HISA to lead the Thoroughbred community down a path to a safer and more transparent sport

04.21.21

To all of the hard-working individuals who make up the Thoroughbred community and the fans who share in our love for the horses that set our sport apart from all others:

As one of our nation’s oldest and most celebrated pastimes, racing’s traditions run deep. However, the most durable traditions are the ones that evolve and improve with time. Amid the pageantry and beauty, we’ve faced challenges around equine safety and racing integrity throughout our history, which is why leaders across the Thoroughbred industry came together to make the changes necessary to bring our sport into the 21st century and secure its future for generations to come. Leaders in Thoroughbred racing agree with those who have argued for greater transparency and more rigorous safety standards, and are united in choosing to prioritize, above all else, the safety and well-being of our equine athletes.

Through the collaborative work of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition (the Coalition), its members, and broader efforts by leading organizations across the Thoroughbred industry, including The Jockey Club, we worked with lawmakers to help pass The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), which was signed into law on December 27, 2020.

Under the oversight of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the independent Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (the Authority) will implement consistent, transparent, and enforceable rules across all state racing jurisdictions. These efforts will be divided into an Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program, which will be executed and enforced in partnership with the United States Anti-Doping Authority (USADA), and a Racetrack Safety Program. Most of the medication, organizational and operational reforms that the Coalition and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) have adopted and continue to advocate for will likely serve as a basis for these programs. Additionally, the Authority will work with state regulators and horsemen’s groups to ensure the most efficient and cost-effective approach to implementing the new programs.

The passage of HISA represents a monumental turning point for our traditionally decentralized industry, and we hope it will go a long way in increasing public confidence in the sport. Even stakeholders who historically sought to avoid government intervention in racing are embracing HISA because they understand that it represents a roadmap to a safer sport and will modernize the industry through strengthened accountability measures.

HISA has given all of us a mandate to build on the unprecedented display of unity that brought us to where we are today. The formation of the independent Authority as a vehicle to establish and implement uniform medication rules and racetrack safety standards will codify the culture of safety and integrity that the Coalition was founded to strengthen and protect. The Coalition, The Jockey Club, the NTRA and our respective members are proud to have played a role in this industry-wide effort that will improve our sport. Now, we must work together to support HISA’s continued success and the success of Thoroughbred racing for generations to come.

This is the beginning of a new, safer era for our storied sport, and our work has only just begun. We can’t think of a greater task to undertake.

Sincerely,

American Association of Equine Practitioners

Aqueduct Racetrack

Belmont Park

Breeders’ Cup Limited

Churchill Downs, Incorporated

Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity

Colonial Downs Racetrack

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Fair Grounds Race Course

Golden Gate Fields

Gulfstream Park

Keeneland Association Inc.

Kentucky Thoroughbred Association

Laurel Park

Monmouth Park

National Thoroughbred Racing Association

New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA)

Parx Racing

Pimlico Race Course

Presque Isle Downs

Santa Anita Park

Saratoga Race Course

Suffolk Downs

The Jockey Club

Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association

Thoroughbred Safety Coalition

Turfway Park

Water Hay Oats Alliance

1/ST RACING