HISA Submits Proposed Racetrack Safety Rule Changes To FTC For Approval - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

HISA Submits Proposed Racetrack Safety Rule Changes To FTC For Approval

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) announced this week that it has submitted proposed rule changes to its safety regulations to the Federal Trade Commission for review. The FTC will post the possible changes for public comment, and afterwards, has the opportunity to approve them.

Until the FTC does approve the new rule changes, the existing July 2022 safety rules will remain in place. These proposed changes do not impact the organization's Anti-Doping and Medication Control program.

According to HISA, the proposed changes were developed based on feedback from horsemen and internal discussions that included the group's Horsemen's Advisory Group. The changes have been available for public comment already, and were shared and discussed with industry members as well.

Among other things, the proposed rules would:

–Develop a database that would collate end of meet reports, risk management and injury prevention protocols, names of all Covered Horses that are injured (fatally or non-fatally), reports on pre-race inspection results, racetrack surface monitoring logs, rider injury data, necropsies on horses, void claim information, horse treatment records, and post-race inspection findings. The data would be available to HISA, allowing it to conduct an epidemiological study on racehorse safety, health, and performance.

–Give HISA the ability to suspend a racetracks' accreditation if it “has reasonable grounds to believe that the conditions or operations of a racetrack present an imminent danger to the health, safety, or welfare of Covered Horses or Riders arising from specific violations by the racetrack of the Authority's racetrack safety or accreditation rules…” Tracks may not conduct racing while suspended. They're entitled to a provisional hearing, then a final hearing about their accreditation status in much the same way a trainer who was summarily suspended by a state racing commission used to be entitled to a hearing about whether to uphold the summary suspension, and later one about the violation.

–Require each facility's racetrack risk management committee to meet with connections of a fatally injured horse to review the horse's history and potential risk factors and provide perspective about future injury prevention.

–Require each track have no fewer than two regulatory veterinarians (excluding test barn veterinarians) present at the track during all live racing. There is an exception for tracks who can show “undue hardship” which may allow the track to have one.

–Formalize restrictions on racing or training during times of poor air quality.

–Require each track to have two properly staffed and equipped Advanced Life Support ambulances, unless the track can show undue hardship, in which case it may only have one during racing and training.

–Necropsy requirements will now apply to horses that die or are euthanized on racetrack grounds within 72 hours of a musculoskeletal injury.

–Require tracks to create sexual harassment and non-discrimination policies which define and prohibit these behaviors and provide “an effective process for reporting and investigation of prohibited sexual harassment and discrimination.” The policy should note the track's authority to discipline someone found guilty of these behaviors, including potential exclusion from the track.

–Drug and alcohol testing may be expanded from riders to also include starting gate personnel.

–Horses placed on the veterinarian's list for shock wave therapy may not work out for 14 days. (The existing rule stated only that they were to be placed on the list for 30 days, which would make them ineligible to race in that time.)

–Horses in the 2023 foal crop or later will not be permitted to work or race if they've had any pin-firing or if they've had physical disruption of the skin or injections designed to create a counter-irritant effect. Horses will also no longer be allowed to receive acupuncture or use nebulizers, electromagnetic blankets or boots within 48 hours of a race.

A red-lined document noting all these proposed changes is available here.

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