Long list of key industry names sign letter supporting HISA USTA confirms its opposition

Long list of key industry names sign letter supporting HISA

March 11, 2021

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written by Steve Stewart and Linda Toscano
The undersigned are encouraging the standardbred industry to negotiate with the thoroughbred industry about how to best structure the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act to be inclusive of harness racing’s unique needs.

We (the undersigned) support the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump.

We know that there are details about funding and other matters that will have to be worked out in good faith between regulators and members of the horse racing community. And we know that the new law is not perfect. But we believe that the new law is a legitimate and important step in the right direction toward universal medication rules for our sport, increased enforcement of drug rules to make the sport more honest and a greater public acceptance of horse racing as a safe, humane sport.

We need all of these things to protect our sport’s future. And we need to work within the broader racing community to make the law work for us, especially since it requires regulators to consider the “unique characteristics” of each breed. We believe that representatives of the standardbred industry should work with those who support the new law, and who will be enforcing it, to help establish the rules and policies that will likely govern our sport for years to come.

Signed,

Breeders

Adam Bowden (Diamond Creek)
Bruce Trogden (Emerald Highlands)
Steve Jones (Cameo Hills)
George Segal (Brittany)
Mike Gulotta (Deo Volente)
Senena & Jeff Esty (Spring Haven)
Frank Antonacci (Lindy)
Bob Brady (Kentuckiana)
Al & Michelle Crawford (Crawford Farms)
Ken Jackson (Kentuckiana)
Mario Zuanetti (Atlantic Trot)
Massimo Bianchi
Margareta W. Kleberg (Menhammer St)
Tom Hill
Art Zubrod (Brittany)
Jim & Gibson Wilhite
Knutsson Trotting
Tristan Sjoberg
Bernie Noren
Al Libfeld
Sam Goldband
Charles & Julie Nash
Jon Wiesman
Pond A Acres
Andrew Cohen (Bays Stable)
Leah Cheverie
David Heffering (Tara Hills)
Frank Lomangino
Johan Arneng (Brixton Medical)
John Donato
Ernny Gerbaulet
Richard Gutnick
Peter Martinson
Robert Mondillo
Victor Zehr
Ed Telle
James Daut
Robert Hechoff
Richard Arnold (Willow Oak)
John Schmucker (Black Creek)
Dan Baer (South Mountain)
John Lengacher
John Bootsman (Boko )
Dan Lengacher
Duncan Taylor (Taylor Made)
Jeff Ruch (Pinestone)
Anders Strom (Courant)
Maumee River
Jeff Gural (Allerage)
All American Harnessbreds
Mike Andrew
Maurizio & Marina Biasuzzi
John Carver
Joe Mendelson
Jim Glass (Walco)
Stephanie Rothaug (Rails End)
Jim Avritt Sr (Meadow Creek)
Stewart Goldberg (Mini Sinks)
Randy & Kim Haines (Cool Winds)
Steve & Cindy Stewart (Hunterton)
Elmer Miller
Lorne Polger (Polger Holdings)

Trainers and Drivers

Ron Burke
Brian Brown
Virgil Morgan Jr.
Jimmy Takter (Hall Of Fame)
Ben Wallace
Casie Coleman
Nifty Norman
Jeff Fout
Ed Lohmeyer
Linda Toscano (Hall Of Fame)
Paula Wellwood
Mike Keeling
Jim Campbell
Carter Pinske
Tony Alagna
Donna Lee Ozment
Joe Holloway (Hall Of Fame)
Per Engblom
Tom Cancelliere
Enos Weaver
Donald Dancer
Blair Burgess (Hall Of Fame)
Brad Mcninch
Kevin Mcdermott
Jean Wellwood
Bob Stewart
Murray Brethour
Jim Arledge
Greg Peck
Kelly O’donnell
Tim Lane
Scott Mogan
Brett Bittle
Scott Zeron

Owners

Mark Weaver
Howard Taylor
Herb Liverman
John Fodera
Murray Brown
Brad Grant
Fred Hertrick III
Carl Howard
Martin Sternberg
Bo Lofvander
Doug Millard
Ernie Gaskin
Robert Burgess
Fred Hudson
Bryan Montgomery (Regency Ins.)
Frank Chick
Myron & Stephanie Bell (Riverview)
Harvey Nagner (Radio Racing)
Marc Guilfoil (Ky. Racing Comm.)
Richard Young
Martti Ala Seppala
Harvey Fried
Robert Lindstrom
Perry Soderberg
Tommy B Anderson
Jack Remey ( P. Judge)
Lynn Jones
Randy Manges
Bob Marks
Joyce & Richard Mcclelland
Bill Vit (Cool Cat)
Craig Henderson
Ray Baynes
Gary Corona
Allan Schott
Howard Perlmutter
Gorden Banks
Dan Kazmaier (P. Judge)
Bob & Jeanne Stewart
Mark Hanover
Ed Biddle
Kimmo Kempi
Nick Salvi
Mike & Don Robinson
Joe Sbrocco
Virginia Berkner
Steven Wienick
Martha Frank
Robert Leblanc
John Balzer
Geoffrey Dubrowsky
Bill Reepmayer
Frank Cannon
Jason Settlemoir

Vets

Dr. Patty Hogan
Dr. Terry Ruch
Dr. Doug Hutchins
Dr. John Park
Dr. Lynda Rhodes Stewart
Dr. Nathaniel Newton
Dr. Ted Mazorisi

USTA confirms its opposition to HISA

by USTA president Russell Williams

We (the United States Trotting Association) oppose the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) of 2020 (HISA), which Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) acting on behalf of the topmost sliver of the thoroughbred elite inserted into the middle of the 5,500-page, last-minute omnibus funding measure that passed at the end of the last Congress and was signed into law on December 27, 2020. In doing this, McConnell broke his own promise, given to Senator Toomey and others, to allow a roll call vote on the measure. This was a fixed race, hardly an auspicious start for an “Integrity” Act.

HISA is unconstitutional. This is what happens when a special interest succeeds in ramming through a bill surreptitiously, with no debate or amendment process. However, HISA also promises severe economic damage to our entire industry, so when Jeff Gural proposed a round table to study possible amendments to HISA and to define its funding, the USTA put constitutional concerns to one side and joined in, hoping to find out whether harness racing could be adequately protected. As Gural wrote, “the federal legislation needs to be modified for it to work for standardbreds.”

The USTA did not come to the round table empty-handed. We have the draft, ready to introduce in Congress, of a federal statute that would not be unconstitutional. It is founded on veterinary science, provides for scientifically correct use of therapeutic medication in standardbreds, and ensures fair representation of the standardbred breed. Importantly, the USTA bill would cost racing participants many millions of dollars per year less to operate, because it uses existing state regulatory resources instead of reinventing the wheel at the federal level. The USTA’s bill is presently under consideration by the round table.

Vague HISA language about the “unique characteristics” of each breed is just as much a requirement for regulators as “thou shalt not steal” is a requirement for bank robbers. What would actually work is requiring a separate set of medication regulations for each breed, which the USTA draft includes and HISA does not. Instead, HISA bans Lasix then spells out an obstacle course for the use of Lasix that cannot possibly be navigated. Any suggested change to the standardbred medication rules under HISA would continue to be attacked by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC), a thoroughbred organization of which John Campbell is a director. For years, RMTC has stridently and unfailingly opposed every one of the USTA’s science-based medication recommendations to the state commissions, even when RMTC lacked any scientific basis for doing so.

The USTA differs from every other round table member in that we represent the interest of all participants in harness racing. The HISA proponents at the round table represent themselves individually. Even the Hambletonian Society is merely a record-keeping organization whose pronouncements only represent the personal views of its 17 individual directors, two of whom are major thoroughbred owners and officials. The USTA is therefore duty bound to fight to protect our sport from crippling expenses and regulations, and if the round table proves to be nothing more than another invitation to surrender, we shall continue the fight.

HISA’s supporters should work with the USTA to establish rules and policies that will protect and nurture the harness racing sport for years to come.

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