Turning to Tucson

There’s racing this week in New York, Kentucky, Florida, and California, but the eyes and attention of many in the racing world are turned southwest, to Tucson, Arizona and the annual symposium of the Race Track Industry Program at the University of Arizona.

Those unlucky enough to be tethered elsewhere and missing this event can find coverage of the proceedings in the usual industry publications; I haven’t seen much in the blogosphere yet, but the Tweets are coming fast and furious, especially if you’re a follower of @USHorseman.

Below are some of his (I’m assuming he’s a he—Horseman, after all) Tweets from yesterday, slightly edited:

On “Exposing Yourself to Strangers,” featuring W. David Tompkins, Jr., senior vice president and CMO, Churchill Downs, Inc. and Mike McCarley, senior vice president, strategic marketing, communications and promotions for NBC Sports and Olympics:

McCarley: It is all about broadening the audience by finding what is
relevant to them.

McCarley: We tried to focus on food, fashion, celebrity appeal, and entertaining to draw more female viewers to the Kentucky Derby.

McCarley: NBC knew that [the Derby] could not be taken out of the
production, still must be a major focus.

Tompkins: Women are extremely important to the future of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.

From “A New Perspective on Racing – How Times Change,” featuring Gerard Cunningham, U.S. president of Betfair:

Cunningham: How many hours per week do you think about horse racing?

Cunningham: We bring a very sharp spotlight to
integrity.

Cunningham: We don’t know what the future is in horse
racing…

And this re-tweet, which I believes comes from Cunningham, from Ed DeRosa of Thoroughbred Times, posted by Andrew Offerman, an RTIP graduate student:

“Owners are generous enough to run most of their horses while losing money, for
our entertainment.”

The conference began on Monday, and the first day focused on officiating, with a program hosted by the Racing Officials Accreditation Program and the Race Track Industry Program. Part of the program focused on drug testing, and Tom LaMarra’s report in the Blood-Horse is titled provocatively: “Can Public, Fans Understand Drug Testing?”

High profile trainers Kiaran McLaughlin and Tom Albertrani both recently began serving 30-day suspensions for medication positives in their horses; Rick Dutrow, too, is serving a 30-day suspension. In McLaughlin’s case, the amount detected was less than one nanogram. Albertrani claims that he never administered the medication, a tranquilizer, found in his horse Gozzip Girl.

LaMarra asks, “How are the public and media supposed to understand [drug testing] when some industry participants can’t make sense of it?” He goes on to say, “For the most part, the general public, and even racing fans, don’t understand what a positive test really means.”

Check out the article for an elucidation of the problems with current testing programs, and some recommendations for improving them.

Bad weather cancels today’s card at Aqueduct…does this mean that winter is officially here?

8 thoughts on “Turning to Tucson

  1. In a related bit of news, Chelokee, who was injured in the Alysheba on Kentucky Oaks day in 2008, has been transferred from Vinery Farm to the U of A Equine Management program. His owners are hoping the climate will be better for his ankle. He'll be performing limited stud duties there.

  2. Great to see that Twitter was able to provide news flow that helped this blog post.So, you're really not a young fogey? (Just joking 😉

  3. Linda, I just read your post AFTER I posted my comment above. Funny enough, I saw that news on Twitter about a week ago but have yet to see it in the trades. Perhaps I just missed it.

  4. No Sid, you're right. It hasn't been in any of the trades that I've seen. We happened to notice he was no longer listed on Vinery's stallion page and got the info from Centennial Farms. It's also been posted on the equine management program's Facebook page.He's a gorgeous friendly guy so I hope the climate suits him and he does well!

  5. "Owners are generous enough to run most of their horses while losing money, forour entertainment."_______________And the betting customers are generous enough to contribute to state coffers, and finance the purse accounts and pay for racetrack overhead including the management's salaries.That much is perpetual, until their dollars are taken out of circulation due to overtaxation or rigor mortis sets in.

  6. Linda–I think it's great news that his stud duty will be limited. I've always been a little worried that a horse who had such a hard time staying sound would be passing on those genes. I hope that he lives a happy and healthy life in Arizona–would that we were all so lucky. Sid–if respect for and adherence to traditional journalistic conventions makes me fogey–I will embrace my fogeyness!TKS: the absurdity of that statement seemed to go without saying. How could Cunningham say it with a straight face?

  7. I was struck by this comment from Cunningham: "We don't know what the future is in horseracing…" I wasn't in AZ & don't know the context but it makes me wonder if BetFair wants into the US market for horse racing; or for when Congress eventually legalizes internet wagering on Poker. Could explain the TVG buy.When online Poker betting is legalized, BetFair/TVG & Twinspires/Youbet will likely chase poker customers like a hobo on a ham sandwich and leave horse racing in the dust.

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