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PA Official: ADMC Program Delayed Until May 22

According to a Pennsylvania regulatory official, the continuation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s Anti-Doping Medical Control Program, suspended this spring by a federal judge until May 1, is now aimed for a May 22 relaunch.

This potential delay was noted by Tom Chuckas, the director of Thoroughbred horse racing for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, at an April 25 Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission meeting. Chuckas mentioned the delay in briefing commissioners about HISA and the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit, the entity that will operate the ADMC Program.

“I was contacted (April 21) by HIWU to be advised that based on the Triple Crown, based on multiple tracks opening, that May 1 would not be the launch date. It would be May 22,” Chuckas told commissioners.

This announced delay, if accurate, would mean the ADMC Program would resume after the first two legs of the Triple Crown, the May 6 Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs and May 20 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course. Equine testing procedures for those races will therefore follow the rules and procedures of Kentucky and Maryland regulators.

HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus declined to comment, stating that the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees HISA, had not officially informed HISA of any delay. HISA has come under attack for not being subordinate to the FTC in ongoing litigation.

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The ADMC Program was only operational for four days in late March before James Hendrix, United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division, ordered a 30-day suspension of the program. His ruling, in response to a lawsuit challenging HISA by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the state of Texas, the Texas Racing Commission, and other parties, called the ADMC Program’s immediate implementation after FTC rules approval a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

According to HISA, the initial days of sample collection under the ADMC Program went smoothly before it was suspended.

The ADMC Program is intended to create centralized testing and uniform rules for addressing equine medication violations. It follows the Racetrack Safety Program first introduced by HISA that regulates the use of the riding crop, horseshoes, and general safety matters. That program is currently being enforced in all but four states.

Both HISA and the HBPA have scored victories in court over the past year, but the legality of HISA has remained hotly contested since a United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision last year declared HISA’s enabling legislation unconstitutional. That delayed the ADMC Program’s initial launch date of Jan. 1, and led Congress to pass clarifying language this winter meant to strengthen its legal standing with more FTC oversight over HISA.

A hearing in the Northern District of Texas-based lawsuit is scheduled April 26 before Hendrix, who on Tuesday denied a motion for expedited discovery brought by those opposing HISA.


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