NTRA Executive Rooney, HISA, part of the RTIP Symposium

Registrations for the University of Arizona’s Track Industry Program Global Racing Symposium – the sport’s largest and most inclusive annual conference – peak in years at just a few days of its 47th renewal, from December 6 to 8. RTIP Chairman Robert Hartman says pent-up demand after one-year leave due to COVID-19 is one reason, as is a list of timely panels addressing critical issues, such as the Integrity Act and horse racing safety, sports betting and pitch size. .

The three-day symposium at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, outside of Tucson, Ariz., Features an array of workshops and closed-door meetings Monday before two days of speakers and panel discussions open to all attendees. For the first time, a live broadcast of the Symposium will be available online for $ 195 with all proceeds going to RTIP, courtesy of Roberts Communications Network.

Three sessions devoted to HISA make up the bulk of Tuesday’s morning agenda, an unprecedented deep dive at the Symposium.

Robert hartman<br /> President of the Race Track Industry Program (RTIP) “src =” https://cms-images.bloodhorse.com/i/bloodhorse-images/2021/06/e18eba5a07644afb8f4fa9d766954eb7.jpg?preset=medium “style =” border-width: 0px; “title =” Robert Hartman<br /> President of the Race Track Industry Program (RTIP)”/><figcaption><small>Photo: Courtesy of RTIP</small></p>
<p>Robert hartman</p>
<p>“I think people want to better understand what’s going on with HISA,” Hartman said.  “We have a lot of regulators coming up who might not be here in a typical year.  They are eager to hear from the leaders of HISA and understand how this will affect their jurisdiction.  Until recently, public discussions were more of a preview;  the Symposium will be the first time they can really talk about details. “</p>
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Charles Scheeler, Chairman of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, will provide an overview of HISA, followed by reports from members of the Racetrack Safety Committee and the Anti-Doping and Drug Control Committee. An afternoon session will focus on the impact of HISA on Quarter Horse and harness racing with Janet VanBebber, Director of Racing for the American Quarter Horse Association who has had a rich career as an owner and trainer, and Russell Williams, president of the US Trotting Association.

Also on Tuesday morning, keynote speaker Tom Rooney will deliver his first official speech to the industry since being appointed President and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. The former U.S. congressman and longtime horse owner and breeder is expected to outline his vision and priorities for the organization.

Other highlights

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Shannon Arvin of Keeneland is one of the track leaders to speak at this year’s Symposium

Tuesday afternoon, a quartet of track leaders is the most energetic session of the conference. Shannon Arvin from Keeneland, Aidan Butler of 1 / ST Racing, David O’Rourke of the New York Racing Association and Josh Rubinstein of Del mar discuss what they think the industry needs to focus on in the short term, including more cooperation between tracks.

“The older leaders are retiring and these four represent the next generation of leaders,” Hartman said. “People really want to know where this group thinks the industry is headed.”

Aidan Butler, COO / President The Stronach Group at Gulfstream Park on February 23, 2021.
Photo: Ryan Thompson

1 Aidan Butler from S / T Racing

For better or worse, the only traditional aspect missing from the Symposium’s agenda is any session that could be considered “wellness”. Instead, the lineup expresses an urgent need to address serious issues the industry is running out of track for.

December 8th kicks off with ideas on how to increase field sizes even as the total number of races and starters shrinks at an alarming rate. Ben Huffman from Churchill Downs and Keeneland, Rick Hammerle from Oaklawn Park, Mike Lakow from Gulfstream Park, and Tom Robbins of Del mar will reflect on innovations and investments that attract new runners and, in turn, grow grip and bottom line.

Later today, experts from Florida and New York will discuss strategies to protect funds from other forms of gambling that support the racing industry. Lawmakers interested in “decoupling” casinos from their racetrack obligations could spell the end of racing in their states, as happened with harness racing in Florida.

Other forms of betting to consider on Wednesday are sports betting and fixed odds on races. In the sports betting panel, executives from FanDuel, Caesars, ATG and Sporttrade will explain how horse racing fits into their plans. The Fixed Odds session will recap what worked and didn’t work in New Jersey, as well as what future legalization might look like in Colorado and other interested jurisdictions.

Summit of race secretaries
The first Racing Secretary Summit on Monday is proving to be the main driver of the first registrations for the Symposium. The 4.5-hour workshop was born out of a brainstorming session between Hartman and former NYRA senior vice president of running operations Martin Panza, who also produced the pitch size sign. .

“Race secretaries have never had such an opportunity to meet their peers, interact and learn from each other,” said Hartman.

Sponsors Equibase and InCompass are offering up to $ 750 in travel credits to encourage participation by race office staff. The Racing Secretary Summit does not require registration for the Symposium.

“If you’re only staying one night, $ 750 can easily cover your entire trip – flight and hotel,” Hartman said. “If someone at a race office learns a thing or two that InCompass can do that they didn’t know, it can save hundreds of hours of work and be worth tens of thousands of dollars.”

New RTIP leadership
This will be the first Symposium hosted by Hartman, who was hired to succeed Wendy Davis as head of RTIP in June.

“This is the main fundraiser for the program,” he said. “Without a healthy Symposium, all our other efforts are in jeopardy. I just want people to go back to their racetracks and their offices and tell people what they’ve learned. This is how we will have even more people next year.

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