KENTUCKY, USA — A new draft of proposed anti-doping and medication control rules was released by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) on Nov. 11, 2021.
For decades, 38 different jurisdictions have been able to set their own rules, including varying limits on medication and how far out from a race certain drugs can be given. Now, they're looking to create uniform rules across every racing state and alter the way violations are dealt with. The rules call for horses to be tested at any time and anywhere without advance notice.
In Dec. 2020, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was signed into law under President Donald Trump. The bill gives an independent panel the authority to set uniform, national medication, drug and track safety standards to be enforced by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Racetracks that don’t take part won’t be allowed to take bets from out of state, and the rules will become part of the competition agreement for those who want to run horses.
Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action, an advocacy group testified before Congress in Jan. 2020 in support of the act.
"America was built on the backs of horses, and they have always played a central role in the economy and culture of the United States," he said. "We owe them a debt of gratitude, and the very least we must do is ensure their safety, welfare, and protection."
Since then, the authority has been working with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to develop rules to eliminate the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport.
The draft that was released on Thursday is now open for public comment. You can register to give your thoughts on the proposed rules here.
USADA and the Advisory Committees will review and incorporate any relevant public feedback on the recommendations and submit them to the Authority’s Board of Directors for approval.
After the Board approval process, the Authority will present its final proposed rules to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in early December. Then, stakeholders and the general public may once again weigh in by submitting comments for a 60-day period, before the FTC publishes final regulations.