Horse Racing

Symposium: Equine At-Risk Identification Tool Coming

Following a keynote address by broadcaster Randy Moss Dec. 5 at the Global Symposium on Racing, Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority CEO Lisa Lazarus recapped the organization’s year and stated its focus for 2024.

One of its goals for next year is to apply technology to seek answers to industry problems and ease administrative burdens.

Lazarus discussed the development of a data-enabled tool, in partnership with Palantir Technologies, to assist industry stakeholders in identifying horses at risk for injury before they race. She said they hope to utilize the technology “by the end of the year or the very beginning of next year.”

She said the prior screening process for veterinarians might have taken five hours per race card, but “now we’re able to do it in the press of a button.”

HISA issued a release shortly after her comments at the Symposium, saying the tool will generate a daily report for each racetrack, flagging any horses entered in that day’s races who may present potential risk factors for injury. This enables the identification of at-risk horses with increased efficiency and accuracy and will inform the hands-on, pre-race inspections of each runner. 

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The tool accounts for such risk factors as the length of a horse’s previous layoff (if any), term with current trainer, history on the veterinarian’s list, and other indicators of previous injury or poor performance.

“Palantir is proud to support HISA in its embrace of technology to reduce equine injuries and fatalities,” Palantir’s head of technologies commercial Ted Mabrey said in the release. “HISA came to a Bootcamp for Palantir’s Artificial Intelligence Platform this fall and has rapidly scaled its implementation independently. HISA proves that real-world outcomes, in this case equine safety, can be achieved in weeks with the acceleration that AIP and bootcamps provide.”

Other areas of focus for HISA in 2024 include:

  • working with industry participants: racetracks, horsemen, breeders, veterinarians, and sales companies;
  • seeking uniformity, not only of rules but in the implementation of those rules;
  • education;
  • and exploring potential funding mechanisms, both governmental and private, to reduce the financial burden on the industry.

HISA assessments in 2024 are more than $77.5 million, costs that HISA opponents have criticized. Assessment credits are applied to states based on commission duties done on behalf of HISA.

Lazarus said HISA plans to be more transparent in the coming year by releasing data regularly beginning in the first quarter of 2024. It also intends to release minutes from its board meetings.

Having previously said HISA is exempt from open records requests, Lazarus announced, “Also, journalists have a formal process now where they can request information.” If requests fall outside its designated categories for such information, they will be addressed individually, she said.

Next year, HISA intends to form a next-generation advisory group in January to consider views and incorporate perspectives.

Established when the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was signed into federal law in 2020, the Authority is responsible for enforcing national, uniform safety and integrity rules in United States Thoroughbred racing under the oversight of the Federal Trade Commission. The legality of HISA continues to be contested in court.

A full panel involving HISA executives is scheduled for late afternoon Dec. 6 at the Symposium, which is taking place at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Ariz. The University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program hosts the Symposium.


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