As I have said before I’m not going to call anyone out on HISA until they publicly make statements.
The THA made a public statement today which you can read in this post.
Rightfully, they are taking heat from their membership as to why they aren’t fighting HISA in court just as the HBPA is. Instead of admitting their errors in supporting HISA the THA has doubled down in their support of HISA.
In their release the THA takes credit for the few rule changes HISA has recently made. This is laughable as the THA supported HISA throughout yet had zero input in the rule making process. During the public comment period the THA, as well as the HBPA and many other industry groups, made countless suggested changes to the Safety series rules all of which were ignored by HISA. Only after the HBPA and others filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality and legality of the law and rules promulgated by the Authority and approved by the FTC did the Authority make changes. Not coincidentally, many of the changes involved issues brought about in the various lawsuits. So after ignoring the THA for 18 months did the Authority suddenly start listening to them or was it the lawsuits filed and threat of further lawsuits being filed that forced their hand to make much needed changes to the rules. You be the judge.
Another dubious claim made in the THA release is that the lawsuits are “wasting” horsemen’s money. The National HBPA lawsuit is being argued by the Liberty Justice Center which felt there were significant enough constitutional issues with the Horse Racing Safety and Integrity Act that they agreed to take the case pro bono. The National HBPA and the listed HBPA affiliates in the federal case filed in North Texas are paying nothing in this case.
The Louisiana case which was filed by the Louisiana AG, Louisiana HBPA, Jockeys’ Guild et al. which 14 other HBPA affiliates have filed a motion to intervene in is being handled by a partner at Jones Walker based in New Orleans who owns numerous race horses and wants to protect the rights of horsemen everywhere. Each affiliate is being charged a nominal amount. The total amount spent by the National HBPA and all affiliates in these two cases will be less than HALF the salary the THA CEO will be paid this year. I will let you decide who is wasting horsemen’s money.
Which brings me to my final point. The board of the Ohio HBPA and I will continue to fight HISA trying to overturn it and if we are not successful in those efforts, we will continue to fight to make substantive changes to rules which currently are overly burdensome and unfair to our members. We won’t always win and we may make some mistakes along the way but we will not sell out our members.
If HISA is successful mark my words many executives from these industry groups which are expressing support for HISA will quietly end up on the HISA payroll over the next several years.
This is already taking place as Alex Waldrop, Chairman of the RMTC which has long supported HISA is now a paid consultant for HISA. Mark Guilfoil who was the executive director of the Kentucky Racing Commission, one of only five commissions who signed a voluntary agreement to collect assessments on behalf of HISA, was subsequently hired by HISA. It is rumored he is being paid nearly twice what he was being paid by the state of Kentucky.
I promise you I will represent horsemen to the best of my ability until I retire from the sport. I will never work for HISA. Try to get a similar commitment from people working for the groups still publicly supporting HISA.