Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority

HISA Releases Annual Metrics Report

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's 2023 annual metrics report shows advances in the implementation of national uniform practices, the building up of the HISA Portal, which contains a broad spectrum of equine treatment and other health records, and driving collaboration and cooperation across the industry, the organization said in a release Wednesday. "Our inaugural annual report reflects our journey toward a safer, fairer and more resilient future for horse racing," said HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus. "The success of HISA's programs relies on steady partnership among the tracks, trainers, riders,...

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Weekly Rulings: March 22-27

Every week, the TDN posts a roundup of the relevant Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) related rulings from around the country. Among this most recent set of rulings, trainer Robert Fiesman was suspended seven days and fined $1,000 for his second positive finding for phenylbutazone since HISA's anti-doping and medication control program (ADMC) went into effect. Phenylbutazone is a Class C controlled medication under HISA. A second Class C offense within a 2-year period comes with a maximum 15-day suspension and $1,000 fine. Jonathan Maldonado has similarly been suspended...

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Sales Companies Jointly Announce Strengthened Medication Policies

Enhanced medication policies will be in effect at all the major auctions in the U.S. beginning July 1, leading North American sales companies Keeneland Association, Fasig-Tipton Company and Ocala Breeders' Sales Company jointly announced Tuesday morning. The changes were made in an effort "to safeguard the welfare of the horse while creating greater clarity and consistency among the nation's three major U.S. Thoroughbred auction houses," according to the release, and are the result of meetings between the three companies begun last October at the behest of the Horseracing Integrity and...

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Letter to the Editor: HISA Board Chair Charles Scheeler on HISA's Approach to Banned Substances

HISA's mission is to protect the integrity of competition and the welfare of horses in the Thoroughbred racing industry. The Banned Substances list, set forth under HISA's Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program, is one of the many ways HISA advances this mission. Under HISA's ADMC Program, substances with no legitimate, medically justified use in Thoroughbreds are among those classified as Banned Substances, just as they are under the anti-doping programs being run by other equine sports' governing bodies. Many "non-approved substances" on the Banned Substances list have not been...

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Slight Uptick in Rate of Fatal Injuries in 2023

According to numbers compiled by The Jockey Club for its Equine Injury Database (EID), there were 1.32 fatalities per 1,000 starts at North American racetracks in 2023. That was slightly worse than in 2022 when the number was 1.25, the lowest rate of fatalities since The Jockey Club started compiling numbers in 2009. It was the first time the number had increased year-over-year since 2018 when there were 1.68 fatalities per 1,000 starters. Nonetheless, the figures showed that the sport has made obvious strides since 2009 when it comes to...

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The Week in Review: HISA Needs to Expand Oversight to Include 2-Year-Old Sales

The team at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company does everything it can to run a clean sale. Under OBS's conditions of sale, no medication may be administered within 24 hours of a horse's under-tack performance, 10 to 15% of the horses who are going to sell are tested, and in 2019, OBS prohibited the use of bronchodilators like Clenbuterol at all of its sales. It may not be enough. The Jeffrey Englehart story has suggested that may be the case. Englehart bought a Classic Empire colt at the OBS auction...

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Letter to the Editor: Detection of Banned Drugs in Horses

As a Clinical Pharmacologist (human) and an avid horse player, I have grown tired of these instances of biologic samples from horses having banned substances found and the "interesting" explanations as to how the exposure happened. One recent example was a story of a horse in which three samples of blood had metformin (a drug used to treat type II diabetes in humans) detected. The explanation was that a groom and later the trainer was taking metformin and "touched the horse's face." This explanation is questionable from a clinical pharmacology...

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Hardy Joins HISA Horsemen's Advisory Group

Veterinarian Dr. Michael Hardy has joined the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's Horsemen's Advisory Group, the organization announced in a release Tuesday. The advisory group of racing industry participants was formed by HISA in 2022 to provide formal feedback to HISA's executive team and standing committees on the implementation and evolution of its Racetrack Safety and Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) regulations. "The Horsemen's Advisory Group continues to provide HISA with invaluable input, and we're thrilled to have Dr. Michael Hardy join the group," said HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus. "In...

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Weekly Rulings: December 19-25

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 week, trainer Bonnie Lucas was suspended seven days after a post-race Xylazine positive in a sample taken from Tankinator, who was injured and vanned off in a race at Parx Racing on Nov. 7. Xylazine is a Class B controlled medication under HISA that can be used to sedate racehorses. It remains unclear whether Tankinator was euthanized as a result of...

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West Virginia Trims Dates For '24, Exact Schedules Hinge On Outcome of HISA Legality

Both Charles Town Races and Mountaineer Park got approval Wednesday from the West Virginia Racing Commission (WVRC) to reduce live racing dates in 2024 compared to recent seasons. The Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) chapters at both tracks supported the diminished schedules based on available purse funds and projected horse populations. Right now the placeholders are 158 dates for Charles Town and 121 for Mountaineer. But the exact number of programs will ultimately be contingent on the outcome of several overlapping federal lawsuits that have to do with the...

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HISA Launches App To Streamline Equine Treatment Report Entry

HISA has launched MedEnt, an app designed to give veterinarians a streamlined process for entering treatments into the HISA portal on mobile devices, the organization said in a release Wednesday. The app reinforces HISA's commitment to working with veterinarians and other stakeholders to improve HISA's processes as well as its focus on leveraging technology to advance equine health. Attending veterinarians can use the app on their smartphones or tablets to access the list of horses under their care, add treatment reports and update protocols. In cases where they are giving...

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Lawyers Available for HISA Covered Person Pro Bono Program

A trio of law firms will now be available to provide pro-bono legal representation to eligible recipients under the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA)'s newly established program. The program, open to covered persons who fall below a certain income threshold and are alleged to have violated HISA's Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program, will match recipients with volunteer attorneys who have agreed to provide legal services without any expectation of compensation. The participating lawyers include Howard Jacobs, Jackson Kelly's Equine Group, and Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, LLP. "We are...

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