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OFFICIALS
As of January 1, 2010 the process for Officials Licensing has changed. An application must first be received by the USTA, after which any requisite reference letters must be submitted. Study materials may be sent out should you need additional information, including the most up-to-date USTA Rule Book. A letter will be sent out with a list of the approved test administrators the applicant can contact for them to request the appropriate test.

Click here for the Officials Application

The USTA licenses officials in the following categories, at both the Pari-mutuel and County Fair level: Presiding Judge, Associate Judge, Patrol Judge, Paddock Judge, Identifier, Starter, Race Secretary, Clerk of the Course, Charter, and Program Director. If you do not see the answer to your question below please contact the USTA Licensing Manager Michele Kopiec at 877-800-USTA ext. 3294.

Below you will find information on credentials needed depending on the license you are pursuing.
Presiding Judge (Pari-mutuel)
Presiding Judge (Fair)
Associate Judge
Starter (Pari-mutuel)
Starter (Fair)
Program Director
Race Secretary
Patrol Judge, Paddock Judge, and Identifier

Racing Officials Accreditation Program
Clerk of the Course and Charter School
County Fair Seminars 
Additional information that may help in obtaining an Officials License through the USTA
Study Guide for Official's Licenses

Presiding Judge (Pari-mutuel)

  • Minimum of 2 years experience as a licensed Associate Judge
  • Written recommendation from a USTA licensed Presiding Judge that you have worked for
  • Satisfactory completion of the required exam

Presiding Judge (Fair)

  • Minimum of 2 years experience within the industry
  • Knowledge of the rules, temperament and qualifications to perform duties required
  • Written recommendation from a USTA licensed Presiding Judge that you have raced under or worked with
  • Satisfactory completion of the required exam
  • Please Note: Serving in the capacity as an Associate Judge at county fairs is strongly recommended if you have no prior officiating experience.  Even though the USTA does not license Associate Judges at county fairs, we strongly encourage you to serve in that capacity prior to examination.

Associate Judge

  • Minimum of 2 years experience involving 75 racing days per year as a USTA Licensed Official in another capacity, such as Patrol Judge, Paddock Judge, Clerk of the Course, Race Secretary,  Starter or Identifier
  • In lieu of 2 years experience, completion of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program
  • Satisfactory completion of the required exam
  • Please note: This license will be a restricted license, only issued upon verification of employment. The restriction will be lifted after one year of employment and a written letter of recommendation from the licensed official that you worked for.

Starter (Pari-mutuel)

  • Current license as a Fair Starter
  • In lieu of a current license as a Fair Starter, satisfactory completion of the required exam
  • A letter from a licensed Pari-mutuel Starter and Presiding Judge verifying your qualifications to operate the starting gate
  • Once the recommendation has been submitted you are allowed to start selected Pari-mutuel races with a licensed starter in the gate
  • At least 30 selected Pari-mutuel race starts must be satisfactorily completed before the license can be issued

Starter (Fair)

  • At least one year experience of driving the starting gate and schooling horses
  • Letter from a licensed Pari-mutuel Starter verifying your qualifications to operate the starting gate
  • Satisfactory completion of the required exam

Program Director

  • At least one year’s experience as an Assistant Program Director/Charter
  • Written recommendation from the Presiding Judge that you worked with verifying your qualifications.
  • Satisfactory completion of the required exam

Race Secretary

  • Minimum 2 years experience working as an Assistant Race Secretary under a licensed Race Secretary (work experience needed before the exam can be taken)
  • Written recommendation from the Race Secretary and Presiding Judge
  • Satisfactory completion of the required exam

Patrol Judge, Paddock Judge, and Identifier

  • Satisfactory completion of the required exam

Racing Officials Accreditation Program

  • 60 hour course that covers procedures used during a race meeting
  • For more information, please call (859) 224-2702 or visit www.horseracingofficials.com

Clerk of Course and Charter School

  • Written recommendation from the Presiding Judge that you worked with verifying your qualifications.
  • Satisfactory completion of the required exam

County Fair Seminars

  • Seminars are conducted throughout the year and generally last one day.
  • Format includes a review of rule changes, procedures, and general discussions on racing matters
  • Open to all officials and other interested parties
  • Exams may be administered at the end of the seminar
  • For more information on the location or date of the next seminar please contact your local Harness Horsemen’s Association

Here is some additional information that may help in obtaining an Officials License through the USTA:

  • The USTA places many officials, however, employment is not guaranteed. Each Racing Commission and/or Race Track hires their own Officials and the length of employment is by individual contract
  • Completion of the Clerk of the Course and Charter school is not required to obtain a license. It is, however, strongly recommended
  • If you do not see the answer to your question, contact Michele Kopiec, USTA Licensing Manager at (877) 800-USTA (8782) ext. 3294