RMTC Horseracing Testing Laboratories Committee Approves Accreditation of New York Drug Testing Laboratory: The Horseracing Testing Laboratory Committee of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) voted earlier this month to fully accredit the New York Drug Testing Laboratory (NYDTL) pursuant to the RMTC Laboratory Accreditation Program. Dr. George Mayin runs the New York Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College in Morrisville, NY, outside of Syracuse. It becomes the eighth laboratory accredited by the RMTC since 2013. RMTC-accredited laboratories are responsible for testing in 28 of the 34 pari-mutuel racing jurisdictions in the United States, including AR, AZ, CA, CO, DE, ID, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MN, MT, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, VA, TX, WA, WV and WY. Those states represent 82% of the races run in the U.S., and 78% of the nation's total handle.

According to the RMTC, each lab they accredit must first acquire ISO 17025 certification, which is the international standard for analytical laboratories. Additionally, they must:
  • Submit an application which is reviewed by an independent auditor;
  • Successfully complete a multi-day laboratory site inspection with an internationally recognized expert in the field; and
  • Pass two rounds of the RMTC External Quality Assurance Program proficiency sample testing, which measures the ability of the laboratory to identify, detect and quantify (where appropriate) substances of concern in horse racing.
“With this final step, New York is now fully compliant with the National Uniform Medication Program,” NYTHA President Rick Violette Jr. said. “The Program has made unprecedented strides in creating uniformity for Thoroughbred racing. We now must work together to bring those few states that are not moving forward on board.”
Action Needed To Protect H-2B Returning Worker Exemption: The National Thoroughbred Racing Association is urging employers in the horse racing industry who rely on the H-2B visa program to contact their U. S. Senators and Representatives immediately to help ensure that the returning worker exemption remains in place, as Congress drafts a continuing resolution to fund the federal government in the short term.

According to Joe Bacigalupo, NTRA Director of Government Relations and Membership Development, the important points to make to your federal legislators include:
  • How important the H-2B program is to the successful operation of your busine
  • How difficult it is to find Americans who are willing to accept positions as grooms or stablehands, despite your best efforts to recruit them

Click to find the names of your Senator or Representative and use the search feature in the top right of each website’s homepage. 

"The H-2B visa has an annual cap and is used by many industries to fill temporary, non-agricultural positions that have proven difficult to fill with domestic workers," Bacigalupo said. "The returning worker provision excludes certain existing H-2B workers from the cap and is set to expire at the end of fiscal year 2016 (Sep. 30). Congress may not reauthorize this exemption.

Please contact me with your questions about the H-2B visa program at joeb@ntra.com or (859) 422-2677."

Gaming Commission Proposal on Continuing Education for Trainers: The New York State Gaming Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to the Department of State Aug. 30 that would require all trainers and assistant trainers licensed in New York to complete a minimum of four hours of continuing education annually.

Click here for the text of the proposed rule, which was published Sept. 14, 2016.

According to the Gaming Commission's Notification Letter, “The Jockey Club has developed and is offering online programs for trainers. The stewards have provided continuing education programs for interested trainers for many years at New York racetracks. The proposal includes an exemption for a trainer who rarely participates in New York racing, subject to the permission of the State steward.”

Click here to access the courses offered by the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.

Those who would like to weigh in on this proposed rulemaking can submit written comments to Kristen M. Buckley at gamingrules@gaming.ny.gov, or One Broadway Center, Suite 600, Schenectady, NY 12305 no later than October 31, 2016.

Register Now for Annual NYTHA PAC Golf Tournament: The annual NYTHA PAC Golf Tournament will be held Oct. 11, 2016, at Rockville Links in Rockville Centre, NY. All proceeds from the golf event and cocktail reception will benefit the NYTHA political action committee, which promotes the legislative agenda for the horsemen competing on the New York Racing Association circuit.

If you would like to participate in the golf tournament, sponsor the event or attend the cocktail reception and awards ceremony that follows, you can click here to register on-line. You can also print the registration form, fill it out, and email it to abelfiore@nytha.com; fax it to (516) 488-1698, or mail it to P.O. Box 170070, Jamaica, NY 11417.

NYTHA PAC Golf Tournament Registration Form

Update from Backstretch Employee Service Team: BEST had a successful Saratoga meet, completing health insurance applications for over 90 backstretch workers for health insurance, distributing more than 10,000 new or gently used articles of clothing from our “free store” and working with NYTHA to provide 175 workers with dental and eye care.

In addition, BEST Executive Director Paul Ruchames reports, "BEST instituted a medication dispensary program in Saratoga to match our program in Belmont, and we capped off the meet with our traditional 'Saratoga Gives Back' dinner, where 15 local to Saratoga restaurants provided nutritious and plentiful food options for over 500 backstretch workers.

"In the Fall, BEST begins a mobile breakfast program, visiting a different barn each day to distribute nutritious breakfast bars and coffee to the backstretch workers," he added
At Belmont Park, BEST is now offering a second round of training for backstretch workers in the Stanford Chronic Disease Self -Management model.

"We hope to soon collaborate with Northwell Health in the provision of training in meditation as a way to treat chronic pain without resort to opiate medication," Ruchames explained.

BEST hosts five AA meetings weekly and, effective Sept. 21, introduced a Spanish language meeting every Wednesday evening. All substance abuse clients will have access to acupuncture as a non-drug alternative to reducing chronic pain and craving of drugs and alcohol.

BEST also will be conducting a health fair for backstretch workers on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at the Marquis Tent at Belmont.

DID YOU KNOW? BEST, the number one beneficiary of our benevolence program, receives more than $450,000 annually from NYTHA,

Update From Belmont Childcare Association: BCCA’s theme for 2016 is Kids Helping Kids. "Our curriculum offers our children a great start in life and we are now working with community organizations to show our children how they can make a difference in the community where they live and help to enhance our program at Anna House by providing resources that enable our children and their families to discover new possibilities," said BCCA Executive Director, Joanne K. Adams.

"BCCA thanks our loyal donors for their support of our programs, which assists our mission and reaffirms their commitment to the children of the backstretch workers who are the backbone of our industry," she added. "We welcome all horsemen to visit Anna House anytime as we are open 365 days a year or visit us on-line at  www.belmontchildcare.org.

"Please join us at our upcoming events and r.s.v.p. to jadams@belmontchildcare.org."

October 14
Fall Fashion Preview and Luncheon
Neiman Marcus
Roosevelt Field
11 am to 1 pm
November 19

Shop Smart/Feel Good Charity Day
Lord & Taylor
Garden City
10 am to 10 pm

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