By T. D. Thornton
As the Breeders' Cup is on the cusp of running its two-day championships for the first time under the regulations of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA)'s Racetrack Safety Program, and with the roll-out of HISA's Anti-Doping and Medication Control rules expected to be implemented in under two months, HISA chief executive officer Lisa Lazarus detailed a timetable for industry stakeholders at a Keeneland press conference Wednesday morning.
“January 1 will not only be the start of the year, it will be the beginning of a new era in racing,” Lazarus said. “For the first time we will have all 28 or so jurisdictions that run Thoroughbred races operating under one set of uniform anti-doping rules.
“The most critical points to be aware of [are that] every single sample will be analyzed for the exact same substances across every jurisdiction. We are working with the laboratories to make sure that they're all reporting positive results at the same levels. So, you know, it's one thing to have uniform rules. But having uniform implementation is really important to make sure you have a generally uniform system.
“This is what everyone's been waiting for. And we're going to be able to deliver that on Jan. 1. There are 14 states that are racing Jan. 1, and the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU) is very, very deep in preparations to deliver that program,” Lazarus said.
HIWU is the entity that will operate HISA's anti-doping program. Lazarus explained that HISA creates the rules HIWU will enforce, and that those rules first have to be approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Lazarus said she expects that to happen “in short order.”
According to the FTC, the public commentary period for those new rules ends on Nov. 14.
“What's great about [this regulatory framework] is that you have genuine independence, impartiality, across all of the states,” Lazarus said. “You have consistent enforcement, consistent adjudication. You'll see that cases will be decided quickly. It will be a lot quicker than you're used to. They'll be decided through an arbitration system, and an appeal system through the FTC process, not in state courts. And the importance of that uniformity, we really believe is going to be a game-changer for horse racing.
“It's important, obviously, as we enter into this era that we have cooperation from the states, from the racetracks,” Lazarus continued. “And I'll say that since we've gotten started with the Racetrack Safety Program, that cooperation has gotten better and better every day. Understandably, anything completely new and sort of transformational takes some time, and takes kind of fixing a little bit of trial and error.”
HIWU executive director Ben Mosier noted that “HIWU will maintain its own investigations team, and we hope to also work with state racing commissions and others that can help us with 'boots on the ground' and investigations in live settings. We will also be establishing a tip line for whistleblowers, starting Jan. 1, and it will be a great for information to be shared with us for possible anti-doping and controlled medication concerns.
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