The Week In Review: Can A Racetrack Have A Perfect Safety Record? Del Mar Is Getting Close

It's often been said that, no matter how hard the sport works to become safer, there will never come a time when there are zero fatalities. Unfortunately, that's probably true. But at the recently concluded Del Mar meet, not a single horse suffered a fatal breakdown during a race. Not once did a horse break a leg, crumple to the ground and then have to be euthanized behind a curtain blocking the view of a horrified public, the story making its way into the newspapers or the local news and...

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Letter To The Editor: It All Begins With Churchill Downs

Horse racing is at an existential moment. Just weeks after a series of breakdowns at Churchill Downs cast a shadow over the Kentucky Derby, a wave of horrifying horse deaths at Saratoga Race Course has once again brought questions about safety to the forefront of public consciousness. This is a tragedy, as every horse that breaks down also breaks our hearts. However, I believe our sport has reached a tipping point, and I predict there will be a Silver Lining emerging from all these tragedies. In the past week, I...

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The Dirt-Versus-Synthetic Debate: Gold Cup Starter Tyson Could Provide Some Answers

Does dirt form transfer over to synthetic tracks and vice versa? And do the progeny of traditional Kentucky-based dirt stallions run, for the most part, just as well on synthetic as they do on dirt? These are some of the many questions being asked after a rash of breakdowns over the last few months has led some to call for synthetic tracks, which, statistics show, are safer than dirt and turf courses, to replace dirt tracks. While one horse and one race is not much of a sample size, the...

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Why I Chose To Work With Hisa To Make It The Best It Can Be

by Dr. Sara Langsam After having read Dr. Thomas Little's Open Letter to the Industry regarding HISA, I thought it was important to share a different voice and perspective. For the last 20 years, I have practiced as a private racetrack practitioner with one of the largest racetrack veterinary practices in the country. I agree with Dr. Little that private veterinary practitioners are a critical component of making sure horses are ready and sound for racing. However, I disagree with his views on HISA and its relationships with private practitioners....

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Churchill Downs To Resume Racing In September

Racing will return to Churchill Downs as scheduled for the track's regularly scheduled meeting beginning Sept. 14. The announcement comes following an "evaluation of existing safety protocols and a thorough assessment of industry best practices," according to a release from the track. Operations at the Louisville oval were suspended in early June following a rash of breakdowns during the first month of the meeting that began only a few days prior to the running of the GI Kentucky Derby. The balance of the Churchill spring meet was run at Ellis...

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HISA Issues Updated Guidance On Intra-Articular Injections

The Anti-Doping and Medication Control Standing Committee (ADMC) of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority ("HISA") has re-considered the Intra-Articular injection rule and has issued new guidance regarding its enforcement. HISA ADMC Rule 4222 prohibits Intra-Articular injections on Race Day, within 14 days prior to Post-Time and within seven days prior to any Timed and Reported Workout. Effective July 16, 2023, the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU) will sanction the Responsible Person of any Covered Horse that violates the prohibition on Intra-Articular injections within 7 days prior to a...

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NYRA Releases Statement On Equine Safety At Belmont

Following an incident after race eight on Belmont's Monday card where Cold Hard Cash (Maclean's Music) sustained an apparent cardiovascular event during the gallop out, collapsed and died on track, NYRA spokesman Pat McKenna released the following statement: "The health and safety of horses and jockeys competing at NYRA tracks is our highest priority and one that stands above all other considerations. NYRA's comprehensive safety strategy is informed by the most advanced science and research in consultation with independent experts, veterinarians, and horsemen. Every horse entered to compete at Belmont...

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HISA'S ADMC Program To Take Effect May 22

Following a launch March 27, the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU) plans to resume enforcement of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's (HISA) Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program May 22. The program seeks to implement the following: Transparency: The ADMC Program requires public disclosure of alleged Anti-Doping Rule Violations once the Covered Person has been notified of the violation and Provisionally Suspended. The alleged violation will be reported by HIWU on its website, and the public information disclosed will include the date of the collection, the name of...

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FTC Approves HISA's Anti-Doping And Medication Rule

Edited Press Release New and enhanced anti-doping regulations took effect in U.S. Thoroughbred horse racing Monday following the Federal Trade Commission's approval of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's (HISA) Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program. HISA's ADMC Program, administered by the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU), brings all testing and results management under one national authority, standardizes the categories of substances laboratories test for and institutes clear and consistent penalties for violations. In its authority as the independent administrator of the ADMC Program, HIWU is introducing to the...

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Rate Of Fatal Injuries Lowest On Database Record

The rate of fatal injuries in 2022 was 1.25 horses per 1,000 starts, a 10.1% decrease from 2021 when there were 1.39 fatalities per 1,000 starts according to figures compiled by the Equine Injury Database (EID) and released Monday by The Jockey Club (TJC). It was the lowest number since the EID began covering the fatality rate in 2009, when the figure was 2.00 horses per 1,000 starts. "The data shows that since 2009, the risk of fatal injury during racing has declined by 37.5%, which is statistically significant," said...

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Letters To The Editor: Jeff Landry

As a young boy, I spent summers mucking out stalls, painting fences, and helping out on my great-uncle's farm. Early in the mornings, his grandson and I could hear him tapping on the door, telling us to wake up and get moving in Cajun French. "Levez, levez!" We'd jump out of bed and ride down to the track to watch the jockeys breeze the horses as the sun was coming up. Those are memories I fear the next generation might never experience as we battle the Horseracing Integrity and Safety...

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Lisa Lazarus Talks HISA Budget

Early last week, a bill landed on the doorsteps of the nation's state racing commissions containing their portion of the money needed to fund the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) remit for next year. The total $72,509,662 amount is broken down four main ways: $58,108,758 to run the anti-doping and medication control (ADMC) program overseen by the newly minted Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU); $3,654,830 towards HISA's racetrack safety program, which initially went into effect on July 1 this year; $5,466,709 to continue building the technology needed to...

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