PA Coalition Focuses on Action Issues

The group of stakeholders in Pennsylvania racing created a 40-member working group.

The Pennsylvania Equine Coalition said June 11 it is closer to consensus on “action items” designed to improve the health and safety of equines and humans at racetracks in the state.

The coalition earlier this year formed a working group of about 40 industry stakeholders including owners, trainers, breeders, racetrack operators, regulators, jockeys, drivers, and veterinarians. It recently created four committees to study medication rules and practices; policies related to the claiming of horses; pre-race inspections and out-of-competition testing; and oversight for administration of furosemide.

The working group ultimately hopes to devise proposed regulations that would be presented to the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission and Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission.

“I was pleased with the overall support within the industry for working together toward the common goal of developing solutions that will improve the health and safety of horses, jockeys, and drivers in Pennsylvania,” said Salvatore DeBunda, president of the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and a member of the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition. “The sharing of ideas and views from individuals representing all facets of the industry promoted a healthy discussion of the issues and helped drive us to focus on these key areas as a starting point.”

The working group at its latest meeting also discussed the close working relationship between the Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and executives at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in addressing track surface issues.  According to a coalition release that led to a commitment by the Pennsylvania THA and Parx Racing officials to work together on track surface issues.