Texas 'fully supports HISA's lofty goals,' will update racing rules

Texas 'fully supports HISA's lofty goals,' will update racing rules
Photo: Mary Cage

Judge Robert C. Pate, chairman of the Texas Racing Commission, has directed the commission’s rules committee, led by vice chairman Connie McNabb, DVM, to review the best practices at the international, federal, and state level and use them as a basis to update and modernize the Texas Rules of Racing.

On July 1, interstate Thoroughbred races will become subject to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, a federal law enacted in part to address abuses and injuries over the past several years. Thoroughbreds represent a small percentage of races within the state of Texas, with Quarter Horses making up the vast majority, followed by Arabians and Paints behind Thoroughbreds.

“The Texas Racing Commission fully supports HISA’s lofty goals,” said Pate. “We have problems with it as applied to Texas, but they are not reflected in our commitment to prioritize the health and safety of every equine and jockey participating in this great sport.”

While HISA only provides protections for Thoroughbred horses, the Texas Racing Commission acknowledges there are clear industry standards and emerging best practices and technologies that should be leveraged to protect all racing horses and to provide regulatory certainty for all of those involved in the horse racing industry in Texas.

“The benefit of HISA is that it is forcing a broader discussion that should have taken place years ago,” Dr. McNabb said. “I look forward to visiting with all interested parties to protect and modernize the sport of Texas horseracing. These meetings will be open to the public and we will invite testimony from all those who are affected by or interested in our rules.”

The Texas Racing Commission is and has been an advocate for uniform safety standards for all horse racing breeds for more than 30 years. It has been enabled by the Texas Legislature through the Texas Racing Act to regulate and supervise live horse racing, pari-mutuel wagering, medication control, antidoping, and racetrack safety in Texas.

“Texas will remain a premier state for horseracing,” Pate said. “We will provide the opportunity for positive dialogue to create solutions for the protection of all racehorse breeds, regardless of where they compete in the world.” The initial round of public meetings is expected to be announced next week

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