The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s board of directors has appointed Henry “Hank” A. Zeitlin as interim executive director of the organization through the remainder of 2021, it was announced June 16.
According to a release, the board reached this decision after interviewing multiple qualified candidates nominated by racing constituencies and interested parties. HISA is also in the process of selecting an executive search firm to assist in undertaking a nationwide search for a permanent executive director to begin serving next year.
Under Zeitlin’s leadership, HISA’s anti-doping and medication control and racetrack safety standing committees will begin their work to establish uniform anti-doping, medication control, operational and accountability measures governing all 38 racing jurisdictions in the United States. These proposed measures will be subject to the oversight and approval of the Federal Trade Commission.
“Hank Zeitlin’s extensive background across multiple facets of the racing industry makes him an excellent addition to the authority as we work toward a better and safer sport for all,” said board chair Charlie Scheeler. “As we seek to engage both industry and external stakeholders for their insights and expertise on the various components of the racetrack safety and anti-doping and medication control programs, it is clear that Hank is the right fit for the role given his in-depth knowledge of the subject matter.”
Zeitlin currently serves as the executive vice president and a member of the board of directors at Thoroughbred Racing Associations, the trade association for racetracks in North America. He also serves as president and member of the board of directors of the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, which provides integrity services for Thoroughbred racing and wagering.
Previously, Zeitlin worked at Equibase, the Thoroughbred industry’s official database, for 18 years as executive vice president, then president. More recently, Zeitlin served as the chief facilitator for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s comprehensive update to and expansion of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance’s Code of Standards. His critical role in this effort involved leading three teams of experts in establishing best practices in anti-doping and medication control, racing safety and racetrack surface maintenance.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of this exceedingly important effort to develop industry-wide safety and integrity reforms at a time when those inside and outside the industry are looking for greater transparency, increased accountability and stronger enforcement mechanisms,” said Zeitlin. “We have a lot of work to do ahead of the July 2022 program effective date, but thanks to the excellent efforts of the nominating committee and the strong baseline standards laid out in HISA, we are hitting the ground running.”
“On behalf of the authority, I’d like to thank Hank Zeitlin for agreeing to take on this role,” said vice chair of the board of directors and former Governor of Kentucky Steve Beshear. “An effort of this magnitude requires experienced and dedicated leadership at every level, starting at the top.”