The National HBPA has canceled its annual conference scheduled for March 24-28 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, another casualty of the COVID-19 outbreak and the need for America to eliminate crowds of any size.

“We are saddened to have to call off our conference,” said Eric Hamelback, chief executive officer of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association. “We were hoping there was a way to preserve it in order to engage in important discussion about the issues we face and ways to work toward improving our industry. But nothing is more important than the health and safety of Americans. Drastic measures are being taken across the country, and canceling our convention is the responsible thing to do.

“We are so disappointed for Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort and our Arkansas HBPA affiliate, which went out of their way to assist us in putting the convention together. We thank them for their efforts and hope down the road the National HBPA Convention can return to Hot Springs.”