Following through on a previously issued memorandum defying compliance with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, Lone Star Park has been denied approval to export its racing signal out-of-state beginning July 1, Texas Racing Commission executive director Amy Cook confirmed June 15.
HISA is scheduled to take effect at the start of next month, although implementation of medication rules and enforcement will be delayed pending either adoption or rejection of the rules by the Federal Trade Commission after a public comment period.
The Lone Star Park Thoroughbred season concludes July 17.
Texas Racing Commission members laid out their concerns with the impending July 1 launch of the first round of Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority rules during its regular meeting June 8 in Austin. Those concerns include an anticipated statewide shutdown of pari-mutuel wagering and simulcasting related to the new federal rules.
“Although HISA is understood to have a preemptive effect on the various states, in Texas that effect is significant. In Texas, HISA will kill pari-mutuel onsite wagering and result in a prohibition of simulcast export wagering,” said commission chairman Judge Robert Pate during remarks at the start of the meeting, which was attended by HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus and lead counsel John Roach.
“Wagering on horse racing is a unique regulatory responsibility we have under the Texas Racing Act and Rules of Racing, which is inextricably tied to all functions of the Texas Racing Commission. If the Texas Racing Commission is not involved in every aspect of a horse meet and its races, pari-mutuel wagering and simulcast wagering is against the explicit terms of the Texas Racing Act,” he continued.
The Texas Racing Commission has said pari-mutuel wagering will not be conducted at Texas racetracks on live or simulcast wagering if the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority asserts control over regulatory supervision on July 1, 2022, as scheduled.
The Paulick Report obtained a copy of a May 20 letter to HISA chief executive officer Lisa Lazarus from Amy F. Cook, executive director of the Texas Racing Commission, in which Cook asked to be provided “specific dates, races, and horses that the Authority intends to regulate … within the jurisdiction of Texas.”
Cook cited the Texas Racing Act in stating that “no pari-mutuel wagering is permitted for live or simulcast export wagering for races our Commission does not supervise. Accordingly, there will be no such pari-mutuel wagering or simulcast wagering in Texas on those dates which the Authority asserts jurisdiction.”
During its regularly-scheduled meeting on Wednesday, April 13, the Texas Racing Commission voted not to pay the $371,377 fee assessed to the state by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, reports Spectrum News 1.
HISA is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2022; if state regulatory agencies vote not to collect and remit HISA-assessed costs, that duty will fall to the individual racetracks.
Commission chair Robert Pate explained that Texas state law does not allow the commission to pay a federal agency to do its job, and in fact, that doing so could force the commission to disallow wagering on those races.
The Texas Racing Commission has suspended hair testing of racehorses in the state, the regulator announced Jan. 14.
Amy Cook, executive director of the TRC, wrote in an email to BloodHorse that the move was “a response to the concerns raised by Texas Horsemen’s Partnership that needed to be addressed.” She noted that “specifically, the way the commission implemented the hair testing procedure in May 2021 did not provide adequate notice and transparent procedures to participants.”
Along with existing blood and urine testing, some tracks, organizations, and regulators have added hair testing in recent years. In Texas, shortly after hair testing began last May, the Sam Houston Futurity for Quarter Horses was run as a non-wagering event after the majority of the 10 finalists failed hair tests for either albuterol or clenbuterol.
The Texas Racing Commission approved July 21 two extra Thoroughbred race dates for Lone Star Park. The racetrack near Dallas recently lost nearly eight whole race days after a racing operations employee tested positive for COVID-19.
Lone Star was granted the requested dates of Aug. 5 and Aug. 12, the first two Wednesdays of next month, for its Thoroughbred meet. The track was originally slated to conduct a 44-day meet April 16-Aug. 11, but did not get underway until May 22 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As much as $17.5 million per year could be used to support Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse purses in Texas as a result of legislation signed into law last weekend by Gov. Greg Abbott.
House Bill 2463 diverts sales taxes on horse feed, tack and other horse-related products and services from the state’s general fund to an escrow account established by the Texas Racing Commission and capped at $25 million annually. No more than 70% of the funds in the escrow account may go toward purses. If the escrow account reaches $25 million, that would be an additional $17.5 million in purse money annually, virtually doubling the current amount, based on an economic study conducted by TXP Inc. consultants.