National HBPA

HBPA Panel Details Myriad Flaws in HISA

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.--The National HBPA's National Conference at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort kicked off Wednesday morning with a panel on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act entitled "HISA: Where are we now?" It was a question largely answered with more questions, as has been the case with much of the dialogue about HISA since the legislation was passed and signed into law by former President Donald Trump in late 2020 as part of the massive COVID relief bill. The legislation requires the law to go into effect July 1. "I...

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Randy Funkhouser Passes Away

Raymond Joseph "Randy" Funkhouser, II, a longtime member of the Charles Town Horsemen's Benevolent Protective Association (HBPA), passed away Feb. 4. He was 70. Born and raised in Charles Town, West Virginia, Funkhouser returned to Jefferson County after graduating from Stanford University to partner with his mother Ruth and mentor Frank Gall in running O'Sullivan Farms. He was actively involved in the West Virginia Thoroughbred industry and farmland preservation, working tirelessly for decades with legislators and community leaders to protect and enhance the industry in the state. Funkhouser served as...

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Taking Stock: Constitutionality Matters

Last Friday, on the same day that Bob Baffert's New York Racing Association (NYRA) suspension hearing was ending in New York, the Texas attorney general filed a motion in a Texas federal court to join the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (National HBPA), et al., in arguing that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), enacted late last year, was unconstitutional. Baffert had challenged his suspension, which was summarily instituted by NYRA without a hearing May 17 after the Baffert-trained Medina Spirit (Protonico) had tested positive for betamethasone in...

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Lukas to be Keynote Speaker at HBPA Convention

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will deliver the keynote address at the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA)'s annual convention in March. The conference will be held Mar. 1-5 at Oaklawn Park's new hotel overlooking the first turn. "When we seek out our keynote speaker, we look for inspiration and passion," said Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA. "Not only do we get that in spades with D. Wayne Lukas, but his overall legacy is unmatched in horse racing. Yet it's not only that Wayne has...

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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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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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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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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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Arizona Horsemen Secure Some Disputed Purse Funds

At the six-month mark of the shutdown of live racing in Arizona that is the result of both the pandemic and a prolonged fight over off-track betting (OTB) privileges, the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (AZHBPA) has reportedly secured some of the disputed money from the horsemen's account that had been controlled by Turf Paradise and placed it into a trust to pay purses if and when racing resumes elsewhere. This news was shared in the form of a widely circulated email that made the rounds on social media...

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