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New horse racetrack safety measures go into effect this week

Horse Integrity and Safety Authority Chief Executive Officer Lisa Lazarus
Horse Integrity and Safety Authority Chief Executive Officer Lisa Lazarus

Modified horse racetrack safety rules are going into effect this week. The end goal remains to lessen injuries to horses and their riders.

The Federal Trade Commission has signed off on the updated Horse Integrity and Safety Authority’s racetrack safety rules. HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus said some of the changes might be considered minor, but others carry more weight.

“But the ones that are significant are really around medical treatments of a horse and what is and what isn’t allowed to be performed on a horse and to be given to a horse,” said Lazarus.

As an example, Lazarus says it can mean extending out the time before racing or training when a therapeutic injection goes into the ankle of a horse.

Another modification updates the void claim rule. Lazarus said it comes into play in claiming races where horses can be purchased during a racing event.

“This doesn’t happen a lot but it prevents a trainer from putting a horse into a claiming race and making it seem like the horse is perfectly healthy but actually they’re just trying to pass the horse on to a new owner because the horse is potentially not totally sound,” said Lazarus.

Lazarus noted the changes also work to tighten up the rules related to the vet list for horses, something she equivalates to the injured reserve list in pro football. The HISA executive added the new rules offer more tools with the aim to reduce injuries and on-track fatalities.

The HISA administrator said previous safety measures are working, noting racing in the first quarter of 2024 was the safest quarter ever.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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