HISA

The Week in Review: Vitali Starting a Horse at Saratoga Is Not OK

The system, whatever that has come to mean, failed badly last week when Marcus Vitali, one of the sport's most controversial trainers, was allowed to start a horse at Saratoga. Then again, should anyone have been surprised? This was just the latest example of this being a sport that is so dysfunctional, its regulatory systems so weak, that it is completely unable to police itself. Help is on its way. Some day, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) will be implemented and a central body led by the U.S....

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HISA Board Chair: We Will Be Tough

Addressing the media Wednesday through a Zoom call, Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority Chair Charles Scheeler said that the authority will go to great lengths to clean up the sport and its efforts will include increased out-of-competition testing and investigative work that goes beyond the standard methods of drug testing. When asked whether or not rules and penalties under the authority may be stricter than they are currently with state racing commissions, Scheeler replied: "It's certainly a possibility in some areas." He continued: "We need to make it so...

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First Meeting for HISA Board; Scheeler Elected Chair

Edited Press Release The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's board of directors recently held its inaugural meeting and elected Charles Scheeler as chairperson of the board. This meeting marks a major step in the operational and organizational transition of the Authority from the nomination and selection process to the critical work of developing uniform safety and integrity rules for the horse racing industry. "I'm honored to be selected by my fellow board members as the first chairperson of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. We have a monumental task ahead...

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Congressmen File Amicus Brief In Support of HISA

The lead congressional sponsors of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Representatives Andy Barr (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY), have filed a 14-page amicus ('friend of the court') brief in response to a lawsuit filed by the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and some of its affiliates, challenging its constitutionality. The brief lays out the reasons why HISA is necessary to protect and preserve the future of horse racing, deliberations in Congress over the course of several years that included input from all...

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ARCI Working On 'Smooth Transition' to HISA

Association of Racing Commissioners International Chair Robert Lopez said today that the U.S. members of ARCI are focused on a smooth and expeditious implementation of the newly enacted Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. "We view this as an opportunity to achieve improvements we support and believe necessary," Lopez said. "Uniform rules, uniform testing, expanded jurisdiction over horses, and the creation of a multi-jurisdictional investigative entity are all tremendous improvements that will result from this law," added Ed Martin, ARCI's President. ARCI had, in the past, advocated a different path to...

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Baffert Reveals Betamethasone Positive for Derby Winner Medina Spirit

Bob Baffert told the media Sunday morning at Churchill Downs that his stable has been informed by the Kentucky Racing Commission that GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (Protonico) tested positive for the medication betamethasone in post-race tests conducted after the Derby. In a 13-minute press conference (video) at his barn on the Churchill Downs backstretch Baffert, denied any wrongdoing. "All I can tell you is that betamethasone is an allowed therapeutic medication, but we did not give it to this horse," Baffert said. "In fact, Medina Spirit has never...

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Op/Ed: HISA Necessary for Our Future

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...

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Board and Standing Committee of HISA Announced

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's nominating committee announced its board of directors and standing committees. The process was led by Nancy Cox, University of Kentucky vice president for land-grant engagement and dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and Leonard Coleman, former president of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs. The nine-person board includes five members from outside of the Thoroughbred industry and four industry representatives. The two chairs of the Authority's standing committees serve on the board of directors, and the board is expected to...

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Feds: HBPA 'Jumped the Gun' in HISA Lawsuit

Federal attorneys want the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA)'s anti-constitutionality lawsuit thrown out of court, arguing that the HBPA's allegations of injury regarding the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) "are entirely threadbare" because no rules, regulations or fees have been established by the not-yet-in-effect regulatory body. "Plaintiffs jumped the gun bringing this constitutional challenge," the federal government stated in an Apr. 30 motion to dismiss filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. "Their complaint questions the validity of a law that currently...

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Oklahoma Attorney General Files Lawsuit Challenging HISA

A federal lawsuit spearheaded by the state of Oklahoma to try and get the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) voided for alleged constitutional violations was filed Monday, meaning there are now two active legal challenges in the United States court system attempting to derail the regulatory powers of the HISA "Authority" prior to that regulatory body's planned 2022 phase-in. According to a press release issued by the state attorney general's office in Oklahoma, the suit is challenging that "HISA gives a private corporation broad regulatory authority over Oklahoma's horse...

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Canterbury VP Andrew Offerman Joins Writers' Room

With smaller tracks gradually disappearing over time, it takes a concerted effort to build a fan customer base that can sustain your business in a non-marquee racing state. Minnesota's Canterbury Park is one of those outliers, a track whose management has put in the work to run a profitable enterprise while managing to attract novice fans and satisfy horseplayers alike, all without the buttressing revenue of slots. Wednesday morning, Canterbury's VP of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland to talk about the track's blueprint...

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Letter to Editor: Victoria Keith

This is in response to Bill Finley's editorial "Horsemen's Groups Turn Their Backs on Honest Trainers, Owners". I don't share the opinion that "every honest horseman should be 100% behind the Horseracing Integrity Safety and Integrity Act (HISA)." I do agree that every honest horseman wants to see our sport cleaned up and cheaters caught and removed. The points of disagreement in the HISA bill have been the removal of race-day Lasix and funding, which I'm not addressing here, and the makeup and selection process for the HISA governing bodies....

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