Fifth Circuit Rules No `Emergency' Status in States Vs. HISA Case

The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that it won't treat a request made by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) Authority to vacate a recent panel opinion and reinstate a stay pending appeal as an "emergency" that requires an expedited decision. The decision involves a lawsuit under appeal brought by the states of Louisiana and West Virginia, plus other "covered persons" under HISA, alleging unconstitutionality and federal rulemaking procedure violations. (Note: An earlier version of this story misidentified the plaintiff in the case. The National...

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Attorney, Trainer Vienna Joins Epistolary Exchanges on HISA

As the deadline looms for congress to insert language into the full year-end omnibus spending bill to fix constitutional question marks surrounding the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), proponents and critics of the law have taken to an epistolary standoff. Last week, trainers Wesley Ward and Larry Rivelli issued a letter through the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) critiquing various aspects of the national program for "too many flaws, missteps and costs that could have been averted with true inclusion and transparency in its development." Earlier this...

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Dilger Equine Scholarship Foundation to Host Golf Tournament

The Gerry Dilger Equine Scholarship Foundation will hold its inaugural golf tournament and auction Oct. 10 at Houston Oaks Golf Course in Paris, Kentucky. In a short period of time the foundation has awarded scholarships to eight young people from North America and Europe. This was made possible by the support and collaboration of KEMI, Irish National Stud, Springhouse Farm, Lane's End, University of Limerick, University College Dublin and the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. This inaugural golf tournament has sponsorship and donation opportunities...

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THA Open Letter on HISA

The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Assocation released the following letter on HISA. Click here to read the full letter. Below is an excerpt from the letter: "In short, HISA has survived constitutional challenges and the legal maneuverings now are just a distraction lacking substance. As the federal court said when it granted the limited injunction, if HISA fixes the four issues it specifically addressed as faulty, the case is over. Our view was previously, and continues to be, that litigation would be costly and there is little to gain. HISA was crafted...

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Far Hills to Name Race For John Forbes

The Far Hills steeplechase race meet will honor the late John Forbes--a fixture at Monmouth Park where he trained for 40 years--with the first John Forbes Memorial Race during its six-race program Oct. 15. The 101st Far Hills Race Meeting will offer $575,000 in purses for the six races at Moorland Farm in Far Hills, N.J., highlighted by the $250,000 Grade 1 Grand National. The John Forbes Memorial, the only flat race on the program, will be contested at two miles on the turf. It will go as the final...

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National HBPA Issues Statement on FTC Approval of HISA Safety Rules

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the rules and accreditation standards that comprise the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's (HISA) Racetrack Safety Program on Friday. The National HBPA issued the following statement on Saturday: "The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday, March 3, 2022, issued an order approving without exception all the racetrack safety regulations propounded by the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Authority (HISA). The rubber-stamp order accepted without issue all of the proposed rules as well as acceptance of the Authority's responses to the comments submitted by industry participants....

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IL HBPA Withholds Consent for TwinSpires to be in State

Edited Press Release The organization representing owners and trainers at FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing (formerly known as Fairmount Park) is withholding consent for the TwinSpires betting platform to accept wagers from Illinois residents. The board of the Illinois Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association cites the closure of suburban Chicago's industry icon Arlington Park by Churchill Downs Inc., TwinSpires' parent corporation, as a prime motivation for withholding consent. With CDI not owning a functioning racetrack in Illinois in 2022, TwinSpires must under state law have a contract with another duly...

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Jockey Basketball Game for Charity Returns to the Spa

After a hiatus in 2020 due to COVID-19, the 13th Annual Charity Basketball Game featuring jockeys against horsemen will be held Wednesday, Sept. 1. Proceeds from the event, which will take place at the Saratoga Springs Recreation Center at 6:30 p.m., will benefit the programs of the New York Race Track Chaplaincy. Admission is free. Hall of Famer Angel Cordero, Jr. will coach the jockey team, while 2021 Hall of Fame inductee Todd Pletcher will coach the horsemen team alongside trainer-turned-agent Kiaran McLaughlin. NYRA's Mitch Levites will do the announcing....

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Horsemen File Federal Suit Against New Mexico Commission

Edited Press Release The New Mexico Horsemen's Association filed suit against the New Mexico Racing Commission in federal court late Monday, charging the regulatory body with depriving racehorse owners and trainers of their civil rights and other violations. The horsemen seek compensatory damages, legal fees and other relief the court deems appropriate. "The horsemen finally said, 'Hold it. How many constitutional laws can you continue to violate? How many statutes can you continue to ignore?'" said Gary Mitchell, attorney for the New Mexico Horsemen's Association (NMHA). "The horsemen said, 'Enough....

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Uncertain Future for Arizona Racing Industry

At the Arizona Racing Commission meeting last month, representatives from the state's flagship racetrack, Turf Paradise, announced that they wouldn't be running their scheduled 2020-2021 race meet between November and May, blaming a variety of factors including health concerns due to the global pandemic, and economic question marks surrounding the operations of Off Track Betting (OTBs) facilities. That decision has sown seeds of confusion and doubt among many involved in the state's racing industry--a scenario complicated by ongoing friction between the horsemen and Turf Paradise management. "Definitely a huge impact,"...

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How Much of the Wagering Dollar Actually Goes to Horsemen?

The following is an abridged version of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation's #FreeDataFriday entry for this week. The full version can be read at this link. Here is a simple question: How much revenue does a horse race produce for the horsemen running horses in that race? The answer is incredibly complex, and in many jurisdictions, almost impossible to discern. A publication from the Thoroughbred Owners of California in 2016 offers a glimpse into an answer, at least for races run in that state. While these numbers are likely to have...

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Open Letter to the Industry: #FreeDataFriday – Pandemic Exposes Broken Model

This text is an abridged version of today's Free Data Friday release from the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation. Read the full version here. As the famous proverb goes--the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now. Despite few tracks going forward in recent weeks and little to no competition for wagering, Oaklawn and Gulfstream have reduced purses, blaming the loss of subsidies from now shuttered casinos and the lack of on-track handle. Oaklawn set a new record for single day handle last Saturday, with...

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