HIWU to Lead Nationwide, Uniform, and Efficient Results Management and Adjudication Processes Under HISA’s ADMC Program


Upon implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s (HISA) Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program, results management and adjudication procedures administered by the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU) will be the same in all states under the jurisdiction of HISA, resulting in uniform processes for Thoroughbred industry stakeholders and consistent penalties when violations are committed.

Once the ADMC Program takes effect, laboratory results from all testing will be sent directly to HIWU. In the case of an Adverse Analytical Finding (i.e., a “positive test”), HIWU will notify the relevant Covered Person(s) of the result and be responsible for the investigation and prosecution process, including the selection of labs for “B” sample analysis, initiation of proceedings, and imposition of penalties, if any.

Violations under the ADMC Program are categorized as Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRV), which involve Banned Substances and Methods, or Controlled Medication Rule Violations (CMRV), which involve Controlled Medications and Methods. There will be harsher penalties associated with ADRVs.

ADRV cases will be heard by an Arbitral Body chosen and appointed to cases by JAMS, a world-renowned arbitration and mediation provider with a panel of retired lawyers and judges who are experienced in anti-doping and sports adjudication. Before selecting individuals to hear cases, JAMS will ensure that there are no conflicts of interest between potential adjudicators and the Covered Person(s) involved.

CMRV cases will be heard by appointees to the Internal Adjudication Panel (IAP), a group of 15-20 members selected by HISA and HIWU based on their previous equine regulatory experience. The IAP pool includes state stewards, who are only permitted to hear cases that do not originate in the state in which they are employed. IAP members will be appointed to hear specific CMRV cases on a rotating basis following case reviews and conflicts-of-interest checks.

All members of both the Arbitral Body and IAP must undergo initial training and continuing education on the ADMC regulations to be eligible to hear and decide cases.

For both ADRV and CMRV cases, Covered Persons are entitled to the opportunity to provide written submissions and present evidence on their behalf to the assigned adjudicator(s). The full results management processes associated with potential presence and use violations are outlined as part of HIWU’s educational resources.

HIWU is required to publicly disclose the resolution of a potential violation within 20 days of (1) a final decision, (2) a resolution between HIWU and the Covered Person, or (3) the withdrawal of a charge by HIWU. Final decisions of the Arbitral Body and IAP can be appealed to a federal Administrative Law Judge.

“All industry participants under the ADMC Program can be confident that the rules will be applied uniformly regardless of location and that all cases will be handled fairly,” said Michelle Pujals, HIWU’s general counsel. “When a violation is committed, the sanctions imposed will be commensurate with the severity of the transgression so that those who intentionally try to evade the rules face meaningful consequences.”

HIWU’s legal team is supported by HIWU Advisory Council members Jonathan Taylor and Sonja Keating. Taylor, who serves as chairman of the Advisory Council, is a London-based partner and leader of the Sports Group at Bird & Bird and previously served as the chair of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Compliance Review Committee. Keating is currently the chief operating officer and general counsel for the United States Equestrian Federation.

“Besides promoting fairness and integrity through coherence in the application of rules, the ADMC Program will reduce existing burdens on horsemen and women who currently must manage compliance with different rule sets and adjudication systems,” said Keating.

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 by HISA 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. For more information, please visit hiwu.org.

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