Security expert Don Ahrens advises students to "follow the money."

Feb. 6, 2023
Ahrens and Estrada with RTIP'ers

Don Ahrens, longtime Penn Entertainment and Breeders’ Cup Security executive lectured in both the Advanced Racing Law & Enforcement and Racetrack Organization & Financial Management classes on Wednesday. Juan Estrada, Chairman of the Organization of Racing Investigators and Executive at the Arizona Department of Gaming was also on-hand to lend his expertise on racetrack investigations.

In the Advanced Racing Law & Enforcement, Ahrens shared his vast experiences investigating on the racetrack and how his role evolved over time. He shared the different tools he and his team have used to get a gauge on suspected bad actors, and explained how those benefitted them in discovering the truth of those matters. Ahrens then shared specific examples from his many years on racetrack security and investigation units to give students an idea of how his roles have helped the industry maintain integrity. His biggest piece of advice to everyone was to “follow the money”. Estrada also shared how important it was to form and maintain connections with everyone within an investigator’s jurisdiction. He explained how it helps to create an environment where individuals both respect the law and are willing to share when they suspect someone is out of order.  

Their time with the Racetrack Organization & Financial Management class focused on the structure of a Security Department at a racetrack. Ahrens delved into staffing, budget, facilities, and equipment needs with students. His experience at many tracks and with the Breeders’ Cup allowed students to grasp how different this department can function depending on track size and financial constraints. Estrada also was able to present how a state gaming commission will have security standards written in law that tracks must abide by.