HISA Threatens Turf Paradise Shutdown if Repairs Not Made

Despite entering into an agreement with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) to get Turf Paradise up to date on existing national safety regulations, sufficient repairs were not made to improve the condition of the railing and the Phoenix, AZ, track received a deadline of Apr. 1 for completion or be “prohibited from conducting Covered Horseracing.”

The news came via a press release from HISA.

In January, HISA cited the track for non-compliance on Rules 2153 “racetrack facilities”, 2154 “racetrack surface monitoring”, 2168 “equine ambulance”, 2262 “void claim”, 2276 “horseshoes”, 2282 “riding crop violations and penalties” non-enforcement, and 8520(d) “non-payment”.
In a Feb. 24 order, both the track and Authority agreed that HISA steward Jorge Estrada, track officials and representatives from The Jockeys’ Guild would inspect the rails before Mar. 1 and identify areas where panels may have sharp edges, and repair those areas by Mar. 12. A hearing was conducted remotely via Zoom on Mar. 16 to address issues of non-compliance with the terms of the Agreed Order that remained unresolved as of the date of the hearing, and the Authority found the repairs to the rail to be insufficient.

“After deliberating upon the evidence, it was manifestly clear to the members of the Board Panel that the condition of the railing at Turf Paradise poses a significant risk to the safety of the jockeys and horses participating in Covered Horseraces at the racetrack,” the ruling stated. “There is no dispute that the condition of the railing is unacceptable or that to date Turf Paradise has failed to effect the repairs clearly articulated in the Agreed Order. It is vital that the unsafe condition of the railing be rectified as soon as possible.

“The Board Panel therefore orders that Turf Paradise complete the repairs to the railing, as set forth in the Agreed Order, no later than March 31, 2023. Completion of the repairs and compliance with the remaining elements of the Agreed Order will be verified by an inspector designated by Authority CEO Lisa Lazarus with such inspection to be conducted on or before March 31, 2023. If the repairs are not completed on or before March 31, 2023, or if there is evidence of any other deficiency in compliance with the Authority’s rules as set forth in the Agreed Order of February 24, 2023, Turf Paradise shall be prohibited from conducting Covered Horseraces as of April 1, 2023, pending any further action taken by the Authority.

“The Board Panel declines at this time to impose monetary sanctions upon Turf Paradise for past delays in completing the repairs.”

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