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Federal Appeals Court Halts Horse Racing Injunction in W.Va., La.

Thoroughbred horses spring from the gates in a race at the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, W.Va.
Courtesy Photo
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Coady Photography
Thoroughbred horses spring from the gates in a race at the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, W.Va.

A federal appeals court blocked a ruling that would have kept the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority from implementing racetrack safety and enforcement rules in both West Virginia and Louisiana.

The hold comes after a preliminary injunction was granted late last month against the agency by a federal court. The U.S. District Court’s Western District of Louisiana originally ruled against the agency, arguing it overstepped its bounds on three rules that went into place nationwide on July 1.

The rules in question included how horses covered by the rules are defined, the ability for investigators to confiscate records from anyone who owns or “performs services on” a covered horse and basing state payments for upkeep partly on race purses.

State officials like West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey originally praised the injunction, while animal rights groups like Animal Wellness Action condemned it.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the order Friday as an administrative stay while it continues to consider the case. It’s unclear how long the block will be in effect.

Days after the original suspension of the rules took effect, a horse collapsed during a race at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in New Cumberland and had to be euthanized.

Eastern Panhandle Reporter, ssnyder@wvpublic.org, 304-449-4653

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