May 12, 2021
Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC
SKO Unmuted, Stoll Keenon Ogden’s (SKO) new podcast, launched April 27 with an overview of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (the “Act” or “HISA”).
That landmark racing-industry legislation became law in December 2020.
The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority is an independent, private, nonprofit corporation designated to establish and enforce medication, anti-doping and racetrack safety rules and programs for the U.S. Thoroughbred racing industry. Now that the Act is law, the Authority has been duly empowered to take on its rulemaking and enforcement activities, subject to oversight by the Federal Trade Commission.
In podcast Episode 1, Doug Barr, SKO Managing Director, discusses how the Authority will enhance racing’s safety and integrity with two industry leaders: Shannon Arvin, President and CEO of Keeneland Association, Inc., and SKO Member Bill Lear, a longtime Thoroughbred racing leader.
Arvin, also a Board member of the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Foundation, details the safety-enhancement measures Keeneland has already begun and those the Authority will prescribe. Of the Act, Arvin says, “I think it’s a game changer!”
Lear, Vice Chairman of The Jockey Club, has been instrumental in the effort to pass this important legislation, including testifying before Congress in January 2020 and on behalf of The Jockey Club at industry-wide news conferences.
Supporters of the bill believe that HISA will bolster integrity, oversight and uniformity in the industry. As Lear told Congress, “[m]any people in our industry believe that we are staring at the abyss. The future of Thoroughbred racing and breeding is at stake. We have to do more to protect our athletes. We have to do more to protect our horses and to get the cheaters and the abusers out of our sport.”
Further, Lear said, “The HISA represents true reform and because of that, as you’ve seen, it’s supported, not just by industry key players like the Breeders’ Cup, Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Keeneland, the Water Hay Oats Alliance and The Jockey Club, but also by the top animal welfare organizations.”
Passage of HISA is crucial to bolstering Kentucky’s equine industry, which generates a billion-dollar economic impact, is responsible for more than 40,000 jobs and contributes multi-millions in taxes to the Commonwealth annually.
Industry leaders across America hailed HISA’s passage: the Thoroughbred Daily News hailed “HISA Signed into Law.” The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) calls “horse racing integrity act ‘new era’ in sport.“ KTLA-TV News 5 in Los Angeles posted the Associated Press story, “Horse racing officials praise passage of U.S. bill to combat doping.”
Stoll Keenon Ogden has been providing legal services worldwide in all facets of the equine industry for more than 75 years. With heavy involvement in the Thoroughbred racing industry, our work also involves other breeds such as American Saddlebreds, Arabians, Morgans, Standardbreds and Quarter Horses. SKO also represents equine groups and individuals before the United States Equestrian Federation.