and the health, safety and welfare of the participants in the events, both human and equine’ is as relevant today as it was then.
“By embracing the Integrity Teams and inviting them to the tracks we are all addressing our core,” he says. “The teams are respectful to the local jurisdictions coming to the track as additional eyes and ears working collectively with all parties to enhance the regulatory oversight and elevating the integrity of the events. Again, while we see our future unfolding in the media it is imperative that the smaller jurisdictions take a look at this program and utilize every resource available. We can make a difference and its starts today at every level of racing.”
Jurisdictions interested in having a Racing Integrity Team should contact AQHA Racing Department Secretary Kelly Flowers at 806-378-4365.