HBPA Lawyer Peter Ecabert Joins TDN Writers' Room Podcast to Talk HISA

Peter Ecabert | National HBPA

Is the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) good for horsemen and, by extension, good for racing? Representing the National HBPA, lawyer Peter Ecabert doesn't think that it is, and he was invited to join the TDN Writers' Room podcast presented by Keeneland to explain why.

Ecabert was one of two guests on this week's podcast as Len Green, the founder and chairman of the Green Group, came on to share some tax advice and to talk about his soon-to-be-named champion 2-year-old filly Wonder Wheel (Into Mischief).

When asked what the National HBPA's objections were when it comes to HISA, Ecabert had a long list, which included what he said was a lack of transparency.

“Transparency is vitally important for trust,” Ecabert said. “Without transparency, there can't be the trust that's necessary for this type of an entity.”

So far as whether or not HISA can be fixed to the horsemen's satisfaction, he said, “Anything can be fixed, but it's going to take a monumental effort to do that. It's not just a one fix, say, let's give the FTC a little more supervisory control. It's got to be more than that. You've got to bring transparency and open the windows and the doors and let's see what's going on. Let's see how the sausage is made.”

Ecabert agreed that the sport needs to do a better job when it comes to catching the cheaters and said the HBPA is fine with more aggressive measures to do so.

“I agree that there should be some type of multi-jurisdictional investigative agency and that can be funded by the federal government,” he said. “That could have the powers sort of like what HISA has or that the state racing commissions have to go in and do investigations. That's the way that Navarro and Servis were caught, through private investigation and not to the testing.”

He said that horsemen need to do a better job policing their own and should speak up if they see someone doing something they shouldn't.

“With the horsemen, nobody wants to be a squealer,” he said. “That has been frowned upon for years. But maybe that's where we need to be, that if you feel like somebody is really doing something, there ought to be a someone you  can to go to to report them without repercussions. Then, that somebody should be investigated and checked out. Don't do it because you got beat in a race. That's not the way it should be. But if you feel like you see some things going on that shouldn't be going on, report that and let's let's clean up whatever needs to be cleaned up. But again, we feel that, on the whole, 99% of the horsemen are hard working, doing things right and complying with the rules.”

Elsewhere on the podcast, which is also sponsored by Coolmore, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, XBTV and https://www.threechimneys.com/ West Point Thoroughbreds, Randy Moss, Bill Finley and Zoe Cadman took a look back at the GI Clark S. and the impressive victory by Hoosier Philly (Into Mischief) in the GII Golden Rod S. And the team looked ahead to this weekend's races, which are topped by GI Cigar Mile H. at Aqueduct and the GI Hollywood Derby at Del Mar.

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