In conjunction with the recent University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program’s Global Racing and Gaming Symposium in Tucson, Arizona, the American Quarter Horse Association hosted a meeting with racing jurisdictions.
The meeting was called in a quest for uniformity in rules across jurisdictions.
There were 31 people in attendance, representing organizations including AQHA, the Association of Racing Commissioners International and Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association, and state jurisdictions including Arizona, Colorado, California, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
AQHA leaders stressed the need for uniformity, providing statistical data to illuminate the differences that presently exist between the jurisdictions. Some of these differences include variances in medication threshold levels, how different medications are prohibited and allowed in different jurisdictions and enforcement and duration of penalties.
Adopting uniformity across jurisdictions would allow for horsemen to understand the rules more completely, as well as allow them to compete on a level playing field across all racetracks.
“The lack of uniformity of medication policy in Quarter Horse racing creates artificial restriction in the movement of the best of the best horses competing in the top races across states,” said Craig Huffhines, AQHA executive vice president. “We are an international industry and, at least in our top five states that attribute more than 75 percent of Quarter Horse racing purse value, uniformity should be a priority. The lack of uniformity discourages investment in ownership and devalues the opportunity for our best genetics. We are hopeful that AQHA and our state regulators can collaborate in doing what is best for the industry.”
The group also discussed the adoption of breed-specific rules, and discussed the penalties for horses with Class 1 or 2 positive tests, and the possibility of reciprocity between states in recognizing said penalty.
AQHA also endorsed out-of-competition testing in all jurisdictions, including the use of hair testing.
“I was very pleased with how receptive each guest was to our individual topics, and the open dialogue that we shared,” said AQHA Chief Racing Officer Janet VanBebber. “We left the evening feeling like great progress was made in our efforts to partner with each commission, and endorse positive change for the Quarter Horse racing industry.”