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Panel topics announced for Racing Congress

January 14, 2013

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The program and roster of speakers for the 2013 Harness Racing Congress, to be convened in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,Feb. 28 through March 4, has been announced by the sponsoring organizations, Harness Horsemen International, Harness Track of America, the U.S. Trotting Association and U.S. Harness Writers Association.
Six panels--three each on March 2 and 3--will explore a wide range of topics and will feature some of the sport's most influential leaders, as well as experts from outside the world of harness racing who will bring fresh perspectives to the discussions.
Here is the list of topics and speakers who will be presented at the general sessions of the 2013 Harness Racing Congress (subject to change):

Saturday, March 2:

"Surveying the Legislative Landscape in the Wake of Ontario"

Ron Battoni, Executive Vice President, the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association; Joe Faraldo, President, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York; Jay Hickey, President, the American Horse Council; Bob Schmitz*, Chairman, the Ohio State Racing Commission; and Rod Seiling, Chairman, the Ontario Racing Commission. Moderator: Phil Langley, President, the U.S. Trotting Association (*-still to be confirmed)

"Limited Funds, Maximum Vigilance; How the Industry Can Best Address the Medication Issue"

Dionne Benson, DVM, Executive Director, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium; Edward J. Martin, President and CEO of the Association of Racing Commissioners International; Lawrence R. Soma, DVM, the University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center; and Rick Sams, PhD, Laboratory Director, HFL Sport Science. Moderator: Paul A. Fontaine, President, Harness Tracks of America, Inc. and U.S. Trotting Association District 9 director.

"Racinos: Searching for the Holy Grail: Converting Slot Players into Horseplayers"

Kevin Decker, Director of Racing, The Meadows; Mark Loewe, Vice President of Racing, Penn National Gaming; David Rovine, Standardbred owner/trainer and racetrack marketing executive; and Jason Settlemoir, General Manager and CEO, The Meadowlands. Moderator: Ivan L. Axelrod, Chairman of the Board of the U.S. Trotting Association and District 3 director.

Sunday, March 3

"The Globalization of Harness Racing: Monetizing and Maximizing Harness Racing Across Borders"

Joe Asher, CEO, William Hill USA; Tom Charters, President, The Hambletonian Society; John Gallinger, President and CEO, Standardbred Canada; and Michael Taranto, Australian Owner and Breeder. Moderator: Sam McKee, track announcer and simulcast director, the Meadowlands and a member of the Communicator's Corner of the Harness RacingHall of Fame.

"The Revolution Will Not be Televised: The Explosion of Social Media into Racing's Consciousness"

Rob Key, CEO and Founder, Converseon.com, a leading full-service social media agency; Carie Lewis, Director of Emerging Media, the Humane Society of the United States; and Ray Paulick, Publisher, The Paulick Report. Moderator: Justin Horowitz, Regional Racing Marketing Mgr., Tioga and Vernon Downs.

"Innovative Ideas: And Now for Something Completely Different"

Jim Bernstein, General Manager, Teague Racing Partnerships LLC; Bob Carson, Freelance Writer; Eric Cherry, Prominent Standardbred Owner and operator of the South Florida Training Center; and John Curtin, President, John Curtin International, a leading bloodstock company and founder of Harnesslink.com. Moderator: Gary Seibel, television commentator and a member of the Communicator's Corner of the Harness RacingHall of Fame.

Registration, open to anyone interested in attending, is being handled by the U.S. Harness Writers' Association for individuals not affiliated with the above organizations. The fee to attend the March 2 and 3 sessions is $125 per person, and includes breakfast and lunch on both Saturday and Sunday and a two-hour networking cocktail party on Saturday night (March 2).

The Congress will be held at the Westin Beach Resort & Spa. Discounted rooms, starting at $199 per night plus 11 percent tax, may be reserved by visiting thislinkor by calling the hotel directly at (954) 245-3069 and asking for the special rate for the U.S. Harness Writers Association or Dan Patch Awards Dinner. This special rate is only available until Feb. 7--or when the reserved block of rooms is filled.
Registration for the Congress and the Dan Patch Awards Dinner, to be held on Sunday. March 3, at which the Horse of the Year awards will be presented, can be made by contacting Judy Davis-Wilson at (302) 359-3630 or zoe8874@aol.com, or by contacting Scott Warren at (302) 222-1222 or voiceofrcr@aol.com. (USTA)

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