FTC order delays launch of HISA Anti-Doping and Medication Control program

The Federal Trade Commission on Dec. 12 rejected "without prejudice" the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's proposed Anti-Doping and Medication Control rules, which means they will not go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

The text of the Federal Trade Commission decision is as follows:

The Federal Trade Commission has issued an Order disapproving the Anti-Doping and Medication Control proposed rule submitted by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to its enforcement rule after a public comment period. The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which recognized the Authority, includes a requirement that its rules must be submitted for approval to the FTC.

The Commission's Order explains that its disapproval arises from the legal uncertainty arising from a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which declared the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act unconstitutional. Because the next steps in the litigation could render the proposed rule unenforceable in the states that make up the circuit and in those that are plaintiffs in litigation, approving the proposed rule would be inconsistent with the Act's foundational principle that horseracing rules be uniform across the nation. Accordingly, the Commission did not reach the merits of the proposed rule, which the Authority may re-submit if the legal uncertainty is resolved.

Statement issued by HISA regarding the FTC's decision:

"HISA appreciates the Federal Trade Commission's decision to deny HISA's draft Anti-Doping and Medication Control rules without prejudice as we actively seek to resolve current legal uncertainties. HISA is eager to launch Thoroughbred racing's first and long-awaited national, uniform ADMC program and stands ready to do so. We will re-submit the draft ADMC rules to the FTC for their review as soon as these legal uncertainties are resolved, and once approved, we will implement the program through the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit. In the meantime, HIWU will continue to work toward the implementation of a uniform, independent anti-doping and medication control program that is administered consistently and fairly across the United States."

Statement from Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit Executive Director Ben Mosier:

"As the designated independent enforcement agency of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's Anti-Doping and Medication Control program, the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit has spent the past seven months preparing for the Program's implementation on January 1, 2023, and stood ready to enforce this national, uniform program on that date pending approval from the Federal Trade Commission. Following today's decision by the FTC to deny HISA's draft ADMC rules without prejudice due to current legal uncertainties, HIWU will continue its education and outreach efforts to all stakeholders in the Thoroughbred industry. As HISA re-submits the draft ADMC rules for the FTC's approval, HIWU will use any additional time before implementation as an opportunity to ensure the industry is even more prepared for an efficient rollout of this Program, which will promote fair competition in the sport of Thoroughbred racing and the safety and welfare of our human and equine athletes."

The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association will keep its membership informed of ongoing developments.

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