FTC: Resumption of Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program now set for May 22

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: April 30, 2023

The resumption of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program has been moved to May 22.

HISA had planned to restart the program May 1. The Federal Trade Commission April 27 issued a “final rule” that extended the date to May 22.

The program launched March 27 but four days later was suspended for 30 days after a district court issued an injunction based on a motion that the FTC had not followed the federal Administrative Procedure Act.

PHRC indicates ADMC Program resumption will be delayed

“The district court’s March 31 order has given rise to substantial uncertainty regarding the criteria and procedures under which anti-doping and medication control protocols will be implemented as the thoroughbred horseracing industry nears the Triple Crown events,” the FTC said in its final rule. “Because the ADMC rule governs the treatment of horses weeks before a covered race, some affected parties who are treating horses in a manner consistent with state requirements may find it difficult to come into compliance in the five days between (May 1 and the Kentucky Derby).

“Even in the absence of conflicts between the ADMC rule and applicable state regulations, implementing new testing requirements just days before the start of the Triple Crown series creates an appreciable risk of errors, confusion and inconsistent treatment of similarly situated horses—harms that could frustrate the purposes of the (HISA) Act.”

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes will be run under existing state medication and drug-testing regulations. If the May 22 resumption date holds, the Belmont Stakes in early June will be run under the regulations of HISA’s Horseracing Integrity & Safety Unit.

Horsemen are advised to discuss with veterinarians the updated withdrawal times for therapeutic medications under HIWU.