Page 14 - March 2020
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                 AQHA RACING UPDATE
  “Between now and our trip to Las Vegas, I’ll be investing much of my time implementing AQHA’s first year of hair testing all AQHA Racing Challenge Regional Stakes finalists.”
   I hope all of you enjoyed the AQHA Rac- ing Champions Ceremony on Jan. 15 and, if given the opportunity, congratulated those who received awards. If you have any ques- tions about the champions, and wonder how they are determined, I urge you to attend the 2020 AQHA Convention, and join us for the Racing Committee meeting. It is an open gathering and we would love to see you. Find out more about the event on our website at
The Racing Committee will gather the afternoon of Saturday, March 14 from 2-5 p.m., then continue Sunday morning from 8:30 until noon. During the meeting, we will appoint the 2020 Champions Selection Com- mittee and address potential modifications to the AQHA Awards and Media Policy, which impacts the eligibility of potential contend- ers. There are other important topics, too, including an up-to-the-minute report on the proposed federal oversight of horse racing, a rule change proposal regarding the entity that oversees Chariot racing, a report on the hair testing of AQHA Racing Challenge Regional races, a report on ongoing discussion regard- ing Racing Challenge program improve- ments/reform, microchipping of Quarter Horses, expansion of Q-Racing Video, and more! Committee agendas are available on the website, and you are free to review an outline of all the topics that will be addressed while in Las Vegas.
While all these racing-related matters are very important, don’t forget to sign up for the fun events, too! Among my favorites is the Fabu- lous Foundation Party, which in the first two in- stallments proved to be a great evening support- ing an important arm of our Association. This year’s theme is “fabulous Las Vegas,” so dress up
in your best Vegas-themed duds (channel Elvis, Cher, or other Vegas personalities!) and join the party! Pat Green will be providing the entertain- ment, and if his crooning is not your style, you can hang out at the blackjack tables that will be a featured part of the event.
Another “can’t miss” evening during the AQHA Convention is the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame Banquet. As someone who has been in the industry my whole life, I love this event. Seeing our industry’s key influential people and horses recognized, then the connections sharing their favorite recollections... I soak it up like a sponge! I invite you to do so as well. Six horses and four AQHA members have been chosen for induction into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020.
The horses chosen are A Good Machine, a 1993 bay stallion; Dual Rey, a 1994 sorrel stallion; Esters Little Klu, a 1968 gray Thor- oughbred mare; Mr Eye Opener, a 1990 gray stallion; Triple’s Image, a 1969 sorrel stallion; and Zan Parr Jack, a 1979 sorrel stallion.
The individuals selected are AQHA Profes- sional Horseman Bob Avila of Temecula, Cali- fornia; racehorse trainer C. Dwayne “Sleepy” Gilbreath of Dennis, Texas; the late Past Execu- tive Committee Member George Phillips of Jackson, Mississippi; and AQHA Past President Johnny Trotter of Hereford, Texas.
The 2020 Hall of Fame induction promises to be a grand event. Don’t miss an opportunity to witness this year’s memories in the making.
Between now and our trip to Las Vegas, I’ll be investing much of my time imple- menting AQHA’s first year of hair testing all AQHA Racing Challenge Regional Stakes finalists. Our Racing Council handed down
this mandate during their AQHA Racing Conference meeting in Albuquerque last October, and the measure was ratified by
the AQHA Executive Committee thereafter. Hence, we are rolling it out for the 2020 racing season. It has been a positive experi- ence working with the tracks. They have been very supportive of our hair testing the races, thus adding to the tools available to increase integrity in the sport, protect the welfare of the horse, and even the playing field for the competitors. While we may experience some growing pains in this first year, we strongly believe that implementation of this testing mechanism is in the best interest of the in- dustry. We are grateful for the tracks that al- ready use hair testing to deter those who seek an unfair advantage. We also appreciate the jurisdictions that do not yet have hair testing regulation in place, but are affording AQHA the opportunity to manage the condition of entry testing. The spirit of cooperation has been strong.
On a final note, on Jan. 28, 2019, there was a hearing in Washington D.C. before the Energy and Commerce Committee regarding HR 1754, the Horse Racing Integrity Bill. It was evident while observing the proceedings that the emotional impact over catastrophic loss of horses has driven support of this proposal. While we, too, are devastated by the spike in equine fatalities over the last year, and the subsequent national attention it has received, we do not think this legislation provides a solution. We at AQHA are staying involved and have gone on record expressing our views. I will continue to keep you posted.
With that report, I respectfully close. I hope to see you soon.... if not at the AQHA Convention, then at a racetrack near you!
March 2020
by Janet VanBebber, AQHA Chief Racing Officer
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