Proposed HISA Drug Control Program Rule Changes Sent For Public Comment

Sarah Andrew


The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act's (HISA) has sent a set of proposed changes to its drug control program to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for public comment.

The proposed changes to HISA's anti-doping and medication control (ADMC) program will be posted on the federal register. Historically, public comment has been for 14 days. It is currently unclear, however, exactly when the proposed changes will be posted to the federal register.

After the public comment period, the FTC will then decide which proposed changes to approve or deny. Until then, the current ADMC rules will remain in place.

The proposed changes–substantial in many parts–concern six different areas of the ADMC program, the red-lined documents for which can be read here: General Provisions, The ADMC Protocol, the Prohibited Substance and Methods list, testing and investigation standards, laboratory standards for accreditation, and arbitration procedures.

A slate of proposed changes includes the following:


  • A ban on the “injection or attempted injection” of any substance–prohibited or not–during the “Race Period,” though with certain extenuating circumstances. The race period is 48 hours before post-time or before a vet's list workout. The proposed rule change pertains to “any type of injection, including (without limitation) intravenous, intramuscular, intra-articular, peri-articular, peri-tendinous, epidural, intra-dermal, or subcutaneous.”


  • Updated rules on permissible actions from a “covered person” during a provisional suspension or a period of ineligibility, and revised sanctions for breaking these rules. This includes a ban on purchasing or claiming horses during this time, or from being “employed or otherwise engaged or contracted in any capacity involving Covered Horses.”


  • Revisions to split sample analysis, including a new provision requiring the relevant laboratory to “create a video recording of the opening and identification of the B Sample,” which ultimately will be sent to the responsible person and the horse's owner.


  • The document concerning “Arbitration Procedures” has been heavily revised regarding how arbitral body and internal adjudication panel members are selected, who can sit on them, and how such proceedings are conducted. They include expanding the arbitral body selection process to include possibly “contracting a third-party organization to administer the Arbitral Body.”


  • Updated sanctions for positive tests involving drugs deemed “human substances of abuse.”

These drugs include Cocaine/Benzoylecognine, Methamphetamine, Methaqualone, Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), Methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA), Methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA), Oxycodone, Phencyclidine (PCP), and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).


In a press release, HISA wrote how the proposed changes to the ADMC rules “were developed after months of dialogue with and feedback from racing participants across the country,” including the horsemen's group advising HISA.

“During this time, the proposed rules were shared with industry members for informal comments and published on HISA's website for additional industry input,” the press release states.

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