By: Frank Angst

Many of the country’s leading regulators will listen to panels and presentations on drug testing and enforcement, policing the backstretch, and promoting the sport, just to name a few, when they gather this week in Charleston, S.C.

The Association of Racing Commissioners International’s 2017 annual conference on equine welfare and racing integrity will begin with a welcome message at noon, April 18 by the group’s chairwoman Judy Wagner and its president Ed Martin. Following the welcome message there will be panels, discussions, and model rule determinations during the conference that continues through April 20.

To foster uniformity in the regulation of horse racing, the ARCI shapes and approves model rules, which it then encourages state racing regulators throughout North America to adopt.

Some of the Tuesday, April 18 highlights include a panel discussion on promoting racing, which features Eric Hamelback of the national Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Penelope Miller of America’s Best Racing, Steve Koch of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, and moderator Jennie Rees.

There also will be a forum on drug testing titled, “Are We Doing it Right? Are We Catching the Cheaters?” and a panel on veterinary record keeping.

On Wednesday, April 19, a panel will discuss the current adjudication system and if there is a better structure. Members of that panel include Ontario regulator Brent Stone, Indiana Thoroughbred Owner and Breeders Association board member Peter Sacopulos, and Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association chairman and CEO Alan Foreman, and moderator Rhea Loney.

Also Wednesday the ARCI’s Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee will meet and there will be panels on racing officials, policing the backstretch, and regulation of the riding crop.

Thursday, April 20 will be highlighted by the model rules committee meeting and an awards luncheon.

The meeting is held in conjunction with meetings of the National Racing Compact, which was scheduled to convene April 17; and the Association of Official Racing Chemists.