Monthly News & Updates

October, 2022

Groom Elite Program Returns

to Gulfstream Park

C. Reid McLellan, aka Dr. Mac, will be back at Gulfstream Park this winter to teach the Groom Elite 101 program to backstretch workers and individuals interested in working with racehorses. The five-week program offers an overview of a variety of topics, including Horse Behavior, Health, Conformation (including bones of front and rear leg), Digestive System and Feeding (with an emphasis on colic), and Bandaging and Tacking. The classes are designed to help grooms improve their horsemanship skills, to assist hotwalkers in taking the next step to becoming grooms, and to provide the groundwork for newcomers looking to get into horseracing. At the end of the course, the students are tested and, if they pass the requirements, are awarded certification at one of five levels (Entry, Basic, Qualified, Experienced, and Elite).

“Certified grooms increase their value as an asset to the team,” McLellan said. “Trainers report that certified grooms, even those with many years of experience, pay closer attention to their horses and provide information that helps trainers act before a small problem becomes a serious injury.”

Classes start the week of Jan. 9, 2023, and will be held on Mondays and Tuesdays through the week of Feb. 13, 2023. Groom Elite 101 is sponsored jointly by FTHA and 1S/T RACING. There is no cost to the students, and they will receive lunch on class days, as well as a jacket upon completion of the program.

“The Groom Elite Program was a staple of backstretch education sponsored by the horsemen’s group and the track for many years, but had to be suspended when the pandemic hit,” FTHA Executive Director Andy Belfiore said. “We’re thrilled to be able to bring this great program back to Gulfstream Park. We believe it will be a benefit to the workers, the trainers, and the horses.”

Trainers are encouraged to enroll workers in the program. For more information, contact Herb Oster at

Gulfstream Park Safety Equipment Program Distributes More Than200 Vouchers

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FTHA Hosts Legislative Visits at Gulfstream in October

The next session of the Florida State Legislature doesn't open until March 7, 2023, but it is important to the FTHA to engage with our representatives year-round. On Oct. 7, the FTHA and Gulfstream Park hosted Representative Danny Perez, slated to be the future Republican Speaker of the House, and Senator Jason Pizzo for visits to the racetrack. Ten days later, Wilton Simpson, candidate for the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, and Representative Lawrence McClure joined FTHA President Joe Orseno, Board Member Chester Bishop, Executive Director Andy Belfiore and Special Project Coordinator Herb Oster at the track. Discussion centered on the need for better purses in South Florida, and proposals to address the cost of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act for the state. 

Top: (From left): Chester Bishop, Stephen Screnci, Billy Badgett, Joe Orseno, Lawrence McClure, lobbyist Jeff Johnston, Wilton Simpson, Herb Oster and Andy Belfiore.

Bottom: Representative Danny Perez with Andy Belfiore and Chester Bishop.

Danielle Bishop Photos

REMINDER: The email address to contact the Gulfstream Park Horsemen's Bookkeeper is

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