Lisa Lazarus, CEO of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, and Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit executive director Ben Mosier
Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority CEO Lisa Lazarus said the organization is on a one-month countdown to an anticipated March 27 launch, in conjunction with the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit, of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control program.
“We’re particularly excited and enthusiastic about the launch of the ADMC program because we believe it’s something the industry has long been calling for and long awaited, which is uniform, rigorous, consistent anti-doping rules across state lines and across the country,” Lazarus said. “We’re going to have a uniform, centralized testing and results management process, uniform penalties.
“One other component of the program that we believe will make a profound difference,” said Lazarus, “is the harmonization of the testing laboratories, that we have the labs that are actually going to be accredited by HISA and used in our system looking for the same substances at the same levels, which we believe is critical. So if your horse is tested in Kentucky it’s not going to have a different result than Florida, etc. And we think that’s something the industry has been asking for for a long time.”
The tentative startup date is contingent on approval of the submitted ADMC rules by the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees HISA. Lazarus said she has received every indication that the FTC will give its approval, and that HISA intends to be “110 percent” ready on that day.
HISA regulations will not be enforced in West Virginia or Louisiana because of ongoing litigation. In all other Thoroughbred racing states, the responsibility for drug testing and enforcement will be turned over to HISA and the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU) as soon as the FTC approves the regulations.
Lazarus was joined in a press briefing on Monday by Ben Mosier, executive director of HIWU, to provide some details on what to expect once the ADMC program goes into effect. HIWU was established by Drug Free Sport International to administer the rules and enforcement of the ADMC program. Drug Free Sport International has similar contracts with the National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Collegiate Athletic Association, PGA Tour, Ladies Professional Golf Association, NASCAR, and Major League Baseball.
Mosier said he and his team currently are focusing on an awareness and education campaign and that documents and videos will soon be available on the HIWU website.
Testing will be conducted post-race, out of competition, and pre-race (for TCO2 levels), Mosier said, adding that the industry will see “far higher levels” of out-of-competition testing than under current, state-by-state regulation. Paperless collection technology will be implemented, similar to what the British Horseracing Authority is using.
In addition, Mosier said, HIWU and HISA will introduce an “intelligence-driven” national strategy for testing that currently does not exist in the U.S. Investigative and intelligence gathering through sources and a whistleblower program will be put in place shortly after the ADMC launch, he said.
Personnel used for the sample collection process at the tracks will largely be the same people who are now employed by racetracks or state racing commissions. HISA will contract with racing commissions to do the collections in state’s that enter into voluntary agreements with the Authority. In states that do not enter into voluntary agreements, HIWU will manage operations and look to hire the same individuals currently doing that work for commissions or racetracks.
Mosier outlined the process for prosecuting cases, differentiating between positive tests for banned substances – which could result in immediate suspensions – to overages for therapeutic controlled substances.
In the case of controlled substances, Mosier said, an internal adjudication panel of experts (stewards from various states) will hear cases and issue rulings. The more egregious cases involving banned substances will be turned over to JAMS, a mediation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution provider that claims to be the world’s largest company of its kind. Mosier said he hopes controlled substances cases will be resolved within 60 days of alleged violations. saying the process will be “smooth, efficient, and fast.”