The Key to Success with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act

Lasix for horses

Lasix is legal and given to both horses and humans

By Barry Irwin [founder of Team Valor] — The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) is not scheduled to begin operations until July of next year, but with release of the initial guidelines issued for public consumption last week and any number of Op/Ed pieces appearing in industry trade publications, the direction of the Authority that will steer the ship seems to be given plenty of helpful hints for its future navigation.

As the one who got the ball rolling in a 2004 Op/Ed in The Blood-Horse by urging industry members to consider a way of hiring the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to oversee drugs in horseracing, I must at this early juncture in the start-up of the Authority register my fears regarding the ultimate success of the new entity and its potentially sweeping changes.

Germination for wishing to get USADA involved in the struggle to rid cheaters from the game was to use CEO Travis Tygart and his team to devise a plan to form an investigative unit capable of discovering through traditional and new-wave policing methods which designer and human drugs were being used to tilt the playing field in North American racing.

If the world of international sport had learned one thing from the 2002 Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) it was that testing was best used not to apprehend suspects but to confirm that they were cheating. The gold standard in catching the crooks was by finding the actual illegal substances first, then developing a test and using that test in the future to nail the bad guys. Testing without knowing what one was testing for was like trying to find a needle in a haystack…

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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