HISA to begin ‘can’t race’ flagging; clarifies rule on intra-articular injections


Posted: March 8, 2023

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority will begin using “can’t-race” flags to enforce its existing Racetrack Safety Program and registration regulations beginning March 27, 2023.

Covered persons and horses who are not in compliance with the rules, which went into effect July 1, 2022, will be at risk of being unable to race until they comply with the rules, HISA said in a release.

In order to be in full compliance with the Racetrack Safety Program and registration rules, covered persons must ensure that they and their covered horses are registered in the HISA web portal and ensure that they have paid any overdue fines issued to them; and jockeys must have the dates of their most recent baseline concussion test and physical examination entered into the HISA portal—those dates must fall within the last 12 months.

Use of “can’t-race” flags dovetails with the launch of the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program March 27 if the Federal Trade Commission approves the regulations.

HISA has produced a series of how-to visual guides and videos available at hisaus.org. Racing participants can also call the HISA help desk for assistance at 1-877-513-2919 at any time.

Clarification on rule governing intra-articular injections

HISA reported it had received requests for clarification of Rule 4222, which deals with intra-articular injections. The following is the clarification.

Intra-articular injections are prohibited on race day, within 14 days prior to post time, and within seven days prior to any timed and reported workout. The prohibitions in Rule 4222 apply to substances injected into any articular space, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Orthobiologics (such as IRAP, PRP, and stem-cell therapy)
  • Corticosteroids (such as betamethasone acetonide, triamcinolone, and isoflupredone)
  • Hyaluronic Acid (HA) products (such as Legend I.A., Hy-Visc, and Hylartin)
  • Antibiotics
  • Medical devices (such as Spryng, Arthramid Vet*, and Noltrex Vet*)
  • Anesthetics (such as mepivacaine, lidocaine, and bupivacaine)

*Note that Rule 4224 “M7 Intra-articular injections of polyacrylamide hydrogels” states: “Intra-articular injections of polyacrylamide hydrogels are prohibited within 180 days prior to post time.” The intra-articular administration of any banned substance, such as stanozolol, constitutes an ADMC violation.

The stand-down times do not apply to injections in or around the following structures:

  • Sacro-iliac areas
  • Bursae
  • “Splints”
  • Proximal suspensories
  • Tendon sheaths
  • Epaxial muscles

Injections in or around these structures will be regulated through testing under the ADMC Program. For many of these administrations, a withdrawal interval greater than 14 days may be necessary to avoid detection in a treated horse’s collected sample.

Intra-articular administrations must be reported to HISA in an electronic format approved by HISA. Veterinarians are advised by HISA to always select the record type “Intra-articular injection” whenever they are reporting an intra-articular administration through the HISA portal, even if it’s a diagnostic block. How-to-videos are available at hisaus.org.

The day of administration is considered day one. A horse may breeze on day eight following administration and may enter to race at any time, provided the race is on day 15 or later. A horse injected on a Saturday is eligible to breeze on the following Saturday, and eligible to race two Saturdays after the administration.