A daylong continuing education seminar-workshop was attended by 36 stewards, judges and racing officials at National Steeplechase Association headquarters in Fair Hill, Md., on Thursday, Sept. 16.
The sessions covered a wide range of topics, and Dwight Hall, chairman of the NSA Stewards Advisory Committee, emphasized the importance of consistent rulings and penalties at all race meets. Hugh Gallagher, executive director of the Delaware Harness Racing Commission, said that uniformity of rulings also was a high priority of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP).
W. Duncan Patterson, a member of the Delaware Racing Commission, provided an update on medication issues, including a pending decision by the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s Model Rules Committee to adopt a reduced threshold for phenylbutazone (Bute).
The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, acting on the advice of its Scientific Advisory Committee, had recommended in April that the threshold be reduced to two micrograms per milliliter of plasma or serum from the previous penalty level of five. The model rules serve as recommendations to racing commissions and racing governing bodies such as the NSA.
Another highlight of the program was a review of race videos from Saratoga Race Course races by New York Racing Association Steward Braulio Baeza Jr. Bill Gallo Jr., the NSA’s director of racing, reviewed several steeplechase races.
Gallo also led a discussion on whips and whether the rules governing their use should be made more restrictive. He emphasized that the NSA currently has stringent rules governing use of the whip. All steeplechase jockeys are required to use padded whips to protect the well-being of their mounts.