Symposium: Integrity Requires Team Approach: The Blood-Horse 12/9/15

By: Frank Angst

panel participant and audience member on “Fixing Racing,” the final panel of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program’s Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming, echoed the same sentiment: Cooperation is key in building integrity.

Lisa Underwood, former executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, said regulators benefit greatly when participants, track officials, and others inform them of any concerns. To this day Underwood said, as someone who loves the sport, she gets upset for the entire industry when wrongdoing occurs.

“Cheating hurts participants who are following rules, bettors who lose out on the result, and hurts the industry’s reputation,” Underwood said.

Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission executive director John Wayne, participating from the audience, commented that integrity is the responsibility of every person at the track and he noted that the stakes are high.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to say something if they see something,” Wayne said. “If we want to see our industry grow and prosper, we have to be the ones who protect it.”

Consultant Jennifer Durenberger, a former regulatory vet in New York and California and former Massachusetts regulator, said in too many states there is not enough funding for investigators. She said racing needs boots on the ground.

Underwood said when a positive test comes up for a substance, it’s important for regulators to use all of the tools at their disposal. She said in Kentucky when a positive test for a Class A or B (highest levels of concern) substance was found, the trainer’s barn would be searched and possibly the vet’s truck. She said it’s also important to do wagering analysis of the race involved to determine if pari-mutuel pools were part of any scheme.

Underwood said Kentucky law gives the commission wide latitude for such investigations. She noted participating in racing is a privilege, not a right.