HIWU Operations Team to Administer Strategic Testing Plan Under HISA ADMC Program; New System will Promote Integrity While Advancing Effectiveness in the Doping Control Process

Outreach, Announcements

Under the enforcement of the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU), the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Authority’s (HISA) Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program will introduce an intelligence-driven strategic testing plan to be deployed uniformly across the country. These standardized testing protocols are designed to promote the integrity of Thoroughbred racing and the safety of the horse while modernizing the sample collection process at Thoroughbred tracks nationwide.

HIWU’s operations team will take an interdisciplinary approach in its allocation of testing across the country with a focus on ensuring the quality and effectiveness of the doping control process. The operational strategy will also be informed by collaboration with the investigations department to incorporate and act on pertinent information received through HIWU’s anonymous whistleblower platform.

While HIWU has the ultimate discretion to select Covered Horses for all types of testing, intelligence from “boots-on-the-ground” industry participants, including stewards and veterinarians, and continued cooperation with state racing commissions and laboratory/scientific partners will also inform the test selection process. HIWU’s testing approach will aim to enforce accountability in the administration of Controlled Medication Substances and Methods while deterring the use of Banned Substances and Banned Methods.

“Our test distribution strategy is designed to create a better environment for horsemen who play by the rules. We will identify those who intentionally commit ADMC Program violations and hold them accountable,” said Kate Mittelstadt, HIWU’s chief of operations. 

All testing under the ADMC Program will be conducted by HIWU-trained and certified sample collection personnel (SCP). Many current test barn personnel and veterinarians will continue in their positions while operating under a voluntary agreement between HIWU and their respective state or track. In jurisdictions without voluntary agreements, HIWU will establish teams and contract individuals, including via recruitment of and consultation with experienced test barn personnel and veterinarians.

A key component of certification will be training on a paperless documentation system via a HIWU app that will be prepopulated with relevant race-day and Covered Horse information from InCompass and the HISA portal. The app was developed in partnership with EventLog, which developed similar apps for the British Horseracing Authority, Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, and United States Equestrian Federation.

SCP covering all racetracks will receive on-site training from HIWU before testing begins under HISA’s ADMC Program, and HIWU team members will be on site at all tracks to help launch the Program when it takes effect. There will also be a national support line that will be staffed seven days a week, ensuring coverage during all testing periods. These HIWU staff will be prepared to answer questions from SCP in the field, support horsemen with questions during testing, and triage inquiries to other departments if necessary.

“When it comes to testing processes, integrity starts with sample collection, and we are confident that SCP and other industry participants across the country will welcome the improvements created by standardized procedures and paperless records,” said Mittelstadt.

For more information about specific test types, interested individuals can find resources specific to testing at hiwu.org.

HIWU is anticipating that it will begin enforcement of the ADMC Program on March 27, 2023, pending approval of the ADMC rules submitted to the Federal Trade Commission in December and published to the Federal Register on January 26.

The Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU) was established in 2022 by Drug Free Sport International to administer the rules and enforcement mechanisms of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s (HISA) Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program. The ADMC Program will create a centralized testing and results management process and apply uniform penalties for violations efficiently and consistently across all American Thoroughbred racing jurisdictions that HISA governs. HIWU will oversee testing, educate stakeholders on the new program, accredit laboratories, investigate potential violations, and prosecute any such violations.

Contact: Alexa Ravit, Director of Communications & Outreach  
 (816) 516-9572