Fair Grounds Suspends Turf Racing

The Louisiana track entered its meet with plans to begin with limited turf racing.

Officials at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots this week suspended turf racing through at least late December to allow the track’s grass to recover from damage to the inner portion of the course. The New Orleans track entered its meet that began Nov. 18 with plans of a reduced schedule of turf racing, utilizing only its outermost running lane.

According to Gary Palmisano, executive director of racing for Churchill Downs Inc., which owns Fair Grounds, the course did not experience its customary growth this fall. Amid dry conditions, a well the track used for watering the grass was intruded with salt water when the Gulf of Mexico pushed into city freshwater supplies due to drought across much of the areas surrounding the Mississippi River, he said. Saltwater can kill grass.

Initial use of another water source and recent rainfall in the area has allowed officials to irrigate the turf, he added.

 

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Twin Colts Remain a Blessing for Coteau Grove

Weanling sons of Gift Box growing gracefully at their birthplace in Cajun Country.

 

Earlier this year, Louisiana-based Coteau Grove Farms received a most unexpected surprise when their mare Villa d’Este gave birth to healthy twin colts.

Before the mare foaled out, the farm had wondered why she was so large, not knowing she was carrying an additional foal. To their amazement, both foals were no worse for the wear and now, more than seven months later, the sons of Gift Box   have started to grow into their skin.

Jacob Cyprian, broodmare manager at the Sunset, La., operation, witnessed the birth and has been with the colts for every step of their journey. He said they are somewhat of resident celebrities at the farm.

 

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Texas Congressman Introduces Legislation to Delay HISA

HISA is responsible for creating and implementing uniform safety and integrity rules.

Rep. Lance Gooden, a Texas Republican, introduced legislation Oct. 4 in the United States House of Representatives that would delay the implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act until Jan. 1, 2024, according to a release distributed by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

Some portions of the federal program created by the Act took effect in July, including the Racetrack Safety Program. HISA’s Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program is scheduled for implementation Jan. 1, 2023.

Groups from Texas and from a handful of other states are among those challenging the legality of HISA in court. Rulings from judges involved in separate legal cases are anticipated in the coming weeks or months.

 

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FTC Notifies Appeals Court of HISA Rule Change Proposal

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The Federal Trade Commission notified the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans by a Sept. 2 letter that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority has proposed two rule changes to meet objections raised by two states and others in a federal lawsuit.

The suit originated in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, which on July 26 issued a preliminary injunction curbing HISA’s power to enforce FTC safety rules in Louisiana and West Virginia and to all plaintiffs in the case. The ruling was not based on constitutional grounds.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Aug. 8 ordered that the district court injunction be stayed except for its application to three regulations while it considers an appeal of the injunction. Oral arguments on the merits of the case followed Aug. 30.

 

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Economist: Breeding Decline Tied to Wagering Decline

At Round Table, economist Lauren Stiroh outlined initial findings of foal crop study.

The estimated 2021 foal crop for North America is 19,200. The last time the foal crop dipped below 20,000? 1965.

The numbers couldn’t be more dramatic.

Speaking at The Jockey Club Round Table on Matters Pertaining to Racing Aug. 14, economist Lauren Stiroh largely tied those declining foal crop numbers to a decline in pari-mutuel wagering as she shared initial results of a study. Stuart Janney III, chairman of The Jockey Club, said it requested the examination of the economics of breeding and racing.

 

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HISA Faces New Legal Challenge in Texas

Lawsuit says the authority’s enforcement systems are unconstitutional.

 

A lawsuit filed on July 29 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas challenges the authority of the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Authority.

The suit was brought by Lone Star Park owner Global Gaming, the owner of a Texas greyhound track seeking approvals to run horse races, and two entities trying to develop racetracks for horses in Texas. The suit and a motion for preliminary injunction motion argue that members of the HISA board of directors should have been appointed by the President on the advice and consent of the Senate, and that the Authority is unconstitutionally structured because the President cannot superintend the authority’s execution of laws.

 

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Stay of Adverse Ruling Denied, HISA Seeks Clarification

Federal District Judge Terry Doughty July 29 denied a motion filed by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to stay enforcement of a preliminary injunction entered July 26 against HISA’s enforcement of its rules in Louisiana and West Virginia.

At the same time, HISA appealed the preliminary injunction to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The online record appears to direct the court clerk to certify the appeal record by Aug. 15.

HISA also filed a motion asking Doughty to clarify that the preliminary injunction applies to named plaintiffs only and not to all of plaintiffs’ members nationwide. The Jockeys’ Guild and Louisiana Horsemen Benevolent and Protective Association, who are among the plaintiffs, publicly took the latter position after the injunction was entered. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include only five individuals.

 

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Out-of-State Wagering on Lone Star to Suspend July 1

HISA is scheduled to take effect at the start of next month.

 

Following through on a previously issued memorandum defying compliance with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, Lone Star Park has been denied approval to export its racing signal out-of-state beginning July 1, Texas Racing Commission executive director Amy Cook confirmed June 15.

HISA is scheduled to take effect at the start of next month, although implementation of medication rules and enforcement will be delayed pending either adoption or rejection of the rules by the Federal Trade Commission after a public comment period.

The Lone Star Park Thoroughbred season concludes July 17.

 

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Texas Commission Airs HISA Concerns to CEO Lazarus

Texas Racing Commission outlines broad slate of concerns to HISA’s Lisa Lazarus.

 

Texas Racing Commission members laid out their concerns with the impending July 1 launch of the first round of Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority rules during its regular meeting June 8 in Austin. Those concerns include an anticipated statewide shutdown of pari-mutuel wagering and simulcasting related to the new federal rules.

“Although HISA is understood to have a preemptive effect on the various states, in Texas that effect is significant. In Texas, HISA will kill pari-mutuel onsite wagering and result in a prohibition of simulcast export wagering,” said commission chairman Judge Robert Pate during remarks at the start of the meeting, which was attended by HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus and lead counsel John Roach.

“Wagering on horse racing is a unique regulatory responsibility we have under the Texas Racing Act and Rules of Racing, which is inextricably tied to all functions of the Texas Racing Commission. If the Texas Racing Commission is not involved in every aspect of a horse meet and its races, pari-mutuel wagering and simulcast wagering is against the explicit terms of the Texas Racing Act,” he continued.

 

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2022 Claiming Crown Will Be Held at Churchill Downs

The 2022 Claiming Crown will be held at Churchill Downs in November, according to Dan Metzger, president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

Speaking on Horse Racing Radio Network’s Equine Forum June 4, National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association CEO Eric Hamelback first announced the news, saying: “I am over the moon excited to move the Claiming Crown for 2022 to Churchill Downs. Saturday, Nov. 12 is the plan for now. We are appreciative of Churchill Downs, especially to (track representatives) Mike Ziegler and Ben Huffman who wanted this event. We are hoping for as spectacular a day as we have had at Gulfstream over the past years. The long-term plan is to stay within the Churchill Downs family, going to Louisiana (Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots) for 2023.”

 

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