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Challenge to HISA Denied by Ruling in Texas Case

Claims brought by the National HBPA to enjoin enforcement of HISA were dismissed.

 

Claims brought in a Texas federal court to stop the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act from going forward were dismissed on March 31 by U. S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix.

The lawsuit, filed by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and joined by affiliated HBPAs, sought to have the court enjoin enforcement of the Act as unconstitutional. The HBPAs argued that HISA gave unlawful regulatory power to a private entity it created, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority.

After finding the HBPAs have standing to bring the case and that an actual controversy exists, Hendrix also found there is no disagreement about the material facts, leading the way to a decision based on the application of law.

 

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Federal Trade Commission Approves HISA Racetrack Safety Rules, Accreditation Standards

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Friday approved the rules and accreditation standards that comprise the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s (HISA) Racetrack Safety Program, marking a major milestone in HISA’s mission to protect the wellbeing of equine and human athletes along with the integrity of the sport. With the FTC’s approval, HISA will now move forward with robust industry education efforts ahead of the program’s July 1, 2022, implementation date.

“The Racetrack Safety Program’s multi-faceted approach will enable veterinarians, horsemen and all racing participants to optimize the safety of every horse before they set foot on the track while also increasing our understanding of the conditions that contribute to equine injuries,” said HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus. “The importance of this program cannot be overstated as we build on advances the industry has already made by implementing national, uniform rules and regulations, increasing accountability, and using data- and research-driven solutions to enhance the safety of our horses and jockeys.  We sincerely believe that this data will generate the information we need to help prolong equine and jockey careers.”

In drafting the rules, the Racetrack Safety Committee examined existing rules and best practices in addition to seeking input from state racing commissions, racing participants and other experts and industry organizations in a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process. The interested public had further opportunities to provide input on the draft rules via the HISA website and during the FTC’s public comment period.  Highlights of the Racetrack Safety Program include:

  • Expanded veterinary oversight;
  • Surface maintenance and measurement standards;
  • Enhanced reporting requirements;
  • Collection and analysis of medication, treatment, injury, and fatality data;
  • A voided claim rule;
  • The transfer of claimed horses’ medical information; and
  • Jockey concussion and medical care reporting.

Starting on July 1, all tracks that are accredited with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) will receive interim accreditation, while tracks that are not accredited with the NTRA will be granted a one-year provisional accreditation and be given a reasonable period to achieve compliance as long as they are demonstrating continuous progress. HISA intends to work with individual racetracks and state racing jurisdictions, recognizing that compliance with new legal requirements on day one is not realistic.

“We are gratified that after a rigorous process, the FTC has overwhelmingly approved the Racetrack Safety regulations and national accreditation standards. The next step in the process will be for HISA to share cost assessments with each of the states by April 1, 2022,” explained Dr. Susan Stover, Chair of the Racetrack Safety Committee. “These new rules will decrease fatalities by detecting horses with mild pre-existing conditions through expanded veterinary oversight and the review of medication and treatment records and training histories. They will also provide a window into understanding and preventing the development of mild injuries in the first place via uniform surface maintenance standards and ongoing data analysis.”

The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which is challenging the federal legislation that created HISA, issued the following statement on Saturday:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday, March 3, 2022, issued an order approving without exception all the racetrack safety regulations propounded by the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Authority (HISA). The rubber-stamp order accepted without issue all of the proposed rules as well as acceptance of the Authority’s responses to the comments submitted by industry participants.
The order recognized that many of the comments by industry stakeholders were useful and constructive to improve the rules. Yet, the FTC refused to disapprove any rule, nor did it direct such constructive changes be incorporated prior to approval. Instead, the FTC took the position that it would welcome future proposed rule modifications that the Authority decides to submit in response to comments received.
This FTC order makes crystal clear that this private entity of self-appointed rule-makers (i.e., The Authority) has unfettered power without governmental oversight to control the horseracing industry.
The illusion of governmental supervisory control was clearly dispelled with the FTC approving all of the Authority’s proposals without exception. It also demonstrated that this private entity will make the rules without regard to the constructive comments of industry stakeholders.
The FTC’s order affirms the significant concerns expressed in pending litigation that such a delegation of control is unconstitutional and that the input of those closest to the horseracing industry is no longer relevant.

HBPA Panel on Fixed Odds: Future of Wagering

Fixed Odds Panel | Jennie Rees – National HBPA

By Jennie Rees

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.–Dave Basler sees betting on table tennis in Asia and envisions it being replaced with horse racing in America’s burgeoning sports books.

“We can fill that void a lot of times during the day so that they don’t have to play table tennis from China or cricket from Australia–things that people have no idea about,” Basler, the executive director of the Ohio HBPA, said Thursday during a morning session of the National HBPA Conference at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. “That’s not just attractive to sports books, that’s attractive to horsemen and racetracks for the opportunity to increase our revenue.”

Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, at the 2018 conference cautioned horsemen that sports wagering was coming and the racing industry needed to be prepared. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Supreme Court struct down the ban on sports wagering. Thirty states now have passed such legislation, including Arkansas.

Read TDN Article

HBPA Panel Offers Advice on Engaging With Lawmakers

Panel was part of the National HBPA conference in Hot Springs, Ark.

 

As government affairs consultant Joe Clabes sees it, when horse racing conducts industry days on state capitol steps it’s perfectly all right for many of racing’s participants to show up in jeans.

“It’s OK if there’s a cowboy hat or two and big belt buckles,” Clabes noted during a panel discussion on how horsemen can interact and build relationships with lawmakers March 3 during the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association conference at the Oaklawn Park hotel in Hot Springs, Ark.

Clabes, who has lobbied for the Kentucky industry and the Kentucky HBPA, said seeing that everyday fashion helps remind lawmakers that while racing may be the Sport of Kings, there are plenty of people going to work each day to make a living in the sport and the ancillary businesses that keep it up and running.

 

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NTRA Statement on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act

  • March 17, 2021

    “HISA, a well-crafted and comprehensive piece of legislation, creates the national framework that addresses our industry’s critical need for consistent, forceful anti-doping control and equine safety standards. The NTRA Board of Directors, which consists of representatives from tens of thousands of breeders, owners and trainers from more than 40 states, as well as thousands of horseplayers and virtually every major racetrack in the United States, voted to support HISA. We plan to work tirelessly on behalf of our members and a broad array of interested parties and stakeholders to support HISA’s successful launch in July 2022.”

    Alex Waldrop,

    President and Chief Executive Officer,

    National Thoroughbred Racing Association

     

    The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of American horse racing interests consisting of leading Thoroughbred racetracks, owners, breeders, trainers, horseplayers, advance deposit wagering companies, and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity of horse racing and improving economic conditions for industry participants.

     

    RESPONSE

     

    In 2020, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed, and the President signed into law, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). Through this landmark legislation, HISA recognizes and empowers the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (Authority) to protect the safety and welfare of Thoroughbred horseracing’s most important participants—its horses—by delivering commonsense medication reforms and track safety standards.

     

    HISA has broad support from the Thoroughbred industry, including: organizations such as the Breeders’ Cup, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, The Jockey Club, The Jockeys’ Guild, American Association of Equine Practitioners and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association; the nation’s leading racetracks, including Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Gulfstream Park, Keeneland, The Maryland Jockey Club, Monmouth Park, The New York Racing Association and Santa Anita; leading horsemen’s organizations such as the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the Thoroughbred Owners of California; prominent Thoroughbred owners Barbara Banke, Antony Beck, Arthur and Staci Hancock, Fred Hertrich, Barry Irwin, Stuart S. Janney III, Rosendo Parra and Vinnie Viola; leading Thoroughbred trainers Christophe Clement, Neil Drysdale, Janet Elliot, Claude “Shug” McGaughey, Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher and Nick Zito; grassroots organization Water Hay Oats Alliance, with more than 2,000 individual members; international organizations the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities and The Jockey Club of Canada; and prominent animal welfare organizations American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Animal Wellness Action and the Humane Society of the United States.

     

    The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), along with several of its state affiliates, seeks to upend this historic and bipartisan effort to protect Thoroughbred horses and ensure the integrity of horseracing. The HBPA has recently filed a baseless lawsuit in federal court in Texas, seeking to declare HISA unconstitutional on its face. Setting aside its fatal threshold deficiencies—including the lack of any concrete or imminent harm—the HBPA’s lawsuit is meritless. HISA is constitutionally and legally sound. On behalf of a broad spectrum of organizations underlying the sport of Thoroughbred horseracing, we offer the following responses to the various claims by HBPA.

     

    1. HBPA Claim: HISA violates the constitutional “non-delegation doctrine.”

    Reality: HISA does not violate the non-delegation doctrine because the United States Supreme Court has long recognized that Congress may rely on private entities so long as the government retains ultimate decision-making authority as to rules and enforcement. HISA recognizes and empowers the Authority to propose and enforce uniform national anti-doping and equine safety standards, but only upon review, approval and adoption by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Though this is a first for the Thoroughbred horseracing industry, HISA’s structure is not new. HISA follows the FINRA/SEC model of regulation in the securities industry, and, like that model, is constitutional because any action the Authority undertakes is subject to the FTC’s approval and oversight.

     

    2. HBPA Claim: The HISA runs afoul of the Appointments Clause.

    Reality: The Authority is a private entity, independently established under state law, and recognized by HISA. As such, it is simply not subject to constitutional restraints on appointments (or removal) of its Board members. Indeed, any such claim is at war with HBPA’s non-delegation theory premised on the fact that the Authority is a private entity. On the one hand, the HBPA claims that the Authority cannot take action because it is private entity, but then argues, on the other hand, that the Authority cannot appoint its own Board members because it is effectively a public entity. These two HBPA arguments are in conflict, but have one important thing in common: they are both wrong.

     

    3.  HBPA Claim: HISA violates due process protections.

    Reality: The HBPA’s due process theory also falls flat. Though the HBPA complains of equine industry participants regulating their competitors, a strong bipartisan majority of the House and the Senate made clear in HISA that a majority of the Authority’s Board members must be from outside the equine industry. To be sure, a minority of the Authority’s Board members will have industry experience and engagement. But it is difficult to understand how that statutory recognition of the value of informed voices constitutes a deprivation of due process. What’s more, with respect to the minority industry Board members, HISA expressly provides for equal representation among each of the six equine constituencies (trainers, owners and breeders, tracks, veterinarians, state racing commissions, and jockeys). Furthermore, the committee tasked with nominating eligible candidates for Board and standing-committee positions is made up of entirely non-industry members. HISA further imposes broad conflicts-of-interest requirements to ensure that all of its Board members (industry and non-industry alike) as well as non-industry standing committee members (not to mention their employees and family members) are required to remain free of all equine economic conflicts of interest.

     

    Beyond these robust safeguards, established precedent confirms what common sense indicates: even when a private entity is engaged in the regulatory process, agency authority and surveillance protect against promotion of self-interest. Under HISA, for example, the FTC has the authority to decline the Authority’s proposed rules and overrule any sanctions—ensuring that neither the Authority nor the individuals making up its Board can use their position for their own advantage in violation of constitutional restraints.

     

    *****

    Contrary to HBPA’s hyperbole, HISA is neither unprecedented nor unconstitutional. HISA emulates the long-established FINRA/SEC model, with even greater protections for all stakeholders. It is disappointing that the HBPA—an entity whose mission is supposedly the welfare of horses and horsemen—would seek to undo much needed reforms to protect the industry’s participants.

NHBPA, State Horsemen’s Groups File Suit To Halt HISA; Jockey Club ‘Confident Law Is Constitutionally Sound And Legal’

by

 

The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, together with state affiliates in Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia (Mountaineer) have filed a federal civil suit in an attempt to put the brakes on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, names the Federal Trade Commission and several of its employees, as well as the people tasked with forming the Nominating Committee for the new federal authority.

The suit seeks to have HISA and a number of its elements declared unconstitutional, to enjoin defendants from taking any action to implement HISA, as well as nominal damages of $1 and compensatory damages of any fees charged to horsemen by the new authority.

The lawsuit is being handled by The Liberty Justice Center, a non-profit legal center “that represents clients at no charge and was founded to fight against political privilege,” according to its press release about the case.

 

Read Paulick Report Article

National HBPA Releases Guidelines Regarding Racing Industry’s Ability to Safely Operate During COVID-19 Crisis

The National HBPA — using effective policies in place at Gulfstream Park, Oaklawn Park, Tampa Bay Downs and in consultation with other authorities — has assembled a list of best practices to encourage the industry to get back up and running.  The NHBPA and other entities are urging tracks and racing commissions to begin spectator-less racing that is both safe and compliant with CDC guidelines and social-distancing directives. Eric Hamelback, chief executive officer of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, said the purpose of developing the template for conducting racing without fans is to have the information in a working document as a reference tool for tracks, locales and regulatory bodies.

“We’re not trying to tell government, health officials and racing commissions what to do,” Hamelback said. “Our intent is to provide insight into protocols that are working successfully at two of the largest race meets in America, Gulfstream and Oaklawn Park, and elsewhere. We hope it provides a path forward and others will continue to develop best practices. Horse racing is different from other industries in that our workers must continue to feed, exercise, bathe and groom our horses. That is going on across the country at many more tracks than are currently racing. It’s notable that the actual racing component involves far fewer people to stage than morning training.

“The COVID-19 health and economic crisis has devastated industries. Horseracing and its supporting agribusinesses are no different; and while income has ceased, expenses have remained constant. However, unlike many businesses and industries,  horse racing has a solution. Spectator-free racing poses a minimal safety risk, is cost-effective, and logistically practical while still adhering to current national and state safety protocols. Every racetrack has a surrounding community that will benefit if horse racing is allowed to be conducted under these highly controlled conditions.”

Below are the guidelines compiled by the National HBPA. Click here to download the guidelines as a PDF.

 

Racing Industry’s Ability to Safely Operate During COVID-19 Crisis

The National HBPA in conjunction with horsemen and racing officials has put together these guidelines using existing successful protocols of tracks successfully operating and racing spectator free during the COVID-19 crisis.  This document is intended as a resource for horsemen, race track operators or governing bodies and these recommendations do not replace clinical recommendations of health and veterinary authorities. These guidelines may evolve as they are implemented into practice and as we receive feedback. Finally, these guidelines were developed based on best practice protocols and procedures currently being utilized.  Local factors should be taken into account if utilized with full understanding that these guidelines are informational and do not represent any assurance that the suggested action is all that is necessary or the optimum approach for a particular track.  While the NHBPA wants to promote safe, healthy, live racing, it recognizes the rapidly changing health environment and must disclaim any liability for use of these guidelines.

Recommended Coronavirus Policies for Maintaining Spectator Free Racing:

  • Establish a Staff Directory of all contacts for key personnel which can be accessible with cell phone numbers and emails. Also include the current management chain of command with names of key personnel;
  • Establish a list of all on-track and nearby off-track medical facilities;
  • Definitions of Essential personnel – employees who are considered responsible for basic minimum services and who are required to work when state services are temporarily reduced due to hazardous conditions. Non-essential personnel – employees who are not responsible for basic minimum services when state services are temporarily reduced due to hazardous conditions.
  • Essential personnel may include racing officials as designated by the state, safety staff (ambulance drivers, track maintenance crew,) outriders, pony crew, starting-gate operators and specialized janitorial staff to sanitize the facility. Essential personnel involved with the care, training and racing of horses includes grooms, hotwalkers, exercise riders, trainers and their assistants, jockeys, blacksmiths, veterinarians, horse dentists, equine message therapists. Essential personnel licensed by the commission to ensure horse racing is held in compliance with state statutes and regulations include but is not limited to stewards, placing judges, official chart-caller, photo-finish operator, clocker and clerk of scales.
  • To limit exposure and prevent the spread of germs and disease, NO VISITORS/GUESTS will be allowed to access the Backside, Racetrack, Track Apron, Paddock or Jockeys Room. Non-essential personnel are prohibited on the grounds;
  • Only licensed and credentialed essential personnel will be granted access to the Backside, Racetrack, Track Apron, Paddock or Jockeys Room;
  • Non-essential personnel should be prohibited, including all public service employees (including but not limited to food service, wagering tellers, ushers, admission staff).
  • Develop a security team whose members oversee all access control procedures, monitoring and reporting requirements and ensure all suspected of confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection are properly communicated and documented;
  • No wagering or food service in the grandstand;
  • The Press Box should be closed to everyone except licensed and credentialed essential personnel;
  • Stable cafeteria may remain open to serve essential personnel while following all State, Local and CDC guidelines and restrictions including patrons carrying out their food;
  • All public areas of the grandstand are to be closed including for morning workouts.

Stable Gate (entrance to barn area) and Backside Security:

  • Only essential licensed personnel are allowed in through the stable gate. This means no visitors or guests including those who are accompanied by essential personnel;
  • Establish a health check station(s) where temperatures, symptoms and names can be logged before being permitted access to stable area;
  • There must be multiple health check stations at every accessible access gate/entry for the stable area;
  • Before being allowed in the stable area all essential personnel must have their temperature taken and be found to be afebrile. Log template may be provided;
  • Establish a color-coded wrist band system with a different color representing each day of the week;
  • Colored band must be applied at the health check station and must be worn for the entirety of the day;
  • Access to any and all not wearing a wrist band with the corresponding day’s color should be denied;
  • Trainers or their responsible personnel are accountable for all their employees to ensure essential personnel have had their temperature monitored and approved and thus are wearing the correct corresponding colored band;
  • Racetrack management is accountable for all their employees to ensure essential personnel have had their temperature monitored and approved and thus are wearing the correct corresponding colored band;
  • Backside dormitory and living areas must be monitored routinely for compliance by security team members and assigned racing personnel;
  • Determine and designate quarantine rooms to be set aside where possible for the sole purpose of providing a safe area to be successfully quarantined, if required. Security team members will be needed to ensure these rooms are kept fully secured;
  • All incoming van drivers (providing they are afebrile) must wear a suitable covering (a mask, scarf or bandana) over their nose and mouth and wear gloves when entering to pick up or drop off horses. Drivers and attendants must have minimal contact with any stable personnel;
  • All Pony Personnel must wear a suitable covering (a mask, scarf or bandana) over their nose and mouth and wear gloves when in contact with jockeys while mounted;
  • Gate crew personnel must wear a suitable covering (a mask, scarf or bandana) over their nose and mouth and wear gloves while loading horses in the starting gate and will have no physical contact with any other personnel unless in the best interest of safety.

Suggested Cleaning and Hygiene Protocols
Cleaning protocols should include:

  • Focused cleaning/disinfection: increase frequency cleaning/disinfection of all high-risk surfaces (stable equipment, tack boxes, handles, elevator buttons, handrails, counter tops, etc.) and all high traffic areas;
  • Provide additional hand washing and/or hand sanitizing stations;
  • The working gate crew shall disinfect the starting gate every morning before training, during breaks, after training and between every race;
  • Establish designated personnel to disinfect the paddock and saddling area every morning before training, during breaks, after training and between every race;
  • Shipping company’s van drivers should disinfect vans and trailers between each and every trip;

Restricted Access Protocols:

  • The racetrack, the track apron and paddock access will be limited to Commissioned licensed trainers and essential personnel who have horses running that day;
  • No owners, media or fans will be allowed on the track in order to limit outside exposure;
  • No guests, with no exceptions;
  • No assembling of any personnel in any areas and all personnel should practice social distancing;
  • Walking ring must be closed to everyone other than licensed personnel who are required to accompany their horse to and from the saddling barn or racetrack;
  • Jockeys will get on their horses as soon as possible and proceed directly to the racetrack for the post parade and warm up;
  • The racetrack, the track apron and paddock must remain closed to the public, non-essential personnel, and anyone who has not followed security protocol entry;
  • A Security Access Log should be maintained by a member of the security team to register who accessed the apron on a specific day.

Access to the Jockeys’ Room and Jockeys’ Room Restricted Protocols:

  • The Jockeys’ Guild should be consulted for organizational established protocols;
  • Only essential personnel licensed by the state and jockeys scheduled to ride in races will be allowed access to the Jockey’s room;
  • All jockeys and essential personnel in the Jockeys’ Room (including Valets and Clerk of the Scales) will have their temperatures monitored daily. Anyone showing any signs of illness must be denied access to the premises;
  • Lockers and workstations will be spaced a minimum of the required six feet apart;
  • All jockeys will be required to wear riding gloves;
  • Jockeys must be prohibited from any physical contact between themselves and others;
  • Jockeys are required to leave the Jockeys’ Room immediately following their last ride;
  • All Sauna and extraneous facilities must be closed. Showers may remain open but will be sanitized frequently throughout the day;
  • Jockeys should be encouraged to limit travel and a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine is in effect for all jockeys and personnel who have traveled internationally;
  • Certain states have similar self-quarantine orders in effect for anyone traveling into the state from another state.

More Than 600 Stakeholders from Across the Racing Industry Sign Public Letter In Support of Protecting Lasix as a Choice on Race-Day

LEXINGTON, KY (Friday, Sept. 20, 2019) – A unified industry group believes banning Lasix will adversely impact the health and welfare of racehorses, as well as the strength of our industry. Today, a letter (posted below) was released with more than 600 signatures in support of protecting Lasix as a choice for horsemen and veterinarians to administer on race-day for the well-being of equine and human athletes. The initial round of signatures from racing stakeholders features individuals from across the industry. Signatures will continue to be collected going forward. Click here to be added to the list.

Public Letter on Stance to NOT Eliminate the Choice to Administer Lasix on Race Day

A recent open letter proclaimed that “horse racing is at a pivotal moment in its long history in the United States.” On this we agree. We also agree all of us love and cherish the equine athletes upon which our industry is built. To that end we believe in practicing the highest standards of horsemanship, and we continually work to improve the care, health and safety of our thoroughbred racehorses.

In that regard, we support horsemen and our veterinarians having the continued option to run a horse with a race-day administration of the therapeutic and protective medication furosemide (Lasix).

We, too, are ready for change and will eagerly embrace change if the alterations are done for the greater good of equine health and welfare. We are committed to reforms emphasizing transparency and developments that will address misunderstandings from those in the non-racing public as well as ensuring our horses are treated with the highest degree of care. The eradication of our choice to administer race-day Lasix will not do any of those things.

It is our belief that banning Lasix will adversely impact the health and welfare of our racehorses as well as the strength of our industry. Research also proves an increased number of horses will bleed significantly out of their nostrils, or into in their lungs, and an increased number will die.

We understand and agree things can and should be done to improve the safety and welfare of our equine athletes. It is just as important to understand what is NOT causing catastrophic injuries, as it is understanding the underlying causes. Many continue to claim Lasix will interfere with post-race drug testing due to dilution, but this argument has long been disproven. Lasix is a short-acting diuretic and the dilution effect is gone in two hours. However, the tightly regulated administration of Lasix is required four hours before a race. Thus, Lasix has no ability to interfere with blood or urine testing after a race.

No one takes our stance on this position casually, but we believe we must not be led down a path created by perception and not facts. For this reason we must stand for what is in the best interest and safety for our equine and human athletes.

This letter includes an initial round of over 600 signatures from racing stakeholders and signatures will continue to be collected going forward. Click here to be added to the list.

Signatures include the following: Rusty Arnold; Steve Asmussen; Buff Bradley; Bret Calhoun; Anita and James Cauley; Dr. Nancy Cole; Brad Cox; Boyd Caster; Wayne Catalano, Jake Delhomme; Michael Ann Ewing; Greg Foley; Vickie Foley; Tim Glyshaw; Larry Jones; Dallas Keen; Marshall Gramm; Dr. Chuck Kidder; Mike and Penny Lauer; Mike Maker; Ron Moquett; Randy Morse; Maggi Moss; Loren Hebel Osborne; Joe Orseno; Joel Politi; Allen Poindexter; Louis J. Roussel III; Clay Sanders; Chester Thomas; Mike Tomlinson; Tom Van Berg; Kelly Von Hemel; Gary and Mary West; Ian Wilkes; Jack Wolf; Erv Woolsey.

The entire list may be viewed as a PDF file and can also be found at this link (list updated as of 9/20/19):

National HBPA Opposes Senate Introduction of the Horseracing Integrity Act (S. 1820)

The National Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) announces its opposition to the Senate version of the Horseracing Integrity Act (S. 1820), introduced last week by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Martha McSally (R-AZ). On behalf of Thoroughbred race horse owners and trainers, the HBPA has been steadfast in its opposition to the House companion measure introduced earlier this year by Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY-20) and Andy Barr (R-KY-06) (H.R. 1754).

“Senator Gillibrand and Senator McSally have clearly been misguided. Banning race day Lasix will cause more equine deaths, and additional regulations will cause jobs to be lost,” stated Eric Hamelback, CEO of the HBPA.

The HBPA fully supports the veterinary community and the science on which they base their opinions. Under S. 1820, owners, trainers, and veterinarians would no longer have the choice to utilize the therapeutic, legal medication furosemide, more commonly known as Lasix. Lasix is used in horses to control or prevent Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhages (EIPH), or “bleeding” and has been used safely and humanely for the last 40 years in American horse racing. Horses often experience EIPH episodes during intense exercise, such as during races. Current industry policy endorses and strictly regulates the use of this medication on race day because it is in the best interests of the health and welfare of the horse.

“If Lasix is completely banned the number of fatalities on race tracks throughout the country will increase. While we are committed to finding answers that will prevent, reduce, and solve the occurrence of any fatality for our thoroughbred athletes, this bill is NOT the answer.” said Hamelback.

Also, the HBPA has deep concerns about the additional fees and costs that S. 1820 would place on those in the horse racing industry. For the smaller industry folks, these new fees will be the tipping point that pushes them out of the business. While wealthy owners may not feel the pinch, rural and agrarian jobs will be lost, and lives will be devastated. This loss of income will have a rippling effect on state and local economies that depend on the industry.

Hamelback believes the introduction of this legislation is a misguided attempt to address the recent equine deaths in California: “S. 1820 would not have prevented one single death. My members are as concerned as any about the recent tragedies in California, and we agree more independent research needs to be done to discover the cause of these deaths. However, implying that the racing industry is rampant with doping and that this legislation is the solution is completely wrongheaded.”

The HBPA strongly opposes the Horseracing Integrity Act and encourages industry participants to voice their opposition by contacting their representatives in Congress.

Statement from National HBPA on Racehorse Safety

The National HBPA understands everyone in the Thoroughbred racing industry loves and has steadfast passion for our equine athletes. We know that owners, trainers and jockeys who deal each day with these amazing animals understand this deep connection. To those of us who have lived this life, our horses are members of our family. The loss of one horse causes concern for every racetrack, every employee and every equine organization in the industry.

The National HBPA and our affiliates stand fast in the promotion of safety in and for the racetrack, as well as surface testing and equine safety and welfare initiatives.

The NHBPA applauds the California horsemen’s groups, the California Horse Racing Board and the track ownership and management at Santa Anita in utilizing all the expertise available to study and resolve the current issue because we believe the safety of the horse and rider is the number one priority of the industry.

We are certain the thorough investigation underway will result in a safer environment for our equine and human athletes as we continuously strive for the safest conditions.

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