HISA rescinds memorandum regarding the shipping of Louisiana-based racehorses

Saturday, June 8, 2024

June 7 update from the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority:

The Louisiana State Racing Commission held an emergency public meeting at which it voted to rescind in full the emergency updates to Louisiana's controlled medication schedule for Thoroughbred racing, which reportedly were set to take effect June 8 in Louisiana. With the complete rescission of the emergency rule, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority will not require covered horses shipping from Louisiana to a HISA jurisdiction to be placed on the HISA Veterinarians' List as medically compromised and unfit to race as announced in the June 5 memorandum. HISA appreciates the commission's willingness to reconsider this important matter.

The June 5 memorandum appears below:

The Louisiana State Racing Commission recently approved an emergency update to its controlled medication schedule for Thoroughbred racing by adding additional medications and changing allowable dosage and/or withdrawal times. The emergency rule, which was modified in part during an emergency public meeting held on June 4, will reportedly take effect in Louisiana on June 8.

HISA has reviewed the emergency rule (as modified during the public meeting on June 4) and HISA's Veterinary Team has determined that it poses significant risks to both equine welfare and the integrity of Thoroughbred racing. Some of the changes contemplated in the emergency rule contradict the weight of scientific evidence and long-established industry standards for medication controls.

For example, the 50 ng/ml threshold (24 hours) for flunixin is permissive of administration at less than 24 hours prior to a race, which can produce a systemic effect that would mask unsoundness and jeopardize the safety and welfare of the horse. Moreover, the emergency rule's dosage specification for betamethasone deviates significantly from existing ARCI guidelines developed based on studies funded by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and others. These are only two of the serious concerns presented by the emergency rule.

Accordingly, effective June 9 and pursuant to HISA Rule 2240, all covered horses shipping to your racetrack from Louisiana must be placed on the HISA Veterinarians' List as medically compromised and unfit to race. This includes, but is not limited to, covered horses that:

Shipped in directly from Louisiana;

Since June 8, 2024, have performed a workout at a training facility or racetrack located in Louisiana; and/or

Since June 8, 2024, have competed in a race at a racetrack located in Louisiana.

Covered Horses placed on the HISA Veterinarians' List in accordance with this memorandum shall remain on the Veterinarians' List until the covered horse performs a workout under the supervision of the regulatory veterinarian and demonstrates to the satisfaction of the regulatory veterinarian that the covered horse is sound to race; and a blood sample is collected from the covered horse (at the owner's expense) following the workout and the sample has been reported as negative.

HISA understands some of the horses covered by this memorandum will not be flagged until they have entered a race in your jurisdiction. These horses must be scratched unless they have already completed the requirements set forth in the preceding paragraph. Upon leaving Louisiana, trainers may immediately initiate the Vets' List protocol set forth in this memorandum by notifying the regulatory veterinarian in the applicable jurisdiction who will then place the covered horse on the Vets' List.

A covered horse should only be subject to this protocol once after leaving Louisiana. If, however, the covered horse returns to Louisiana, the horse would again be subject to this protocol before the horse could compete in a jurisdiction covered by HISA.