Q and A With Lucinda Finley: A Lot Rests on Pending Fifth Circuit HISA Ruling

Earlier this month, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans heard oral arguments in a pivotal case—led by the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA)—seeking to overturn the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) on grounds that it is constitutionally flawed. In short, the Fifth Circuit's pending ruling could have profound implications for the short and long-term future of the federal law. Oral arguments in the Fifth Circuit follow a key decision earlier this year out of the United States Court of Appeals...

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Mount Fee Increase For All Kentucky Racetracks

The Jockeys' Guild has reached an agreement with the Kentucky HBPA and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association on a mount fee increase effective Nov. 29, which is opening day of the Turfway Park Holiday meet, the organization said in a release Wednesday. The mount fee schedule calls for a minimum fee of $125 at all Kentucky racetracks, including Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Ellis Park, Kentucky Downs and Turfway Park. This agreement also provides for $500 minimum fee in races with purses of $1 million or more. "On behalf of our members who...

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Turf Paradise's Simulcast Extended, Plans To Card Races In Early January

The Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has extended Turf Paradise's contract to simulcast races for wagering until Nov. 12, the Phoenix track said in a tweet Thursday morning. The extension avoids a shutdown of the track's 37 Off Track Betting sites. A new live horse racing meet is scheduled to start in early January. The news comes after Turf Paradise reported Sept. 19 that the owner of the track, Jerry Sims, would be retiring and that no more live racing or simulcasting would take place after Oct. 1. Additional...

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HBPA: Negotiations Between HISA And Sales Companies Equate To 'Preferential Treatment' For Breeders

Two days after the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) Authority disclosed at a press conference last week that it had initiated discussions with sales companies in an attempt to bring about voluntary compliance with medication policies throughout the lifetimes of Thoroughbreds, the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) went on record with a letter filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit alleging that those efforts equate to improper rulemaking by the Authority and "preferential treatment" for breeders. The purpose of the HISA Authority's...

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Judge Halts Anti-HISA Suit in Louisiana Pending Outcome of HBPA Case in U.S. Appeals Court

A federal judge has stayed a 14-month-old lawsuit initiated by the states of Louisiana and West Virginia that is trying to wipe out the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) via alleged constitutional violations, ordering the case to be "administratively terminated" until the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals makes a ruling in a separate suit in which the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) is also alleging HISA is unconstitutional. However, U.S. District Court (Western District of Louisiana) Chief Judge Terry Doughty wrote in his Sept. 14 ruling...

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HBPA: 'Best Of Both Worlds' For HISA Is 'Worst Of All Worlds' For Horsemen

With oral arguments in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit now five weeks away, the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) filed a legal brief Aug. 25 underscoring that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) Authority unconstitutionally "wants the best of both worlds" by allegedly portraying itself as both a governmental body or a private organization "depending on which suits its interests on any individual argument." "Sometimes [the Authority] wants to be like a government entity, with the power to compel registration, collect mandatory...

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HISA Proposes $80.9 Million 2024 Budget

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) has released its proposed budget for 2024, totaling $80.96 million, including $38.7 million earmarked for the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU), the drug testing arm of the federal program. The total fee assessments for the states and racetracks come out to $78.5 million, but available credits potentially bring that number down to $59.8 million. HISA's 2023 total budget was initially set at $72.5 million. That number was subsequently revised down to $66.4 million earlier this year. The proposed 2024 budget was issued...

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Open Letter To The Industry: Thomas B. Little DVM

In horse racing, the betting public counts on owners and trainers trying to win within safe and lawful parameters. A critical component associated with both is the private veterinary practitioners they employ to help prepare the horse for competition. To date there is no evidence that the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Act and the private corporation Authority (both known as HISA) that the legislation birthed has given any thought to the role of the private practitioner except to mandate onerous and dubious vaccinations, piling on bureaucratic duties and counterproductive medication...

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Oaklawn's Purse Growth Continues

The largest purse increase in Oaklawn Park history was unveiled in a release Wednesday by the track. Purse distribution for the upcoming 2023-2024 season is set for $60 million, which amounts to a $10 million or 20% increase over last season's record-setting $50 million distribution. The average daily purses will top $900,000 when the season starts on Dec. 8. Purses for allowance races will be $140,000--$145,000, maiden special weights will be $115,000 and the minimum purse on any race will be $30,000. "Let me put this in perspective," said Oaklawn...

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Letter To The Editor: An Open Letter To The Horsemen

by Beau Lane Rumor has it that Mike Repole said he was going to get out of the business if things didn't change. Well, I can see how Mr. Repole could feel that way; he's had some real kicks in the behind this year. But the racing industry needs more people like Mike Repole. He goes to the sales, buys nice horses, goes to the races, and takes his chances. He spends more than most and has Todd Pletcher for a trainer (there is no better), and so his chances...

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HBPA On HISA: This Court's Job Is To Again Tell Congress 'No'

With oral arguments tentatively scheduled for the first week in October, the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) and 12 of its affiliates told the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Wednesday that the rewritten version of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) remains "patently unconstitutional," and that the Authority overseeing the sport "is basically a private police department" whose sweeping powers equate to "oligarchic tyranny." As the appellants in a lawsuit that has persisted in the federal court system for more than 27...

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Invaluable Named Claiming Crown Horse of the Year

Invaluable (Include) was named the 2022 Claiming Crown Horse of the Year by the National HBPA's Industry Awards Committee chaired by Todd Mostoller from the Pennsylvania HBPA. Invaluable will be recognized at the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association annual awards dinner on Sept. 9. Trainer Mike Maker and owner Peter Proscia's Paradise Farms Corp. claimed Invaluable, then 5 years old, in the final days of Saratoga's 2022 meet with the intention of running in the Claiming Crown on Nov . 12 at Churchill Downs. After finishing third in a $10,000...

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