Roark Re-elected as National HBPA President

John Roark, president of the Texas Horsemen's Partnership and a board member of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, fought back a challenge to win a second two-year term as president of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

In an election July 13 during the National HBPA summer convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Roark defeated Florida HBPA president Linda Mills for the top spot. In another contested race, Larry Riviello, president of the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, was elected to his second term as vice president. He defeated Charles Town HBPA president Dick Watson.

Dr. Ed Hagan of Oregon was re-elected chairman of the board. Bylaws changes that would effectively eliminate the chairman's voting rights were tabled once again.

Roark challenged affiliate presidents to "step up" and serve on committees, and also thanked Mills for her work with the national organization. In an address before the election, Mills said the National HBPA needs a lot more discourse, sharing of information, and monthly conference calls. She also indicated horsemen, when they band together, have amazing clout.

"We own the horses, we own the power, and we are the entries," she said.

In other business, the board approved a model policy on split-sample procedures. Kent Stirling, executive director of the Florida HBPA and chairman of the National HBPA medication committee, said the policy calls for testing of plasma as well as urine, accreditation of all laboratories that perform the tests, and a chain-of-custody document.

Stirling also noted owners and trainers must pay for the tests, but the results are only sent to regulators. He indicated that makes no sense.

"If (regulators) want to pay for it, they can have all the information," Stirling said.

The model policy will be presented to the Association of Racing Commissioners International and North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators Association for review.