Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority

When the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (“HISA”) was signed into law, a new, safer era for the sport and its athletes began as industry stakeholders and experts in various fields came together to modernize the centuries-old tradition. 

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s (the “Authority”) Standing Advisory Committees, comprised of experts from inside and outside the thoroughbred racing industry, and the independent U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) published initial drafts of proposed rules for public comment.

To view HISA’s responses to the comments posted to the Federal Register regarding the Racetrack Safety rules click on the button below.

ABOUT

 

In May, 2021 the Authority’s blue-ribbon nominating committee announced members of the board directors and its standing committees. During the selection process, the nominating committee took steps to ensure a robust and diverse pool of candidates with varying levels of exposure to the thoroughbred industry, business and management, the veterinary field and federal and state government. The nine-person Board of Directors is responsible for approving and implementing uniform anti-doping and medication control regulations drafted under the leadership of USADA along with racetrack safety standards and rules.

Following the Board approval process, the Authority will present its final proposed rules to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in early December. This will then initiate a formal notice and comment rule-making process during which stakeholders and the general public may once again weigh in by submitting comments for a 60day period, after which the FTC will publish final regulations.

These programs will bring uniformity and unprecedented safety, transparency and efficiency to all state racing jurisdictions.

Announcements from the Authority

December 11, 2021: Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority Appoints Lisa Lazarus as Chief Executive Officer

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) Board of Directors announced today that Lisa Lazarus will serve as Chief Executive Officer of the Authority starting February 15, 2022. The board reached this decision after engaging Russell Reynolds to undertake a nationwide search for a permanent Chief Executive Officer.

For the full press release,

December 7, 2021: Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority Announces Proposed Implementation Date for Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program

Today, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) announced the proposed implementation date of the Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) program. Under the proposed structure, out-of-competition testing would be administered, under HISA’s jurisdiction, beginning with the program’s effective date in July 2022. Race-day testing would remain under the jurisdiction of state regulators until the beginning of 2023 at which point this would transition to HISA’s jurisdiction.

For the full press release,

December 6, 2021: Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority Submits Draft Racetrack Safety Regulations to the Federal Trade Commission

Today, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (the Authority) formally submitted draft Racetrack Safety regulations to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for review, public comment and final approval with an effective date of July 1, 2022.

For the full press release,

November 11, 2021: Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority Advisory Committees Publish Proposed Rules and Regulations for Further Stakeholder Review

Today, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s (the Authority) Standing Advisory Committees, comprised of experts from inside and outside the thoroughbred racing industry, and the independent U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) published initial drafts of proposed rules on hisaus.org for public comment.

For the full press release,

June 16, 2021: Authority’s board of directors hires Hank Zeitlin to serve as Interim Executive Director

The board reached their decision after interviewing multiple qualified candidates nominated by racing constituencies and interested parties. The Authority is undertaking a national search for a permanent Executive Director to begin serving later this year.

For the full press release,

May 27, 2021: Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s board of directors holds inaugural meeting, elects Charles Scheeler as chairperson

This meeting marks a major step in the operational and organizational transition of the Authority from the nomination and selection process to the critical work of developing uniform safety and integrity rules for the horse racing industry.  

For the full press release,

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May 5, 2021: Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s nominating committee announces members of board of directors and standing committees

The independent nominating committee reviewed more than 160 nominations, evaluating nominees from within and outside of the industry. In addition to ensuring a diversity of professional backgrounds, the committee took into consideration geographic, racial and gender diversity.  

For the full press release and list of nominees,

 

Board of Directors

The nine-person board includes five members from outside of the Thoroughbred industry and four industry representatives. The two chairs of the Authority’s standing committees serve on the board of directors, and the board is expected to select the board chair at its first meeting.

The board of directors includes:

  • Steve Beshear is an independent director from Kentucky who was elected to serve as vice-chair at the board of directors’ inaugural meeting. He served two terms as the 61st governor of Kentucky. An attorney by trade, Beshear has an extensive background in public service in Kentucky, including terms as Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives.

  • Adolpho Birch is an independent director from Tennessee who chairs the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Standing Committee of the Authority. Birch is senior vice president of business affairs and chief legal officer for the Tennessee Titans. Prior to joining the Titans, he spent 23 years at the National Football League’s headquarters, with responsibilities that included administration and enforcement of the NFL’s policies related to the integrity of the game, substance abuse, performance-enhancing drugs, gambling and criminal misconduct.

  • Leonard Coleman is an independent director from Florida. Coleman is the former president of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs. He joined Major League Baseball in 1992 as the executive director of market development. Previously, Coleman was a municipal finance banker for Kidder, Peabody and Company and served as commissioner of both the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and Department of Energy. Coleman is also a former board member of Churchill Downs.

  • Ellen McClain is an independent director from New York. McClain serves as the chief financial officer for Year UP, a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the opportunity divide by ensuring that young adults gain the skills, experience and support that will empower them through careers and higher education. From 2009-2013, she served in various leadership roles with the New York Racing Association (NYRA), including as its president.

  • Charles Scheeler is an independent director from Maryland who was elected chair of the board during the inaugural board meeting. Scheeler is a retired partner at DLA Piper. He has an extensive legal career in the private and public sector. Prior to joining DLA Piper, Scheeler was a federal prosecutor in the US Attorney’s Office and served as lead counsel to former Senator George Mitchell in his investigation of performance-enhancing substance use in Major League Baseball. Scheeler also has extensive experience investigating and monitoring Division I athletics programs’ compliance with the National College Athletics Association.

  • Joseph De Francis is an industry director from Maryland. De Francis is the managing partner of Gainesville Associates, LLC. Prior to this role, he was a senior executive for various Thoroughbred racing entities including the Maryland Jockey Club and Magna Entertainment Corporation. De Francis has served on several industry and charitable organization boards, including the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and the Johns Hopkins Heart Institute, among others.

  • Susan Stover is an industry director from California who chairs the Racetrack Safety Standing Committee of the Authority. Stover is a professor of surgical and radiological science and the University of California, Davis and an expert in clinical equine surgery and lameness. Her research investigates the prevalence, distribution and morphology of equine stress fractures, risk factors and injury prevention, as well as the impact of equine injuries on human welfare.

  • Bill Thomason is an industry director from Kentucky. Thomason is the immediate past president of Keeneland, a role he served in from 2012 to 2020. Throughout his career, Thomason has been engaged with several industry organizations, including the NTRA and American Horse Council, as well as several civic and corporate boards, including the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Foundation.

  • DG Van Clief is an industry director from Virginia. Van Clief retired in 2006 from serving as president of the Breeders’ Cup since 1996. A long-time racing executive, Van Clief was chairman of the Fasig-Tipton Company and a trustee of the Jockey Club Foundation. For several generations, his family operated Nydrie Stud in Virginia, and his grandmother bred 1947 Kentucky Derby winner Jet Pilot.

Anti-Doping and Medication Control Standing Committee

The committee is comprised of four independent members and three industry members:

  • Adolpho Birch, chair and independent director (see “Board of Directors”)

  • Jeff Novitzky is an independent member from Nevada. Novitzky is Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) vice president of athlete health and performance. In this role, he partnered with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to implement UFC’s anti-doping program. Prior to the UFC, Novitzky was a federal agent for the Food and Drug Administration and an investigator for the Internal Revenue Service.

  • Kathleen Stroia is an independent member from Florida. Stroia is senior vice president of sport sciences and medicine and transitions for the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and the WTA’s representative on the board of the Society for Tennis Medicine and Science. Stroia has served on various committees related to her sport, including the International Tennis Federation Medical Commission, the Tennis Anti-doping Committee and the U.S. Tennis Association Sport Science Committee, among others. 

  • Jerry Yon is an independent member from Florida. Yon is a retired gastroenterologist and previous member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), where he helped establish the Kentucky Equine Medical Director position, and is a past chair of the Equine Drug Research Council, which advises the KHRC on drug testing, regulations and penalties.

  • Jeff Blea is an industry member from California. Blea is equine medical director at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He is also a partner/owner in Von Bluecher, Blea, Hunkin, Inc., an equine veterinary medicine and surgery practice. Blea has served on and led several equine industry organizations including the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), Southern California Equine Foundation and the NTRA’s Safety and Integrity Alliance. 

  • Mary Scollay is an industry member from Kentucky. Scollay is the executive director and chief operating officer of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC), one of the industry’s foremost scientific authorities on performance enhancing drugs, therapeutic medications and laboratory testing. She has served as a racing regulator since 1987 and is an active member in several industry and professional practice organizations including the AAEP and the International Group of Specialist Racing Veterinarians. 

  • Scott Stanley is an industry member from Kentucky. Stanley is a professor of analytical chemistry at the University of Kentucky’s Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center and director of the Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory. A research scientist with more than 30 years of regulatory drug testing experience, his work focuses on developing new anti-doping approaches and the establishment of the Equine Biological Passport project.

Racetrack Safety Standing Committee

The committee is comprised of four independent members and three industry members:

  • Susan Stover, chair and industry director (see “Board of Directors”)

  • Lisa Fortier is an independent member from New York. Fortier is the James Law Professor of Surgery, Equine Park Faculty Director and associate chair for Graduate Education and Research at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Her primary clinical and translational research interests are in equine orthopedic surgery, tendonitis, arthritis and regenerative medicine.

  • Peter Hester is an independent member from Kentucky. Hester is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and previously worked for equine veterinary surgeon William Reed at Belmont Park. While in medical school, he was a night watchman at Ballindaggin Farm and has maintained a passion for the sport and rider safety.

  • Paul Lunn is an independent member from North Carolina. Lunn is dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University. Previously he was a professor and administrator at Colorado State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Lunn’s scholarly interests are in equine immunology and infectious disease.

  • Carl Mattacola is an independent member from North Carolina. Mattacola is dean of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro School of Health and Human Sciences. Prior to this, he was associate dean of academic and faculty affairs for the College of Health Sciences at the University of Kentucky. Mattacola’s research has focused on neuromuscular, postural and functional considerations in the treatment and rehabilitation of lower extremity injury.

  • Glen Kozak is an industry member from New York. Kozak is senior vice president of operations and capital projects for the New York Racing Association’s (NYRA) facility and track operations, which include Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course, Aqueduct Racetrack and others. Prior to joining NYRA, Kozak worked for the Maryland Jockey Club as vice president of facilities and racing surfaces.

  • John Velazquez is an industry member from New York. Velazquez is one of the most accomplished and respected jockeys in the history of horse racing, having won almost 6,250 races. He is North America’s all-time leading money-earning jockey and holds the record for most graded stakes wins. He is a board member of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund and co-chairman of the Jockeys’ Guild. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2012.

Members of the board of directors and standing committees underwent a comprehensive screening process, and the members of the board of directors and any independent member of a standing committee are subject to HISA’s strict conflict of interest restrictions to ensure the Authority’s independence and integrity.

FAQs

 

1. What is the blue-ribbon nominating committee and who is on it?

A: The blue-ribbon nominating committee is comprised of seven independent members including former government officials, leaders in the business and sports industry, and academics. They are responsible for establishing the membership of the Authority’s board of directors along with the Anti-Doping and Medication Control and Racetrack Safety standing committees. Nominating Committee members include:

  • Len Coleman (co-chair) is the former president of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs. Coleman joined Major League Baseball in 1992 as the executive director of market development. Previously, Coleman was a municipal finance banker for Kidder, Peabody & Company and served as commissioner of both the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and Department of Energy.

  • Dr. Nancy Cox (co-chair) is the vice president for Land-Grant Engagement and the dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Kentucky. Prior to that, she served as associate dean for research and director of the Experiment Station at the University of Kentucky. Cox championed the formation of the UK Equine Initiative (now UK Ag Equine Programs), recognizing the importance of the horse industry and its significance to Kentucky.

  •  Katrina Adams is the immediate past president of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), following two consecutive terms as the USTA's chairman and president. A successful professional tennis player, Adams was elected vice president of the International Tennis Federation in 2015 and was appointed as chairman of the Fed Cup Committee in 2016.

  •  Dr. Jerry Black is a visiting professor at Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine and is an emeritus professor and Wagonhound Land and Livestock chair in Equine Sciences at Colorado State University. He is the former president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and former chair of the board of trustees of the American Horse Council.

  • Gen. Joseph Dunford is the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation's highest-ranking military officer, and was the principal military advisor to the president, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Council from Oct. 1, 2015, through Sept. 30, 2019. Prior to becoming chairman, General Dunford served as the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps.

  • Frank Keating is the former governor of Oklahoma. Prior to that role, his career in law enforcement and public service included time as a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, U.S. Attorney and state prosecutor, and Oklahoma House and Senate member. He served as assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury, associate U.S. attorney general, and general counsel for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

  • Ken Schanzer served as president of NBC Sports from June 1998 until his retirement in September 2011. He also served as chief operating officer. During Schanzer's tenure, he secured the television rights to the Triple Crown races and Breeders' Cup for NBC. Before joining NBC Sports, he served as senior vice president of government relations for the National Association of Broadcasters.

2. Who selected the nominating committee members and co-chairs?

 A: The initial nominating committee co-chairs were selected through the collective efforts of leading Thoroughbred industry stakeholders representing a broad and diverse set of equine constituencies.  

3. What do the Authority’s board and standing committees look like?

A: The Authority’s board of directors consists of nine individuals, five of whom must be selected from outside of the equine industry (independent directors), while the other four will be selected to represent various equine constituencies (industry directors).

 The Anti-Doping and Medication Control Standing Committee is chaired by Adolpho Birch, an independent director of the board of directors, and comprised of four independent members and three industry members.

The Racetrack Safety Standing Committee is chaired by Susan Stover, an industry director of the board of directors, and comprised of four independent members and three industry members.

In order to conduct its work in an ethical and independent manner, directors and members are subject to specific conflict of interest restrictions in order to serve in their specific roles.

5. What process did the nominating committee use to select board members?

A: The blue-ribbon nominating committee solicited nominations through advertising in various trade and regional publications, word-of-mouth, and individual outreach; more than 160 names were submitted. The co-chairs then asked each committee member to review the nominees before the committee met in mid-March, during which members established a short list for potential board members.

In its subsequent meetings, the nominating committee followed the same process for identifying and vetting top candidates for the two standing committees. All directors and committee members were required to receive a super-majority vote of the blue-ribbon nominating committee in order to serve and are subject to the Act’s conflict of interest rules.

6. What does the Equine Conflicts of Interest Policy entail?

A: The membership of the board of directors and its two standing committees must include certain members who are “independent” and certain members who are from the “equine industry.” Directors, all independent members of standing committees, all officers and all employees must abide by conflict-of-interest mandates in the Act and the Authority's bylaws.

Any member of the board and any independent member of a standing committee must also satisfy the following conflict of interest restrictions:

Neither the director (industry and independent) or independent member of a committee, that individual’s spouse, domestic partner, mother/father, aunt/uncle, sibling or child may:

  1. Have a financial interest in or provide goods/services to covered horses (A “covered horse” is presently defined as a Thoroughbred horse from its first timed workout to its retirement from racing);

  2. Be an officer/official or any equine industry representative (defined as: an organization regularly and significantly engaged in the equine industry, including organizations that represent the interest of, and whose membership consists of owners, breeders, trainers, racetracks, veterinarians, State racing commissions, and jockeys), or serve in any governance or policymaking capacity for an equine industry representative; or

  3. Be an employee of, or have a business or commercial relationship with, any of the individuals described in (1) or (2) above.  

These rules do not apply to equine industry representatives of the standing committees, but they do apply to independent members of the standing committees.  Additionally, there is no look-back period, allowing potential industry members of the board directors and independent members of the board and its standing committees to divest their interest in covered horses or terminate any relationships prohibited by conflict-of-interest policies in the Act and the Authority's bylaws.

7. Did this process take into account diversity, equity and inclusion?

A: Yes. The nominating committee actively sought diverse candidates on the basis of race, gender and geography.   

8. Who will oversee the Authority’s board of directors and committees’ work? How are these committees and boards being held accountable?

A: As prescribed in the Act, the two standing committees recommend rules that will be approved by the Authority’s Board of Directors. Once a rule is approved by the Board of Directors, it is submitted to the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”).

Once submitted to the FTC, proposed rules will be published to the Federal Register pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act and a public comment period will begin. After this period, the FTC shall approve a proposed rule if the FTC determines that the proposed rule is consistent with the Act and the rules and regulations of the FTC.

9. What is the responsibility of the standing committees?

A: Each standing committee is responsible for advising and assisting the Authority with   establishing programs consistent with their charge.

The Anti-Doping and Medication Control Standing Committee advises the Authority and assists with establishing and implementing a horseracing anti-doping and medication control program, including:

  • Uniform anti-doping and medication control rules, including lists of permitted and prohibited substances;

  • Prohibition on administration of any substance within 48 hours of a racing start subject to (1) possible state racing commission exemption(s) for the use of furosemide (except in two-year-old or stakes races) during the first three years after the program effective date, or (2) after such time, if unanimously approved by the board of directors after a standing committee tasked to review the use of furosemide makes specific findings related thereto;

  • Laboratory testing standards and control;

  • Programs for in-competition and out-of-competition testing; and

  • Programs relating to anti-doping and medication control research and education.

The Racetrack Safety Standing Committee advises the Authority and assists with establishing an implementing a horseracing safety program, which shall include, without limitation:

  • Training and racing safety standards and protocols;

  • Racing surface quality maintenance system;

  • Programs for injury and fatality and data analysis that may include pre- and post-training and race inspections, use of veterinarian’s list, and concussion protocols;

  • Uniform set of track safety standards; and

  • Programs relating to safety research, education, and aftercare.

The Authority (and thereby its standing committees) is required to comply with a set of baseline rules included in the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. Generally, the rules adopted by the Authority shall be no less stringent than the following baseline rules:

  • The lists of permitted and prohibited substances (including drugs, medications, and naturally occurring substances and synthetically occurring substances) in effect for the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, dated May 2019;

  • The World Anti-doping Agency International Standard for Laboratories (version 10.0), dated November 12, 2019;

  • The Association of Racing Commissioners International out-of-competition testing standards, Model Rules of Racing (version 9.2);

  • The Association of Racing Commissioners International penalty and multiple medication violation rules, Model Rules of Racing (version 6.2).

  • As noted previously, there is a prohibition on the administration of any prohibited substance to a horse within 48 hours of its next racing start.

10.  What is the purpose of the blue-ribbon nominating committee now that the Authority’s board has been established?

A: The nominating committee will recommend candidates to fill any vacancies on the board or standing committees. A majority of independent and industry directors may also recommend candidates for consideration.

11.  When will the Authority start governing the racing industry?

A:  HISA’s program effective date is July 1, 2022. At that time, the Authority will assume leadership of and regulatory authority over thoroughbred racing in the U.S. In the meantime, the Authority is in the process of writing its anti-doping and medication control and racetrack safety programs for proposal to the FTC implementation once approved.

12. When did the Advisory Committee begin work on the regulations?

A: The Advisory Committees began their work in June 2021 and have met regularly since then to fulfill their obligations under HISA, namely, to advise the Authority in establishing and implementing uniform national rules and practices in anti-doping and medication control and racetrack safety.

13. Is the Authority working with the Advisory Committees in formulating the regulations?

A: The Advisory Committees have conducted their work with limited oversight or involvement from the Authority so as to gain their unfettered recommendations.

14. Will the Advisory Committees’ regulations be the final product?

A: The work product of the Advisory Committees is in draft, or preliminary, form. The drafts are comprised of recommended rules, protocols, policies, standards and practices. It is up to the Authority to determine which of the recommendations are promulgated as proposed rules. That will occur in late 2021. The FTC will then undertake their review process.

15. Will members of the horseracing industry be able to provide input to the Advisory Committees and the Authority?

A: The Advisory Committees are and the Authority will seek input from a wide range of industry stakeholders, including state racing commissions, racetracks, owners, trainers, breeders, jockeys, equine veterinary groups, and more. Informal stakeholder dialogue is taking place now and in the near term in order to gather input and identify concerns so that the Authority’s proposed rules will represent the most likely path to successful implementation on July 1, 2022.

16. Will the Authority make changes to the Advisory Committees’ rules?

A: Until this preliminary process has run its course, it is premature for the Authority to say with any certainty which of the Advisory Committees’ recommendations will be in the final proposed rule, with the exception that the statute prescribes certain areas in which the Authority must issue rules and those in which it has discretion whether to issue rules. In the latter case, the Authority may choose to publish guidance documents on best practices, safety protocols, or simply refer to existing standards from recognized authorities.

17. Will industry participants have an opportunity to submit comments to the FTC before the rules are finalized?

A: Following Board approval the Authority will present its final rule proposals to the FTC in the late Fall 2021. FTC will then initiate a formal notice and comment rule making process during which stakeholders and the general public may submit comments on the proposed rules for a 60-day period. In other words, all interested parties will have another “bite of the apple” prior to issuance of final rules.

18. Can the regulations be changed or updated after the FTC approves them?

A: Even after the final rules take effect on July 1, 2022, the Authority and USADA will monitor the roll out to assure the national regulatory framework is implemented effectively and having the desired beneficial impact on safety and integrity. HISA will continue to work with our industry partners to adjust course when our experience and the data dictate so as to keep the American racing industry growing and thriving.

19. Why is HISA partnering with USADA?

A: Congress designated USADA in the Act as the anti-doping and medication control enforcement agency. USADA’s anti-doping and testing expertise combined with the practical knowledge and equine-specific experience of HISA’s Board and Advisory Committee members are salient ingredients needed to develop a uniform program centered on promoting and safeguarding the health and welfare of horses. The partnership will integrate knowledge and leverage best standards and practices to protect the rights of all participants to safe and clean competition.

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