There were many empty seats at the table when the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Alliance (HISA) was invented, these being Middle America Racing, which encompasses almost every jurisdiction between the Moon (California) and New York City (NYRA).
Now, being blue collar folks, we in Middle America all know it takes three legs for a stool and in this fixed race, the stool was Kentucky. Throw kerosene on the flames when certain coaches were indicted by the feds, and as Fred Capossela and Costy Caras countered, “Now is the time for the post!”
For years, horse racing was sometimes called the Sport of Kings. More fittingly, horse racing resembled the King of Sports. Few have had or have billions of dollars to buy a professional sports franchise, but in many ways every thoroughbred owner has their own professional sports team – an athlete (horse), trainer (trainer), quarterback (jockeys), athletic trainer (vet) , a team name (Seabiscuit) and uniform (colors). In addition, owners can legally bet on their own team. Now that’s American.
Reading the Small Business Administration Act of 1953, one might conclude that every owner/trainer in this country is a small business. The SBA was created as an independent agency of the federal government, “to aid, advise, assist, and protect the interests of small businesses; preserve free competitive enterprise; and maintain and strengthen our nation’s overall economy. Small businesses fuel economic growth by providing employment opportunities and increasing the employment rate.”
The US government often favors small businesses with incentives, tax breaks, grants and good access to keep them competitive. But does HISA interfere with the SBA Act, causing a potential end, hardship, unemployment etc, for the racing industry? Is this government overreach personified only to be overturned as unconstitutional?
Where does the Constitution allow for an ill-conceived, forced mandate with little input from industry, especially from the hardworking, caring, loving horses that number in the tens of thousands? These people, who wake up at dawn every day, with their stiff hands and stiff backs, working with boots on the ground, have never had a say. He’s not American!
The elimination of Middle America Racing is already in danger of happening with the elimination of Lasix. If you have ever witnessed a horse bleed, you would agree to its use. People take Lasix in tablet form and racing needs to reduce the public perception of treating horses with a syringe and state that there is no medical evidence that Lasix is harmful or a masking agent for horses.
All over the USA, this wonderful constitutional republic founded on a capitalist economic system, ending the races by eliminating Lasix with an unfounded mandate threatens all but the upper echelon of industry, and we deserve better.
Remember this quote from the movie Seabiscuit: “They say my horse is too small, my jockey is too big, my trainer is too old, and I’m too stupid to know it!” Well America’s racing heart knows it and HISA should remain indefinitely until all voices have a chance to be heard, the true facts are known and we all get along together with the care and safety of horses and people . finishing first in every race. Now that’s the Americana we’ve all been hoping for! —Ken Lowe
Ken Lowe was a successful owner and breeder, served as President of the Charles Town HBPA and now serves as President of the West Virginia Racing Commission and the RCI Board of Directors.