By: Tom LaMarra
Alan Foreman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, on April 4 was presented with the William H. May Award, the highest honor given by the Association of Racing Commissioners International.
The award, first presented in 1986, recognizes an individual or entity that has had a profound positive effect on professional racing.
Foreman is the second Marylander in three years to receive an award from ARCI—in 2017 Mike Hopkins, Executive Director of the Maryland Racing Commission and outgoing Chairman of ARCI, was given the Len Foote Award in recognition of exemplary service and contributions to racing integrity.
Foreman, the first THA Executive Director, is the longest-serving member on the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Board of Directors and serves as Vice Chairman of Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. He is legal counsel for the Maryland THA and New York THA and the creator of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships (MATCH Series).
The THA is the umbrella organization for horsemen’s groups in Delaware, Maryland, Illinois (Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course), New Jersey, New York (Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course) and Pennsylvania (Parx Racing).
The award came as a surprise to Foreman, who attended the ARCI Racing Integrity and Animal Welfare Conference in Arcadia, Calif. ARCI President Ed Martin after a luncheon went to the podium to present a few awards and called up Hopkins to make one of the presentations.
“Mike went up and said his presentation was ‘for someone I’ve worked with my entire career.’ And then I heard him say my name,” Foreman said. “So I went up front and said a few a words. Honestly, I couldn’t think straight I was so surprised.
“It’s pretty awesome. When I saw the roster (of previous winners of the award), I thought it was pretty cool. I’m totally humbled by the honor. I’ve worked as part of the ARCI Regulatory Committee my whole life, and it’s nice after spending so many years working for the betterment of the industry that people felt my efforts should be recognized.”
Foreman, an attorney who began working on racing issues during his time with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office in the late 1970s, launched what has become an annual meeting of Mid-Atlantic and New York stakeholders who have accomplished major policy reforms—regionally and nationally—including uniform medication regulations, equine health and welfare policies and, most recently, the Mid-Atlantic Strategic Plan to Reduce Equine Fatalities. The annual regional meeting is the only one of its kind in the United States.
“The Mid-Atlantic represents the largest concentration of racing daily on a regular basis,” Foreman said. “Our collective efforts in the region go back 25 years. If there’s a place where uniformity makes the most sense, it’s the Mid-Atlantic region. We’ve demonstrated we can get things done. We’ve come a long way with our reforms, but we have a long way to go.”
In 2012 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Foreman to the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety. He co-authored its widely acclaimed report, and its safety and welfare recommendations are being implemented in racing jurisdictions throughout North America. In addition, in 2014 he was appointed by Cuomo to serve on the New York Task Force on Jockey Health and Safety.
Foreman is a lifelong Maryland resident and lives in Pikesville, Md., with his wife, Randi. They have three sons.