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HISA Memorandum on Covered Horses Shipping from Louisiana


Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority
401 W Main Street, Suite 222
Lexington, Kentucky 40507


To: Owners/Trainers, Racing Secretaries, Regulatory Veterinarians, Track Management
From: The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, Inc. (“HISA”)
Date: June 5, 2024
Re: Covered Horses Shipping to Your Track from Louisiana Must be Placed on the HISA Veterinarians’ List

The Louisiana State Racing Commission recently approved an emergency update to their controlled medication schedule for thoroughbred racing by adding additional medications and changing allowable dosage and/or withdrawal times (the “Emergency Rule”). The Emergency Rule, which was modified in part during an emergency public meeting held on June 4, 2024, will reportedly take effect in Louisiana on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

HISA has reviewed the Emergency Rule (as modified during the public meeting on June 4, 2024) and HISA’s Veterinary Team has determined that it poses significant risks to both equine welfare and the integrity of thoroughbred racing. Some of the changes contemplated in the Emergency Rule contradict the weight of scientific evidence and long-established industry standards for medication controls. For example, the 50 ng/ml threshold (24 hours) for Flunixin is permissive of administration at less than 24 hours prior to a race, which can produce a systemic effect that would mask unsoundness and jeopardize the safety and welfare of the horse.1 Moreover, the Emergency Rule’s dosage specification for Betamethasone deviates significantly from existing ARCI Guidelines developed based on studies funded by the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium and others.2 These are only two of the serious concerns presented by the Emergency Rule.

Accordingly, effective June 9, 2024 and pursuant to HISA Rule 2240, all Covered Horses shipping to your racetrack from Louisiana must be placed on the HISA Veterinarians’ List as medically compromised and unfit to race. This includes, but is not limited to, Covered Horses that:

(i) Shipped in directly from Louisiana;

(ii) Since June 8, 2024, have performed a workout at a training facility or racetrack located in Louisiana; and/or

(iii) Since June 8, 2024, have competed in a race at a racetrack located in Louisiana.

Covered Horses placed on the HISA Veterinarians’ List in accordance with this memorandum shall remain on the Veterinarians’ List until: (1) the Covered Horse performs a workout under the supervision of the Regulatory Veterinarian and demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Regulatory Veterinarian that the Covered Horse is sound to race; and (2) a blood sample is collected from the Covered Horse (at the Owner’s expense)3 following the workout and the sample has been reported as negative.4

HISA understands some of the horses covered by this memorandum will not be flagged until they have entered a race in your jurisdiction. These horses must be scratched unless they have already completed the requirements set forth in the preceding paragraph.

Upon leaving Louisiana, trainers may immediately initiate the Vets’ List protocol set forth in this memorandum by notifying the Regulatory Veterinarian in the applicable jurisdiction who will then place the Covered Horse on the Vets’ List.

We appreciate your cooperation and commitment to protecting the health and safety of horses and enhancing the integrity of our sport.


1 See, e.g., Knych, H. K., et al., Pharmacokinetics and Effects of Thromboxane B2 Production Following Intravenous Administration of Flunixin Meglumine to Exercised Thoroughbred Horses, (2015). J. vet. Pharmacol. Therap. 38(4):313-320. See also, Knych, H.K., et al., Pharmacokinetics and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Flunixin Meglumine as a Sole Agent and in Combination with Phenylbutazone in Exercised Thoroughbred Horses, (2020), Equine vet J. doi:10.1111.evj.13260.

2 See ARCI Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule for Horses – Version 4.2.1 (December, 2020)(establishing a dosage specification of intra-articular administration of 9 milligrams of Betamethasone compared to a 60 mg dosage specification in the Emergency Rule); see also, Knych, H.K., et al., Pharmacokinetics of Betamethasone in Plasma, Urine, and Synovial Fluid Following Intra-Articular Administration to Exercised Thoroughbred Horses, (2017), Drug Test. Analysis 2017, 9, 1385-1391.

3 The Regulatory Veterinarian should note: ‘Covered Horse shipping from Louisiana – Medically Compromised’ in the Additional Information or Comments of the HIWU Vets’ List Request Form.

4 A Covered Horse should only be subject to this protocol once after leaving Louisiana. If, however, the Covered Horse returns to Louisiana, the horse would again be subject to this protocol before the horse could compete in a jurisdiction covered by HISA.