2021 Topics

2022 Agenda information will be posted later this summer.  



Monday, December 6, 2021

9:00 am | Exhibit Area
Symposium Registration Opens


10:00-11:30 am 
Track Surfaces, Race Track Accreditation & Tools for Future 
Dr. Mick Peterson will review ways in which race tracks can meet track surface requirements through testing and monitoring programs. The conversation will feature information on existing NTRA accreditation programs and any new protocols publicly released by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) Safety Committee. Detailed examples will include track surface data collection and how to interpret such data. New database tools such as the Maintenance Quality System will also be demonstrated.

12:30-5:00 pm 
Inaugural Racing Secretary Summit 
Hosted by Incompass Solutions & Equibase — Join Rick Hammerle, Ben Huffman, Mike Lakow, Pat Pope, and Tom Robbins for a series of interactive racing office discussions moderated by Martin Panza. This event is tailored to VP/Racing Operations, Racing Secretaries and Assistant Racing Secretaries. Meet and interact with your peers from across the continent with topics focused exclusively to the racing office.

3:00-5:00 pm 
NHC Handicapping Contest Workshop
The NTRA is hosting an NHC Handicapping Contest Workshop for tournament directors as well as racetrack GMs, marketing directors, and ADW executives. The two-hour session will cover contest formats, marketing tactics, insurance bonus programs and other factors that can help drive contest participation and revenue. The workshop is free to registered Symposium attendees who will also receive $500 off a 2022 NHC seat.

5:30-6:30 pm | Exhibit Area
Conference Begins – Welcome Reception – Exhibit Area Opens  


Tuesday, December 7, 2021

6:45-7:45 am | Catalina Ballroom
Complimentary Breakfast

8:00–8:10 am | Salon A&B

  • Robert Hartman, Chair, Race Track Industry Program
  • Michael Staten, Associate Dean, University of Arizona College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

8:10–8:45 am | Salon A&B
Keynote Address
In his first formal address to the racing industry, former US Congressman Thomas (Tom) Rooney will share his vision, outline the industry’s most pressing needs, and discuss advocacy efforts in Washington D.C as the new head of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA).

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA): A Deep Dive
A series of three panel sessions will delve into the most significant piece of horse racing legislation since the 1978 Interstate Horseracing Act. Learn how HISA will impact your racing jurisdiction while hearing detailed reports from members of the Anti-Doping and Medication Control committee and Racetrack Safety committee:

8:45–9:15 am | Salon A&B
HISA Overview: Remarks from the Authority’s Leadership 

  • Charles Scheeler, Chairman, HISA Board of Directors

9:30-10:30 am | Salon A&B
Report from the HISA Racetrack Safety Committee

  • Dr. Susan Stover, Chair, Racetrack Safety Committee
  • Ann McGovern, Director, Racetrack Safety Committee

10:45-11:45 am | Salon A&B
Report from the HISA Anti-Doping and Medication Control Committee

  • Adolpho Birch, Chair, Anti-Doping and Medication Control Committee
  • Jim Gates, Director, Anti-Doping and Medication Control Committee

11:45 am- 1:15 pm | Kiva Ballroom
Tuesday Luncheon and Awards
Presented by the Race Track Industry Program, Racing Officials Accreditation Program, and the Turf Publicists of America.

1:15-2:15 pm | Salon A&B
HISA’s Impact: Observations From The Quarter Horse & Harness Industry
Executives from the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and the United States Trotting Association (USTA) will present their concerns over the effect that HISA will have on their respective racing programs.

  • Ed Martin, CEO & President, Association of Racing Commissioners International (moderator)
  • Janet VanBebber, Chief Racing Officer, American Quarter Horse Association
  • Mike Tanner, Executive Vice President, United States Trotting Association

2:00 pm | Executive Boardroom
International Tote Protocol Meeting
Open to all Symposium attendees. (to run concurrently with afternoon sessions)

2:15–3:15 pm | Salon A&B
Mark Kaufman Workshop
Presented by the Turf Publicists of America. The focus of the session is how to appropriately determine, and present, racing’s message in the midst of the negative issues surrounding the sport - addressing how this should be accomplished not only in our professional roles but in our personal lives when asked about racing in a "cocktail conversation" with those who only know what they've heard in the major media. There are times when professionals are asked what business they are in and they don’t admit they are in racing because it’s easier to avoid the discussion. The goal of the workshop is to provide the tools needed to become better ambassadors for our sport.

  • Michael Wrona (moderator)
  • Najja Thompson, Executive Director, New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB)
  • Chip Tuttle, Marketing, CTP Boston
  • Amy Zimmerman, Executive Vice President & Executive Producer, Santa Anita Park

3:30-4:45 pm | Salon A&B
Charting A Path Forward – Industry Leaders Share Their Three-Year Plan
This power-packed panel brings together Shannon Arvin, Aidan Butler, David O’Rourke and Josh Rubinstein discussing what it will take for the industry to thrive in the near term. Moderated by Charlie Hayward, expect a lively, inspirational, interactive discussion on how coming together on industry priorities will lead to our shared success.

  • Charlie Hayward, President & Publisher, Thoroughbred Racing Commentary (moderator)
  • Shannon Arvin, President & CEO, Keeneland
  • Craig Fravel, CEO, 1/ST Racing
  • David O’Rourke, President & CEO, New York Racing Association
  • Josh Rubinstein, President, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

5:00–6:00 pm | Exhibit Area
Evening Networking Reception


Wednesday, December 8, 2021 

6:45-7:45 am | Catalina Ballroom
Complimentary Breakfast

6:45-7:45 am | Ventana Room
Prayer Breakfast – Hosted by the Race Track Chaplaincy of America
Executive Director Dan Waites and his special guests share a meal and celebrate fellowship in the racing community.

8:00–8:30 am | Salon A&B
Day 2 Kickoff and RTIP Senior Capstone Presentations 

  • H. Dieter Steklis, Interim Director, School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences
  • Shinobi Horikawa, RTIP Student
  • MaryRuth Hodsden, RTIP Student
  • Giselle Lugo, RTIP Student
  • David Range, RTIP Student

8:30–9:30 am | Salon A&B
Increasing Field Size to Drive The Bottom Line
It’s a given that increased field size correlates to higher handle. In this session, racing office executives provide both strategic and tactical ideas on how tracks can successfully attract more runners. You will hear big picture ideas such as forming year-round racing circuits and strengthening state-bred programs to nuts-and-bolts solutions including ship-and-win programs and reworking condition books. 

  • Martin Panza (moderator)
  • Ben Huffman, Vice President, Racing and Racing Secretary, Churchill Downs & Keeneland
  • Rick Hammerle, Racing Coordinator, Oaklawn Park
  • Mike Lakow, Vice President of Racing Operations, Gulfstream Park
  • Tom Robbins, Executive Vice President of Racing and Industry Relations, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

9:45–10:45 am | Salon A&B
Seizing the Fixed Odds Wagering Opportunity
Fixed odds wagering has been the staple wagering format in Europe and Australia. The passage of recent legislation in New Jersey has brought fixed odds to North America. Will allowing bettors to lock in their odds be a game changer? Will it expand the racing’s universe of bettors? Panelists will discuss legislative strategies on how to bring fixed odds wagering to your jurisdiction as well as how to implement this new form of wagering to maximize handle.

  • Chris Scherf (moderator)
  • Dallas Baker, Head of International Operations, BetMakers
  • Simon Fraser, Senior Vice President, International, 1/ST Technology
  • Eric Hamelback, CEO, National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association
  • Dan Hartman, Director of Gaming, Colorado Division of Gaming
  • Bill Knauf, Vice President of Business Operations, Monmouth Park

11:00 am–Noon | Salon A&B
Riding the Sports Betting Wave
If sports betting is not yet legal in your state, it will be soon. The rapid pace 
of sports betting expansion has taken the nation by storm with online 
operators spending hundreds of millions of dollars to gain market share. Where does racing fit in? Panelists will include domestic and international sports 
wagering experts discussing how the industry can leverage this opportunity.

  • Alex Kane, CEO & Founder, Sporttrade
  • Andrew Moore, Vice President of Racing, Fanduel
  • Dan Shapiro, SVP–Chief Development Officer, Caesars Digital
  • Ylva Svensson, Head of International Sales, ATG

Noon–1:30 pm  | Ventana Room
Mentor Lunch (by invitation)

1:30–2:30 pm | Salon A&B
The Decoupling Debate
Pari-mutuel racing facilities were granted gaming licenses predicated on the fact that racing would continue and a portion of the gaming revenue would go to support the industry. The rules of the game have changed. Recent Florida legislation allowing for decoupling will end harness racing in the state. 
Which state will be next? Panelists will outline ways to defend your racing jurisdiction from decoupling.

  • Doug Reed, Principal, RG&E (moderator)
  • Mike Tanner, Executive Vice President, United States Trotting Association
  • Najja Thompson, Executive Director, New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB)
  • Jeff True, Principal, JTrue Consulting

2:30–3:30 pm | Salon A&B
Unmasking the Lessons Learned from 2020
The pandemic forced live racing facilities to reassess all aspects of their operation. To be successful, track managers had to find ways to continue racing, keep the backstretch community safe, and adjust live racing schedules to cater to a growing at-home audience. This session will focus on some of those who grew revenue during this difficult time and what positive changes came from a trying time.

  • Amy Zimmerman, Executive Vice President & Executive Producer, Santa Anita Park (moderator)
  • Tony Allevato, President, NYRA Bets; Chief Revenue Officer, New York Racing Association
  • Eric Halstrom, Vice President & General Manager, Indiana Grand Racing & Casino
  • Andrew Offerman, Vice President of Racing Operations, Canterbury Park

3:45–4:45 pm | Salon A&B
Audience and Activation – Keys to Growing Sponsorship Revenue

The sponsorship world has dramatically evolved over the past decade. Sponsors want experiential connections with the racing audience in addition to signage, program ads and other traditional forms of advertising. Learn practical ways to add creativity to your sponsorship menu offerings from racing and sports industry experts.

  • Fritz Widaman, Vice President NTRA Advantage (moderator)
  • Tom Fletcher, Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships, Phoenix Suns
  • Joe Moeller, General Manager, Arizona Wildcat Sports Properties

5:00–6:00 pm | Exhibit Area
Southwestern Sunset Reception



Men's Basketball Game: Arizona vs. Wyoming (8 pm)
Head to campus to cheer on the Wildcats.
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