HISA & HIWU Provisional Suspension Modifications

July 29, 2023

THA Announcement

Today, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) and the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU) made a significant change to their Provisional Suspension Policy as it relates to positive tests for banned (non-therapeutic) substances. 

Specifically, a trainer’s Provisional Suspension will be stayed until a requested split (B) sample has returned a positive result.

Most importantly, HISA reaffirmed – “A Provisional Suspension does not in any way change the presumption of innocence and is not an early determination of guilt.”

This is a huge step forward from the original policy, which dictated that a positive test for a banned substance would immediately trigger a provisional suspension. This policy generated dismay amongst horsemen throughout the country – many voicing concern at the lack of due process, the potential for loss of livelihood, the time needed to present exculpatory evidence, confusion as to the implications and impact of a Provisional Suspension, and the time needed to ensure horse care. The THA, in coordination with the TOC and the KTA, initiated a dialogue with HISA/HIWU leadership to express our concerns. We had serious conversations with them to explain our concerns, understand each other’s goals and motivations and seek modifications.

We thank HISA/HIWU for acknowledging the concerns of the country’s horsemen and modifying their policy for what we all believe will be a more trusted system. The new policy creates a more equitable balance between the urgency to preserve the integrity of our sport with the ability of individuals to present an affirmative defense. In addition to ensuring that the laboratory results are consistent, the time frame for conducting the B test will allow the trainer to present exculpatory evidence for consideration and further investigation by HIWU before imposing a Provisional Suspension. Also HISA/HIWU have clarified what a trainer can and can not do under a Provisional Suspension.

For the last 18 months, we have engaged in a strategy of engagement with HISA. This may not satisfy everyone, progress is often incremental and may go unrecognized, but we maintain  it is the best course to create a better safety and medication control system for our sport. When we see progress such as this, our judgment is reaffirmed.

You can view the HISA/HIWU announcement in its’ entirety at this link

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