Points of Emphasis

These Points of Emphasis are subject to the following LEGAL PROVISIONS - Please Read Carefully

The Points of Emphasis 

The Points of Emphasis were designed to provide guidelines to follow for coordinating continuing education programs. 

2021/2022 Points of Emphasis

1. Use and Regulation of the Riding Crop
A thorough understanding of the HISA rules and regulations is primary.  Other issues, affecting any jurisdictions that are not enforcing HISA rules should include regulations regarding strike counts, the chance to respond rules and how New Jersey’s “only for safety” rule worked at Monmouth Park. 
2. Understanding Microchips, Digital Certificates, Track Manager, InCompass and the eTrack System
The reason for continuing this POE is due to reports that there is still some confusion at the tracks about thoroughbreds going digital.  And, although some tracks do not allow the stewards to use or view Track Manager, it is very important for stewards to understand all the “bells and whistles” available to the track and racing office and what important information can be found.   The eTrack system is well understood by the harness judges but is new and quite interesting to those in the thoroughbred realm. 
3. Effective Public Speaking and Communication Strategies for Stewards/Judges When Their Role of Trier of Fact (during the hearing process) Changes to That of a Witness Upon Appeal
This POE is a continuation of the 2019/2020 topic of Media Training.  This takes another step in supporting racing officials with the skills needed when speaking during any regulatory process.
4. Benefits of Working as a Team: the practicing vet/regulatory vet/aftercare trifecta
Horses on the racetrack thrive when they are under the care of a team. That team consists of, among others, the grooms who are their daily caretakers, the trainers who act not just as athletic trainers but also as their agents in procuring health care and ensuring proper husbandry, veterinary practitioners providing primary health care and specialty services, and regulatory veterinarians. This team is at its most effective when all of the players can freely communicate.

Ultimately, veterinary practitioners can really be the first/last line of defense for the product that sets foot on the racetrack - if they have an established and trusted relationship with regulatory veterinarians and their commissions. But there are hurdles. 1) They face some challenging industry narratives ("vets are the problem"), 2) They face some challenging business models (a culture that has traditionally supported payment for medications and treatments rather than for diagnosis), and 3) They are not typically engaged in the rulemaking process. There is sometimes a sense of disenfranchisement with the system at a time when their contributions to the specialized care of the individual athlete is becoming ever more sophisticated.

Anything that goes toward enhancing the relationship between the regulatory and private veterinary practitioner can only go toward improving the daily life of the racehorse – both on the track and in a second career. To that end, ROAP has introduced a new POE entitled “Benefits of working as a team: the practicing vet / regulatory vet / aftercare trifecta.”

Panelists will address questions such as:

"What's the biggest challenge you face on a daily basis?"

"What's the one thing you wish stewards knew about the daily work you do?"

"What's the one thing stewards could do to improve things for [practitioners]/[regulatory vets]?"

“What is a concern you consistently hear about from new associates or graduating veterinarians considering [practice on the racetrack]/[a regulatory career]?”

“What is an area where you would like to see improved protocols and communication between parties?”

“What are some strategies you have used successfully to encourage owners and trainers to retire a horse prior to that ‘one last race, and why is that important?”

5. Best Practices for Pre-Meet Communications with Licensees
Stewards in Minnesota, as well as a number of other jurisdictions, have reported very positive outcomes resulting from meetings with the horsemen being held prior to the start of the racing season.  Making all of the rules, regulations, and expectations of horsemen very clear appears to have reduced the number of violations, including medication violations, over the season.


2019 - 2020 Points of Emphasis

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  • Racehorse Aftercare Awareness
  • Interference Rules and Protocols: Consistency in Decisions
  • Understanding Microchips and Digital Certificates
  • Concussion Protocols and Return to Ride
  • Media Training

2017 - 2018 Points of Emphasis

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  • Crop Issues and Usage of the Riding Crop
  • Human Drug Usage: Testing, Prescription Verification, and Contamination Prevention
  • Improved Public Perception: Transparency, Consistency, and Decision Making in the Stand
  • Resources for Biosecurity:  Plans for Reduction of Contamination and Spread of Infectious Disease
  • Multiple Medication Violations
  • Immigration and Licensing

2016 Points of Emphasis 

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  • Reciprocity of Lists - veterinarian, steward and starter
  • Stewards/Judges Code of Conduct 
  • Encourage Consistency and Uniform Enforcement of Interference Rules
  • Enforcement of the Use of the Whip or Racing Crop Rules and Regulations

2015 Points of Emphasis 

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  • Understanding the necessary protocols and procedures to reduce program trainers
  • Assessing implementation of industry initiatives at the racetrack
  • Understanding licensing protocols and reviews
  • Review and understand rule violation penalty determinations
  • Understanding and implementation of catastrophic review committees
  • Importance of writing, downloading and publishing of steward's rulings

2014 Points of Emphasis 

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  • Encourage the use of technology for RCI database, InCompass, etc by all stewards
  • Understanding the application of the National Uniform Medication Program including the Multiple Medication Violation Program and how it affects your jurisdiction
  • Ensure clear and concise verbal and written explanations of stewards’ decisions, daily reports and disseminate to the media through track and/or racing regulatory websites
  • Encourage consistency and uniformity in enforcement of interference rules
  • Understanding Addictive Behavior Treatment Programs available in your jurisdiction

2013 Points of Emphasis 

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  • Reciprocity: Lists and Licensees
  • Protocols for Declaring a Race as No-contest
  • Stewards'/Judges' Meetings with Racing Officials, Racetrack Staff and Horsemen Prior to Start of the Race Meet
  • Protocols for Reciprocity of Suspensions, Summary Suspensions and Restraining Orders

2012 Points of Emphasis 

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  • Reciprocity: Lists and Licensees
  • Test Barn and Laboratory - Familiarity with the standard operating procedures and their application to operations.
  • Stay up to date on current and new rules, policies and directives in your specific jurisdiction and initiate model rule implementation
  • Stable Rosters and Employees - Maintaining current and accurate information and making effective use of the information.
  • Racing Office & InCompass - Understanding the racing office procedures and InCompass to provide accurate and timely information for horsemen and the public.
  • Media Communication Training - Training and coordination of media communication with commissions and associations.

2011 Points of Emphasis 

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  • Reciprocity of all lists through the use of the InCompass system
  • Review track safety rules, procedures and standards with all track management, officials and horsemen and establish track safety committees
  • Stay up to date on current and new rules, policies and directives in your specific jurisdiction and initiate model rule implementation
  • Enforcement of the use of the whip and/or racing crop rules and regulations in your jurisdiction (including that the racing crop meets the minimum standards and specifications) and if not adopted in your state, advocate for the model rule ARCI-010-035, A(1) and E(7)
  • Ensure that clear and concise verbal and written explanations of stewards' decisions and rulings are given to the media and public especially regarding claims of foul or inquiries including non calls

2010 Points of Emphasis

  • Reviewing procedures with all officials at the start of each race meet (May extend to include jockeys/drivers, horsemen, veterinarians, track superintendent, out-riders, EMTs, etc.)
  • Stressing routine procedures and mechanics with officials
  • Promoting consistency through weekly review by racing officials and riders competing at the track of all racing incidents
  • Encouraging maximum participation in ROAP video surveys
  • Stressing proper use of the riding crop with jockeys and drivers
  • Supervising the enforcement of rules
  • Honoring and reciprocating on all lists, including stewards and vets lists
  • Taking appropriate measures to resolve licensing issue

2009 Points of Emphasis

  • Conduct mock hearings
  • Write rulings
  • Write daily reports
  • Consideration of mitigating and aggravating factors when reaching decisions on penalty phase.

2008 Points of Emphasis

  • Uniform handling of objections & inquiries in reviewing the race
  • Determining disqualifications in races with multiple incidents of interference
  • Stewards & judges should conduct regular meetings with racing officials
  • Weekly race video review with jockeys

Supported by: 


              Breeders' Cup

        National HBPA  TOBA        

   Keeneland  Lone Star Park   Remington Park Chruchill Downs, Inc

Maryland Jockey Club   TRA   Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau    

Oak Tree Racing