FTC approves HISA Racetrack Safety Program rules


Posted: March 6, 2022

The Federal Trade Commission March 4 approved the rules and accreditation standards that comprise the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s Racetrack Safety Program. HISA said it will now move forward with “robust industry education efforts” ahead of July 1, 2022, when the program is scheduled to be implemented.

The HISA Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program has been delayed until 2023.

Federal Trade Commission order regarding Racetrack HISA Racetrack Safety Program

“The Racetrack Safety Program’s multi-faceted approach will enable veterinarians, horsemen and all racing participants to optimize the safety of every horse before they set foot on the track while also increasing our understanding of the conditions that contribute to equine injuries,” HISA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Lazarus said in a release. “The importance of this program cannot be overstated as we build on advances the industry has already made by implementing national, uniform rules and regulations, increasing accountability, and using data- and research-driven solutions to enhance the safety of our horses and jockeys. We sincerely believe that this data will generate the information we need to help prolong equine and jockey careers.”

In drafting the rules, the Racetrack Safety Committee examined existing rules and best practices—including many already in place in the Mid-Atlantic region under the Mid-Atlantic Strategic Plan to Reduce Equine Fatalities—in addition to seeking input from state racing regulatory agencies, racing participants and industry organizations in what HISA called “a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process.”

HISA said highlights of the Racetrack Safety Program include expanded veterinary oversight; surface maintenance and measurement standards; enhanced reporting requirements; collection and analysis of medication, treatment, injury, and fatality data; a voided claim rule; transfer of claimed horses’ medical information; and jockey concussion and medical care reporting.

Starting July 1, racetracks that are accredited with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association will receive interim accreditation, while tracks that are not accredited with the NTRA will be granted a one-year provisional accreditation and be given a “reasonable period to achieve compliance as long as they are demonstrating continuous progress.” HISA intends to work with individual racetracks and state racing jurisdictions to that end.

(Photo by Jim McCue)