HISA Announces Selection of Drug Free Sport International as Partner to Build Independent Anti-Doping and Medication Control Enforcement Agency


The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s (HISA) Board of Directors has selected Drug Free Sport International (DFS) to build HISA’s independent Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) enforcement agency. The decision followed months of discussions with several highly respected potential enforcement agencies and marks another major milestone in the implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.

HISA sought out DFS given its exemplary record of success in its drug testing and enforcement partnerships with leading sports organizations, including the National Football League, NCAA, National Basketball Association, Ladies Professional Golf Association, PGA Tour, NASCAR and Major League Baseball. DFS will establish the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU), led by a five-member Advisory Council, to serve as the new ADMC enforcement agency for thoroughbred racing.

“I am thrilled that Drug Free Sport International is partnering with us to serve as HISA’s independent ADMC enforcement agency by establishing the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit,” said HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus. “DFS is an established leader as demonstrated by its success and ongoing engagement with several U.S. and international sports organizations and leagues. HISA and HIWU intend to work closely with state racing commissions to establish a comprehensive and robust program that includes uniform testing protocols, adjudication processes and enforcement mechanisms to increase accountability and enhance the integrity of the competition for participants, fans and bettors.”

“We look forward to working with DFS and the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit to level the playing field for the overwhelming majority of racing participants who follow the rules while identifying and holding accountable those who attempt to violate them,” said Adolpho Birch, Chair of HISA’s ADMC Committee and Senior Vice President of Business Affairs & Chief Legal Officer for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. “HISA also recognizes and thanks Travis Tygart and USADA for their collaboration and leadership in crafting the proposed regulations that will serve as the foundation for our work moving forward. Together with their efforts leading to the passage of HISA, they have left an indelible mark on horseracing and horse welfare.”

"On behalf of the entire DFS team, we are excited to expand our work to safeguard the integrity of sport into thoroughbred racing," said Chris Guinty, CEO of DFS. "Creating a new enforcement agency is a significant task, but we are starting from a strong position thanks to the efforts of so many to date." The HIWU will be chaired by Jonathan Taylor QC, a London-based partner and leader of the Sports Group at the international law firm Bird & Bird. Taylor has a deep and extensive background in anti-doping issues in international sports, including previously serving as the chair of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Compliance Review Committee, an independent Standing Committee under WADA’s Executive Committee. Taylor is also long-standing outside legal counsel to the International Equestrian Federation and the British Horseracing Authority. “I’m honored to be joining Lisa, Adolpho and the entire HISA team as they work with DFS to develop and implement the first-ever national uniform anti-doping and medication control standards for thoroughbred racing. These standards will meaningfully enhance the integrity of U.S. horseracing and help to ensure a robust future for the sport for generations to come,” said Taylor. In addition, HISA announced the appointment of four other members of the HIWU Advisory Council, including:

  • Dr. Larry Bowers, former Chief Scientific Officer at USADA; during his time at USADA, Dr. Bowers played a significant role in developing the first ever WADA International Standard for Laboratories and established research funding programs for both USADA and the Partnership for Clean Competition. Prior to joining USADA, Dr. Bowers made groundbreaking contributions to antidoping science.

  • Dr. Larry Bramlage, DVM, MS, DACVS, equine orthopedic surgeon at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital; Dr. Bramlage serves on the board of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and has received numerous awards, including the American College of Veterinary Surgeons Legends Award, The Jockey Club Gold Medal and a British Equine Veterinary Association’s Special Award of Merit, for his work.

  • Sonja Keating, General Counsel, United States Equestrian Federation (USEF); Keating has been with USEF for more than 15 years and previously practiced litigation in the Lexington office of Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP.

  • Günter Younger, Director of Intelligence and Investigations at WADA; prior to joining WADA, Younger served as the Head of the Cybercrime Division at the Bavarian Landeskriminalamt (BLKA), in Germany. During this period, he also served on WADA’s three-member Independent Commission that investigated and exposed widespread doping in Russian athletics.

It is expected that the investigative function will be supported by 5 Stones intelligence, a leading professional services company comprised of former DEA, FBI, IRS, ATF, and NYPD Special Agents and Detectives who have led some of the largest and most successful sports investigations in history. Information from 5 Stones played a role in the federal indictments of several dozen people involved in horseracing by the United States District Attorney, Southern District of New York.

“We are deeply grateful to the members of the HIWU Advisory Council and to 5 Stones for lending their expertise and hard-won experience in support of our effort,” said Lazarus. Working extensively with USADA and a wide range of industry stakeholders, HISA has already developed comprehensive draft ADMC rules. HIWU and HISA will build on that foundation in the coming weeks and will release updated draft rules for industry and public comment later in May. The draft rules will be presented to the HISA Board of Directors for approval and then submitted to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by July 1 to initiate its rulemaking process with the goal of implementing the FTC approved program on January 1, 2023.

Alexa Ravit, Communications & Outreach Director
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