From the National HBPA Media Team / Eric Hamelback:

National HBPA Conference July 23-26 at Prairie Meadows

Straight talk from experts on subjects such as HISA status report, computer-assisted wagering, fixed odds, projecting a positive image for racing, importance of no-effect testing thresholds — and much more

(Photo: National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback, left, and National HBPA President and Board Chair Dr. Doug Daniels at Churchill Downs for the 2022 Claiming Crown. Gwen Davis/Davis Innovation)
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Friday, May 24, 2024) —The 2024 National HBPA Conference, set for July 23-26 at Iowa’s Prairie Meadows, is designed to provide additional insight and clarity into horse racing’s most important issues. In that regard, session topics will range from computer-assisted wagering, fixed odds, importance of no-effect testing thresholds, aftercare, fostering a positive narrative about the industry and a status report on the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Act (HISA) and the litigation challenging the constitutionality of the legislation and the corporation it created.
“A lot is changing in our industry at breakneck speed,” said Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association. “The objective of the National HBPA Conference is to get straight talk from industry experts and to start dialogue where we can come together to begin implementing solutions that truly make horse racing better for our participants, including horseplayers, and safer for our equine and human athletes.”
Conferencegoers will be treated to an opening reception on the evening of Tuesday July 23 hosted by prominent Iowa horse-owner Dennis Albaugh at his acclaimed car museum in the Des Moines suburb of Ankeny. Horses campaigned by the philanthropist and entrepreneur’s Albaugh Family Stables include Louisiana Derby and Triple Crown contender Catching Freedom.
Check out the National HBPA website for details about conference registration and hotel reservations.
Among the panel discussions:
The stellar group of speakers at the conference will include owner Brent Malmstrom, who will detail his ongoing challenges with HISA and its Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU). The status report on HISA also will feature Daniel Suhr, the main counsel in the National HBPA’s lawsuit challenging the legality of the enabling HISA legislation. They’ll be joined by prominent equine attorney Pete Sacopulos with National HBPA General Counsel Peter Ecabert moderating.
Thoroughbred Daily News reporter Dan Ross will moderate a panel with Pat Cummings and Jack Jeziorski discussing computer-assisted wagering (CAW). Michele Fischer from SIS Content Services will lead a panel on the establishment of fixed odds in Colorado with the Colorado Horse Racing Association’s Kim Oliver and Dan Hartman with GMA Consulting.
The annual Kent Stirling Memorial Medication Panel on Friday July 26 will be as important as ever, given the massive problems facing trainers whose horses test positive for trace levels of substances that are prevalent in the environment. Dr. Clara Fenger, Dr. Brad Brown, Dr. Rob Holland and Dr. Thomas Tobin will lay out why it is vital for the industry to install no-effect thresholds for medications and drugs that can easily be transferred from the environment to racehorses.
The importance of thoroughbred aftercare will be showcased in a panel that chronicles successful outcomes for retired racehorses after finding new homes and second careers. Speakers include New Vocations’ Thoroughbred Program Director Anna Ford, Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) Executive Director Kirsten Green and Dr. Stephanie White, president of Hope After Racing Thoroughbreds (HART) and a partner in Iowa Equine veterinarian practice.
Amplify Horse Racing Executive Director and co-founder Annise Montplaisir, along with a representative of the Light Up Racing initiative, will highlight how the industry can move the needle in projecting a positive image for horse racing and changing errant perceptions in a discussion with National and Kentucky HBPA communications consultant Jennie Rees.
The art of classifying and filling races will include a group of industry experts addressing the possibility of horse racing establishing a new classification system for race conditions. The panel debating this complex issue include racing consultant Rick Hammerle (Santa Anita, Kentucky Downs); Ocala Stud’s David O’Farrell, the current Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) chair; and Andy Schweigardt, TOBA’s director of industry relations and development; with racing talk-show host Steve Byk moderating.
Other topics important to horsemen will be front and center in Iowa. Additionally, the horsemen’s organization will honor Uncaptured Storm, a nine-time winner in 2023, and his majority owner Rick Burnsworth and Mid-Atlantic-based trainer Anthony Farrior, as the National HBPA 2023 Claiming Horse of the Year at the conference awards ceremony luncheon on Wednesday July 24. Also being honored will be longtime Iowa HBPA director and owner-breeder Allen Poindexter as a National HBPA Living Legend at the Friday July 26 Benefit Provider luncheon.
The National HBPA Executive Committee (that Thursday afternoon) and full board will meet and have elections (Saturday July 27) for the National HBPA officers at the conference. Prairie Meadows is hosting an evening at the races that Friday for conference attendees.
“We are immensely grateful to the Iowa HBPA, our affiliates and members, as well as our conference sponsors for their generous support and unwavering commitment to the mission of the National HBPA,” said Dr. Doug Daniels, National HBPA President and Chairman of the Board. “It is the contributions and time given by many that allows us to make this conference a resounding success. Together, we have fostered a collaborative environment where ‘Horsemen Helping Horsemen’ remains the goal. We look forward to a great conference and having everyone join us for a wonderful event in Iowa.”
National HBPA media contact
Eric Hamelback,
CEO, National HBPA