HISA Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program to Relaunch May 22, 2023, Under Enforcement of HIWU

The Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU), the independent enforcement agency of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s (HISA) Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program, reminds industry stakeholders that the ADMC Program is set to go into effect on May 22, 2023. The Program initially took effect on March 27 of this year before being paused on March 31.

As was the case on the date of the initial implementation on March 27, industry participants should be aware of the following key changes that will apply nationwide as of May 22:

  • All Covered Horses will be subject to the ADMC Program regulations, which includes adherence to the Prohibited List of Banned and Controlled Medication Substances/Methods. Banned Substances are prohibited from being used, possessed, administered, or trafficked in relation to a Covered Horse at any time. Controlled Medications are permitted for use or administration in a Covered Horse, except in close proximity to a race or Vets’ List workout. As specified in the Prohibited List, certain Controlled Medications, i.e., corticosteroids, NSAIDs, analgesics, and local anesthetics, are regulated in samples collected following routine official timed workouts.
  • Lasix will be permitted in all races, except for 2-year-old races and stakes races. Lasix will also be permitted, regardless of age or class of competition, during training, including Vets’ List workouts.
  • All test selection will be overseen by HIWU using an intelligence-based strategy. While HIWU has the ultimate discretion to select Covered Horses for testing, intelligence from “boots-on-the-ground” industry participants, including state stewards and veterinarians, and continued cooperation with state racing commissions and laboratory/scientific partners will also inform the test selection process.
  • All sample collection personnel, including test barn staff, will have been trained by HIWU staff on ADMC Program-compliant procedures. Sample collection processes will be facilitated by a HIWU app that will serve as a paperless documentation system. The app will be prepopulated with relevant race-day and Covered Horse information from InCompass and the HISA Portal.
  • All laboratories utilized under the ADMC Program are accredited by the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium (RMTC), pending the implementation of the HISA Equine Analytical Laboratory accreditation, and will be held to the same performance specifications.
  • All laboratory results for samples collected under the ADMC Program will be reported to, and processed by, HIWU. The standard turnaround time for receiving Post-Race test results will be 10 business days after the laboratory’s receipt of samples, and the standard turnaround for Vets’ List clearance testing will be five business days after the laboratory’s receipt of samples.
  • HIWU will be responsible for distributing notices of Adverse Analytical Findings (i.e., positive test results) to Responsible Persons (e.g., trainers) under the ADMC Program and filing charges of ADMC Program violations against Responsible Persons.
  • Anti-Doping Rule Violations will be heard by members of the Arbitral Body, which is administered by JAMS, an independent third party. Controlled Medication Rule Violations will be heard by the Internal Adjudication Panel, whose members are selected by HISA and HIWU.

Industry participants should also note that national anonymous whistleblower platforms will relaunch on May 22. HIWU has partnered with RealResponse, the leading provider of safe and secure reporting platforms for athletes, teams, and organizations. Upon relaunch, the whistleblower platforms will accept information regarding violations of both the ADMC and Racetrack Safety Programs through telephone, text message, or email.


Examples of information that can be safely and anonymously submitted include names of Covered Horses, trainers, and owners that may be involved in a rule violation. Individuals will have the option to voluntarily provide their contact information so that the HIWU Investigations Unit can follow up, if needed. The whistleblower phone numbers, text message information, and email address will be available on the HIWU and HISA websites.

Furthermore, the deadline for bisphosphonates screenings has been extended in response to the new implementation date. More information about the use of bisphosphonates under the ADMC Program can be found here.

“Following a successful rollout of the ADMC Program on March 27, the HIWU team is excited to relaunch on May 22 and help promote safety and integrity during a critical time for Thoroughbred racing,” said Ben Mosier, executive director of HIWU. “Since April, HIWU has focused on training sample collection personnel at tracks that have yet to operate under the ADMC Program and providing refreshers where necessary. We have also fine-tuned processes based on feedback we received from the first week, which will enable even more effective operations going forward.”

Once the ADMC Program takes effect, the following states and/or racetracks with live racing in May will continue to provide sample collection personnel services by utilizing their current staff, who have been trained and certified by HIWU. Voluntary agreements have either been signed or will be signed before the first day of racing under the new ADMC Rules with the following entities:

  • California Horse Racing Board
  • Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission
  • Emerald Downs (Washington)
  • Florida Gaming Control Commission, in cooperation with Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs
  • Indiana Horse Racing Commission
  • Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission
  • Kentucky Horse Racing Commission
  • Maryland Racing Commission
  • Minnesota Racing Commission
  • New Mexico Racing Commission, in cooperation with Ruidoso Downs
  • New York Racing Association (except Post-Race testing)
  • Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission

For the following states and/or racetracks, HIWU has either contracted directly with existing personnel or has hired its own sample collection personnel to implement the ADMC Program. There is, therefore, no signed voluntary agreement with the following entities:

  • Arizona Department of Gaming (Division of Racing)
  • Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack
  • Illinois Racing Board
  • New Jersey Racing Commission
  • New York Gaming Commission
  • Ohio State Racing Commission

Laboratories must be accredited by the RMTC to be eligible to conduct testing as part of HISA’s ADMC Program and must meet additional criteria determined by HIWU. HIWU has entered into contracts with the following laboratories to analyze samples collected under the ADMC Program:

  • Analytical Toxicology Laboratory (Ohio Department of Agriculture)
  • Animal Forensic Toxicology Laboratory (University of Illinois-Chicago)
  • Industrial Laboratories
  • Kenneth L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory (University of California, Davis)
  • Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology and Research Laboratory
  • University of Kentucky Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory

Lab accreditation will eventually transition to the HISA Equine Analytical Laboratory standards, which will not take effect before 2024.

About the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit

The Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU) was established in 2022 by Drug Free Sport International to administer the rules and enforcement mechanisms of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s (HISA) Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program. The ADMC Program establishes a centralized testing and results management process that applies uniform penalties for violations efficiently and consistently across all American Thoroughbred racing jurisdictions that HISA governs. HIWU oversees testing, educating stakeholders on the program, laboratory accreditation, investigation of potential violations, and prosecution of any such violations. For more information, please visit hiwu.org.