From the HISA Media Team:
The HISA Newsletter
September 20, 2023
Dear Thoroughbred racing participants,
HISA’s most important mission is to protect the health and wellbeing of the horses participating in Thoroughbred racing. Over the past few months, the challenges of that mission – and the critical importance of it – have never been more apparent.
The events at Churchill Downs, Laurel Park and Saratoga Race Course this spring and summer were a sobering reminder that we must further prioritize creating a culture of safety and an ecosystem of care that takes into account all factors contributing to equine fatalities. And it is the responsibility of all racing participants to do their part.
HISA’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding equine fatalities at Churchill Downs earlier this year did not identify any singular explanation for the fatalities, despite extensive investigation and analysis of the track surface, veterinary records, necropsies and whether any rule violations occurred. The absence of a singular explanation underscores the urgent need for further action and analysis to mitigate risk stemming from several factors potentially contributing to equine fatalities. HISA’s full report on the findings was released publicly last week and can be found here.
HISA’s strategic recommendations and next steps moving forward – also announced last week – include the following:
- A sophisticated data analysis effort to explore critical questions facing the sport to yield new, actionable insights, made possible by uniform reporting requirements under HISA.
- The creation of a committee to work toward the study and ultimate introduction of more synthetic surface options in Thoroughbred racing.
- Improved veterinary screening and diagnostic procedures, including:
- Making PET scans more accessible to racetracks across the country
- Conducting a research study to examine the causes of exercise-associated sudden deaths
- Further use of wearable technology as an injury detection tool
- An examination of whether there are any other equine fitness tools worthy of investment and deployment
As detailed below, HISA has also formed a new Track Surface Advisory Group comprised of seasoned track superintendents to assist in surface analysis and make recommendations on an ongoing basis.
This moment is and should be a turning point for our sport. It is essential that all corners of the racing world come together to do their part to reduce equine fatalities and protect these magnificent athletes.
HISA is grateful for the work of everyone involved in the sport whose job it is to protect the health and wellbeing of Thoroughbreds. We know that you share in our cause and that together, we can make racing the safest, and best, version of itself.
Yours in racing,
Reminder: HISA Registration Required Before First Timed Workout
HISA requires all horses be registered via the HISA Portal BEFORE their first timed workout. Covered persons associated with any horses having a high-speed workout before being registered with HISA will not be in compliance with the rules.
Login to the HISA Portal NOW to register all horses before their first recorded workout.
This video takes you through the steps necessary to register a horse in the HISA portal. Should you have any questions, or require additional assistance, please call the 24/7 HISA Support Desk at 1-877-513-2919 or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
HISA Hosts Inaugural Town Hall Webinar on ADMC Program
On Sept. 7, HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus hosted HISA’s first-ever online Town Hall webinar to answer questions submitted by members of the racing public. The inaugural webinar’s topic of discussion was HISA’s ADMC Program and featured members of the HIWU leadership team, including Executive Director Ben Mosier, Chief of Science Dr. Mary Scollay, General Counsel Michelle Pujals, and Chief of Operations Kate Mittelstadt.
A video recording of the webinar is available here. HISA is grateful for the engagement of so many racing participants and for the thoughtful questions that were submitted ahead of and during the webinar. Stay tuned for an announcement regarding the next HISA Town Hall soon.
HISA Announces New Track Surface Advisory Group
Earlier this month, HISA announced the formation of a new Track Surface Advisory Group that will be deployed by HISA to analyze dirt, turf and synthetic surface consistency at Thoroughbred racetracks across the U.S. as needed. The volunteer Advisory Group, comprised of seven track experts, will be available to conduct on-site racetrack inspections as needs arise and will make recommendations to improve the consistency and maintenance of racing surfaces. Members of the group were already deployed to Saratoga Race Course to conduct a thorough review of the dirt and turf surfaces there in late August.
Members of the Track Surface Advisory Group include:
- Jim Pendergest, Chair, Director of Racing Surfaces, Keeneland; General Manager, The Thoroughbred Center
- Leif Dickinson, Turf Superintendent, 1/ST Racing / Gulfstream Park / Palm Meadows Training Center
- Sean Gault, Retired Director of Thoroughbred Racing Surfaces, Woodbine Entertainment Group at Woodbine Racetrack
- Glen Kozak, Exec. Vice President, Operations & Capital Projects, NYRA
- Jake Leitzel, Manager of Racetrack Maintenance, Penn National
- Dennis Moore, Track Superintendent, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club; Racing Surface Consultant, 1/ST Racing
- James “Jamie” Richardson, Track Superintendent, Churchill Downs
HISA Releases RFP on Furosemide
On Aug. 29, HISA released a request for proposals for research on the administration of furosemide to Thoroughbred racehorses during the 48-hour period before the start of a race. Required as part of HISA’s Congressional mandate, the research and its conclusions will be used to guide HISA’s Furosemide Advisory Committee in its recommendations to the HISA Board on next steps regarding the administration of furosemide.
Responses to the RFP are due by Nov. 15, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Questions about the RFP and the process for submitting a response can be sent to Dr. Jennifer Durenberger at email@example.com and/or Sam Reinhardt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Final proposals can also be submitted via email to Dr. Durenberger and Mr. Reinhardt once completed.
HISA and HIWU Name Alan Foreman as Omanbudsman
HISA and HIWU were pleased to announce last week that Alan Foreman, the chairman and chief executive officer of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Associations, Inc. (THA), will serve as ombudsman on behalf of HISA’s rules, with a primary focus on the Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program.
As the national ombudsman, Foreman will serve as an impartial and unbiased resource for Covered Persons and other Thoroughbred industry constituents to provide confidential advice and assistance at no cost to them in relation to HISA’s ADMC Program and the Racetrack Safety Program, including with respect to the rights and obligations of Covered Persons under both Programs. Foreman will also accept feedback and comments from racing participants and communicate that feedback to HISA and/or HIWU.
Industry participants interested in utilizing the ombudsman service should reach out to Foreman via email at email@example.com or by phone at (410) 336-0525.
Terri Mazur Appointed to HISA Board of Directors
Last month, HISA announced that Terri Mazur, Esq. has been selected to join HISA’s Board of Directors. Mazur will fill an independent director seat on the board, replacing Ellen McClain, who will step down from her position to fulfill increasing professional obligations. As determined by Congress, HISA’s Board of Directors consists of nine individuals, five from outside of the equine industry (independent directors), and four selected to represent various equine constituencies (industry directors).
Mazur is a trial lawyer with more than 30 years of experience across the federal securities and financial services industry. She previously served as Partner at Mayer Brown LLP and Arnold Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, and was most recently a Shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Mazur is the Immediate Past Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s (NYSBA) Women in Law Section, serves on the Executive Committee of NYSBA’s Antitrust Section and the Task Force on Racism, Social Equity and the Law, and sits on the Antitrust and Trade Regulation Committee of the New York City Bar Association.
Mazur is also an avid equestrian and has a long history in show jumping at both the intercollegiate level and in the junior and adult amateur jumper divisions on the national level.
HISA Announces New Director of Operations and Compliance
HISA also recently announced that Anjali Salooja will serve as HISA’s Director of Operations and Compliance. In her role, Salooja will oversee all systems and procedures for the organization, ensuring HISA remains compliant with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act at all times. Salooja will also provide daily operational and long-term planning support for new initiatives designed to promote equine and jockey health and safety.
Salooja joins HISA from the National Basketball Association where she served as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, overseeing the NBA’s Anti-Drug Program and player health and safety efforts for its affiliate leagues.
HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus to Participate in Horse Racing Women’s Summit Panel
HISA CEO Lisa Lazaraus will be at Santa Anita Park next week to participate in a panel on the state of the industry and HISA’s progress to date at the 2023 Horse Racing Women’s Summit on Thursday, September 28. Joining Lazarus on the panel will be Keeneland President & CEO Shannon Arvin, NBC Sports and FanDuel TV reporter Britney Eurton, NYRA SVP & General Counsel Joi Garner and 1/ST RACING Equine Veterinarian Casille Batten. A livestream of the summit and the panel featuring Lazarus will be available via XBTV livestream.
HISA to Participate in 57th International Conference of Horseracing Authorities
HISA Board Chair Charles Scheeler will speak to international racing leaders at the 57th International Conference of Horseracing Authorities on Oct. 2 at Saint-Cloud Racecourse in Paris, France. Scheeler will provide an update on HISA’s progress in the U.S., including the implementation of the ADMC Program, as well as an outlook on HISA’s near- and long-term goals. A livestream of the conference will be available on the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities’ (IFHA) website. A video replay will be available in the days following the event.
From the desk of Ben Mosier, Executive Director, Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit:
Entering the final quarter of 2023, HIWU has so far tested more than 30,000 horses and resolved more than 50 cases. As the Breeders’ Cup draws near, preparations by our operations and investigations teams are already under way. This year’s Breeders’ Cup will be the first held under the ADMC Program rules, and we are excited to partner with the Breeders’ Cup and 1/ST to help ensure that the event continues to be held to the highest standards of integrity and safety.
As part of implementing the ADMC Program, HIWU continues to fine-tune processes and educate industry stakeholders to enhance the effectiveness of the Program, facilitate compliance, and promote equine welfare.
As stated earlier, the HIWU executive team recently participated in HISA’s first Town Hall Webinar. We appreciated the opportunity to answer questions about the ADMC Program, which were submitted by a wide range of participants. Questions that we did not have time to address during the webinar have been or will be answered directly to the individuals who submitted them. HIWU also welcomes questions any time via firstname.lastname@example.org or our mobile app.
Relatedly, HISA and HIWU recently published updated guidance regarding Provisional Suspensions, Controlled Medication Rule Violations, electrolytes, and supplement labels. Any questions regarding this information should be directed to the aforementioned email address or app.
Further, we are excited to have Alan Foreman working with HISA and HIWU as an ombudsman to assist the industry with HISA’s rules. Alan brings tremendous experience to this role, and we at HIWU appreciate his willingness to serve the industry in this capacity. We encourage industry participants to utilize Alan as a fair and objective resource when navigating both the ADMC Program and the Racetrack Safety Program.
The last four months have flown by, and the HIWU team is as energized as ever in fulfilling our mandate to administer Thoroughbred racing’s first national, uniform ADMC program.