Washington is introducing live scan fingerprint technology to the pari-mutuel industry as state racing commission officials begin to process the applications of owners, trainers, jockeys and other personnel for the opening of Emerald Downs' live Thoroughbred meet April 21."We are pleased to be the first racing state in the country to use this high tech processing method," said Hartly Kruger, chairman of the Washington Horse Racing Commission.Commissioners approved an expenditure of $33,000 for the live scan technology earlier this year. The equipment was installed at the WHRC office at Emerald Downs where licensing personnel are being trained in its use. Live scan technology replaces the ink pad method of collecting fingerprints and eliminates the need to mail fingerprint cards to the national FBI Data Base to check for an applicant's criminal record. The process usually takes four to six weeks to complete. With live scan, fingerprints are transmitted directly to the data base via the Internet and WHRC gets same-day feedback, Robert Leichner, the commission's executive secretary said.
At their February meeting, commissioners discussed the sharp increase in the cost of jockey insurance that threatens the future of Washington's four non-profit fair race meets and other small tracks across the country. Leichner said the premiums have virtually tripled from last year.A bill in the Washington legislature would allow the commission to provide some financial help to the fair meets, but not until fiscal year 2007. The Senate passed the bill Friday 43 to 1 and sent it to the House.Emerald Downs' application for 91 days of racing from April 21 through Oct. 1 was approved by the commission. President Ron Crockett noted that special events would be presented throughout the season as Emerald Downs celebrates its 10th anniversary.