As racetrack origin stories go, Lisa Lazarus's is pretty good. When she was growing up in Montreal, Sundays were reserved for bonding with her father. Fortunately, Blue Bonnets Raceway was a short drive from their home.

Dad was a fan of the place, and his eldest daughter always looked forward to their visits to what he called the ''zoo.''

''It wasn't until I was like 10 that I found out the track was not a zoo,'' Lazarus said. ''I'd come home and tell my mom that we watched the animals running.''

It took nearly four decades, but Lazarus is back at the racetrack. Sort of.

As the inaugural chief executive of the newly minted Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, Lazarus is responsible for the health and safety of horse racing athletes - human and equine.

Deep in the coronavirus stimulus package was the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which established a board overseen by the Federal Trade Commission that will write rules and penalties aimed eliminating doping and abuse within thoroughbred racing.

Lazarus's job is to convince horse people that clear rules, strict enforcement and heavy fines are good for the future of the sport.

It is a hard job that many in horse racing wish had never been created.

The constitutionality of the  federal law is being challenged in court by horse trainer groups and regulators from various states. Last month the Texas Racing Commission threatened to shut down racing altogether when the measure takes effect on July 1.

The law has an urgent and necessary role, in light of horse racing's recent doping scandals, the frequent and mysterious deaths of thoroughbreds and waning interest in the sport.

Despite the legal challenges, the federal law has been hailed as a watershed by most breeders and owners from Kentucky to New York.

''It gives the horse industry a future,'' said the fourth-generation breeder and owner Arthur Hancock 111. ''We were a rogue nation. Now we're not.''

On the job for only five months, Lazarus is careful not to declare that horse racing is on life support. She has a warning, however, for horsemen and horsewomen.

''I will say that I think any sport or entertainment that involves an animal is under incredible scrutiny, as it should be, and that the standards are different today than what they used to be,'' Lazarus said.

''We have a social license to prove to the community that we take care of our horses and that we are playing fair. And if we don't do these things, we will certainly be in trouble.''

The Publishing continues into the future. The World Students Society thanks author, Joe Drape.


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