A Racing Integrity Team is deployed during a major racing weekend in Texas. | TSLN.com

A Racing Integrity Team is deployed during a major racing weekend in Texas.

The American Quarter Horse Association is committed to protecting the welfare of the American Quarter Horse and the integrity of American Quarter Horse racing. As part of this pursuit, AQHA is regularly teaming up with racetracks and racing commissions to deploy Racing Integrity Teams to racing events.

These teams, which include trained racing investigators from many jurisdictions, are deployed to help individual racetracks and racing commissions provide a higher level of compliance with their rules and laws and to help increase the level of racing integrity at racetracks where they are deployed. The teams’ work includes assisting local racing commission and track staff; performing inspections of barns, stalls or cars; sharing knowledge and intelligence with local enforcement teams; and other general security and deterrent actions.

On May 3-4, multiple teams were deployed to the Quarter Horse meet at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston to assist with additional security during the Sam Houston Futurity and Derby weekend. Investigators from the Texas Racing Commission, special-event team agents (an enforcement component supported by AQHA and Sam Houston Race Park) and agents from the Texas Department of Public Safety conducted vehicle, trailer and barn inspections. Other inspections were conducted in the jockey quarters, and officials wanded assistant starters, pony riders and jockeys before races.

According to the Texas Racing Commission, there were approximately 70 vehicle searches and 90 personal contacts within the stable area. Teams identified four minor contraband violations, and one racehorse was scratched for a race-day medication violation. This horse was scratched as a result of the SET members monitoring activity in the barns prior to race time. In addition, several racehorses were denied entry into the racetrack stable area during this period of time due to the lack of required health papers. All violation cases were filed with the Texas Racing Commission Board of Stewards at Sam Houston Race Park.

“Our goal is help bring together efforts to enforce all rules of racing,” said AQHA Chief Racing Officer Janet VanBebber. “We are there to protect the horses, our horsemen and the wagering public by keeping races safe and fair. Over all, the team found fewer regulation violations than in previous visits. This attests to the successful nature of the combined effort to deter improper activity.”

The RITs are just one step in AQHA’s commitment to protecting the welfare of the American Quarter Horse and protecting the interest of the public.