Symposium on Racing: Three tools to fight cheating on the racetrack

POSTED ON  |  05-12-2018

Istock racing
UCSON, Ariz. - What do a dog, a ratio, and a randomly generated test have in common? They are all tools developed recently by racing regulators to address integrity concerns at racetracks, according to panelists appearing on Tuesday afternoon at the annual Symposium on Racing. The panelists, which included a New Mexico steward, a New York regulatory veterinarian, and a New Mexico racetrack general manager, described the novel developments in a session called “Tools of the Regulatory Trade: Insuring Integrity in Racing.” Although it was the penultimate session of the day, and therefore was not as well attended as earlier panels, the session itself was well received by the conference audience, which included a large number of regulators and operational racetrack staff.

The New York regulatory veterinarian, Jennifer Durenberger, moderated the panel, but she is also the person who developed the ratio, which she has called the Racetrack Veterinary Intervention Ratio, or RVI. Durenberger said she developed the ratio in order to produce an objective measure of a trainer’s relative standing among other trainers for actions that jeopardize the integrity of racing, a tool that could be used as a potential ground for discipline, warnings, or ejections.

The ratio combines a variety of measures – such as the number of medication violations against a trainer and the number of training and racing injuries – and divides them by the total number of the trainer’s starts, Durenberger said. It is intended to be used as a comparison tool against a baseline for a track’s trainer population and inform stewards and management about possible outliers. “A trainer with a very high RVI, and remember we are talking way above baseline, is essentially a liability to racing,” Durenberger said.

Durenberger said she had used data from a “seasonal meet” at an unnamed track to generate RVIs for the entire training population of 111 trainers, and had found that 108 of the trainers were within three standards deviations of the baseline. The three outliers, however, were responsible for 43 percent of the medication violations at the track during the meet and 31 percent of the fatalities.

© 2015 IGSRV All rights reserved.