Eric Hamelback: Now Is Not The Time To Go Low Or Assign Blame

Eric Hamelback | Jennie Rees

National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback response to Gagliano's statement:

While we will not respond in a tit-for-tat with The Jockey Club, we want to make one thing abundantly clear. That is to quote the Authority's own statement in response to these tragic deaths last week: “Churchill Downs has been cooperating with HISA since its inception and is in full compliance with our rules and processes.” To suggest that these deaths were somehow attributable to the HBPA is simply wrong. HISA clearly stated in its own press release that Churchill Downs has been and is in full compliance with the HISA rules, and HISA has been the law of the land for almost a year. To insinuate any other narrative is backwards and is shameful coming from those who wanted and did gain control of the regulations of this industry.

The National HBPA has never done anything more than insist that the regulatory authority writing the rules for this industry be structured in a way that respects the constitutional rights of all horsemen and be operated in a way that is transparent, responsive and accountable. We will continue to fight for these rights in court. We believe the best path forward for the industry — the best way to keep our horses and their humans safe — is a regulatory framework built on those principles: transparent, responsive, accountable, constitutional.

Now is not the time to go low, point fingers or assign blame. This is a time to come together as an industry, not to drive a deeper wedge with personal attacks and gratuitous insults. Both sides' lawyers should make their best arguments in court, while outside the courthouse we all work together to keep horses safe under the governing rules.


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