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USTA board meets at Racing Congress

March 03, 2013

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The full U.S. Trotting Association Board of Directors assembled Sunday afternoon in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for a formal start to the Association's annual meeting, which this year is part of the sixth Harness Racing Congress--which has brought together the USTA, Harness Horsemen's International, Harness Tracks of America and the U.S. Harness Writers Association.
Leading the way were presentations by USTA president Phil Langley and USTA executive vice president Mike Tanner.

"The USTA has been operating efficiently with reduced staff and our finances are as good as they have been in a long time,” Langley reported. "And again there is no need for increases to any dues or fees.”

Langley went on to offer praise to the various committees that have reorganized the rule book, managed the Strategic Wagering Program, sought to increase attendance at USTA district meetings, and address medication and marketing issues.

Langley also revealed that the USTA was about to embark on a social media campaign on behalf of the sport.

"It's probably the most cost-effective way to reach people,” Langley said. "We're also going to speak to Rob Key (nationally known social media expert and son of owner-breeder Bob Key), who spoke this morning at the Congress; he has knowledge of social media and this business.”

Mike Tanner gave the Board a picture of the USTA's current workload: "We're working on the online (race) entry platform, which will allow entries to be made online and simply make it easier to race. A system to automate the morning line assignments is also in the pipeline for later this year.

"You've probably noticed we've concentrated a bit more on handicapping this year,” Tanner also noted. "We sponsored a series of handicapping contests leading up to the World Harness Handicapping Championship that were wildly successful, we're going to continue with Harness Racing Night School this year and Strategic Wagering continues to be a big success.”

John Campbell, newly elected president of the Grand Circuit, presented some of the plans for revitalizing the "Roarin' Grand.”

"We are restructuring the Circuit to make it more visible and add more of our important races,” Campbell said. "We want to give more tracks something to promote and be proud of.

"We are going to keep the Delvin Miller Medallions to present to our leading owner, trainer and driver, but are working on adding a significant prize to that honor.”

In its final bit of business on Sunday, the Board approved, without dissent, the re-codified USTA Rule Book, and Rules Committee Chairman Dick Brandt announced that the rules will soon be available on smart phones and tablets as a way of making it more accessible to USTA members.

The balance of the day was given over to meetings of the USTA's Driver-Trainer Committee, Regulatory Committee and Fair Committee. (USTA)

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