Six weeks after the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), the losing plaintiffs/appellants in a case led by the states of Oklahoma, West Virginia and Louisiana have petitioned for a rarely granted “en banc” procedure that asks for a rehearing before all 28 of that court’s judges instead of just the panel of three that issued the Mar. 3 decision.
“A panel of this Court [held] that the [HISA] Authority’s ability to issue federal regulations over the Federal Trade Commission [FTC]’s objection does not violate the private non-delegation doctrine because, since the [December 2022] statutory amendment, the FTC can modify those rules after the fact,” the Apr. 17 filing stated.
“The panel also refused to decide whether the Authority’s exclusive power to bring enforcement actions in federal court was unconstitutional, and it concluded that HISA’s fee-collection regime does not unconstitutionally coerce the States to administer a federal regulatory program,” the filing stated.
The Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals on Tuesday denied a motion by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) Authority for that court to vacate its recent opinion that HISA is unconstitutional.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will now hear oral arguments Aug. 30–slightly earlier than expected–in the injunction appeal brought by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Authority (HISA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Both entities are defendants in an underlying lawsuit that alleges unconstitutionality and federal rulemaking procedure violations regarding HISA’s initial framework of regulations that went into effect July 1.
The Appeals Court docket previously indicated a September oral argument date was being planned.
The plaintiff states of Louisiana and West Virginia won a preliminary injunction in federal court Tuesday that will keep the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) Authority’s rules from being implemented in those two states until a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of HISA gets decided in full.
“This court believes the threatened harm to Plaintiffs outweighs any harm that may result to the Defendants and that a preliminary injunction will not undermine the public interest,” wrote Judge Terry Doughty of U.S. District Court (Western District of Louisiana).
“This Court is only ruling on the adoption of the rules by HISA, not the constitutionality of the Act,” Doughty was quick to add.
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.
TOP HONORS WERE HANDED OUT DURING CLOSING DAY PROGRAM ON SATURDAY, MARCH 5
VINTON, LA. – The 2021-22 Thoroughbred season at Delta Downs wrapped up on Saturday with familiar names topping the horsemen standings. Tim Thornton won his fourth straight leading rider title while Karl Broberg notched his 11th consecutive crown in the training ranks. Broberg and Matt Johansen’s End Zone Athletics, Inc. earned their seventh leading owner title and their 10th in the last 11 years.
Thornton’s season included 129 wins and mount earnings of $2,782,260. The title was Thornton’s fourth consecutive since moving his tack to Vinton in late 2017. During his first full season in 2018-19, Thornton set a new track record for mount earnings in a single season with $2,894,080.
Thornton, a husband and father of three, won six of the track’s 26 stakes races during the meet. His biggest score came with the Allen Landy-trained Net a Bear, who took the $125,000 Louisiana Premier Day Distaff on the track’s richest race day of the year, February 5.
Following Thornton in the jockey standings were Joel Dominguez (65 wins), Joe Stokes (61), Jose Guerrero (50), Alex Birzer (46), Thomas Pompell (45), Vicente Del-Cid (42), C. J. McMahon (33), Kevin Roman (29), and Gerard Melancon (28).
Broberg continued his dominance at Delta Downs in 2021-22 by sending out 105 winners and totaling $1,928,820 in barn earnings. Broberg nearly bettered his own records for Thoroughbred conditioners this meet as well. During the 2018-19 season his horses set the current standard with 107 wins and earnings of $2,017,120.
Rounding out the list of leading trainers for the Delta Downs meeting were Allen Landry (31), Eduardo Ramirez (31), Brett Brinkman (26), Dale White, Sr. (21), Sam Breaux (20), Scott Gelner (19), Benjamin Zeno (19), Greg Tracy (19), and Lee M. Thomas (19).
End Zone Athletics, Inc. saw 78 of their runners win and earn a total of $1,322,480. The accomplishment broke their own records set just last year when End Zone won 64 races and took home $1,186,210.
Rounding out the top owners for the season were Dale White, Sr. (18), Elite Thoroughbred Racing, LLC (Michele Rodriguez) (12), Israel Flores Horses LLC (10), Keith Charles (9), Adriel Gonzalez (8), Gerald L. Averett, Jr. (7), Norman Stables, LLC (7), Rylee Grudzien (7), and Sandy Badeaux (6).
Delta Downs now looks forward to its upcoming American Quarter Horse season which gets underway on April 29 and runs through July 16. The 46-day meeting will feature live racing each Wednesday through Saturday night with first post time set for 6:15 pm Central Time.
For more information about the Delta Downs Quarter Horse season, including specific race days, go to the track’s website at www.deltadownsracing.com. Fans can also follow the track on Facebook and Twitter.
Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing and fun dining experiences. Delta Downs is located in Vinton, Louisiana, on Delta Downs Drive. From Lake Charles, take Exit 7 and from Texas, take Exit 4.
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.
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.”
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.
A two-phase fix to the allegedly unsafe new lighting system at Delta Downs is underway that could allow the Louisiana track to switch back from afternoon programs to traditional weekend night cards by Nov. 12.
The recently installed light-emitting diode (LED) system, which was necessitated by the old lights getting wrecked by a hurricane in August 2020, was only operational for three races on the first night program of the season Oct. 15 before a horse fell at the top of the stretch.
Fueled by complaints from some jockeys and trainers that areas on the turns were dangerously dark and shadowy, the remainder of that card and the Oct. 16 program were cancelled. Delta resumed racing during afternoons without lights Oct. 20-23.