Maryland horsemen express anxieties over sweeping federal regulations set to take effect Friday – Baltimore Sun – Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland 2022-06-28 06:00:00 –

After decades of debate and calls for reform, the thoroughbred horse racing industry will comply with unified federal regulations from Friday.

State trainers and owners generally support consistent national regulations, and prominent industry insiders say efforts have been delayed and may improve public awareness of racing. I am. But the devil dwells in detail, they warn, and the start of the process is likely to be bumpy.

“Probably 90% of that is fine, but the jockeys are concerned about the implementation and the rush to make it happen, and there are still many questions,” said the Vice President of the Thoroughbred Jockey Association, Maryland. One longtime owner and trainer Linda Gode said last week. She said, “My favorite answer is’I’ll reply to you about it.’Well, I have a week.”

Under the Equestrian Completion and Safety Authority (HISA) created by Congress in December 2020, a new rule will come into force on Friday to control everything from veterinary treatment to staffing tracking to the use of riding whips. Will be done. In some cases, the penalties will be severe, for example, if you violate the rules of riding whips (6 or less strikes on the back of the horse per race), you may lose your prize money.

The new rules for managing medication will continue on January 1.

Some states are fighting HISA. Texas officials have stated that they will stop exporting races for simulcast or parimutuel betting rather than obeying. Two groups representing jockeys have filed proceedings to challenge constitutionality.

In Maryland, industry insiders have sought to mitigate the fear of jockeys by saying that the state is ahead of the game in enforcing most rules.

“It’s rarely changed on July 1,” said Mike Hopkins, Managing Director of the Maryland Horse Racing Commission, the appointed committee currently responsible for enforcing state horse racing regulations. increase. “There is tremendous anxiety among the jockeys, and I understand that … but 95% of these things have already been done.”

Hopkins said the race committee will coordinate with HISA to enforce the new rules, but when federal drug standards come into force next year, the state committee will no longer decide on drug breaches. He said it would probably be the biggest change a jockey would face in the long run.

HISA CEO Lisara Zaro said the state’s horse racing committee “will continue to regulate most of what happens at the racetrack,” Maryland’s stewards and regulated veterinarians will be key players in enforcing HISA rules. Said that it would be.

Make sure another HISA-certified team monitors the racetrack and is committed to complying with the federal regulations that govern everything from veterinary and safety staffing to jockey health and racetrack conditions. Lazaro described the racetrack’s certified components as “work in progress” with the rule “no hard start on July 1st”.

Warranties from Hopkins and Alan Foreman, general counsel of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemans Association, do not stop trainers fearing that federal authorities will be empowered to attack barns and even homes in search of violations. They are self-proclaimed individualists and are not accustomed to the federal regulations governing all aspects of their work.

Lazaro tried to mitigate such fears at a meeting with a Maryland jockey this month, and her agency said, “I have no intention of exercising that power.”

Lazaro told The Baltimore Sun that HISA authorities had chosen to narrow the seizure authority to use them only in the investigation of abuse or doping breaches in a revised wording under consideration by the Federal Trade Commission. “Our intention is to make the sport better and do better, not to hurt the jockey,” she said.

Laurel Park-based successful veteran trainer Dale Capuano registers himself and his horse with federal authorities for how the criteria he considered to be the ultimate for trucks and jockeys were proposed. I hesitated to do it.

“Maybe it’s not intended that way, so you might be okay, but please clarify that. Overall, it’s basically a blunder for me at this point …. we Everyone wants the same — we want unified dosing rules, horse safety, and elimination of scammers, “he said.

With the new dosing rules, as Gordett said, the jockey feels “I don’t know what to sign up for in January, so I need to sign up now.” If you do not register, you will not be allowed to run.

Trainers and owners say it’s hard to get a clear answer when asking about a myriad of rules, beyond worrying about aggressive enforcement. Some of them ban long-standing practices.

For example, chronic injuries can no longer be treated with “freeze firing.” This is a way to catch a strong cold on a small area of ​​the horse’s body to speed healing. They wonder why they are targeting widely used therapies, even though there is no word to ban trainers from larger sins such as overworked horses. Why do you require one shoe for every 4 feet of every horse in the United States?

“Some of the things they implement aren’t realistic,” Gaudet said. “I’m looking at advisors … they’re seen by people outside the industry, and they don’t know.”

However, Foreman said it is imperative to create a comprehensive package of safety regulations. This puts the industry in a good position to answer legislators and animal rights activists who wanted to close the race after their death at Santa Anita Racecourse.

“That’s what passed the bill,” he said, saying that existing rules in Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic were the basis of much of HISA’s safety program. “These horses weren’t dead on Santa Anita’s trucks because of drugs and medicines because of health, safety, welfare practices, racetrack surface issues, and race office issues. You can go down the list …. For me, this was the best part of what they did for what started as an anti-doping bill. “

Even some of the loudest supporters of federal regulation share similar concerns with HISA critics.

Graham Motion, a trainer who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby from Elkton’s Fairhill Training Center, said: “There is no doubt that it will be more and more painful.”

But he pays for these hiccups as racing is trying to create a fairer and safer arena and wipe out the reputation of fans and bettors who are fed up with doping scandals and catastrophic catastrophic failures. I believe it is a reasonable price.

The law for creating federal oversight of the industry reached the finish line after seven years of attempts to create a viable bill. Jockeys and industry leaders have long blamed different states for safety and dosing rules. The effort gained momentum after 30 horses died in Santa Anita Park, California in 2018 and 2019 for six months. Industry leaders have claimed a cluster of such failures and doping scandals, such as those that led to the federal prosecution of successful trainer Jason in 2020. Service and Jorge Navarro have undermined public confidence in the sport.

Proponents of federal regulation did not claim that it would be a panacea, and for 18 months after HISA was created, negative headlines continued. Bob Baffert, the most prominent trainer in the sport, lost the Kentucky Derby victory, Suspended from this year’s Triple Crown series Because of a dosing violation.In Maryland, Laurel Park track officials temporarily suspended the race last winter. Eight horses suffered a fatal fracture In October and November.

However, Maryland-born Stuart Johnny III, chairman of the Jockey Club of the Racing Advocacy Group, called HISA “the best opportunity in the industry to correct our terrible list of ships.”

According to Motion, the industry said, “It was inappropriate to govern ourselves for a long time. We were in such a bad position that the federal government needed to participate in and monitor our sport. I think it’s our own fault. “

The jockey admitted to HISA CEO Lazarus that he answered questions in forums and emails. But they said her answer wasn’t always perfect.

“Many of the questions I received are mostly related to anti-doping drug management programs, which will not be effective until January,” she replied. “These rules are soliciting comments, are still being discussed, and are being discussed, so some of the questions about what will happen in January cannot be answered at this time.”

Lazarus will postpone the implementation of the farrier requirement until August 1st, and amend the wording on the prohibition of “pin firing” or “freezing firing” to apply only to the treatment of horse shins. He said he responded to the concerns raised by the jockey. I became a foal after 2022.

She is optimistic that once HISA regulations come into force, jockeys will understand that they are not as annoying or invasive as many fears.

“My challenge is to build that trust,” she said. “The place we land is the best for sports, the best for horses and the people who ride them. We won’t hurt anyone or accuse them of violations. That’s definitely not the goal.”

Maryland horsemen express anxieties over sweeping federal regulations set to take effect Friday – Baltimore Sun Source link Maryland horsemen express anxieties over sweeping federal regulations set to take effect Friday – Baltimore Sun

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