At its fall board of directors meeting in Lexington, Ky., on September 10-11, the Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP) set the following points of emphasis that will be utilized in racing officials accreditation schools and stewards and judges continuing education classes:
- Writing rulings and daily reports by stewards and judges
- Reviewing race videos weekly with jockeys
- Conducting mock disciplinary hearings
- Increasing uniformity in fines and suspensions
- Reviewing mitigating and aggravating circumstances in assessing penalties for rule violations
Also at the meeting:
- The board of directors updated bylaws to reflect changes in officers, committees, staff and voting procedures. The National Steeplechase Association (NSA) was approved as an official member of the ROAP board of directors, and new levels of accreditation for steeplechase stewards were approved.
- The Steward Advisory Committee discussed the Thoroughbred Safety Committee’s recommended rule change regarding the use of the whip. The committee agreed that the new rule when approved by the RCI Model Rules Committee will need immediate adoption by state racing commissions and uniform enforcement by all stewards with consistent fines and/or suspensions. Members of the committee feel that there is a need to better educate jockeys on rules governing proper use of the new riding crops. The committee also discussed the electronic certificate pilot project at the NYRA racetracks, where registration certificates were required to be on file in the race office only during claiming races.
- The Examination Committee is creating a speakers’ bureau of racing medication and racing legal experts for continuing education and accreditation courses. The committee is developing intergraded exams by updating and rewriting exams at both schools.
- The Racing Officials Committee has developed one-day regional racing official orientation workshops. These workshops will be geared toward educating paddock judges, placing judges, horse identifiers, clerks of scales and other racing officials on uniform procedures for their positions and current racing issues to improve consistency in the application of the model rules of racing.
- The Steering Committee will conduct a survey of all ROAP members to identify areas of interest for expanded ROAP programs and services, and to identify the ranges in compensation for racing officials. The committee has also requested more transparency and online access to the RCI licensing and rulings database. To provide additional education to racing officials, the board of directors approved posting the Racing Officials’ Resource Guidebook and the “Duties and Responsibilities of Racing Officials” DVD on the ROAP website. The group discussed the possibility of developing an on-call stewards program for major racing events similar to the AAEP’s “On-Call” veterinarian program to assist in explaining the rules of racing and stewards’ decisions to the media and racing public.
- The Racing Officials Accreditation Program, in coordination with the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, will host its first Conference on Officiating Horse Racing. The one-day conference will be held Monday, December 8, 2008, at the 35th Symposium on Racing & Gaming at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson, Ariz.
This conference is designed for stewards, judges, racing commissioners, regulators, horsemen and racing fans who are interested in the daily regulation and officiating of horse racing.
Registration is free and lunch will be served. Anyone interested in attending needs to complete a registration form, which can be obtained by calling Jennifer Voss-Franco, ROAP coordinator of racing officials, at (859) 224-2702. The registration form is also available online at www.horseracingofficials.com under Upcoming Events.
The agenda includes presentations and discussions on
- Determining Penalties for Rule Violations
- Trainer Responsibility & Extenuating Circumstance
- Enforcing House Rules
- Race Video Review for Interference & Disqualifications
- Model Rules Development & Adoption
- Coordinating Uniform Regulations
- Education Requirements for Licensees
ROAP is a 501(c) (6) organization whose board of directors is made up of representatives of 15 industry organizations. Stewards and judges receive their accreditation and continuing education credits through this program. Rich Wilcke at the University of Louisville and Wendy Davis at the University of Arizona direct the schools and training used in achieving accreditation.
The ROAP website, http://www.horseracingofficials.com, provides a means for tracks and racing commissions to find qualified staff. The site includes an online directory of racing officials that matches accredited officials with appropriate positions and provides experience opportunities for officials who want to become accredited.
Additional information about ROAP is available at http://horseracingofficials.com or by contacting Jennifer Voss-Franco, coordinator of racing officials for ROAP, at
(859) 224-2702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.