MRC Approves Stewards for Canterbury Meet; Transparency Initiative Launched | Midwest Paddock Report
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MRC Approves Stewards for Canterbury Meet; Transparency Initiative Launched

Full text of MRC press release announcing approval of state stewards for the Canterbury Park meet

For Immediate Release

CONTACT:  Joe Scurto, Deputy Director – Minnesota Racing Commission at 952.496.7950

Minnesota Racing Commission Approves Three Veteran Stewards for Canterbury Park

Shakopee, Minn.—Three veteran ROAP-accredited senior racing officials, David Hooper, James Lages and David Smith, have been approved by the Minnesota Racing Commission (MRC) to serve as State Stewards for the 2015 Canterbury Park racing season running 70 days from Friday, May 15 through September 12.

The three newly appointed officials bring a broad cross-section of cumulative racing industry experience totaling 140 years.

“These three highly experienced racing professionals are dedicated to fulfilling the MRC’s regulatory mandate to protect the integrity of horse racing in Minnesota,” states Tom DiPasquale, Executive Director of the MRC. “The MRC is also taking additional steps for improving transparency and understanding of Steward decisions by launching the “Stewards’ Watch’”.

The Stewards’ Watch will be presented on the Canterbury Live Blog (www.canterburylive.com ) and in the daily official programs. Also, the Stewards will respond to questions from fans through the blog.

Hooper will be returning to Canterbury’s steward stand for his third year, and this year will serve as Chief Steward.  He is in his 55th year of service to the racing industry, 23 of those in a regulatory capacity. The New Jersey native has served as a Steward in eight states beginning in 1976 with the Kentucky Racing Commission where his mentor was Keene Daingerfield, recognized at that time as the dean of American racing officials.

Hooper has supervised the Stewards and harness racing Judges for four years while Executive Secretary of the Illinois Racing Board.  He has also been a faculty member of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, teaching courses on all aspects of racing regulation.   He has worked as a track announcer, hosted feature race of the day broadcasts from several tracks including Keeneland and Monmouth Park, and was the race analyst on ESPN’s coverage of the 1986 International Festival of Racing and WHAS telecasts of Derby Week and Saturday stakes at Churchill Downs for 16 years.

Lages has been involved in horse racing for 40 years, including a 10-year career as a jockey riding mostly on the East Coast and at major tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Virginia-born Lages has logged 23 years as a racing official as either placing and patrol judge, paddock judge, claims clerk and/or clerk of scales at Keeneland, Gulfstream Park, Hialeah, Meadowlands and Monmouth Park. He was appointed as State Steward in 2012 and has worked in that capacity in Florida at Gulfstream Park, Calder and Tampa Bay Downs and in Illinois at Fairmount Park before his Canterbury Park appointment.

Smith brings both trainer and longtime racing official experience to the 2015 Canterbury Board of Stewards. The Florida native, a graduate of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, worked under the tutelage of several highly successful conditioners, and became one of the youngest trainers in North America at 21. With 44 years of racing industry experience, Smith has served the past 28 years as a Steward in Illinois, Pennsylvania and most recently in Arizona.

About Minnesota Racing Commission

The Minnesota Racing Commission (MRC) was established in 1983 to regulate horse racing and in 1999 to regulate card clubs at the Class A racetracks in the state. The legislative charge is to ensure the integrity of racing and card playing, and promote the breeding of racehorses to stimulate agriculture and rural agribusiness. Currently the MRC regulates Canterbury Park and Running Aces Harness Park. For more information visit www.mrc.state.mn.us/.

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