On June 19 and 20, Belmont Park will host a certificate program for the Racing Officials Accreditation Program. Consisting of one day of general education and one day of job-specific modules, the event offers education and certification for seven racing official positions: clerk of scales, horse identifier, paddock judge, patrol judge, outrider, and starter/assistant starter.
A 501c6 organization that receives primary funding from The Jockey Club, ROAP works to “support the…goal of insuring the integrity of the pari-mutuel racing industry.” Additionally, the organization’s initiatives focus on the safety of the humans and the horses at the racetrack by working to implement best practices and establish continuing education for racing officials.
Next week’s program is open to the public and aimed at those who interested in becoming a racing official or in learning about racing officials in general. Current officials are also invited and encouraged to attend.
The ROAP Certificate program provides an intermediary step toward full accreditation through short, job-specific courses that result in earning a racing official certificate. The two-day course concludes with a short assessment, the passing of which will result in the granting of a certificate. Students who complete the two-day course can take additional modules for up to two years without re-taking the general education day. Certificates are good for five years and cost per participant will be $25.
Over the course of the two days, participants will receive instruction in general racing education; the Rules of Racing and procedures for reporting violations; and safety initiatives and best practices, among other topics. Participants will also shadow a racing official, observing the daily responsibilities and routines in the program of their choice.
Registration is limited to 30 participants and the application must be received by June 16. Those interested in learning more about or attending the program can contact Cathy O’Meara at email@example.com or (859) 224‐2702 for details.
Disclosure: In 2011, I was hired by ROAP to write some of the curriculum for this program. Though I was remunerated for my work at the time, I have no financial stake in promoting it.
Over the course of several months, I talked to more than a dozen racing officials at tracks across the country, and I learned not only a great deal about racing operations, but also about the depth of commitment to safety and integrity on the part of the officials, from those on the track to those in the offices. Even if you’re not interested in a career in racing, the program offers a great way to learn about the policies, procedures, responsibilities and decisions that contribute to the integrity and safety of the sport.