Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act

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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Virginia Vet Daniels Elected National HBPA President

Dr. Doug Daniels, a horse owner and equine veterinarian, was elected president of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association at the organization's full board meeting last week at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, Iowa. Daniels, the lone candidate to replace Leroy Gessmann, has been vice president of the Virginia HBPA and a member of the executive committee of the National HBPA since 2019. In addition to his Virginia Equine PLLC practice, Daniels also works for the Virginia Racing Commission when his services are required as a regulatory...

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West Virginia Advances Model Rules; 2022 Implementation Hinges On Legislature

After a failed attempt last year to adopt a group of drug-related model rules that every other racing jurisdiction in the mid-Atlantic region has already implemented, the West Virginia Racing Commission (WVRC) on Monday voted 2-0 to advance to the state legislature new regulations concerning medication abuse and stepped-up penalty scales. The July 12 passage of new rules concerning clenbuterol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, intra-articular injections and the adoption of the most current Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances list did not come without drama and several detours. In fact, much...

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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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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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Second Lawsuit Against HISA Seeking Supporters

A second and separate federal lawsuit that would attempt to keep the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) from being implemented on grounds of alleged unconstitutionally continues its way through the legal pipeline. Different from the March complaint filed by various Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Associations against members who represent the HISA "Authority" and the Federal Trade Commission, this yet-to-be-filed lawsuit is being spearheaded by the Oklahoma Attorney General in conjunction with that state's racing commission. Various other racing commissions are apparently being courted as co-plaintiffs, and on Apr. 20...

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Op/Ed Feedback: Why Is Legality Considered Optional?

by Peter Ecabert Bill Finley, in his Mar. 17 TDN opinion piece on the National HBPA challenging the legality of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, wrote: "It's hard to imagine that there is one horseman anywhere who cares one bit whether or not HISA is unconstitutional or not." To Mr. Finley, it doesn't matter if this legislation, ramrodded through to passage with no Senate Committee discussion or debate as a little-known add-on to December's COVID relief bill, is legal or not. Who cares about the law's legality? he asks....

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Horsemen's Groups File Federal Lawsuit Over HISA

Organizations representing some Thoroughbred horse owners and trainers have filed a federal lawsuit to stop the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), signed into law in the U.S. Congress's December omnibus spending bill. The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (National HBPA) and state affiliates in Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia are suing HISA's newly-created "Authority" to regulate the sport and the Federal Trade Commissioners. In addition, they are suing the Nominating Committee and asking the court to immediately stop them from...

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Feds Slam Alleged Dopers' Assertion That HISA Creates Loophole

Prosecutors in the racehorse doping conspiracy case that ensnared 29 racetrackers, veterinarians and pharmaceutical brokers one year ago tried to convince a federal judge Friday that recent motions made by some of the defendants to dismiss drug alteration and misbranding charges are "without merit" and represent "an effort to invent a statutory limitation where none exists." The government's memorandum of law filed Mar. 5 in United States District Court (Southern District of New York) addresses a number of alleged legal flaws in the defendants' motions to dismiss, including several that...

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Hunter Rankin Named CDI Senior Director of Racing

Hunter Rankin has been hired as Senior Director of Racing for Churchill Downs Incorporated, CDI announced Tuesday. The role was recently vacated following Mike Ziegler's promotion to General Manager of Churchill Downs Racetrack in December 2020. As CDI's Senior Director of Racing, Rankin will act as a representative and liaison to the U.S. Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry and focus on the implementation of standards and processes outlined in the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act ("HISA") across all of CDI's racing properties. "Hunter brings to this role a breadth of...

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Writers' Room Exclusive: USADA CEO Travis Tygart Explains How His Anti-Doping Team Will Clean Up Racing

Not too long ago, Lance Armstrong was revered as an American hero. The winner of seven straight Tour de France titles, Armstrong brought the sport of cycling into the mainstream and the story of his unprecedented success after recovering from testicular cancer inspired athletes everywhere. But, as the public later found out, it was all built on a lie. Armstrong was a cheater, and his extensive involvement in an explosive doping scandal tarnished his legacy forever, stripping him of nearly all of his fraudulently-gained athletic accomplishments. The revelations from that...

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Breeders' Cup Prohibiting Lasix In Challenge Series Races

The 2021 Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Challenge Series races will be run without Lasix, it was announced Wednesday. Breeders' Cup officials also revealed that graded stakes points for the purposes of selection by committee into a Breeders' Cup race will only be awarded for graded races that are contested Lasix-free. Horses that raced on the 'Future Stars Friday' program of the 2020 Breeders' Cup World Championships were forbidden from running on Lasix, in addition to a large number of juvenile races across the country over the course of...

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