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Racing Officials Accreditation Program

Racing Officials Accreditation Program (9/2/10)

Contact: Cathy O’Meara (859) 224-2702


During the Racing Officials Accreditation Program’s summer board of directors meeting in Louisville, Ky., on August 31, the organization approved a strategic plan that focuses on education, communications, and marketing and announced an apprentice program designed to provide aspiring racing officials with relevant work experience.

As part of its strategic plan, ROAP will restructure its 60-hour accreditation school to provide expanded individual training and offer mini-workshops in conjunction with the Association of Racing Commissioners International, University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program’s Symposium on Racing and Gaming, and the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. The mini-workshops will provide a foundation of understanding for the industry concerning the activities and importance of properly trained and accredited racing officials. In addition, ROAP intends to expand its presence on social networking sites, including development of a YouTube channel for educational purposes.

“The strategic plan approved by the board will further enhance the preparation of accredited racing officials, stewards, and judges and foster a greater understanding of their important role in protecting the integrity of the sport,” said ROAP Chairman Stan Bowker. “The plan is the result of valuable input received not only from our stewards advisory committee but from ROAP’s constituents, namely state racing commissions, executive directors, and executive secretaries.”

The Racing Officials Apprentice Program, announced at the board meeting, is open to individuals who have completed the ROAP 60-hour accreditation school, passed all required examinations, and are looking for work experience as a racing official. Each apprenticeship will be tailored specifically to the individual applicant and track, and each apprentice will receive a stipend from ROAP. Potential applicants and interested tracks and associations should contact ROAP for additional information at (859) 224-2702. Applications are available at

Also at the meeting:

  • The board agreed to establish a Racing Officials Certificate Program as an intermediary step toward full accreditation. Those who do not wish to be fully accredited can attend shorter job-specific courses and receive racing official certification.
  • The board approved ROAP’s participation in the NTRA Inaugural Education Forum at Keeneland on October 19, 2010.
  • The Race for Education ROAP Scholarship was renewed for a second year. The scholarship, which is open to recent graduates of a university-based equine-related program or those who want to pursue a career as a racing official, covers tuition for the 60-hour accreditation school at Los Alamitos in January 2011. The application deadline is December 1, 2010, and the application form is available at

In addition to the 60-hour accreditation school and continuing education program at Los Alamitos, upcoming continuing education seminars will be offered on the following schedule:

  • September 16 – National Steeplechase Association (Fair Hill, Md.)
  • October 18-19 – United States Trotting Association (Columbus, Ohio)
  • November 8-9 – Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission (Wilmington, Del.)
  • November 15-16 – University of Louisville (Louisville, Ky.)

In order to maintain their accreditation, stewards and judges must complete at least 16 hours of continuing education every two years. In 2009, two-thirds of racing stewards in North America were accredited, and currently, 29 states and four Canadian provinces employ at least one accredited steward.

ROAP, which receives primary funding from The Jockey Club and is based in its Kentucky office, is a 501(c) (6) organization whose board of directors is made up of representatives of 18 industry organizations. Stewards and judges receive their accreditation and continuing education credits through this program. Rich Wilcke at the University of Louisville and Wendy Davis at the University of Arizona direct the schools and training used in achieving accreditation.

The ROAP website,, features information about the accreditation process, a comprehensive listing of accredited racing officials, and lists of job openings and upcoming events. Contact Cathy O’Meara at (859) 224-2702 or for more information.

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