Jockeys' Guild Veteran Jeff Johnston To Serve As HISA's Rider Safety & Welfare Manager - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Jockeys’ Guild Veteran Jeff Johnston To Serve As HISA’s Rider Safety & Welfare Manager

Jeff Johnston

HISA announced Wednesday that Jockeys' Guild veteran Jeff Johnston will serve as HISA's Rider Safety & Welfare Manager, effective Friday, Mar. 17. Johnston will work with jockeys and other riders to ensure compliance with the Racetrack Safety Program, support continuing education programs, provide uniform first responder training, work with providers to improve safety equipment, and increase communication with local medical facilities.

In his new role, he will also closely support the new jockey mental wellness initiative HISA announced this week in partnership with the Jockeys' Guild and will work alongside Dr. Peter Hester, HISA's National Medical Director, to enhance rider access to mental health support and resources. Johnston will report to HISA's Director of Racetrack Safety Ann McGovern.

“We are pleased to have Jeff join us to lead our efforts to work collaboratively with jockeys and riders to ensure their health, safety and overall wellbeing through our Racetrack Safety Program,” said HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus. “Jeff's many years of experience with the Jockeys' Guild and his perspective as a jockey himself will be invaluable to HISA as we continue to increase communications and collaboration with racing participants across the country.”

Johnston began racing as a jockey in 1985, competing in more than 11,000 Thoroughbred races and amassing 1,375 victories before transitioning to a career with the Jockeys' Guild in 2006, where he most recently served as Regional Manager.

“As a longtime advocate for rider safety, I am eager to get to work advancing HISA's goal of improving safety for riders nationwide,” said Johnston. “I look forward to using my experience to help ensure that riders are safe on and off the track, that they are familiar with HISA's rules and how these changes affect them, and that they are outfitted with the best safety equipment possible.”

Accredited as a steward by the Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP), Johnston also previously served as Chairman of the Jockey Club's Rider and Driver Safety Committee. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville's Equine Industry Program.

About the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority

Established when the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was signed into federal law in 2020, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) is responsible for drafting and enforcing uniform safety and integrity rules in Thoroughbred racing in the U.S. Overseen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), HISA was created to implement, for the first time, a national, uniform set of rules applicable to every Thoroughbred racing participant and racetrack facility. HISA is comprised of two programs: the Racetrack Safety Program, which went into effect July 1, 2022, and the Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program, which will go into effect on March 27, 2023.

The Racetrack Safety Program includes operational safety rules and national racetrack accreditation standards that seek to enhance equine welfare and minimize equine and jockey injury. The Program expands veterinary oversight, imposes surface maintenance and testing requirements, enhances jockey safety, regulates riding crop use, and implements voided claim rules, among other important measures.

The ADMC Program will create a centralized testing and results management process and apply uniform penalties for violations efficiently and consistently across the United States. These rules and enforcement mechanisms will be administered by a new independent agency, the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU), established by Drug Free Sport International (DFS). HIWU will oversee testing, educate stakeholders on the new program, accredit laboratories, investigate potential ADMC violations and prosecute any such violations.

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