The 2022 Edition of the Breeders’ Cup Equine Security Team
Members of the Organization of Racing Investigators (ORI) are once again working diligently to provide the highest level of security for the world’s best Thoroughbreds that have assembled for the 2022 Breeders’ Cup.
With a handpicked team of some 30 investigators, the BC Equine Security Team (BCEST) hails from all corners of the United States, and also includes international representation from Canada and Ireland.
Working closely with a local company of security personnel, the BCEST will provide 24-hour round-the-clock care for the horses that will be running on Friday November 4 and Saturday November 5 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky.
With a wealth of experience in law enforcement, members of the BCEST work for racetrack and state agencies back home. The opportunity to come to the Breeders’ Cup is the chance to ensure that compliance is of the utmost importance.
Not only will members be working closely with the Breeders’ Cup Veterinarian Team to collect samples, ensuring the chain of custody, but they will be onsite to showcase their knowledge and expertise by keeping everyone safe.
“Customer service and experience is so important to us,” said Don Ahrens (Sam Houston Race Park). “Everything we do is for the care of these equine athletes, and making sure everyone is compliant is our top priority.”
Ahrens, along with Mike Kilpack (NTRA), spearhead this operation, having done so for over a decade.
“We are driven to provide the Breeders’ Cup and its fans with all the security that we can muster, said Kilpack. “Each and every member of this team is the best of the best.”
The BCEST assembled on Sunday Night for a ‘Meet and Greet,’ but the planning takes place months in advance.
Picking a group of investigators from across America is no easy task, but Ahrens and Kilpack have a vast set of experiences in their toolkit.
This year, there are several additions to their squad, including a ‘dispatcher’ that will manage the day and night shifts, utilizing camera technology that will monitor the stalls.
As the Breeders’ Cup does every year, a quarantine area for international runners will also be located in the barn area, with restricted access to a select few.
The BCEST 2022 edition also includes over 10 ‘rookie’ members at Keeneland. For their first event, it is up to the senior leadership to get them up to speed as quickly as possible.
Ahrens said, “These folks know their business, and are used to the rigors of investigating in their own locales, so that is incredibly helpful when it comes to training them for an event of this magnitude.”
After an orientation on Monday at the Keeneland Sales Ring, BCEST will officially swing into action on Tuesday. Led by Juan Estrada (Arizona Department of Gaming), the ‘Night Crew’ will acclimatize themselves before their posting begins at 4 p.m. each afternoon.
Both shifts have Saturday after the Breeders’ Cup Classic as their target. Until then, paying attention and monitoring their barns will be the focal point. In other words, the best of the best will protect their counterparts to the fullest extent.