Open Letter To HISA's Proposed Regulations

The paddock at Churchill Downs | Coady

Edited Press Release

The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Associations, Inc, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Thoroughbred Owners of California, and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association collectively have established a diverse group of experienced horsemen, regulators, and veterinarians to review the extensive documents regarding HISA's proposed rules. Each reviewer provided written comments in an open letter to HISA and they are summarized below.

Racetrack vs Training Facilities–The inclusion of training facilities in the statute was designed to ensure that horsemen could not evade the requirements for racetracks by stabling at training facilities. HISA needs to provide clear guidance on what is permitted and prohibited at training facilities and how such facilities will be regulated.

Lasix Prohibition–The statute affords the opportunity to HISA to study whether such a prohibition should apply based upon solid scientific evidence which currently does not exist.
The Lists of Controlled Substances and Specified Substances-HISA needs to provide the industry with the list of Controlled Medications and guidance regarding their use. The same applies to the Specified Substances, as we know that there are Prohibited Substances that may be introduced into the horse via contamination that need to be identified, as well as Prohibited Substances for which a Therapeutic Use Exemption should be provided.

Arbitration–HISA's rules will have every violator seeking legal advice and incurring costs for mandatory briefs and legal filings that will be cost prohibitive. Although we understand the need for transparency, it cannot be at the expense of owners and trainers, who are entitled to have their reputations protected until due process is afforded.

Drug Testing of Claimed Horses–It is unclear whether HISA will require all claimed horses to be drug tested post-race. If it is HISA's intention to drug test all claimed horses, we think it is a costly mistake and untenable. Further, given that a claimed horse is transferred immediately and a drug test may take several weeks, voiding a claim could result in chaos involving the horse and unnecessary litigation.

Responsibilities of Veterinarians and Other Covered Persons–HISA needs to put more emphasis on the veterinary-owner-trainer relationship and hold veterinarians accountable for their role in doping and medication cases. Similarly, where racetracks can provide support and authority, particularly security, and fail to do so, there appears to be little accountability.

Multi-Owner Entities–The decision as to who is the Designated or Managing Owner of a multi-owner entity should rest with the entity and not HISA. There is no requirement that a Managing Owner has to own at least 50% of the entity. The only requirement should be that such individual must be licensed by a racing commission and registered with HISA.

Official Timed Works–The definition of “official timed works” is not consistent with current practice. Many training centers provide published works but not by an “official clocker,” which has repeatedly been referenced as the differentiating factor for “official timed works.”

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