Sen. Grassley, Rep. Gooden Lead Congressmen Urging FTC to Disapprove HISA Authority Rules

Five U.S. Senators joined five Congressmen yesterday strongly urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to disapprove the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) proposed Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program Rule that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (Authority) recently resubmitted. The bipartisan group of lawmakers stated the disapproval from the FTC was necessary to “avoid continued industry-wide confusion and potential inequitable enforcement.”

The FTC already had disapproved the medication control rule on December 12, 2022, until “the legal uncertainty regarding the Act’s constitutionality comes to be resolved,” the commission wrote.

The bicameral letter also strongly encouraged the FTC to clarify that the formerly approved racetrack safety rules are unenforceable at this time because HISA was declared unconstitutional by a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in November.

Signing the letter were Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Congressmen Lance Gooden (R-TX), Tom Cole (R- OK), Jake Ellzey (R-TX), Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX), and Andy Biggs (R-AZ).

“I applaud Senator Grassley, Representative Gooden and all their co-signers for asking the FTC to state the obvious: HISA is unconstitutional; therefore, its rules cannot be enforced,” said Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. “Furthermore, the corporation under HISA is still enforcing the racetrack safety rules, even though, as the Congressmen point out, everyone agrees they were submitted and approved in accordance with a law that was ruled unconstitutional.

“The sheer fact that an amendment was written to ‘fix’ HISA proves without a shadow of doubt that the supporters of HISA supported an unconstitutional bill. This obvious disregard for the law is needlessly causing even more confusion. The wise thing for the HISA corporation to do is to take a self-imposed pause and let the courts sort things out before rushing to impose its will on horsemen.”

On December 29, 2022, Congress passed a so-called “HISA fix” that tweaked the law by giving the FTC limited ability to modify Authority rules. As a result, the Authority resubmitted the medication control rules and issued a public statement saying they are hopeful and optimistic that they will be able to implement them around mid-March.

“This blatantly premature statement caused immense confusion throughout the horseracing industry, and does not take into account that the 5th Circuit’s opinion has not been overturned nor has the Court issued a new opinion,” said Dr. Doug Daniels, President and Chairman of the National HBPA. “The FTC cannot be forced into approving the ADMC based on assumptions made from HISA’s corporation.”

Horse-racing constituents applauded the Senators and Congressmen for strongly expressing their concerns to the FTC.

Said Jon Moss, Executive Director for the Iowa HBPA: “We greatly appreciate Senator Grassley for continuing his support and leading the charge for horsemen and women in Iowa as well as throughout the country.”

Amy Cook, Executive Director for the Texas Racing Commission, praised Rep. Gooden, saying, “We appreciate Rep. Gooden recognizing the wide-ranging statutory conflict that exists in Texas. It is critical for all stakeholders to continue to send the message that regulatory certainty is paramount and therefore new federal rules should not be adopted while there is ongoing litigation related to HISA’s constitutionality.”

Grassley/Gooden bicameral letter to FTC

Louisiana AG Landry to give HBPA Conference keynote address

(Photo: Jeff Landry, courtesy Louisiana Attorney General’s office)
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023) — Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry will be the keynote speaker at the National HBPA’s annual conference March 6-10 at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter, the horsemen’s organization announced.
The conference, which is hosted by the Louisiana HBPA, will be held in conjunction with the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) Annual Meeting and Racing Integrity Conference. The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association represents about 30,000 thoroughbred owners and trainers. The ARCI is the umbrella organization which exists to assist in the coordination of the collective efforts of its members who are responsible for ensuring compliance with government laws and regulations designed to protect the general public and racing industry participants, including the equine and canine athletes.
Landry will deliver the conference’s keynote address on Tuesday March 7. As Louisiana’s attorney general, he has been at the forefront of states challenging the constitutionality of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (Authority) that the law established. In addition to constitutionality issues, Landry has expressed concern for the financial hardship that a largely duplicative bureaucracy will put on large portions of the horse-racing industry. Louisiana has four tracks that conduct horse racing.
“Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry embodies the positive vision with the inspiration and passion we seek in a keynote speaker,” said Eric Hamelback, the National HBPA’s CEO. “He has proven to be a strong advocate for horsemen and women who understands our labor-intensive industry with its substantial agribusiness, not only in Louisiana but throughout the country. He believes in a bright and better future for horse racing, and refuses to let us be trampled by special interests.”
“I am honored to be chosen the keynote speaker at the National HBPA Conference, and I look forward to visiting with so many who ply their trade in such a great industry,” said Landry, a decorated Army veteran. “I will continue fighting for them to prevent the federal government from taking over horse racing.”
The HBPA and ARCI will share panel discussions and presentations during their overlapping conferences while staging their business sessions separately. HISA will be the focus.
“Within horse racing right now, the obvious overarching topic is the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act,” said National HBPA President Dr. Doug Daniels, an equine veterinarian and racehorse owner/breeder. “Even as the challenges of its unlawfulness proceed and many in the industry fight back against the lack of transparency and overwhelming cost, we must understand portions of HISA are the law of the land everywhere but in the Fifth Circuit. Our goal in joining with Association of Racing Commissioners International at our conference is to provide a forum for frank discussions on where we are, where we’re headed, how we navigate an admittedly flawed law and process, and how everything should look after the court decisions are settled.”
One key panel could be called “what’s next?,” addressing alternative legislation to HISA and other options for a path forward for the industry. Panelists will include ARCI President Ed Martin and Amy Cook, the executive director of the Texas Racing Commission.
“A major part of the conference will be focused on laying out the issues with HISA and also how the industry can move forward,” Hamelback said. “We strongly believe there are more effective means that are constitutional. We also believe bringing the leadership of all stakeholders to the table will provide positive change that improves our industry without jeopardizing the financial health of smaller racetracks and racing stables.”
The meeting of the ARCI’s model rules committee will be open for both groups to attend. The ARCI model rules — developed with input from industry stake-holders while seeking scientific guidance and identifying best practices — are the blue print many racing commissions use for their state regulations.
Other joint sessions include a HISA litigation update, equine welfare with a focus on aftercare and scientific developments, fixed odds in horse racing and a trainers’ panel featuring Louisiana HBPA board members Bret Calhoun and Ron Faucheux and Kentucky HBPA board member Jason Barkley.
The HBPA programming will also include the annual Kent Stirling Memorial Medication Panel, which this year will delve into laboratories’ “limits of detection” and how it affects drug testing in horse racing.
The conclave kicks off with a reception on Monday March 6, followed by three days of panel discussions, presentations and meetings and an outing at the Fair Grounds for racing on Thursday March 9. The full HBPA board will meet Friday March 10 to close out the proceedings.
“The National HBPA Conference has become one of the most informative and newsworthy annual meetings on the racing calendar,” Hamelback said. “But it wouldn’t be possible without our corporate and conference sponsors. The Louisiana HBPA has gone out of its way to make the 2023 conference even more memorable.”
More information and registration is available at nationalhbpa.com/convention.

LEGISLATIVE ALERT: Call and Email your Senators right away to vote “Yes” for the Grassley Amendment

 

Within the last few hours, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the attached Amendment to strip references to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) from the 4,000-page omnibus spending bill being considered this week in Congress. In response, we are releasing the following call to action: National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association CEO Eric Hamelback released the following statement.

 

“I want to praise Senator Grassley for his bold move to protect horsemen in Iowa and throughout the U.S. An amendment to HISA should not have been written in the dark of night and has no place in the 4,000+-page spending bill. You cannot fix a constitutionally flawed law with one sentence. The Grassley Amendment will ensure that real, working horsemen are listened to on how to fix the law that regulates their industry. The Grassley Amendment is picking up steam, and I urge all horsemen to call and email their Senators right away to vote “Yes” for the Grassley amendment.”

 

We need everyone to post and share this information as soon as possible.  We are working with the Kentucky HBPA to send a call-to-action email as well.

 

Please help spread this very important message as soon as possible and then contact your Senators to relay you want them to vote yes on the Grassley amendment.

 

Eric J. Hamelback

CEO, The National HBPA

3380 Paris Pike

KY Training Center

Lexington, KY 40511

859-707-1452 Cell

859-259-0451 Office

 

H. R. 2617: To amend section 1115 of title 31

 

Contact information for the U.S. Senators from Louisiana is:

Senator John Kennedy
https://www.kennedy.senate.gov/public/
416 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Office number 202-224-4623

Senator Bill Cassidy
https://www.cassidy.senate.gov/
520 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Office number 202-224-5824

Fair Grounds Opens Friday for 80-day Stakes-Laden Meet

Purses up, takeout down as famed connections return with Kentucky Derby dreams

New Orleans, LA (November 14, 2022)—The nation’s third oldest racetrack, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots is set to open for the 151st meet on Friday, Nov 18. Two racing days kick things off and post time will be 3 p.m. (all times Central) on Friday and 1:15 p.m. on Saturday. Opening weekend of the 80-day Thoroughbred meet includes the inaugural running of six stakes written for Louisiana-breds, serving as preps for Louisiana Champions Day on Dec 10.

The meet will feature 65 stakes worth a combined $8.5 million, up more than $700,000 from last season. Working with the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association and Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Fair Grounds’ racing office created 12 new stakes peppered throughout the schedule, making it the richest program ever offered in Louisiana.

Christmas comes early for horseplayers as Fair Grounds has announced takeout will be lowered to 15% for the Pick 5. Also, a non-jackpot $1 Pick 6, also with a low 15% take,  has been added to the wagering menu. Everyone will get to see the payouts light up the new toteboard in the infield.

The progression of the Road to Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve prep races continues to attract top connections. Beginning with the $100,000 Gun Runner (Dec 26) for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles, the Grade 3 $200,000 Lecomte (Jan 21) stays at that same distance, then the Grade 2 $400,000 Risen Star (Feb 19) stretches out to 1 1/8 miles. It all culminates in the 1 3/16 miles Grade 2 $1,000,000 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (March 25).

Fair Grounds has become the sport’s destination for 3-year-olds on the Kentucky Derby trail. 3-year-olds running in these races have had phenomenal success in the “Run for the Roses.” Country House won in 2019, Mandaloun won in 2021, and Epicenter finished second in 2022 Further than that, the 2022 Kentucky Derby trifecta and four of the top six finishers of 2021 all traveled through Fair Grounds’ Derby preps.

Much of the excitement around the Derby prep races extends from the presence of perennial powerhouses Steve Asmussen and Brad Cox who will be back for 2022 – 2023. Dating back to 1994, Asmussen has won 1081 races at Fair Grounds, including last year’s Gun Runner, Risen Star, and Louisiana Derby with Epicenter, and the Fair Grounds Oaks with Echo Zulu. North America’s all-time leading trainer, Asmussen’s historic 10,000th career win will likely come during the meet.

Cox finished second in the 2021 – 2022 trainer standings but he earned the crown four years in a row starting in 2016. Last year’s string of 3-year-olds included Grade 2 $300,000 Rachel Alexandra-winner Turnerloose, as well as Kentucky Derby-runners Cyberknife, Tawny Port, and Zozos.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming our horsemen back for our 151st season at this historic racetrack,” said Racing Secretary Scott Jones. “Fair Grounds has proven to be one of the premier winter racing destinations. Once again last year, the quality of horses who stabled or came through New Orleans made a huge impact in premier races all over the country.”

Titan trainers Tom Amoss, Al Stall Jr., Bret Calhoun, Dallas Stewart, Greg Foley, and Michael Stidham all return with packed barns of stakes-caliber Thoroughbreds.

A new addition to the backside is Ken McPeek. McPeek shipped in Smile Happy and Rattle N Roll to last year’s Derby preps. With a win in the Preakness and the Belmont under his belt, he is still on the hunt for his first Kentucky Derby winner.

Beyond Kenneth McPeek, new barns include 2022 Derby-runner Barber Road’s trainer John Ortiz, Brian Williamson and Mike Tomlinson. Robertino Diodoro will have a larger presence than last year, as will Norm Casse, and Chris Davis returns following a year in Florida.

“The owners, the trainers, the jockey colony, the backside workers–there’s something special about Fair Grounds that extends from the heritage of horse racing in Louisiana,” said Racing Director Jason Boulet. “With the new tote board, the increased purses, the high profile connections and the best of the esteemed Louisiana-bred program, we are thrilled for what’s in store for our 151st year.”

Week two of racing picks back up on Thanksgiving, a well-celebrated New Orleans tradition,  with a noon starting time on a card that features the 98th running of the Thanksgiving Classic, last year won by Just Might, the winning-most stakes horse in North America in 2021. His trainer Michelle Lovell will be back after winning 9 races at a 21% clip last season.

Coming off back-to-back trainer and jockey titles, all connections will be targeting Ron Faucheux and James Graham. Faucheux consistently excels at Fair Grounds, and sitting at 283 local wins, the barn will assuredly surpass 300 this meet. No active jockey comes close to James Graham’s career 1283 wins at Fair Grounds, but there are three new yet familiar additions to this year’s colony who have had their lion’s share of success.

Famed pilot of Gun Runner, Monomoy Girl, The Pizza Man, and 2021 Derby-winner Mandaloun, Florent Geroux returns to Fair Grounds seeking his next world-traveling, grade-one winning mount. With two riding titles and a 22% career win rate at Fair Grounds, Geroux will be back looking to pick up where he left off in 2020 – 2021.

Hailing from the Lafayette area, Fair Grounds welcomes home Louisiana-natives Corey Lanerie and Jamie Theriot. With 5 top 5 finishes in the jockey standings, Lanerie will get live mounts. Winner of the 2007 – 2008 jockey title but absent from racing since 2018, Theriot will be donned “The Comeback Kid” as he battles to earn a seat aboard his next Breeders’ Cup winner, having ridden two for Bret Calhoun in 2010.

Other newcomers to the colony include David Cohen who rode last winter at Oaklawn Park. Coming off a successful year riding in Kentucky where he got first call on a lot of Tom Amoss horses, Edgar Morales moves his tack back south, where he rode three meets between 2017 – 2020.

Ready and waiting will be Rey Gutierrez and Jareth Loveberry who both finished in the top 10 their first season at Fair Grounds. In May career win 6,000 came for Deshawn Parker, and he’ll be back for his second local meet after riding 40 to the finish line first last year. The 2018 – 2019 title-winner Adam Beschizza, brothers Brain Hernandez Jr. and Colby Hernandez, and “Mighty” Mitchell Murrill will each vie for a spot in the top 10 of an accomplished jockey colony.

Evelyn Benoit’s ​​Brittlyn Stable ran away with the 2021 – 2022 owner’s title with every one of her 22 winners being sired by Star Guitar, the all-time leading money earner among Louisiana-breds. The trainer behind those wins, Jose Camejo, returns with many of the same formful LA-breds.

When not playing the races live at Fair Grounds, fans can enjoy the spoils of one of our 15 statewide Off Track Betting facilities, or play the races through mobile devices at Twin Spires. The official wagering service of the Kentucky Derby will also entice fans with ongoing promotional offers to potentially help pad their wagering accounts. Don’t forget to opt in!

Fair Grounds will also team with Horse Racing Nation to provide unique horseplayer content and in depth coverage. Both the Louisiana and Muniz Stakes are presented by Horse Racing Nation.

The 80-day, 2022-2023 Fair Grounds racing season runs through Sunday, March 26. Regular post time will be 1:15 p.m., but there will be an earlier noon first post on Thanksgiving Day (Nov 24), Louisiana Champions Day (Dec 10), Road to the Derby Kickoff Day (Dec 26), Road to the Derby Day presented by Hotel Monteleone (Jan 21), Louisiana Derby Preview Day presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln (Feb 18), and Louisiana Derby Day (March 25). A complete list of the racing days and stakes schedule can be found here: https://www.fairgroundsracecourse.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/FGNO-42861_22-23-ThoroughbredRacingSched.PocketGuide-8.5×11-WEB_V4-HR.pdf.

 

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.

 

Read BloodHorse Article

Fair Grounds Announces Twelve New Stakes and Earlier Opening Day for the 2022-23 Thoroughbred Racing Season

2022-23 STAKES SCHEDULE jumps to $8.5 MILLION,

the richest in Louisiana’s history

 

NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, August 30, 2021) – Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced that 65 stakes worth a combined $8.5 million, up more than $700,000 from last season, will be offered during the 80-day, 2022-23 Thoroughbred meet. In each of the 13 unrestricted, non-graded stakes, purses have been increased by $25,000. In addition, twelve new Louisiana-bred stakes have been added to the schedule, including six over the first two days of the meet.

“We worked with the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association and Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association to come up with these new stakes,” said Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Scott Jones. “We’re proud to have worked together for the betterment of our sport to create not only the best stakes schedule, but also the richest program we’ve ever offered in the state.”

The traditional Thanksgiving opening will give way to an earlier start to the meet, with opening day slated for Friday, November 18. Six inaugural $75,000 Louisiana-bred stakes will be run over the dirt course on the season’s first two days. Fillies and mares take center stage on Friday in the Happy Ticket Stakes (6 furlongs) and the Big World Stakes (1 mile & 70 yards), both for 3-year-olds and up. The Donovan L. Ferguson Memorial Stakes, a 5 1/2 furlong event for 2-year-olds, will also be carded on opening day. Saturday’s trio of stakes are a mirror-image in terms of age, distance and surface, but these open Louisiana-bred events are highlighted by a 6-furlong dirt sprint named in honor of Ivery Sisters Racing’s multiple stakes winning, fan favorite Monte Man, who retired from racing last year at age nine.

“Coming off a very successful 150th anniversary season we can’t wait to welcome fans back to experience the best winter racing in New Orleans starting in November,” said Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots’ president Doug Shipley. “We have made significant investments at the track which includes our new $1.5 million dollar state-of-the-art Tote board. The new board is one of the best in the country and provides an unparalleled experience. While our season will officially begin on November 18th we will still have our Thanksgiving day celebration that has become a staple for the residents of New Orleans. “

Louisiana Derby Day is scheduled for Saturday, March 25, and it will card eight stakes worth a total of $2.6 million. Run at 1 3/16 miles for the third time last year, the Twinspires.com $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby (G2) is traditionally worth 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers on the Road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). The strong infusion of our sport’s top 3-year-olds training and racing at Fair Grounds was never more apparent than it was last season. Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Epicenter, who won the Gun Runner, Risen Star (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds in 2021-22, would later run second in both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) in advance of victories in both the Jim Dandy (G2) and Travers (G1) at Saratoga. Haskell (G1) winner Cyberknife, Jim Dandy runner-up Zandon, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby and Travers, Ohio Derby-winner Tawny Port, and the 148th Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike also participated in Fair Grounds’ 2021-22 Road to the Derby series.

Run at 1 1/16 miles, the Grade 2 $400,000 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks awards 100-40-20-10 points en route to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1). Last year’s winner Echo Zulu, who was Champion 2-year-old of 2021, finished fourth in the Kentucky Oaks. Second and fourth-place finishers Hidden Connection and Turnerloose also competed in the Run for the Lillies.

“Fair Grounds has proven to be one of the premier winter racing destinations,” Jones said. “Once again last year, the quality of horses who stabled or came through New Orleans have made a huge impact in premier stakes races all over the country. Beginning with the Gun Runner and the Untapable for late season juveniles, our progressive schedule of 3-year-old races for both the boys and girls gives horsemen even more opportunity to develop their horses and compete for excellent purses.”

A pair of high-impact, nine furlong stakes for older horses are also scheduled on the Louisiana Derby Day program — the $500,000 New Orleans Classic (G2) on dirt and the $300,000 Muniz Memorial Stakes (G2) on turf. Four undercard stakes, each worth $125,000, are slated for the lucrative card, including the Tom Benson Memorial for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on grass and a trio of Louisiana-bred events – the Costa Rising Stakes, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint, the Crescent City Derby for 3-year-old males at 1 1/16 miles and the Crescent City Oaks for females at 1 mile and 70 yards. The purses for each of those stakes has been raised $25,000.

After 2021’s successful debut, the Road to the Derby Kickoff Day will keep the same December 26 date, but will card nine stakes, up three from last year. From top to bottom last year’s 13-race card was a holiday feast, featuring Cyberknife breaking his maiden, and the 148th Kentucky Derby exacta, Rich Strike and Epicenter, both participating in the Gun Runner. A pair of 2-year-old stakes with Kentucky Derby and Oaks point implications (10-4-2-1) highlight the 9-stakes race card: the $100,000 Gun Runner contested at 1 1/16ths miles and the 1 mile 70 yards $100,000 Untapable for fillies.

Two long standing juvenile 6-furlong sprint stakes have been moved to the December 26 card, the Sugar Bowl and the Letellier Memorial for fillies.  The 1 mile 70 yards Joseph E. “Spanky” Broussard Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares shifts to this date as well to pair with the Tenacious Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, both for 3-year olds and up. Also for older horses, the Buddy Diliberto Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf, the Blushing K.D. for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf, and the Richie Scherer Memorial at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. All nine races will be run for $100,000, which is a $25,000 boost for the Sugar Bowl, Letellier, Broussard, Diliberto, Blushing K.D., and Scherer.

On January 21, Road to the Derby Day features a pair of key 3-year-old events — the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (G3) which was extended from one mile to 1 1/16 miles three years ago, and the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes for fillies at 1 mile and 70 yards. The top four finishers in each race receive 10-4-2-1 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks respectively.

Four stakes for older horses will also be presented on the January 21 program, including the $150,000 Louisiana Stakes (G3) run at 1 1/16 miles, the $100,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes at 1 1/16 miles over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, the $100,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf and the $100,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on grass.

On February 18, Louisiana Derby Preview Day features a pair of key 3-year-old stakes — the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2), which was extended from 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles three years ago, and the $300,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes presented by Fasig-Tipton (G2), for fillies to be contested over 1 1/16 miles. The top four finishers receive 50-20-10-5 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks respectively. The Rachel Alexandra has produced two of the last five Kentucky Oaks winners in Monomoy Girl and Serengeti Empress and 2014 victress Untapable also took down the Run for the Lilies.

Four stakes for older horses will also be presented on the February 18 program — the $250,000 Mineshaft Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles, the $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes (G3) at nine furlongs on turf, the $100,000 Colonel Power Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf and the $100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Louisiana Champions Day presented by Acadian Ambulance will be held on December 10. With the races run in various divisions over a variety of distances on both dirt and turf, the program features nine stakes restricted to Louisiana-breds. Each Louisiana Champions Day stakes is worth $100,000 with the exception of the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic and the two new additions – the $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Starter and $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Starter, both of which will be run at 5 1/2 furlongs for 3-year-olds and up.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve started early,”  Scott Jones said. “It means less five-day weeks for us during the entirety of the meet and gives us the opportunity to run multiple preps for Louisiana Champions Day on December 10. Starting on Thanksgiving only gave us 16 days to Champions Day. In this day and age it’s just not enough time. Of course we will still have the Thanksgiving Classic, a fantastic day of racing, and a festive crowd, as is the New Orleans tradition.”

Three other stakes will make their debut in 2023, most notably on January 7 the $75,000 Gary P. Palmisano Memorial Stakes. Paired with the $75,000 Bob F. Wright Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares, both 6-furlong dirt sprints are for 4-year-olds and up. A longtime Louisiana trainer and most recently the paddock judge at Fair Grounds, Gary Palmisano, Sr., who passed away last December, was a beloved member of the local racing community.

Also added to the Fair Grounds’ stakes program are the $75,000 Louisiana Stallion of the Year Half Ours Stakes at 1 mile 70 yards and the $75,000 Louisiana Broodmare of the Year Buttercup’s Song Stakes at one mile – both written for 3-year-old Louisiana-breds and named for two of the great producing influences in Louisiana’s breeding history. Half Ours sired 22 stakes winners, but his reign came to an untimely end after a freak paddock accident in July of 2021. With twelve foals and nine starters, the earnings of Buttercup’s Song’s foals totaled $1,721,518, highlighted by Pound for Pound and the graded-stakes winner Flatlined. Those stakes will be contested on February 25.

The 80-day, 2022-2023 Fair Grounds racing season runs through Sunday, March 26. Regular post time will be 1:05 p.m. CT, but opening day post time is 3:00 p.m. CT. There will be an earlier noon CT first post on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24), Louisiana Champions Day (Dec. 10), Road to the Derby Kickoff Day (Dec. 26), Road to the Derby Day (Jan. 21) Louisiana Derby Preview Day (Feb. 18), and Louisiana Derby Day (March 25).

Fourteen HBPA Affiliates, Four Tracks Seek To Join HISA Lawsuit

by Paulick Report Staff

 

An alliance of 14 affiliates of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and four racetracks are seeking protection from the alleged harms of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Authority (HISA). They are asking a federal judge to allow them to participate in an existing lawsuit that claims HISA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) violated the Fourth and Seventh Amendments to the U.S. Constitution as well as the process by which federal agencies develop and issue regulations, T. D. Thornton of Thoroughbred Daily News reports.

The HBPA affiliates and the tracks on Friday filed a “motion to intervene” in United States District Court (Western District of Louisiana). If accepted by the judge, it would grant the petitioners status in the case alongside the lead plaintiffs from the states of Louisiana and West Virginia.

The HBPA affiliates seeking to join the lawsuit are Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington, Charles Town, and Tampa Bay Downs. The Colorado Horse Racing Association, the state’s statutorily recognized horsemen’s group, also wants to be an intervenor.

 

Read Paulick Report Article

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.

 

Read BloodHorse Article

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.

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