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Bassett Tells US Regulators Racing In "Dismal" State
In the US, former Breeders' Cup & Keeneland president Ted Bassett told the annual meeting of the Association Of Racing Commissioners International in Kentucky that the racing industry is in a "dismal state" & regulators "hold the key to reversing negative trends" by "ensuring the proposed National Racing Compact becomes reality - quickly - and adopting national accreditation standards for stewards" reported bloodhorse.com. Bassett declared: "You need to join together to level the playing field. My challenge to you is take a long, hard look at the National Racing Compact. Where is the hope? The racetracks can't do it. The Jockey Club can't do it. The Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association can't do it. The one hope is the people charged with implementing the rules & regulations. There are about 400 such compacts around the country. No longer can we have the status quo in horse racing." (Work on the NRC by core associations in racing "began in earnest last year".) Bassett noted the financial difficulties (reducing racing dates to meet budgets, for example, is a "frightening statement we're making on our product") but pushed for action & emphasised that "after 40 years of serving on various boards & committees, it's obvious the current structure won't work". Bassett added history shows "having a racing czar or commissioner wasn't successful, because the individuals didn't have the authority to implement change"; that "leaves regulators, and in a roundabout way, state legislators". Bassett went a step further, saying model rules & regulations "are worthless if not enforced" & called on all states to use the Racing Officials Accreditation Program & "adopt standards for stewards & judges". Bassett said of 38 racing states, only 5 "have fully adopted the model rule for accreditation" & emphasised: "Regulation starts in the stewards' stand. Who are we putting up there in the booth? This isn't rocket science. You should be standing up, saying: We want integrity for racing."