In response to Monday’s announcement by the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority of its data-disclosure policy, the Association of Racing Commissioners International issued the following statement.
The president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International has again called on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to adhere to the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act requiring open meetings, public record access and transparency in operations.
“(Monday’s) announcement by HISA about data disclosure represents baby steps in the right direction but they have a long way to go to provide the level of regulatory transparency the industry has long been accustomed to,” Martin said.
The rule-making entity for racetrack safety and anti-doping for thoroughbred racing is the Federal Trade Commission. HISA advises the FTC and is a federal advisory committee.
“HISA can claim that they are not required to adhere to open meetings and public records requests, but there is a difference of opinion on this that has not been litigated given their refusal to comply with FACA” Martin said, noting that the proper policy would be to “voluntarily adopt policies consistent with the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
“My best professional advice to HISA is this: you have a growing confidence problem with those you regulate and that can only be eliminated through total transparency, which will not only serve the industry but also HISA in identifying ways they can be more effective,” he said.
U.S. state racing commissions are anticipated to provide upwards of $18 million in direct state funds or resources to assist HISA in 2024. According to HISA’s own documents, additional assessments on the Thoroughbred racing industry next year will raise approximately $60 million to pay for its $80 million budget.
“Usually those who don’t want transparency are embarrassed by what it might reveal. I pray this is not going on here, but the new policy to release only HISA board and committee minutes going forward and to keep all prior records private does raise eyebrows,” he said. “That being said it is a step in the right direction, just not big enough.”
Martin urged HISA to instruct the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit to publicly report the results of the testing program consistent with Model Rule ARCI-011-023 Testing-results, which parallels how anti-doping programs of the World Anti-Doping Agency publish the results of their testing programs and is like the way many states have previously reported testing results.
“HISA has relied upon the ARCI Model Rules in many areas and it would be wise to adhere to this rule as it will help the public understand and have confidence in its testing program,” Martin said.
A HISA spokesperson was asked for comment but did not respond.