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Attorney General Landry Leads Lawsuit Against Federal Takeover Of Horse Racing

Thursday, June 30, 2022

 

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Attorney General Landry Leads Lawsuit Against Federal Takeover Of Horse Racing

BATON ROUGE, LA – Today the State of Louisiana, the State of West Virginia, the Louisiana Racing Commission, the Louisiana Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the Jockeys’ Guild, owners, trainers, and jockeys filed suit in the Western District of Louisiana asking the Court to enjoin the implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s regulations. HISA – the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, was passed December 22, 2020, in the dark of night and tucked into the COVID relief package is an attempt to federalize horse racing, an industry the State of Louisiana has regulated for two centuries.

“HISA has created a regulatory scheme that is, at best, half-baked and harmful to everyone in the industry it purports to exist to protect and at worst unconstitutional,” said Attorney General Jeff Landry. “We all agree integrity and safety in horseracing is of paramount importance. And while no industry is without problems, Louisiana and West Virginia, among other states, have always strictly and effectively regulated it. I firmly believe the people of Louisiana should be in control of this activity, not political and corporate elites in some faraway place, all because of a problem that surfaced in California. Having a London lawyer, Jonathan Young, as the head of HISA’s ADMC Enforcement Agency and a Bavarian Investigator, Gunter Younger, regulating Louisiana horseman over five thousand miles away is unacceptable.”

The HISA law purports to effectively substitute state regulatory commissions with a private corporation, setup 90 days prior to the passage of this Act, in charge of horseracing. This entity has only nominal oversight by the Federal Trade Commission. This newly-created private corporation then began to issue regulations, on which the FTC permitted, allowing very little time for public comment, leaving those that actually labor under them with little input or voice. In short, the entire way this law and the regulations associated with it came about shows a reckless disregard for the industry participants and a correspondingly reckless disregard for the impact to our states. Not just for Louisiana, but for all states that engage in horseracing. The regulations are unclear, inconsistent, and violate due process. It is apparent that the HISA is shifting its own lack of preparedness to the industry and the states.

Congress recklessly set up this massive regulatory scheme that is onerous and unfair to everyone. Then, adding insult to injury, it is taxing the people who work the hardest and receive the least to pay for it while showing no interest in the safety of the sport’s most at-risk participant – the thoroughbred jockey. The Jockey Guild, which represents an entire industry of dedicated men and women at the very heart of this industry and for whom rider safety is paramount, has expressed its concerns about the reckless implementation of this law, but its comments were ignored.

This suit clearly shows that HISA is not prepared to assume control or supervision over racing. For example, HISA proposed a registration rule that also requires covered persons to be registered by July 1 and accredited by HISA. However, “covered persons” and the definition of “accredited” are unclear to just about everyone. Making matters even worse, the FTC posted its apparent approval of yet another set of rules at 8 p.m. last night, June 30, injecting even more confusion.

Lifetime Bans Upheld for Buzzer-Toting Patin Brothers

By T. D. Thornton

The Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) affirmed lifetime bans for two sibling jockeys from the Patin family on Tuesday related to the brothers’ criminal convictions for possessing illegal horse-shocking devices in races at Evangeline Downs in 2015.

The hearings concluded in bizarre fashion when Joseph Patin Jr., 58, apparently slipped out of the meeting room without telling anyone after first hearing that his younger brother, Billy Patin, 53, wasn’t going to be allowed to work as an exercise rider despite Billy previously agreeing to a lifetime ban of his license as a jockey.

LSRC commissioner Eddie Delahoussaye, a retired Hall of Fame jockey, addressed Billy Patin directly prior to the vote on his request. But he then launched into an admonition aimed at all jockeys who cheat and harm the reputation of the sport.

 

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Louisiana Commissioners Lengthen Penalties For Trainers In Zilpaterol Cases

‘This Is No Mistake’: Louisiana Commissioners Lengthen Penalties For Trainers In Zilpaterol Cases

Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La.

Racing commissioners in Louisiana took penalties for zilpaterol overages one step farther in a lengthy meeting April 26, extending the already-significant suspensions handed out by stewards a few weeks earlier.

The commission considered eight positives from trainer Rosendo Valdez, four from Lanny Keith, four from Manuel Pizana, three from Manuel Macias, and two from Fernando Lopez. The overages were part of a flood of recent zilpaterol positives in the state.

Zilpaterol is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in horses. Instead, it is a drug approved for use in beef cattle to promote weight gain and lean muscle mass. It’s commonly administered as a feed-through product when given to cows.

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Fix to Delta’s Light Woes Might Not Arrive by End of Meet

By T. D. Thornton

A new lighting system at Delta Downs that was only operational for three races on the first night of the season back in October and has been repeatedly tweaked since then might not end up being deemed safe or usable for racing by the time the current Thoroughbred meet ends Mar. 5.

Ironically, after more than three months of debate over alleged shadows and perceived inconsistencies with how the patterns fall on the racing surface, the lighting installer and a consulting firm retained by Delta are now trying to rectify the problem not by increasing candlepower, but by actually turning down the intensity of the lighting from about 90% of full illumination to around 60% on each of the poles around the six-furlong track.

 

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Fair Grounds Not Definite on Dates Reduction

By T. D. Thornton

Jason Boulet, the Fair Grounds director of racing, was repeatedly pressed by Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) member Tom Calvert Tuesday about whether or not his track would once again seek a statutory change to reduce its required number of race dates from 80 to 75 when the state legislature convenes its 2022 session Mar. 14.

The exchange did not yield a definitive answer beyond Boulet’s disclosure that the Fair Grounds and its corporate parent, the gaming firm Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), would be in favor of participating in discussions among stakeholders that might reduce race dates in Louisiana with the goal of making it easier to fill entries at the state’s four Thoroughbred tracks.

The dates statute wasn’t on the agenda for the Jan. 18 LSRC meeting. But Calvert brought it up after Boulet reported that so far through the November-through-March meet, the number of starters per Fair Grounds race has dipped from 8.3 to 7.6 in a year-over-year comparison, a decrease Boulet termed “alarming.”

 

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Delta Downs Trying to Light a Way to Safe Night Racing

Louisiana Racing Commission delays decision on restoring night racing for 30 days.

 

better lighting system at Boyd Gaming’s Delta Downs in Southern Louisiana has not been good enough for the track to restore its valuable two nights of racing per week.

The racetrack lost its lighting during the devastation from Category 4 Hurricane Laura in August 2020 and consequently its most valuable real estate in the national pari-mutuel simulcast landscape. A new lighting system was unveiled in October, which one expert has called “exceptionally better than in the past,” but the Delta Downs jockey colony has not been happy with the results, calling an uneven spread of dark and bright spots around the track dangerous to both horse and rider.

The Louisiana Racing Commission considered the issue Dec. 13 during a hearing to consider a Delta Downs request to convert two of its four weekly racing days from afternoon to night.

 

Read BloodHorse Article

Dispute Over Safety of New Lights Keeps Delta Dark at Night

By T. D. Thornton

Strenuous safety-related objections from Delta Downs jockeys about the allegedly inconsistent lighting from a new system that has been installed and tweaked over the course of several months kept the Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) from approving a return to night racing when regulators met for an emergency session to address that one item Monday morning.

Mindy Coleman, an attorney representing The Jockeys’ Guild, told commissioners on the Dec. 13 Zoom call that while the Delta-based riders recognize and appreciate the efforts track management has made to try to improve the situation, “there are still some grave concerns” with the recently installed light-emitting diode (LED) system, which was necessitated by the old lights getting wrecked by a hurricane in August 2020.

 

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Louisiana Commission Backs Broberg in CDI Dispute

Churchill Downs Inc. banned him after one of his starters returned sore from a race.

 

Questioning the due process afforded owner/trainer Karl Broberg when Churchill Downs Inc. barred him this fall from competition at all of its tracks, the Louisiana State Racing Commission unanimously passed a motion during its Oct. 26 meeting authorizing his participation at CDI-owned Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots as long as he has a valid Louisiana license and is not suspended.

CDI’s ban as a property owner came last month when it revoked his stabling and entry privileges at all its tracks after his $10,000 claiming horse Rockandahardplace returned sore after a sixth-place finish Sept. 18 at Churchill Downs.

A submitted claim by another owner for the 5-year-old gelding was voided after the race when the horse was declared lame by a Kentucky Horse Racing Commission veterinarian at the track’s test barn. The following week, CDI reported in a statement that “the horse was returned to his stall by a paid hot-walker, but a subsequent investigation revealed that there was no responsible representative of the trainer on-site to make veterinary decisions or to take appropriate steps to protect the welfare of the injured horse.”

Read BloodHorse Article

Hall Of Famer Delahoussaye Views Friday’s ‘Eddie D’ From Afar

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A certified all-time great and longtime member of Racing’s Hall of Fame, Eddie Delahoussaye, for whom Friday’s main event at Santa Anita, the Grade 2, $200,000 Eddie D Stakes, is named, will not be on-hand to present the winner’s trophy along with his wife Juanita.

“With all the Covid stuff going on, we just weren’t able to make it out this year,” said the popular Cajun native from his home in Lafayette, La. “At my age (69), you never know what you’re gonna get! Hopefully things will get back to normal and we can make the trip again next year.”

Retired due to injury in 2003, Delahoussaye, 69, who has worked part time as a blood stock agent and has dabbled in racehorse ownership himself, is in the process of taking on a new role—that of racing commissioner with the state of Louisiana. Although he won’t be officially sworn in until the Louisiana state legislature reconvenes in June, he’s serving in the role of apprentice commissioner in the interim.

Read Paulick Report Article

Delta Downs Looks to Open Delayed Meet in Late November

Stabling and tracking could begin by late October.

Delta Downs, which postponed its race meet when damaged by Hurricane Laura, could begin racing in late November, according to a company spokesman. Delta had been scheduled for its regular Thoroughbred season for 84 days from Oct. 6-Feb. 27.

Track officials are hoping to open its backstretch for training by late October, said David Strow, the vice president of corporate communications for Boyd Gaming, the track owner.

Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm, brought devastating winds causing damage or destruction to barns, the backside dining room, the track toteboard, its data/computer room, and its safety rail and starting gate, Strow said.

“The damage was fairly extensive. The good news is we are making great progress in our repairs, and we’re confident we can have the horses return in late October,” he said.

Boyd is working with the Louisiana State Racing Commission to extend the meet beyond its originally planned ending, though specific dates and the length of the season are still to be determined, according to Strow.

Delta Downs reopened its casino Sept. 16.

For more, Read BloodHorse Article

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