The Organization of Racing Investigators (ORI) held their annual training conference at historic Tampa Bay Downs this past week. An international group of Investigators, Law Enforcement, Stewards and Regulators gathered in the Sunshine State to discuss the challenges facing racing. In all, 30 jurisdictions were represented.
“We were fortunate to have our 2017 venue at Tampa Bay Downs” said Deanna Nicol, Tampa Bay Downs Director of Security and current ORI Chair.
Tampa Bay Downs has been in operation since 1926 and became a member of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America in 1967 and during that time they have become a popular winter playground for equine athletes. The track leadership of Stella F. Thayer, President and Treasurer and Peter N. Berube, Vice President and General Manager, have guided Tampa Bay Downs into one of the most successful pari-mutuel facilities in North America. With sunshine as an added bonus, they have developed a competitive overnight and stakes racing program.
Field workshops were conducted by ORI organizers including horse identification, field inspections, review of potential equine abuse signs and points of emphasis details outlined by the Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP). Outgoing ORI Chair, Deanna Nicol passed the baton to Jeremy Locke of Ontario as the new chair to lead the organization. Jim Blodgett from Texas was elected as Vice Chair. Other board members will be listed on the ORI web site. Since 1991 ORI has been the only organization to hold annual training conferences to discuss best management practices as it relates to safety, security and integrity to our industry. Weeding out people that do harm to our sport remains a paramount goal.
Guest speakers included Tracey Pelling of the Queensland Police Service Racing Crime Squad, Steven Koch of the NTRA, Stacie Clark Rogers, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and Dr. Dionne Benson, Racing Medication and Testing Consortium were a few of the industry professionals that addressed the attendees.
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