May 19, 2006 – A group of seven racing investigators is at Pimlico Race Course this week for Saturday’s 131st Preakness Stakes as part of a unique program called the Big Event Team. Now in its second year, the Big Event Team works to assist and enhance stable area and racetrack security at major racing events for Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds and American Quarter Horses across the United States and Canada. Events include the Triple Crown races and Breeders’ Cup Thoroughbred Championships.
The Big Event Team is coordinated by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB), a wholly owned subsidiary of Thoroughbred Racing Associations based in Elkton, Maryland, and is funded by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC), which consists of 23 racing industry stakeholders and organizations. With headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky, the RMTC (www.rmtc.kinsta.com) works to develop, promote and coordinate, at the national level, policies, research, and educational programs that seek to ensure the fairness and integrity of racing and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants, and protect the interests of the betting public.
The Big Event Team at Pimlico for the Preakness represents the TRPB, the Maryland Racing Commission and the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority. Its goal is to “keep the race on a level playing field,” said Pete Lang of the TRPB who coordinates the Big Event Team schedule.
The Big Event Team ranges from several to a dozen investigators who arrive at the racetrack approximately 72 hours prior to the event. Depending on the level of experience of members of track security and local law enforcement, the Big Event Team will train them on what to expect while they guard entered horses around the clock until post time, and will assist track security guards and commission investigators in providing random security patrols. The Big Event Team is available to share with local security the information it has compiled during previous major events, ongoing TRPB investigations and tips from the TRPB’s confidential informant hotline (1-800-TIP-TRPB).
Lang said racetracks and horsemen have recognized the benefits of the Big Event Team program. “Horsemen, the ones who are competing in the races, are actually now asking if we’re going to be there,” Lang said. “Most are happy that we are there and indicate that to us.”
For additional information, contact:
• Pete Lang, TRPB: (732) 747-8036
• Joe Poag, chief investigator, Maryland Racing Commission: (410) 230-6330
• Amy Owens, communications coordinator, RMTC: (859) 421-2566; e-mail: email@example.com