News Releases

Friday, January 06, 2012Contact: Cathy O'Meara (859) 224-2702
ROAP Apprentice Program Announces First Host Track

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) will host the first apprentice of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP) Apprentice Program beginning in January 2012, it was announced today by ROAP.

The goal of the program is to educate the apprentice in all aspects of the racing industry, including all racing official positions, most importantly the stewards’ stand, through a practical immersion program.

The ROAP apprentice at NYRA will be Tom Salerno, a racing official with nearly 30 years’ experience in the harness racing industry in the U.S. and Canada. He has worked as a groom, trainer, driver, stable manager, and most recently, a presiding and associate judge. Salerno will spend six weeks at Aqueduct learning the nuances of being a flat-racing official.

To become an apprentice, Salerno completed the 60-hour ROAP Accreditation course and passed the oral, written, and race video examinations. Salerno’s experience at Aqueduct will count toward his requirement to become a flat racing official.

“We are excited to kick off our apprentice program and are extremely pleased that NYRA, an NTRA-accredited track, is the first host track,” said Stan Bowker, ROAP chairman. “The apprentice program is yet another way ROAP enhances the integrity of racing by ensuring future racing officials receive the best training possible.”

“ROAP’s apprentice program is beneficial for both the racetrack and the apprentice,” said NYRA Vice President and Director of Racing P.J. Campo. “NYRA benefits from the presence of a well-educated, motivated employee and the apprentice gains hands-on experience at a Thoroughbred track.”

ROAP is seeking additional racetracks and racing commissions that are interested in hosting a ROAP apprentice for a training period. ROAP compensates the racetrack for the apprentice’s salary.

Representatives of racetracks or racing commissions can contact Cathy O’Meara at (859) 224-2702 or for additional information. Apprentice candidates must submit a written application and resume to ROAP. The deadline for apprentices for 2012 has been extended to January 15, 2012.

About The New York Racing Association Inc.:

Founded in 1955, and franchised to run thoroughbred racing at New York’s three major tracks through 2033, NYRA boasts a lineage that actually stretches back almost 150 years. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of the state’s thoroughbred business, which contributes more than $2 billion annually to New York State’s urban, suburban and rural economy. In 2010, more than 1.6 million people attended the live races at NYRA tracks. Factoring in nationwide off-track wagering, the average daily betting handle on NYRA races totals more than $8.7 million. NYRA has a vast network of websites, including,, and You can also follow NYRA on social media platforms Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube.

About Racing Officials Accreditation Program:

ROAP, which receives primary funding from The Jockey Club and is based in its Kentucky office, is a 501(c) (6) organization whose board of directors is made up of representatives from 18 industry organizations and eight at-large representatives. Stewards and judges receive their accreditation and continuing education credits through this program.

The website address for ROAP is