Tucson, AZ — Tom Sage, Executive Director of the Nebraska Racing Commission spoke to the RTIP students in two classes on Wednesday, January 31.
In the Joe Hirsch Speaker Series, he discussed his participation with the AQHA racing integrity team, a group of regulatory professionals who are present at many of Quarter Horse racing’s biggest events. Tom shared where and how the team operates, how they are funded as well as some of the contraband they’ve found during vehicle searches on the backstretch. He encouraged the students to ask questions and share their perspectives on this type of enhanced security for racing’s big events.
In the Advanced Racing Laws and Enforcement course, Tom put on his Executive Director’s hat, discussing how a commission functions and the realities of operating under a state’s administrative procedures act. As an example, he discussed the process that commissions must go through if they want to adopt the National Uniform Medication Program and the inherent difficulties due to many state’s long rule making process.
He also discussed how the regulatory process plays out in medication cases. He illustrated one case in which mitigating circumstances came into play and he stressed the importance of investigators finding the truth and not assuming all licensees are at fault or intended to cheat. When asked his opinion on the biggest threats to racing, number one was designer drugs and the need for more “boots on the ground” to identify substances for which racing doesn’t currently have a test.
Tom and the students finished the class by looking toward the future and discussing a number of situations such as the development of a national regulatory body for racing as well as having a national spokesperson to help frame a more positive message for racing.