Kentucky Racing Spotlight to focus on horse racing integrity, safety law with Eric Hamelback, Ed Martin

By Jennie Rees
Kentucky Racing in the spotlight

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), legislation that goes into effect July 1, will be the subject of a special edition of Kentucky Racing Spotlight Friday from 6-7 p.m. ET on Louisville’s ESPN 680 AM.

Eric Hamelback and Ed Martin, CEOs of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association (NHBPA) and the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), respectively, will be the featured guests discussing one of the most fundamental changes in the administrative structure of horse racing. in history. Peter Ecabert, the National HBPA’s general counsel, will also attend.

HISA General Adviser John Roach and the interim director of the HISA authority, Hank Zeitlin, have declined invitations to participate.

“We look forward to opportunities for discussion with you after Lisa Lazarus assumes her role as CEO next month,” Zeitlin said in an email.

Roach and Zeitlin cited ongoing lawsuits as a reason for not participating. The National HBPA and 12 of its state affiliates are pending in the Federal District Court in Lubbock, Texas. In addition, nine separate states, along with two state racing commissions and the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association, have filed separate lawsuits in the Federal District Court in Lexington.

The National HBPA believes that HISA is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to a private non-governmental organization – the Authority. The Kentucky HBPA, the radio show’s presenting sponsor, did not join the lawsuit, although it was represented on the National HBPA’s executive committee that voted unanimously to file a legal challenge.

HISA is now the acronym for both the legislative act and the regulatory body that made the law.

The HISA legislation was passed by Congress in late 2020 and included as part of a year-end spending and Covid-19 relief bill. The law grants the Authority broad powers to establish, regulate and enforce rules regarding medication/drugs, safety and integrity for thoroughbred racing in the United States. The Authority falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission, which must approve all proposed regulations. Currently, regulations have been filed with the FTC and published for public comment, others are pending submission, with no regulations approved or disapproved.

“We’re less than 5 1/2 months away from legally mandated implementation of HISA,” said Jennie Rees, co-host of Kentucky Racing Spotlight, a veteran turf journalist who works as a communications consultant for both the National and Kentucky HBPA, along with others. equestrian entities. to race. “Our show by design is not political. HISA is clearly a polarizing problem, but we thought it came so close to such a paradigm shift in thoroughbred racing that it was important to talk honestly, get facts and an informed perspective about what it means for the industry – including the racing consumers, the horse players – without the rhetoric or heated emotions.

“We are disappointed that HISA has so far declined to participate. The invitation remains. I dare say that the majority of race participants – including many who support or oppose the law – have no idea what is and isn’t in the legislation. We wanted to take a step to change that.”

The National HBPA represents nearly 30,000 licensed owners and trainers across America, making it the largest thoroughbred equestrian organization in the world. ARCI is the umbrella organization of the official regulatory and regulatory bodies for horse and greyhound racing in North America and parts of the Caribbean. The organization’s members have been the only independent entities recognized to license, enforce and adjudicate on racing matters to date.

Kentucky Racing Spotlight, co-hosted by Joe Clabes, will air weekly through March 4 on ESPN 680-AM/105.7 FM, the region’s sports talk leader. The program will also be streamed live on espnlouisville.com, on the ESPN 680 app, and the TuneIn and iHeart apps. The replay will be available on espnlouisville.com under the podcasts tab. All shows are also archived at davisinnovation.com/kyracing.

Kentucky Racing Spotlight is also sponsored by Davis Innovation equine marketing, the Louisville Thoroughbred Society and NKYTribune.com.

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