THA Chairman Alan Foreman Joins Writers' Room

Alan Foreman Horsephotos

Alan Foreman, the chairman and CEO of the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland Tuesday afternoon as the Green Group Guest of the Week. Discussing the upcoming 2022 MATCH series for mid-Atlantic horses, a program he spearheaded, and providing updates on the scheduled renovation projects at Pimlico and Laurel, Foreman also called upon his legal expertise to weigh in on Bob Baffert's appeal of the GI Kentucky Derby disqualification and why the THA supports the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.

While many in the racing industry lamented the breakdown in negotiations between the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to implement a drug enforcement program, Foreman said he was bullish on HISA's separate safety program, set to take effect July 1.

“The HISA Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program relates to medication, while the Safety Program relates to every other aspect of the health, safety and welfare of the horse and rider,” he explained. “I think that's the most important part of the HISA program, because horses breaking down on the track is our worst nightmare, and horses aren't dying because of medication. When horses break down, it's multi-factorial. For example, we just did our review of the breakdowns in the mid-Atlantic region for the past year. Maryland was having its lowest incidence of breakdown in its history until the track went bad and failed at Laurel in October, and we had a cluster of eight breakdowns in a span of three weeks. We got right on it, but it blew the numbers. So there was a racetrack surface issue. Not a medication issue, not a training issue. The value of the HISA safety program is to work with everyone on racing surfaces and identifying horses at risk so they don't get on the track when they shouldn't be. That program and the uniformity that HISA is going to bring is why it got our support.”

The conversation later turned to the legal back-and-forth involving Baffert over the past year, with Foreman saying, “When we talk about HISA and the manner in which our rules are adjudicated, it isn't so much that our underlying rules are problematic, it's the enforcement process and the way justice is meted out and people can game the system. At the end of the day, I think it all went downhill after Bob's press conference. The rumor was that there had been a positive test at the Derby, and there was no confidentiality so he actually got out in front of the story. But when he came out and said he had no idea how it could have happened, and within five days, the story came out as to how it happened, he was boxed into a corner and he wasn't prepared to accept responsibility and take the punishment. So this has played out in a sense where there's no exit strategy, from either side, frankly. Churchill, by taking the action it did and making very clear that it wasn't backing down, started to press the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to move more expeditiously. And here we are now, but it just took way too long, and that's not acceptable to anybody.”

Elsewhere on the show, which is also sponsored by Coolmore, Lane's End, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, XBTV, West Point Thoroughbreds and Legacy Bloodstock, the writers raved about a tremendous weekend of racing and gave their early impressions on the prospective GI Kentucky Derby and GI Longines Kentucky Oaks fields after the final round of prep races. Click here to watch the show; click here for the audio-only version or find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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