Op/Ed: HISA Necessary for Our Future

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Mark Casse with his 2019 Belmont S. winner, Sir Winston | Sarah Andrew

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At the end of 2020, I was happy to hear that an important piece of legislation geared toward keeping our horses safe, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), was signed into law. I chose to support HISA because it will establish the same medication rules and penalties at every track in every jurisdiction in the United States, which makes for fair and equal competition, promotes equine welfare and punishes those who cross the line. This week, I read the news that the governing authority established by HISA announced its board of directors, and even though I don't recognize every name on the list, the fact that this law is becoming a reality brings me hope for the future of the sport I love.

As someone who has been around racehorses since I could walk and has trained them for more than 40 years, horse racing is my life. I take pride in my training operation, which has competed at the highest levels while prioritizing equine welfare and conducting ourselves with integrity. Unfortunately, not all horsemen can say the same. Some use nefarious medications to mask injuries and make their horses perform better while others only run their horses in states where they can take advantage of lax rules. On numerous occasions, I have speculated that my horses were not competing on a level playing field simply because my team and I follow the rules that others bend and ignore.

As I said before, I love this sport and the horses that I get to work with every day, and ensuring they can have a sustainable future is important to me and my family. I believe that HISA is necessary for that future.

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