National Thoroughbred Racing Association commissioner D.G. Van Clief Jr. Saturday called upon all facets of the industry to accelerate implementation of recommendations for increased regulatory oversight of participants in U.S. pari-mutuel wagering pools.Van Clief said he was particularly concerned with secondary pari-mutuel operations such as offshore and Native American sites that may be under-regulated compared to U.S. domestic track operators. "We can begin immediately by holding secondary pari-mutuel organizations to the same standards that licensed, regulated U.S. pari-mutuel operations are held, standards recommended by the NTRA Wagering Systems Task Force and endorsed unanimously by the NTRA board of directors last summer," he said."Until such time that we can assure our customers that these operations adhere to those standards -- including disclosing their ownership and allowing U.S. host tracks full access to wagering data for security purposes -- it is not in the best interest of U.S. racetracks to allow these operations access to co-mingled pools.Van Clief also urged NTRA member associations to increase their diligence in applying recommended security measures and business practices in connection with racetrack backstretch operations and post-race drug testing for horses.His comments were made in the wake of federal indictments against 17 individuals who are alleged to have conspired in a fraudulent wagering scheme that involved the administration of bicarbonate of soda to a racehorse at New York's Aqueduct racetrack. The so-called "milkshake" was designed to improve the animal's racing performance. The wagers are alleged to have flowed through several secondary locations. "NTRA and its member horsemen's groups, the THA, TOC and the HBPA, unanimously endorse the actions of the Southern California racetracks -- including Del Mar, Santa Anita Park and Hollywood Park -- that in recent months have increased security and testing," Van Clief said. "We call upon racetrack operators, regulators and horsemen nationwide to bring all their leverage to bear to achieve knowledge of who is betting into our pools, hasten the adoption of uniform medication standards, and ensure higher levels of security and enforcement."
The NTRA is part of the 25-member Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, which includes numerous horsemen's representatives. The Consortium has publicly condemned the use of "milkshakes."