Conference Topics


Monday, December 5

8:00 am-5:00 pm   |  Catalina Ballroom
ROAP Race Officiating Conference
(Must register separately, see below)

3:00-6:30 pm  |  Coronado
Registration Open

5:30-6:30 pm  |  Exhibit Area
Welcome Reception

Tuesday, December 6

7:00-8:15 am  |  Catalina Ballroom
Complimentary Breakfast

7:30 am-6:30 pm  |  Coronado
Registration Open

8:30-9:45 am  |  Salon A&B
Racing’s Identity Crisis: Who and What Are We?
As racetracks are under increasing competition for the wagering dollar, the question needs to be asked: is horse racing a sport, entertainment or just another gambling option? Is it really a mix of all three, and if so, how should racing market appropriately to such diverse customer segments?

Steve Byk – Host, ‘At the Races with Steve Byk', SiriusXM Satellite Radio (moderator)
William Nader – Former Executive Director of Racing, Hong Kong Jockey Club
Peter Rotondo – VP Media & Entertainment, Breeders’ Cup Limited
Michael Tanner – Executive VP & CEO, USTA
Amy Zimmerman – VP, Director of Broadcasting, Stronach Group

10:00-10:45 am  |  Salon A&B
What If We Cared About Our Customers?
Tom Tuchschmidt, Vice President of Regional Marketing, MGM Resorts International (and fan of horse racing), discusses the importance of player development, customer service and why it’s more critical than ever to cultivate customer loyalty. He’ll share strategies that can be used in racing at tracks of all sizes.

11:00 am-12:15 pm  |  Salon A&B
Making Smart Data Sexy
Angel Suarez, Executive Vice President of Red Circle will share how his tenure working with big sports companies such as ESPN, Gatorade, and USA TODAY Sports led to an understanding of how to use data to evolve breakthrough creative advertising concepts to action-generating marketing tactics. Attendees will learn the best practices of some of the biggest sports brands in the world and how racing marketers can leverage data to increase visits and overall revenue.

2:00 pm  |  Executive Boardroom
International Tote Protocol Meeting (TRPB)
A working group discussion about issues and solutions to problems regarding the protocol for merging pools on an international basis.

2:00-3:00 pm  |  Salon A&B
The Mark Kaufman Workshop presented by Turf Publicists of America
Sports Illustrated and Thoroughbred Racing: Past and Present
A conversation about six decades of exemplary Thoroughbred racing coverage at Sports Illustrated with two of the most essential chroniclers of the turf. Learn what goes into crafting a masterful feature story and hear behind-the-scenes stories from decades of in-depth reporting on our sport’s biggest stars, from Secretariat to American Pharoah.

Tim Layden – Journalist
Jim Mulvihill – Director of Media & Industry Relations, NTRA (moderator)
Bill Nack – Journalist

3:00-4:00 pm  |  Salon A&B
Bridging the Horseracing-Academic Divide
Academics combine with industry management to dispel an ancient disconnect where industry decision makers have long relied on experience and heuristics while lamenting the dearth of relevant academic insight; meanwhile, a passionate quorum of business and economic researchers confront scarce industry data and limited outreach forums. Speakers will bridge this divide by highlighting modern business/economics research findings relevant to industry agendas such as takeout, wagering demand, regulatory design and penalty structure, state-bred programs as economic development, and more. The panel further will demonstrate that a vigorous body of research professionals stands at-the-ready to attack our important questions.

Steve Koch – Executive Director, NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance (moderator)
Ann Gillette Ph.D. – Professor of Finance, Kennesaw State University
Marshall Gramm Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Economics, Rhodes College
Mick Peterson Ph.D. – Professor of Biomechanical Engineering and Director of Equine Programs, University of Kentucky

4:15-5:15 pm  |  Salon A&B
Racinos: Is the Marriage Headed for a Divorce?
Intense competition from new gaming states is pressuring mature gaming markets to take a look at the value of racing. Purse money has been siphoned away, decoupling is a very real threat in the major racing state of Florida, and there is concern that it will happen in more jurisdictions. Panelists will discuss the issues, how to tackle them, and how to keep racing relevant in saturated gambling markets.

Derron Heldt – Director of Racing, Prarie Medows Racetrack & Casino (moderator)
Christopher McErlean – VP-Racing, Penn National Gaming, Inc.
Greg Martin – VP-Wagering, Woodbine Entertainment Group
Lonny Powell – CEO, FTBOA

Wednesday, December 7

7:30-8:30 am  |  Catalina Ballroom
Complimentary Breakfast

8:00 am-Noon  |  Coronado
Registration Open

8:45-10:15 am  |  Salon A&B
Racing Innovation Showcase
The once distinct lines that separated pari-mutuel wagering from casino gaming and person-to-person interactions from the digital world have all but disappeared. From apps to e-sports, racing has an opportunity to integrate into new and very non-traditional areas of the gaming and entertainment industry; panelists share some of these innovative opportunities.

Hai Ng – Partner, Neomancer LLC (moderator/speaker)
Walter Hessert – Chief Product Officer, Derby Games
Yenni Vance  – Digital Communications and Social Media Director, Remington Park/Lone Star Park, Global Gaming Solutions LLC

10:30-11:30 am  |  Salon A&B
The Animal Rights Agenda: An Issue That Can No Longer Be Ignored
Animal rights protesters were found in large numbers outside racing’s two most iconic tracks this summer, Saratoga and Del Mar, and they aren’t going away. Is there any middle ground racing can find with these groups? Panelists with years of experience dealing with these types of groups will enlighten the audience of tactics these organizations use, some successful campaigns used against them as well as the animal rights groups successes that have fundamentally changed the way a number of animal industries operate. Now is the time for racing to seriously consider how the actions of these groups may forever change the face of the sport.

Marsha Kelly – Principal, MSK Ventures, Inc.
Patti Strand – National Director and Founder, National Animal Interest Alliance
1:30-2:15 pm  |  Salon A&B
Pari-Mutuel Sports Wagering: Coming to a Track Near You?
Representatives from USFantasy will discuss their launch in Nevada and how their product can complement traditional wagering on track, at an OTB or through an ADW.

Michael Knapp – COO, USFantasy Sports
Victor J. Salerno – President, USFantasy Sports
Terina Salerno – Corporate Counsel, USFantasy Sports
Ken Sarnecky – Chief Technology Officer, LVDC
Bruce Seymore – GM, Arapahoe Park

2:30-3:45 pm  |  Salon A&B
Making Wagering Great Again!
As the national handle on horse racing continued to stagnate, several tracks conducted experiments in lowering takeout and tweaking wagering menus to increase churn. Panelists will discuss the results as well as the possibility of introducing new wagering products into the market place to grow the sport.

Bart Barden – Director, US Exchange, Paddy Power Betfair
Klaus Ebner – Manager, Simulcast & Track Relations, Woodbine Entertainment Group
David Haslett – CEO, Sky Racing World
Andrew Offerman – Director of Racing Operations, Canterbury Park
Ray Paulick – Co-founder and Publisher, Paulick Report (moderator)

3:45-4:45 pm  |  Salon A&B
Best Practices at the Test Barn: Chain of Custody and Operating Efficiency
Pre and post-race sampling at the racetrack test barn are the industry’s front line for ensuring fair, safe racing through medication and substance integrity. The RMTC and the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance provide best practice recommendations for the efficient design and operation of test barn facilities plus seamless chain of custody protocols.

Steve Koch – Executive Director, NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance
Dr. Dionne Benson – Executive Director and COO, Racing Medication and Testing Consortium
Dr. Ron Jensen – Veterinary and Regulatory Consultant, NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance


Race Officiating Conference – Open to all!
The Racing Officials Accreditation Program will also host the Race Officiating Conference on Monday, December 5 at the same venue. This conference features two half-day panels and a luncheon with the keynote speaker. 

The morning session, “Resources for Stewards, Judges & Racing Officials,” includes presentations on:  video monitors and camera control panels to evaluate the race and observe pre- and post-race activities; monitoring wagering integrity; regulation and research on permitted medication and prohibited substances; Race Track Operations system programs and reports; licensing system and historical rulings database; race charts and racing programs; and Pathways and other harness resources.

“The Role of Stewards, Judges and Racing Officials,” moderated by Ray Paulick, includes industry stakeholders representing:  tracks veterinarians; handicappers; racing commissions; owners and breeders of Quarter Horses, Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds; and leading trainers.

The cost of the conference is $75 and will qualify for eight hours of ROAP continuing education credit for accredited stewards and judges. Those attending the Race Officiating Conference will receive a $50 discount on the regular registration fee for the Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming. Stewards and judges attending the Symposium on Racing will receive an additional eight hours of ROAP continuing education credit.
Register at

Separate registration is required to attend the Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming.