Alex Waldrop

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Bill to Bag Withholding Tax Introduced

Legislation that would eliminate the automatic 25% federal withholding on pari-mutuel winnings of $5,000 or more on wagers of at least 300-1 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives July 29.

Wagering Plummets Since Triple Crown

Wagering Plummets Since Triple Crown

Wagering has dropped 11% on North American Thoroughbred racing since the end of the Triple Crown series -- at least by one indicator -- a disturbing trend that can likely be attributed to a variety of factors.

Strategic Plan for Horse Safety in Works

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association is formulating a "strategic plan" for equine health and safety and will seek support from various industry organizations when the document is released, probably in early fall.

Pinnacle Race Course Joins NTRA

Pinnacle Race Course Joins NTRA

Pinnacle Race Course, the new Thoroughbred racetrack located near Detroit, Mich., has become a member of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association pending final NTRA board approval, it was announced July 15. Pinnacle will open its inaugural meet July 18.

Handle Down, Purses Up in Second Quarter

Pari-mutuel handle took a hit but purses gained a bit in the second quarter of 2008, according to the "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators" for United States and Canadian pari-mutuel wagering on U.S. Thoroughbred racing.

Hearing Shows Racing at Critical Point

Hearing Shows Racing at Critical Point

Drugged equines, grisly catastrophic breakdowns, greedy breeders, damaged racehorses with nowhere to go, inaction and confusion, and industry leaders more concerned with holding onto power than doing the right thing -- a congressional subcommittee heard it all June 19 during a hearing in Washington, D.C.

Equine Equity Act Now Law

Equine Equity Act Now Law

Members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives voted May 22 to override a presidential veto of the 2007 Farm Bill exercised by George W. Bush. As a result, the 2007 Farm Bill is now law and it includes the Equine Equity Act, a provision that amends the depreciation schedule for racehorses to a uniform three years.

Equine Welfare Key No Matter the Outcome

Equine Welfare Key No Matter the Outcome

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association is prepared for "every potential outcome" on Preakness Stakes (gr. I) day, but no matter the result, developments in the area of equine health and welfare in the coming weeks and months are of the utmost importance, the organization's president and chief executive officer said.

Disabled Jockeys Fund Receives $500,000

At a news conference held in the press box at Pimlico Race Course May 16, a check for $500,000 was presented by NetJets to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. On hand at the event were jockeys John Velazquez, chairman of the Jockeys' Guild; top rider Edgar Prado; disabled rider Jackie Fires; and Alex Waldrop, president of NTRA Charities.

Significant Minority Support Racing Ban

In the wake of the tragedy that followed the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with Eight Belles' fatal breakdown, alarming statistics reflecting the percentage of those who would support a horse racing ban were revealed by a Gallup poll.

Derby Promotion Raises Funds for Charity

Derby Promotion Raises Funds for Charity

A Kentucky Derby Day promotion facilitated by NetJets, the Jockeys' Guild, Churchill Downs, and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association has raised $500,000 to benefit the NTRA Charities - Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Jockey John Velazquez will present the gift to representatives of the fund the morning of May 16 at Pimlico Race Course.

Pfizer Increases Support of Charity Fund

Pfizer Increases Support of Charity Fund

Since late January, Pfizer Animal Health and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) have joined forces to help fund laminitis research through the NTRA Charities - Barbaro Memorial Fund. Pfizer Animal Health displays, featuring "Riding with Barbaro" awareness bracelets, will appear in select veterinary clinics and retail outlets across the country and at major equine events. Due to the strong response thus far, Pfizer Animal Health will be expanding its number of display locations and manufacturing thousands of additional bracelets for public distribution.

NTRA Wants Urgency on Safety Matters

NTRA Wants Urgency on Safety Matters

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association continues to coordinate equine health and safety initiatives in response to the death of the filly Eight Belles, and on May 9 called for "urgency" and an end to the "status quo."

Farm Bill to Benefit Horse Owners

House and Senate conferees for the 2007 farm bill announced May 8 they had approved a final version of the bill, which includes legislative language to amend the depreciation schedule for race horses. The final version of the farm bill is expected to pass both houses and be sent to the president for approval.

Horseplayers' Coalition Unveiled by NTRA

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Horseplayers' Coalition Unveiled by NTRA

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced April 22 the formation of the Horseplayers' Coalition, a consortium of horseplayers whose common objective is to seek legislative and regulatory solutions to tax and business issues that impact racing fans and pari-mutuel racetracks.

Cancellations Cause Handle, Purse Dips

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Cancellations Cause Handle, Purse Dips

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Equibase Company April 21 released the "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators" for North American pari-mutuel wagering on U.S. Thoroughbred racing during the first quarter of 2008, as well as for U.S. purses and race days, with prior-year, first-quarter comparisons.

Regulation of Steroids Turns a Corner

The ongoing process of regulating anabolic steroids in racehorses may have turned a corner March 25 when the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium made changes to its model rule. State regulators, however, remain concerned about funding for increased testing.

Commentary: A Matter of Integrity

By Rep. Ed Whitfield - Three years ago, Congress examined the explosion of steroid use plaguing Major League Baseball. The integrity of the game was called into question and a dark cloud was cast over America's favorite pastime.

Welfare and Safety Summit Approaching

The second Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, slated for March 17-18 at Keeneland, will be a time of learning new approaches to solving industry issues, as well as continuing the discussion of progress on topics brought up at the first meeting in October 2006.

Commentary: A Reasonable Approach

By Alex Waldrop - On Feb. 27, I appeared before a Congressional Subcommittee for a hearing entitled, "Drugs in Sports: Compromising the Health of Athletes and Undermining the Integrity of Competition."

Congressman Criticizes Drug Policy

Congressman Criticizes Drug Policy

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky opened a Feb. 27 congressional hearing on the use of steroids in sports by claiming leaders of horse racing have repeatedly failed on promises to self-regulate medication issues.

Waldrop to Testify on Capitol Hill

Waldrop to Testify on Capitol Hill

National Thoroughbred Racing Association president and chief executive officer Alex Waldrop has been asked to testify in Washington, D.C., during a hearing titled "Drugs in Sports: Compromising the Health of Athletes and Undermining the Integrity of Competition."

Laminitis Research Gets a Boost

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Laminitis Research Gets a Boost

Pfizer Animal Health and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association have joined forces to help fund laminitis research through the NTRA Charities - Barbaro Memorial Fund.

Wagering Down, Purses Up in 2007

Overall wagering declined slightly in the United States in 2007 while purses increased, according to "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators" data released Jan. 15.

Horse Park Receives Eclipse Award

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The Kentucky Horse Park, longtime home of the late John Henry, has been honored with the 2007 Special Eclipse Award, presented by the National Turf Writers Association, Daily Racing Form, and the NTRA.

Legislators OK Task Force Rules

Legislators embraced recommendations of self-regulation for Kentucky horse auctions during a committee session Nov. 9, and applauded the effort of the Sales Integrity Task Force that formulated them.

New Projects to Study Laminitis

Two projects focusing on the equine disease laminitis will be launched soon using funds raised by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association in memory of the late 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Barbaro. The projects, at more than $100,000, will be conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia and Louisiana State University.

Task Force Recommendations Draw Praise, Criticism

Task Force Recommendations Draw Praise, Criticism

Preliminary recommendations aimed at self-regulation for the equine auction industry were unveiled by the Sales Integrity Task Force during a public forum held at the Keeneland sales pavilion Oct. 15, but the driving force behind Kentucky legislation seeking reform in the public selling arena quickly voiced displeasure with the suggestions.

Sales Integrity Task Force Report Draws Mixed Reviews

Sales Integrity Task Force Report Draws Mixed Reviews

State legislators hearing the second report by the Sales Integrity Task Force on transparency issues in the Kentucky equine auction industry expressed mixed opinions about the group's progress during a public meeting held Sept. 13 in the Lexington Room at Keeneland Race Course.

Rags to Riches' Coaching Club Oaks to Air on ESPN

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Rags to Riches' Coaching Club Oaks to Air on ESPN

With Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Rags to Riches expected to make her next start in the July 21 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) at Belmont Park, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced July 13 that live coverage of the race has been added to the TV series "NTRA Summer Racing - Powered by Dodge."

NTRA Fills Two Senior-Level Positions

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The National Thoroughbred Racing Association has hired Terry McElfresh as senior vice president of NTRA Purchasing, and Vicki Baumgardner as chief financial officer.

NTRA Summer Racing Series Begins June 30

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"NTRA Summer Racing - "Powered by Dodge," seven shows featuring 16 races, will air on the ESPN networks beginning June 30, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced June 13.

Barbaro Painting Brings $14,400 for Memorial Fund

Artist Susan Sommer-Luarca's portrait "Barbaro" -- a 5' by 4' tonal acrylic on canvas that was painted at Churchill Downs during Kentucky Derby week -- brought a final price of $14,400 at the conclusion of bidding yesterday on eBay.

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