About the USTA - U.S. Trotting (2024)

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What does the U.S. Trotting Association do and why should I join?These are key questions to those who participatein the sport of harness racing and own orbreed Standardbred horses, and although themission of the association has changed overthe years, the services it provides to its membersremain substantial.
About the USTA - U.S. Trotting (1)The U.S. Trotting Association is a not-for-profit association of Standardbred owners, breeders,drivers, trainers, and officials, organized to provide administrative, rulemaking, licensing andbreed registry services to its members.

    Our mission is to:

  • License owners, trainers, drivers and officials.
  • Formulate the rules of racing.
  • Maintain and disseminate racing information and records.
  • Serve as the registry for the Standardbred breed.
  • Endeavor to ensure the integrity of harness racing.
  • Insist on the humane treatment of Standardbreds.
  • Promote the sport of harness racing and the Standardbred breed.


Founded in 1939, the U.S. TrottingAssociation brought order to what had beenchaos: In prior years, the sport was administeredby regional organizations, each with differingrules, that often failed to honor eachother's suspensions.

The USTA, which since 1948 has beenheadquartered in Columbus, Ohio, ruled as thesport's sole regulatory body until the 1960s,before the state racing commissions took overmost of those functions, but the USTA retainsan important role in the sport today because ofits mission and grassroots leadership.


THE USTA's role in harness racing is summarizedin six areas, each of which serves thesport and its participants in ways stateand local organizations cannot.

They include:

Breed Registry The USTA isthe sole issuer of registrationdocuments for Standardbredhorses, which must first be registeredwith the USTA (by law) beforebeing eligible to race in North America—or to subsequently be used in theStandardbred breeding industry. The USTAhas agreements with all the majorStandardbred breed registries in the world,which permits the import and export of registeredhorses.

Rules While racing at the commercial racetracksis regulated at the state level, the USTArules have long served as models for rulespassed in all the states. When the USTA modifiesits rulebook the states most often amendtheirs in the same fashion. The rules of USTAalso hold sway at most county and state fairs,and thus directly govern some of the sport'srichest and most important races.

Licensing Every driver and trainer must, inorder to qualify for state licensing, first passwritten and practical USTA examinations. Theymust then obtain sufficient skills and experiencewhile performing before licensed officials andveteran drivers and trainers before beinglicensed by the USTA-and thus participate atcommercial or fair tracks across the country.

Integrity The USTA lends financial andstaff support to:

  • Multi-jurisdiction investigations by theThoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau
  • Gathering and maintaining the sport'smost comprehensive database of rules violations(which serves as an invaluable tool toregulators and investigators)
  • Industry efforts for uniform drug testingand racing rules

Database TThe USTA maintains the racing and breeding records of morethan one million Standardbreds, and information regarding more than 238,000drivers, trainers, breeders, and owners. This database forms thebackbone of the records of the sport andis an unparalleled research resource.

Promotion Whether it is educating andinforming its members, working with publicistsand the press, introducing youngsters toStandardbred horses, telling the story of harnessracing to elected officials, or assisting inthe placement of retired horses, the USTA isthe unquestioned leader in the promotion ofthe sport and the breed.

Why join?

The question of why should I become amember of the USTA is best answered byexamining the many services and productsproduced by the association. It provides memberswith products that improve their abilityto compete, gives them a means of supportingindustry-wide causes, and to obtain benefitswhich only come with USTA membership.

The benefits include:

Member Benefits Program USTA membersreceive substantial, unadvertised discountson a number of products and services. View current member discounts.

Representation Through theirelected representatives, membersvote on the rules that shape theindustry, and they can voice theirconcerns at annual businessmeetings around the country.

Industry support Harness racing'svoice in Washington is expressedthrough the American Horse Council, ofwhich the USTA is a charter—and veryactive—member.

Market development The recruitmentof new horse owners, education of bettors,finding new vocations for retired racehorses,and supplying information to lawmakers andregulators help enhance and expand the racingand breeding industries across America.

Research Helping find cures for equinedisease by making USTA researchgrants, and helping fund researchbeing done on illegal medicationsand encouraging the formulationof uniform medication rules allcontribute to the wider good.

Products USTA member fees havebeen used to develop many outstandingproducts, including:

  • Hoof Beats magazine, thesport's mostwidely read monthly publication
  • USTROTTING.COM, featuring harness racing news, racing results, important industry and membership information, and more.
  • PATHWAY, the sport's online performanceand breeding database
  • STARS - an invaluable Web tool forbreeders, stallion owners, and yearling buyers


The USTA also offers a number of programsdesigned to market harness racing,Standardbred horses, and participation inthe sport, including:

  • USTA Outreach, which “takes theUSTA to its members” by sending associationrepresentatives to horse sales to interact and assist our members, as well as educate those new to our sport and breeding Standardbreds.
  • Standardbred Star, an activity book, Youth Beats, a bi-annual publication, and posters designed to entertain and educate youngsters about Standardbreds.
  • USTA and harness racing logo items give members, fairs and fans gear to take home and show their affinity for the USTA and the sport.

U.S. Trotting Logo and Usage

The US Trotting logo is restricted to USTA use. Visit our clip art page for horse and harness racing related art available for use.

About the USTA - U.S. Trotting (2024)
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