Edited NTRA Release — The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) is joined by key leaders throughout the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry in expressing its strong support for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) one year after its landmark Racetrack Safety Program became effective on July 1, 2022.
The Racetrack Safety Program established for the first time in history a national, uniform set of integrity and safety rules in the sport. Every Thoroughbred that races in the U.S. is now required to be registered with HISA. More than 48,000 horses and 32,000 persons have been registered in the last year.
Additionally, every Thoroughbred is required to have a pre-race veterinary inspection every time it races, at any track. Finally, 46 racetracks completed the initial Racetrack Safety Accreditation Audit as required by the Racetrack Safety Program. These are just a few of the key accomplishments of the program’s first year.
“The work that HISA has done over this past year to improve racetrack safety across this country is critical to the future of the Thoroughbred racing industry,” said Tom Rooney. “For the first time in history, all tracks are operating under the same national standards and rules, which has led to more fairness and confidence in the sport among industry participants and our customers whose wagering dollars fuel every aspect of our sport. With the recent implementation of the Anti-Doping and Medication Program in May, HISA is well on its way to providing the positive reforms Thoroughbred racing has needed for a long time. HISA is the necessary solution to show all stakeholders and the public at large that the health and safety of our equine athletes is the absolute top priority for our industry. As a small owner and breeder myself, nothing is more important to me than preserving this sport for future generations to love and enjoy as I have. As we have seen with the challenging Triple Crown season, we still have a long way to go, but I am confident that this is the best way for us to get there together.”
The NTRA, based in Lexington, Ky. and Washington, D.C., is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators representing nearly 80% of the U.S. pari-mutuel handle, more than 30,000 owners, breeders and trainers, and other affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development.
Other key leaders and stakeholders in the Thoroughbred industry have issued statements of support: Craig Fravel, Executive Vice-Chairman, 1/ST“The importance of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s mission to bring uniform integrity and national safety best practices to our industry cannot be overstated. While much work remains to be done, we at 1/ST RACING are committed to supporting HISA’s work and we look forward to further progress.”
Drew Fleming, President & CEO, Breeders’ Cup Limited“Safety and integrity have long been top priorities of the Breeders’ Cup, which is why our Board supported HISA from the beginning. The creation and implementation of the Authority brings North American racing in line with international standards through uniform rules and regulations, swift adjudication protocols, and a robust anti-doping program and medication controls. HISA’s fair, transparent, efficient, and economically sound approach has never been more vital. The Breeders’ Cup will continue to advocate for united support of HISA, the law of the land, as we carry on in our efforts toward sustainable change.”
Bill Mudd, President and Chief Operating Officer, Churchill Downs Incorporated “As an industry leader, we applaud the progress HISA has made thus far in developing and enforcing uniform, world-class standards in horse racing. We share an unwavering commitment to the protection and wellbeing of equine and human athletes as a fundamental part of our mission and remain steadfast in our commitment to continuous progress.”
Josh Rubinstein, President and COO, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club “Del Mar supported the passage of the legislation that created HISA and we will continue to support Lisa, her team and their mission. The reforms that we’ve instituted in California over the last three years are clearly having a positive impact. With HISA rolling out similar measures across the country along with its enhanced integrity programs, our sport is heading in the right direction.”
Shannon Arvin, President & CEO, Keeneland Association “Keeneland has fully supported HISA from its inception as a landmark step toward building a better, safer sport that will strengthen public confidence in racing. This year, as HISA moved from concept to reality, its role in providing consistent rules governing medication and racetrack safety across all jurisdictions has become even more critical. The challenges of recent weeks demonstrate that the industry needs HISA leadership now more than ever as a means to codify the culture of safety and integrity that will protect and modernize racing for our fans, participants and, most importantly, our horses.”
Chauncey Morris, Executive Director, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association “Kentucky deserves meaningful, independent regulation of Thoroughbred racing that is viewed positively by the larger public across the United States as well as our members, owners and trainers, who race both at home and beyond. KTA was especially grateful for the December 2022 amendment which makes the Authority accountable to the Federal Trade Commission. HISA must continue to respond to thoughtful and reasoned feedback on its regulations, and we applaud the Authority and Ms. Lazarus for making thoughtful changes since implementation.”
David O’Rourke, President & CEO, New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) “Over the last year, HISA has worked collaboratively with NYRA and jurisdictions around the country to ensure the swift implementation of a uniform set of safety standards and medication controls. NYRA applauds HISA’s efforts to modernize the regulation of horse racing, and we look forward to building on the progress made to enhance safety and protect the integrity of the sport.”
James L. Gagliano, President and COO, The Jockey Club “Various incidents in our sport over the past year have reiterated our need for HISA, and it is tremendous that our sport finally has the uniformity it so desperately needed through HISA’s Racetrack Safety Program and Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program. Knowing everyone is on a level playing field and that violations are being handled fairly and swiftly should be welcome by the entire industry.”