Racing Secretaries Meet to Address Issues

Racing secretaries from racetracks around the United States and Canada gathered in Lexington Oct. 18 to identify issues faced by racing offices, exchange information about initiatives that have had a positive impact on their respective racing operations, and identify best practices for tracks.

Among the topics discussed were the declining foal crop, horse inventory and the shortage of available racing stock, continued declines in starts per horse, the effect of state incentives on racing programs, purse structure, interaction with racing offices at other racetracks, the entry process, scratch times, and the growing complexity of race conditions.

“The industry often receives input from regulators, vets, owners, and trainers, and it is the hope of this group to use this opportunity to provide input to the industry from the united voice of the racing secretaries,” said Rick Hammerle of Santa Anita Park.

The group is reviewing and prioritizing issues to identify actionable items. Among the immediate actions to be undertaken are to determine the feasibility of formalizing the group and creating a structure that would enable racing secretaries to speak to the industry as a unified body; analyze current purse structures, field sizes, and stakes schedules; and analyze the increasing complexity of race conditions currently being used in condition books.

“This was not meant to be a one-time occurrence, and to a person, the group has pledged to continue the dialogue, in person and on conference calls, to ensure that some of these ideas and practices are implemented,” said Brad Kimbrell, executive vice president of InCompass, which facilitated the meeting.

The InCompass Race Track Operations system is installed at virtually every racetrack in North America. 

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