Weekly Stewards And Commissions Rulings: Nov. 21-27, 2023

Every week, the TDN posts a roundup of the relevant Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) related rulings from around the country. Among the key rulings from the last seven days, it appears once again that the rules barring intra-articular injections within seven days of a timed or reported workout are tripping up trainers, with one such case resolved and another three introduced to the "pending rulings" list. NEW HISA/HIWU STEWARDS RULINGS The following rulings were reported on HISA's "rulings" portal and through the HIWU's "pending" and "resolved" cases portals....

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NYTHA President Nominee Q&A: Chad Summers

The position of New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA) president is up for grabs at a time of great upheaval for horse racing in the state. Belmont Park is poised to undergo a $455-million overhaul, after which Aqueduct is set to close its doors. Within a few years, horse racing in New York will look drastically different to what it looks like today. This is also a period of tremendous existential challenge for the sport, as evidenced by a recent 60 Minutes expose on the industry's doping problems. Among the...

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HISA: No Specific Cause for Laurel Fatalities Last Spring, Mirroring No-Fault Findings in Churchill Deaths

A months-long investigation by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) Authority on a cluster of 13 Thoroughbred fatalities at Laurel Park during this year's winter and spring meets has determined that the deaths could not be attributed to any specific, obvious cause. The Nov. 28 report essentially reached the same no-obvious-fault finding that HISA announced back on Sept. 12 after it completed a separate-and similarly exhaustive-report on the 12 equine fatalities that occurred at Churchill Downs in April and May of 2023. "Based on the evidence and information available...

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Enforcement of HISA Rule Modification Regarding Iron Dextran Begins Dec. 27

Following the Federal Trade Commission's approval to add iron dextran to the Banned Substances list under the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's (HISA) Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program rules, the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU) announced Tuesday that it will use the next 30 days as an educational period to give Covered Persons time to adapt to the new rule. Enforcement of the iron dextran rule will begin December 27, 2023. As a reminder, the use/attempted use, administration/attempted administration, possession, or trafficking of a Banned Substance constitutes an...

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HISA Releases Data Disclosure Policy

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) said that despite not being subject to the Freedom of Information Act, they will release certain data beginning in the first quarter of 2024. The news of their formal data disclosure policy, which includes the routine public release of data collected through its Racetrack Safety (RS) and Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Programs, as well as a process through which individuals may request additional records from HISA, was announced in a press release Monday morning. The release reads: "The Horseracing Integrity and Safety...

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What 60 Minutes Got Wrong, and What It Got Right

After the venerable and influential news show 60 Minutes aired a piece on horse racing last week, people within the industry were understandably upset. The story was ugly, filled with graphic and grisly coverage of horses breaking down, and portrayed racing as a sport where drugs, corruption and horse fatalities had reached the point of being out of control. "Horse racing is an industry where extremely devoted people labor because of one common thing: we all love horses, especially thoroughbred horses," Denali Stud's Craig Bandoroff wrote to 60 Minutes. "That...

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Post-Race Samples From 2023 Breeders' Cup Cleared By HIWU

All post-race test samples taken from contenders in the 2023 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park earlier this month have been cleared by the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU). 2023 marked the first year the Breeders' Cup World Championships were run under the full jurisdiction of the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Authority (HISA), including the Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program, which took effect in May of this year and is implemented and enforced by HIWU. As was the case under Breeders' Cup's anti-doping and medication control...

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After 60 Minutes Segment, NTRA's Tom Rooney Urges Commitment to Reforms

Three days after the 60 Minutes segment "Horse Racing Reform?" which covered doping in horse racing, HISA, and breakdowns, Tom Rooney, the President and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, stressed the need to commit to and better communicate the reforms racing is making. Rooney issued a statement that said: "Issues raised in recent media accounts are a reminder of why the public needs to know about the significant progress the sport of Thoroughbred racing has made in equine safety over the last few years. On behalf of NTRA...

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Weekly Stewards and Commissions Rulings: Nov 7-13

Every week, the TDN posts a roundup of the relevant Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) related rulings from around the country. Among the key rulings from the last seven days, trainer Natalia Lynch has been handed down a combined four-year suspension by an arbitrator, and a combined $55,000 in fines and arbitration costs. Lynch had faced sanctions for two separate issues. One was for the possession of banned thyroid drug, Levothyroxine. The other was a positive test for another banned substance, Altrenogest—a synthetic progestin used in horses for the purpose of suppressing...

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Trainer Lynch Plans Appeal After HIWU Arbitrator Imposes 4-Year Banned Substances Suspension

Natalia Lynch, a Belmont Park-based trainer who has been licensed since 2020, has been penalized with a four-year suspension and a $50,000 fine after a Nov. 9 Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU) arbitration judgment found her to be in violation of two separate anti-doping rules, one for the presence of a banned substance (Altrenogest) in a horse, and another for possession of a different prohibited drug (Thyro-L). Lynch's attorney, John Mac Hayes, told TDN Monday that the trainer plans to appeal the arbitration result to a Federal Trade Commission...

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Proposed HISA Drug Control Program Rule Changes Sent For Public Comment

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,...

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60 Minutes Airs Expose On Horse Racing Doping

The CBS news program "60 Minutes," which aired Sunday evening included a segment that covered horse racing's worst problems, horses breaking down and dying and the use of performance-enhancing drugs on horses. 60 Minutes often reaches as many as 12 million viewers. The segment was hosted by correspondent Cecilia Vega. Though the program gave ample time to Jockey Club Chairman Stuart Janney III, Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority CEO Lisa Lazarus, Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural, and others who have been working to solve the problems, it left no doubt that...

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