Thursday, September 06, 2012

Arlington Park Barn Notes: Thurs. Sept. 6


The Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP) has a long-standing steward and judge accreditation course that has been hosted through the universities of Arizona and Louisville for many years. However, later this month ROAP will be expanding their horizons at Arlington Park.

That’s when members of that Kentucky-based organization will come to Chicago to provide a group of approximately 20 people interested in becoming entry-level racing officials the basics they would need to help them pursue that career goal.

“There has been wide acceptance of the ROAP Steward/Judge Accreditation,” said Hugh Gallagher, ROAP chairman. “However, the industry has lacked a formal training program for entry-level officials. This program will provide the necessary educational components and hands-on training needed to ensure integrity and continue to raise the bar in our sport.”

The upcoming inaugural ROAP Certificate Program, to be conducted at Arlington September 28-29, is designed for anyone interested in becoming a racing official or for someone interested in learning about what goes on in the racing office. The two-day course will include classroom and hands-on training. Participants will be asked to select one of several positions in which to earn a certificate that will be good for five years.

Those positions to be offered will include horse identifier, paddock judge, patrol/placing judge, outrider, starter/assistant starter and clerk of scales.

“Until now, there hasn’t been a lot of hands-on training for officials other than our stewards program,” said Cathy O’Meara of ROAP. “This course will be open to anyone who wants to become a racing official, but also to anyone who already is a racing official but wants to expand their knowledge of the industry. All of us can always learn something new.

“We will start the program with a morning classroom session to give an overview of what it means to be a racing official and the responsibilities involved,” said O’Meara.

“However, the afternoons will be spent actually shadowing some of Arlington’s active officials as they go about performing their duties during the races,” O’Meara said. “Fortunately, we’ve been successful filtering our applicants down to relatively small groups of four or five for each of the positions they might be interested in. Obviously, we wouldn’t want almost everyone in the group of 20 applicants wanting to crowd around the horse identifier in the paddock at the same time.

“We intend this Certificate Program to be on on-going program offered on a quarterly basis and we want to rotate the program throughout the country” said O’Meara. “We are currently in contact with Churchill Downs and Delaware Park to see if we might schedule future programs at their facilities.”

However, as an NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance-accredited facility, Arlington has received the honor of hosting the inaugural Certificate Program of ROAP.

“We are pleased to provide our facilities to ROAP for this invaluable program,” said Arlington’s general manager Tony Petrillo. “We set high standards to ensure the integrity and safety of our sport and require our stewards to be ROAP accredited. The Certificate Program is the next logical step to racing officials’ education.”

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