The federal Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act became law in late December 2020. It falls under the Federal Trade Commission and is overseen by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, commonly referred to as HISA.
There are two facets of HISA: The Racetrack Safety Program, which takes effect July 1, 2022, and the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.
All “covered persons” are required to register with HISA; owners and/or trainers are required to register all “covered horses.” The deadline for registration with HISA is July 1, 2022. See the following for more information.
The HISA Racetrack Safety Program takes effect July 1, the same date registrations are due to HISA. The new law requires all “covered persons” to register, and it stipulates that covered persons include individuals licensed by a state racing commission.
Covered persons include Thoroughbred owners; Thoroughbred trainers and assistant trainers; stable foremen; grooms and hotwalkers; jockeys, exercise riders, pony riders, apprentice jockeys and jockeys’ agents; bloodstock agents; authorized agents; regulatory, association and practicing veterinarians; non-veterinarian health providers; and blacksmiths. Any MRC licensee with access to restricted areas such as the backstretch and paddock are considered covered persons.
The registration link is available at hisaus.org, with a toggle switch for English and Spanish. When an individual clicks on “register as a covered person,” he or she is asked if they agree with HISA’s rules and procedures—a link to the document in the Federal Register (English only) appears above for review before a person registers.
When a registration is confirmed, the individual will create a password and user name and receive a HISA identification number.
The Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association June 1 hosted a webinar during which HISA personnel explained the registration process. It was stated that all horses must also be registered by July 1 as well; that means those who own and train them must be registered with HISA so they can register the horses.
In response to a question during the webinar, HISA general counsel John Roach said a horse will not be permitted to run in a race if it’s not registered by July 1. Roach and HISA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Lazarus said racing offices are being asked to notify horsemen at time of entry if they are not registered with HISA.
Required registration information includes a person’s name, physical address, and permanent mailing address; mobile phone number or email address, or both if available; identification of all racing jurisdictions in which the covered person is currently licensed and the occupation or occupations for which the covered person is licensed; an image of at least one currently valid license issued to the covered person by a racing regulatory authority; and “any other information reasonably required by the regulatory authority to fulfill its statutory duties under the law.”
HISA requires that each racehorse be registered by the “responsible person.” For a racehorse that has not yet performed its first workout, the responsible person is the owner. Once the horse is in training, the responsible person is the licensed trainer. Among other details, the responsible person must identify the location of the horse and also provide the horse’s equine vaccine and health information.
The responsible person is required to access the HISA portal to submit information such as when a horse is retired, claimed or sold. According to HISA officials, the system has the ability to allow trainers and owners to send a notification to others in the case of horse transfers.
The HISA Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2023. The rules and regulations—a draft of which will be available on the HISA website in early June—will go thorough a public comment period under the Federal Trade Commission.