Jockey's Guild

HISA Appeal to be Argued Aug. 30; Judge Denies Contempt Motion

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will now hear oral arguments Aug. 30--slightly earlier than expected--in the injunction appeal brought by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Authority (HISA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Both entities are defendants in an underlying lawsuit that alleges unconstitutionality and federal rulemaking procedure violations regarding HISA's initial framework of regulations that went into effect July 1. The Appeals Court docket previously indicated a September oral argument date was being planned. At issue in the appeal is whether a lower...

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Industry Will Pay Twice For HISA Litigation

Barely six weeks into its existence as the sport's national rule enforcer, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) has spent $1.8 million defending itself in four separate lawsuits currently pending or under appeal in federal court. But the true irony behind the spiraling costs of the anti-HISA litigation is that almost all entities--owners, trainers, jockeys, tracks, racing commissions and states--are going to have to pay twice, regardless of the final outcomes of those complex lawsuits. That's because plaintiffs like the Jockeys' Guild and various horsemen's associations will spend their...

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HISA: Guild's Claim of Contempt 'Fails the Straight-Face Test'

Defending itself against contempt-of-court allegations for purportedly violating an under-dispute preliminary injunction order by imposing riding infraction penalties upon Jockeys' Guild members nationwide, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Authority (HISA) fired back in federal court Tuesday with a filing that stated the plaintiffs' argument "fails the straight-face test." At issue is the still-disputed nature of the wording in a July 26 injunction order out of United States District Court (Western District of Louisiana), which stated that HISA rules would be enjoined in two plaintiff states until a June 29...

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Appeals Court Revisits Some Elements of HISA Stay Order

A panel of three judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a new, more fine-tuned order Monday in the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Authority (HISA) lawsuit that narrows the scope of an "administrative stay" that same court had issued five days earlier. The Aug. 8 order now means that instead of the entire slate of HISA rules being re-activated in Louisiana and West Virginia (as per the Aug. 3 Appeals Court order that trumped a preliminary injunction issued July 26 by a lower...

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HISA Rules Back in Force Nationwide After Appeals Court Ruling

A temporary "administrative stay" ruling issued Wednesday night by a panel of three judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit means that "pending further consideration," Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Authority (HISA) rules are back in effect nationwide. The Aug. 3 court order trumps a preliminary injunction issued July 26 by a lower U.S. District Court (Western District of Louisiana) judge that had halted the HISA rules in Louisiana and West Virginia pending the outcome of an underlying lawsuit in that court. In that June...

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Three Jockeys to Become Test for Contested HISA Enforcement

The legal rabbit hole deepened on Tuesday in one of four lawsuits designed to derail the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Authority (HISA), pulling jockeys Drayden Van Dyke, Miguel Vazquez and Edwin Gonzalez into the fray as plaintiffs alleged new harms resulting from rule enforcement they believe is in contempt of a court order. Plaintiffs led by Louisiana, West Virginia, and the Jockeys' Guild moved for a federal judge to issue an immediate order to enforce its July 26 injunction to keep Guild-member jockeys from being subject to HISA rules...

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Mulling HISA Injunction, Judge Says No to Lengthy Hearing

After receiving back-and-forth written briefs from both parties on whether or not to impose a preliminary injunction that would halt the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) Authority's rules until a lawsuit challenging them gets decided in full, the judge in charge of the case on Friday denied a request by the plaintiffs to hold a potentially lengthy in-person hearing to debate the issue any further. The plaintiffs, led by the states of Louisiana and West Virginia, plus the Jockeys' Guild and various Louisiana-based "covered persons" under HISA rules, had...

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New Lawsuit Aims to Halt HISA On Eve of Implementation

The states of Louisiana and West Virginia are at the forefront of a new federal lawsuit filed late Wednesday that seeks to block the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) from going into effect when the clock strikes midnight on Friday. The defendants, who consist of the HISA Authority, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and board members and overseers of both entities, have allegedly violated the Fourth, Seventh and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, plus the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which governs the process by which federal agencies...

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New Jersey Racing Commission Rescinds Whip Ban

Monmouth Park jockeys will once again be allowed to use their whips to encourage their mounts when the meet kicks off May 7. The change was made during a special hearing held Friday by the New Jersey Racing Commission, which voted to rescind rules that were put in place prior to the 2021 Monmouth meeting that allowed whipping only in cases where it was needed for safety reasons. New Jersey was the only state in the country where whipping was banned. Monmouth's whipping rules were set to change July 1,...

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Jockeys' Guild Partners With Colonial Downs

The Jockeys' Guild and Colonial Downs Group have entered into a long-term industry partnership agreement. Under the terms of the multi-year deal, Colonial Downs will contribute to the Guild to help subsidize health insurance, life insurance and temporary disability benefits for members who regularly ride at Colonial Downs, as well as benefits for all jockeys who are members of the Jockeys' Guild and ride in the United States. "The safety of both jockeys and equine athletes is a priority at Colonial Downs," said Jill Byrne, Vice-President of Racing Operations at...

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Venezia Award Nominees Announced

Junior Alvarado, Julien Leparoux, Deshawn Parker, Gerard Melancon and Scott Stevens are finalists for the 2021 Mike Venezia Memorial Award, the New York Racing Association announced Sunday. Created in 1989, the Mike Venezia Memorial Award is awarded to a jockey who displays the extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship that personified Venezia, who died as the result of injuries suffered in a spill in 1988. Venezia, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., won more than 2,300 races during his 25-year career. All active jockeys in the continental U.S. are eligible to vote for...

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Revised CHRB Whip Penalties On Target For BC, Largely With Guild's Blessing

In an attempt to get a revised whip violations penalty scheme on the books before Del Mar hosts the Nov. 5-6 Breeders' Cup, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Wednesday advanced a rule amendment that mostly has the blessing of The Jockeys' Guild because it strips out a previously controversial proposal that would have docked jockeys 50% of purse earnings if they over-whipped while finishing first, second or third in graded stakes. That purse penalization had been proposed by the CHRB in March in an attempt to disincentivize riders from...

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