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Racing Investigator Certificate

December 3, 2020
John Wayne and other ROAP officials

The Equine Industry Program, in collaboration with the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), hosted the first-ever Racing Investigator Certificate Program virtually on October 5-6, 2020. Over 100 industry professionals participated in sessions that included horse and barn safety, searches, unsanctioned racing, and pari-mutuel wagering.  Sessions were led by industry professionals including Tom Sage, Executive Director of the Nebraska Racing Commission, Ed Martin, President and CEO of ARCI, and Don Ahrens, Director of Security and Parking at Sam Houston Race Park.

Investigators are employed by racetracks and racing commissions to examine rules violations, perform interrogations, and conduct evidence-gathering operations at racetracks. Originally, investigators were hired by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB) and were placed at member tracks during live meets. The TRPB instituted controls like lip tattoos to help with racehorse identification and helped the industry move forward with a more transparent product. Over the years, race investigators have worked with track management, law enforcement, and regulatory agencies to stop race-fixing, animal abuse, money laundering, wagering scams, and more.  

The idea for a race investigator’s training program came from industry veteran, the late John Wayne (pictured above, center). He was considered to be one of the foremost authorities on racing regulation in the United States. Wayne’s career encompassed decades of experience working as lead investigator at 28 tracks across the U.S. and Canada and culminated in him serving as the Executive Director for the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission. He had phenomenal knowledge of racing and was known for his integrity. This first training was dedicated to him.

With veteran investigators retiring before they could mentor and train younger investigators, ARCI’s leadership saw the need for better education for a new generation of investigators. ARCI’s leadership envisions the training to evolve into a full accreditation program similar to the Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP) as a pathway for developing future race investigators. The UofL Equine Industry Program also developed the ROAP with a group of industry stakeholders. It provides accreditation and continuing education to all racing officials, stewards, and judges in the horse racing industry.

For those who attended the training, their next step is to pass an exam prior to receiving their certificate. The eventual goal is for racing commissions and racetracks to mandate that all investigators complete the Racing Investigator Certificate Program and participate in future Continuing Education sessions.