Four New Reforms Added to Thoroughbred Safety Coalition’s Platform as Members Continue to Strengthen the Culture of Safety

02.01.21

New reforms help further lay foundation for the implementation of HISA

February 1, 2021 (Lexington, Kentucky) – Today, members of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition Steering Committee voted unanimously to adopt four new medical and operational reforms to further reduce the use of medication in racing, enhance consistency across racing jurisdictions and promote transparency. These new reforms set the stage for another productive year of advancing meaningful changes to strengthen the culture of safety in thoroughbred racing.

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) ushered in a new era for a safer sport when it became law, and the Coalition supports the safety and integrity measures it outlines and the establishment of a central governing authority (the Authority). It is our intention to work alongside the Authority to achieve our shared goal of protecting the wellbeing of our equine athletes and the integrity of the competition to achieve a better sport for all. While industry experts, USADA and leaders outside of the racing industry work to fully implement HISA and establish the Authority in the coming year, the Coalition will continue to advance reforms that align with the programs laid out in the legislation at the state and track level.

To this end, the following reforms have been added to Coalition’s platform:

  • Prohibit intravenous, intramuscular, transmucosal, topical, nasal and oral administration of medications and substances that are not specifically authorized within 48 hours of racing
  • Impose requirements for the identification and treatment of hypothyroidism in horses
  • Adopt testing and maintenance standards for racetrack surfaces
  • Advocate for the adoption of all facility specifications outlined in the RMTC’s Test Barn Best Practices for onsite test barns and follow the protocols consistent with the Best Practices for sampling occurring at another location

“Building out our reform platform remains the Coalition’s top priority as we continue to advocate for uniform measures that will protect the wellbeing of our horses and the integrity of our sport across state racing jurisdictions,” said Shannon Arvin, President and CEO of Keeneland Association Inc. “Testing, whether it’s for racing surface consistency, hypothyroidism or controlled substances, strengthens accountability and ensures an even playing field.”

“HISA marks a significant achievement for our community and will benefit horses, participants and fans alike by implementing uniform anti-doping, medication control and racetrack operation measures. The Safety Coalition’s mission directly complements the Authority’s efforts and we look forward to working together,” said Drew Fleming, President and CEO of Breeders’ Cup Limited.

“The work that goes into ensuring our athletes are racing under the safest conditions possible is constant and requires collaboration across the thoroughbred community,” said Martin Panza, Senior Vice President of Racing Operations at the New York Racing Association (NYRA). “The racetrack surface maintenance and testing protocols are the direct result of such collaboration led by the NTRA and the members of this coalition and will serve as the basis for HISA’s racetrack operations program.”

Progress towards these commitments by TSC Steering Committee members can be found on the Coalition’s Accountability Tracker.