Jockey Club Round Table: HISA ‘Best ever opportunity to right our badly listing ship’

Via the PAULICK REPORT by Alexa Ravit, 15th August 2021

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The 69th Annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing concluded Sunday with emphatic support for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) by The Jockey Club Chairman Stuart S. Janney III, who presided over the conference and referenced in his closing remarks the arguments made by groups in the racing industry that have stated their opposition to HISA.

“When the history of this is written, it will be clear who the obstructionists were and who opposed this industry’s best ever opportunity to right our badly listing ship,” Janney said. “I am proud to stand with those who support HISA, and I look forward to the needed reform it will bring to our industry and to seeing our ship finally sailing a straight course.”

Janney was preceded by presentations from Charles Scheeler, chair of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority board of directors, and Dr. Tessa Muir, director of Equine Science for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

“Our aspiration is to establish and maintain a uniform and harmonized program that is centered on promoting and safeguarding the health and welfare of horses and protects the rights of all participants to race clean and win fairly.” TESSA MUIR

Scheeler described the components of the authority’s work ahead, which include the establishment of an anti-doping and medication testing program and a safety program; constituency outreach; and utilizing the industry’s plethora of data, much of which will be sourced from The Jockey Club’s databases. In advance of the implementation of HISA next year, plans call for the authority’s board and standing committees to publish proposed rules for public comment before they are submitted to the Federal Trade Commission.

“What I saw when [I looked at HISA] was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the sport safer for horses and jockeys, to serve the overwhelming majority of horse people who want to win fairly and who want to play by the rules…” Scheeler said.

Muir spoke of USADA’s plans to work with the Thoroughbred industry, including leveraging expertise for both human and equine athletes to create best practices.

“Our aspiration is to establish and maintain a uniform and harmonized program that is centered on promoting and safeguarding the health and welfare of horses and protects the rights of all participants to race clean and win fairly,” she said. Read full report »


Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that horse racing are able to accomplish even a jot or tittle of the above.

We do not believe anything can save US horse racing. The “horse has bolted” as the saying goes. Read Jane Allin’s, “Breeding for Trouble,” published here April 14, 2011. Yes, 2011. More than ten years ago. The warning signs were all there. If we could see this, horse racing could see it. Yet, they did nothing —but keep doping.

Here is in small part what Allin wrote concerning this:

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What’s more, in North America these young horses are unnaturally supported with the use of drugs – forbidden in other countries of the world – that mask skeletal weaknesses and other biologically inbred deficiencies. In effect these horses are allowed to achieve artificial success and then are ushered into the breeding shed to pass on these flaws to future generations of expensive progeny.

“This gradual softening and weakening of the breed has led to the use of more medications to keep these horses running sound, among them the corticosteroids injected into injured knees and ankles. The cortisone reduces inflammation and allows horses to run pain-free on the damaged limbs or joints, a dangerous practice, if done repeatedly, because it can lead to a more serious injury and to the much-feared catastrophic breakdown.

“When I started going to races in the 1950s, I hardly ever saw a fatal breakdown on the Chicago dirt tracks; but when I started covering the sport in 1972, in New York, I began seeing numerous breakdowns during a race meet, sometimes two or three a week. One veterinarian told me that this was no accident, that this was the time period when cortisone began to get widespread use on U.S. racetracks, the first signal to me that drugs were a culprit in the sudden increase in catastrophic breakdowns.” – William Nack

Medication is a symptom,” Parker said. “They need medication because they’re not sound to begin with. Why else would you give it to a horse?” – Ellen Parker

Read full Report »

Reread those words of Ellen Parker. No matter how effective HISA is or isn’t, horse racing will not be able to rid itself of its dopers and bring any sort of integrity ‘back’ to the sport, if it indeed ever had any.

End of story.

Featured Image: Thoroughbred Mare and Foal by Alicia Frese Klenk.

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2 thoughts on “Jockey Club Round Table: HISA ‘Best ever opportunity to right our badly listing ship’”

  1. IMVHO, I don’t believe the HISA will come to fruition without considerable conflict. There appears to be far too much resistance in the industry, what with the lawsuits pending and the fact that this has been a long time coming. It’s been over a decade since this kind of initiative has been percolating but without success due to the many barriers put in place by various racing jurisdictions.

    Let’s face it, NA horse racing is addicted to drugs, and it’s not just the strictly prohibited drugs, many other legal drugs are approved for use by various state racing commissions – the tried and true “therapeutics”. These are as insidious or worse than the others, as they are repeatedly overused to alleviate pain to force these sore horses to run. Not only do they need to put forth uniform rules for race day medication, they also need a complete overhaul to regulate the use of drugs leading up to that day. Is that even possible?

    In any case, the withdrawal symptoms for the industry will not be pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We do not believe it is possible for US racing to run sound horses because they continue to weaken the breed to the extent even doping will not be able to get them across the finish line.

      Agree. HISA is too late. Internal lawsuits will continue to delay it. In the meantime you cannot force integrity on the morally bankrupt.

      Cruelty, suffering and death. That’s all an American racehorse can expect.

      Liked by 2 people

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