Mark Davis is currently Delaware’s Executive Director of the Harness Racing Commission. However, he didn’t start out his career here, but studied marine biology for a while before graduating with a degree in environmental science. He worked for a time as an environmental consultant and got involved with the Department of Ag in Delaware as a land use planner. He traded hats a few more times before landing his current job with the Harness Racing Commission.
Mr. Davis discussed with the class the many different aspects of the racing industry, which I myself knew very little about. He discussed the history, components, regulations, as well as the impact of the industry-which monetarily adds up to around $39 billion to the U.S. each year. He explained that the Delaware state vet isn’t typically involved with the racing industry unless there is a disease issue, instead there are vets at the track and the paddock. The vets at the track are there to watch the races and monitor the horses for lameness, to see that the whipping regulations are upheld and to do welt checks. At the paddock the vets have a slightly different purpose, that is to do lots of test to make sure the horses are in tip-top shape, like blood tests, heart rate checks and to check on joints. The upcoming challenges Mr. Davis sees for the industry is the government resting on the casinos too much without turn around to help the industry as well as the shrinking field.