Mark Davis, Delaware’s Executive Director of the Harness Racing Commission, came in to give us a lecture on the harness racing industry. I previously had no knowledge of harness racing so it was a very interesting lecture for me. He said he started out with a degree in environmental science and worked as an environmental consultant when he got a job planning use of land for Delaware’s Department of Ag. He eventually ended up with a job in the harness racing commission. Harness racing horses pull carts while the Thoroughbred racing horses have a jockey on their back. Mark Davis explained that incorporating casinos into the racetracks revived the industry and overall the industry brings in $39 billion to the US annually.
He also explained that the Delaware State Veterinarian isn’t too involved with the racing industry besides being at the track monitoring for lameness and whipping. They also do welt checks to ensure that the driver isn’t abusing the horse. The vets who work for the horse’s owner checks on the horse’s vitals (blood tests, heart rate monitoring) and joints to make sure the horse is in prime running condition.