Fifth Circuit Appeals Court rejects motions from HISA, FTC

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Feb. 5, 2023

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority Jan. 27 said it expects its Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program to take effect March 27 given the fact the Federal Trade Commission has published the resubmitted rules to the Federal Register. But on Jan. 31, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which in November ruled the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 unconstitutional, rejected motions by HISA and the FTC to have the case reheard.

The FTC action began a 14-day public comment period on the AMDC Program regulations, and the FTC has 60 days to approve or deny the proposed rules. As of Feb. 2, the FTC had taken no further action in the wake of the Fifth Circuit ruling, which states: “It is ordered and adjudged that the judgment of the district court is reversed and remanded to the district court for further proceedings in accordance with the opinion of this court.”

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas had upheld the HISA law earlier in 2022.

In late January, a group of U.S. lawmakers—five members of the Senate and five members of the House of Representatives—sent a letter to the FTC urging the commission to disapprove the AMDC rules as it did in mid-December given the ongoing legal turmoil. The bipartisan group of lawmakers said disapproval from the FTC is necessary to “avoid continued industry-wide confusion and potential inequitable enforcement.”

HISA issued the following statement Jan. 31: “In the aftermath of the recent Congressional amendment (included in a federal omnibus spending bill in late 2022) and without opining on the newly amended HISA law, the Fifth Circuit has sent the case back to the district court. Outside Louisiana and West Virginia, (HISA) will continue enforcing the Racetrack Safety Program and preparing for the implementation of its Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on March 27, subject to the Federal Trade Commission’s approval of the rules.”

Upon implementation should HISA’s constitutionality eventually be upheld, the ADMC Program will be administered and enforced by the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit, which indicated it plans to begin enforcement March 27. The development of the ADMC rules included an initial public comment period, open discussions and meetings with industry organizations and individuals, as well as the consideration of more than 200 comments submitted by racing participants and the general public.

“HIWU is honored to have been tasked with the responsibility of administering U.S. Thoroughbred racing’s first national, uniform ADMC Program, and we stand ready to begin enforcement this spring,” HIWU Executive Director Ben Mosier said in a release. “To facilitate smooth sailing through the transition, we will continue to engage with and support industry stakeholders across the country.”

In addition to a planned appearance at the Organization of Racing Investigators Annual Training Conference in Tucson, Ariz., in February, HIWU staff will continue holding in-person and virtual meetings with industry participants affected by the ADMC Program. Interested individuals can also find a growing library of educational resources, including materials in Spanish, at