National Licensing Effort to Branch Out

The National Racing Compact has approved criteria for the licensing of trainers, jockeys, and drivers, and plans an event at Churchill Downs the week of the Kentucky Derby to spread the word.

The NRC oversees the pari-mutuel industry's first national license, which is now available. Jon McKinnie, executive director of the NRC, said Tuesday during the Association of Racing Commissioners International Convention in Lexington that jockeys already are involved in the process.

McKinnie said a Lexington detective was on hand at Keeneland last weekend to fingerprint jockeys. "We picked up 15 jockeys before the first race that day," he said. "We also met with some trainers at Keeneland, and they said, 'Just tell us what we have to do (to be licensed).' "

McKinnie, a former Louisiana racing commissioner, said he wants to target "the person who runs across state lines." As an example, he used horsemen in the Mid-Atlantic region, where many racetracks are located within a three-hour radius.

Eight states are now members of the compact, which operates under federal guidelines. They are Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

Eight other states haven't passed compact legislation but recognize the license. They are Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania (Thoroughbred racing), and Texas.