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Missouri-based company hired to police drugs in US horse racing

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency had been set to become the regulator for anti-doping and medication control for thoroughbred racing.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A deal for Drug Free Sport International to police medication in horse racing was announced Tuesday, two months before the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority takes effect.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency had been set to become the regulator for anti-doping and medication control for thoroughbred racing. But in late December, the deal stalled.

Drug Free Sport International has overseen testing and enforcement with the NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA, both men's and women's pro golf tours and NASCAR.

The Kansas City-based company will set up the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit, to be led by a five-member advisory council chaired by Jonathan Taylor, a London-based partner at the international law firm Bird & Bird.

He previously served as chair of the World Anti-Doping Agency's compliance review committee. He also has years of experience as outside legal counsel to the British Horseracing Authority and International Equestrian Federation.

The other members of the advisory council are Dr. Larry Bowers, former chief scientific officer at USADA; Dr. Larry Bramlage, an equine orthopedic surgeon in Kentucky; Sonja Keating, general counsel of the U.S. Equestrian Federation; and Günter Younger, director of intelligence and investigations at WADA.

HISA takes effect July 1. It will be implemented in stages, with the racetrack safety program starting immediately. The anti-doping and medication rules aren’t expected to begin until Jan. 1, 2023, leaving the 38 states where horse racing occurs in charge for now.

The sport's lack of uniform rules across the U.S. came into focus after Medina Spirit tested positive for a banned substance following the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

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