HISA partners with Drug Free Sport International on testing and medication control

By: Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association

Posted: May 4, 2022

The Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association released the following statement on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority and its Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program. The HISA release follows the statement.

“HISA represents a critical turning point for the industry. Its implementation provides the best opportunity for us to change the perception of our sport through our collective efforts to protect the health, safety and welfare of the horse and rider and the integrity of horse racing.

“We commend the HISA Board for its deliberative approach toward the establishment of the most practical and effective Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program of any sport. HISA’s partnership with Drug Free Sport International, and the creation of the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit, fulfills the industry’s need for an effective, independently controlled enforcement agency that will build upon and improve Thoroughbred racing’s well-established medication and anti-doping rules, bring long-sought uniformity, oversee and improve our testing system, implement a streamlined but fair adjudicatory process, and develop a new investigative arm that the industry once had but lost.

“While some may be disappointed with HISA’s decision, we believe it is entirely consistent with the enabling legislation and the intent of those who were responsible for its development. We look forward to working with the DFSI team and the HISA Board and will offer whatever resources and support we can to fulfill the fundamental goals of equine health and safety and the integrity of racing.”

HISA selects Drug Free Sport International to build Anti-Doping and Medication Control enforcement agency

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority Board of Directors has selected Drug Free Sport International to build HISA’s independent Anti-Doping and Medication Control enforcement agency, the organization announced May 2.  The decision followed months of discussions with several highly-respected potential enforcement agencies and marks another major milestone in the implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.

HISA sought out DFSI given its exemplary record of success in its drug-testing and enforcement partnerships with leading sports organizations, including the National Football League, NCAA, National Basketball Association, Ladies Professional Golf Association, PGA Tour, NASCAR and Major League Baseball. DFSI will establish the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit, led by a five-member advisory council, to serve as the new enforcement agency for Thoroughbred racing.

“I am thrilled that Drug Free Sport International is partnering with us to serve as HISA’s independent ADMC enforcement agency by establishing the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit,” HISA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Lazarus said. “DFS is an established leader as demonstrated by its success and ongoing engagement with several U.S. and international sports organizations and leagues. HISA and HIWU intend to work closely with state racing commissions to establish a comprehensive and robust program that includes uniform testing protocols, adjudication processes and enforcement mechanisms to increase accountability and enhance the integrity of the competition for participants, fans and bettors.”

“We look forward to working with DFS and the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit to level the playing field for the overwhelming majority of racing participants who follow the rules while identifying and holding accountable those who attempt to violate them,” said Adolpho Birch, Chair of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Committee and Senior Vice President of Business Affairs & Chief Legal Officer for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. “HISA also recognizes and thanks Travis Tygart and (the United for their collaboration and leadership in crafting the proposed regulations that will serve as the foundation for our work moving forward. Together with their efforts leading to the passage of HISA, they have left an indelible mark on horse racing and horse welfare.”

“On behalf of the entire DFS team, we are excited to expand our work to safeguard the integrity of sport into Thoroughbred racing,” said Chris Guinty, CEO of DFSI. “Creating a new enforcement agency is a significant task, but we are starting from a strong position thanks to the efforts of so many to date.”

The Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit will be chaired by Jonathan Taylor QC, a London-based partner and leader of the Sports Group at the international law firm Bird & Bird. Taylor has a deep and extensive background in anti-doping issues in international sports, including previously serving as the chair of the World Anti-Doping Agency Compliance Review Committee, an independent standing committee under WADA’s Executive Committee. Taylor is also long-standing outside legal counsel to the International Equestrian Federation and the British Horseracing Authority.

“I’m honored to be joining Lisa, Adolpho and the entire HISA team as they work with DFSI to develop and implement the first-ever national uniform anti-doping and medication control standards for Thoroughbred racing,” Taylor said. :These standards will meaningfully enhance the integrity of U.S. horse racing and help to ensure a robust future for the sport for generations to come.”

HISA announced the appointment of four other members of the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit Advisory Council, including
Advisory Council, including:

Dr. Larry Bowers, former Chief Scientific Officer at USADA who played a significant role in developing the first ever WADA International Standard for Laboratories and established research funding programs for both USADA and the Partnership for Clean Competition. Prior to joining USADA, Dr. Bowers made groundbreaking contributions to anti-doping science.

Dr. Larry Bramlage, equine orthopedic surgeon at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital who serves on the board of the Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation and has received numerous awards, including the American College of Veterinary Surgeons Legends Award, The Jockey Club Gold Medal and a British Equine Veterinary Association’s Special Award of Merit for his work.

Sonja Keating, general counsel for the United States Equestrian Federation who has been with USEF for more than 15 years and previously practiced litigation in the Lexington office of Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP.

Günter Younger, Director of Intelligence and Investigations at WADA, who previously served as the Head of the Cybercrime Division at the Bavarian Landeskriminalamt in Germany. During this period, he also served on WADA’s three-member Independent Commission that investigated and exposed widespread doping in Russian athletics.

HISA said it is expected that the investigative function will be supported by 5 Stones intelligence, a leading professional services company comprised of former DEA, FBI, IRS, ATF, and NYPD special agents and detectives who have led some of the largest and most successful sports investigations in history. Information from 5 Stones played a role in the federal indictments of several dozen people involved in horse racing by the United States District Attorney, Southern District of New York.

Working extensively with USADA and a wide range of industry stakeholders, HISA has already developed comprehensive draft Anti-Doping and Medication Control rules. Updated draft rules for industry and public comment later in May. The draft rules will be presented to the HISA Board of Directors for approval and then submitted to the Federal Trade Commission by July 1 to initiate its rule-making process with the goal of implementing the program Jan. 1, 2023.

(Jim McCue photo)