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A federal judge said Tuesday a national horse racing authority cannot enforce its rules in Louisiana and West Virginia while a lawsuit challenging the organization is in court.

In granting a preliminary injunction, Western District of Louisiana Judge Terry Doughty said the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Authority likely went beyond its bounds on three rules that went into place July 1. State and racing officials in those jurisdictions sued to prevent the federal authority’s new regulations from going into effect.

HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus said the ruling is limited in scope geographically to Louisiana and West Virginia and does not question the organization’s constitutionality or validity.

“Congress enacted HISA to enhance equine and jockey welfare and protect the integrity of this great sport by, for the first time, creating national rules and standards to govern thoroughbred racing,” she said in a statement sent to The Associated Press. “These measures are backed by research and informed by the expertise of independent and industry representatives. The reality is that the majority of racing participants support the authority’s mission to protect those who play by the rules and hold those who fail to do so accountable in order to keep our equine and human athletes safe and the competition fair.”

Doughty said the authority may have overstepped its bounds when it comes to 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.

The attorneys general of Louisiana and West Virginia hailed the injunction as a victory. Louisiana’s Jeff Landry said the regulations are “unclear, inconsistent and violate due process.”

“I am grateful Judge Doughty applied the law and blocked this federal overreach from devastating our state and the thousands of Louisianans in the horse industry here,” Landry said in a statement. “Louisiana has not only regulated horseracing but also built an entire culture around it with the owners, trainers, jockeys, racetracks and patrons. … The process of creating the law and its associated regulations showed a reckless disregard for the thousands of industry participants in Louisiana and a correspondingly reckless disregard for the impact to our state.”

West Virginia’s Patrick Morrisey said he was confident the legal challenge joined by the Louisiana State Racing Commission, Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association, West Virginia Racing Commission and The Jockeys’ Guild “will likewise have a favorable result.”

The Horseracing Integrity & Safety Act went into law in January 2021, giving a federal authority the ability to regulate the sport across the U.S. Safety regulations started in July, with antidoping rules going into effect at the start of 2023.

Activist Marty Irby criticized the ruling, calling HISA “the sport’s last chance at survival.”

“It’s a shame to see the federal court side with rogue state operators and officials who continue to help keep doping and animal abuse alive in American horse racing,” said Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action. “If these states insist on operating under the status quo, then we will make sure to further highlight every doping incident, death, and scandal in their domains.”

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Georgia’s Bennett arrested for public intoxication

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Georgia's Bennett arrested for public intoxication

Former Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, who led the Bulldogs to their second straight CFP National Championship earlier this month, was arrested on a misdemeanor public intoxication charge in Dallas on Sunday morning.

In a statement to ESPN, a Dallas Police Department spokesperson said officers responded to a report of a man banging on doors in the 1600 block of Tribeca Way at 7:10 a.m. ET on Sunday.

“The preliminary investigation found when officers arrived, they located the man, Stetson Bennett, 25, and determined he was intoxicated,” the police statement read. “Bennett was taken into custody, transported to the City Detention Center and charged with public intoxication.”

Bennett left the detention center Sunday morning, but he could not be reached for comment.

Bennett, who started his college career as a walk-on, was a Heisman Trophy finalist this past season, after leading the Bulldogs to a 15-0 record and SEC championship. He passed for 4,127 yards with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions, while rushing for another 10 scores.

Bennett was named the offensive MVP in both of Georgia’s victories in the CFP, a 42-41 comeback win against Ohio State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and a 65-7 rout of TCU in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T.

Bennett, who is listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, is considered a potential selection in April’s NFL draft. He recently won the Manning Award, which is given to the top quarterback in the FBS by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

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Sources: Ex-Buffs QB Shrout picks Arkansas St.

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Sources: Ex-Buffs QB Shrout picks Arkansas St.

Former Tennessee and Colorado quarterback J.T. Shrout is transferring to Arkansas State, sources told ESPN.

Shrout visited Arkansas State over the weekend and his commitment looms as a significant win for Butch Jones, who is entering his third season as Arkansas State’s head coach.

Shrout will graduate from Colorado this spring and plans to enroll at Arkansas State in May, according to sources. He has one year of eligibility remaining and potentially a second if he gets a medical redshirt after missing the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL.

Shrout most recently played at Colorado in 2022, where he threw for 1,220 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions and delivered the game-winning touchdown pass against Cal in overtime in Colorado’s lone victory of the season. He started seven games at Colorado and had one start during his three seasons at Tennessee (2018-2020).

Shrout is one of three Buffaloes quarterbacks who have entered the NCAA transfer portal since the school hired Deion Sanders as head coach. Sanders has made it clear that his son, Shedeur, will be the starter next season. He introduced him at his opening news conference by saying, “This is your quarterback.”

According to sources, Shrout was attracted to the potential opportunity at Arkansas State, including playing in offensive coordinator Keith Heckendorf’s West Coast-style offense. Shrout also had some teammates at Tennessee who played for Jones, and sources said the former teammates endorsed Jones both as a person and a coach.

Arkansas State (3-9) ranked No. 118 in total offense last season and No. 85 in scoring offense. The Red Wolves open the 2023 season at Oklahoma on Sept. 2.

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Sources: Harbaugh, Broncos meet but no deal

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Sources: Harbaugh, Broncos meet but no deal

Broncos owner Greg Penner and University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh met last week in Ann Arbor to discuss Denver’s head-coaching position without any deal materializing, league sources told ESPN.

Although Harbaugh two weeks ago announced he was staying at Michigan, Penner did his due diligence and still traveled to Ann Arbor to meet with the coach in person, like he’s done with seven other candidates during the Broncos’ head-coaching search.

The follow-up conversations were part of the process for both Denver — led by Penner with general manager George Paton — and Harbaugh. The face-to-face meeting came after Harbaugh’s initial video interview with Denver, after which he pulled his name out of contention and reaffirmed his commitment to Michigan.

“I love the relationships that I have at Michigan — coaches, staff, families, administration, president Santa Ono and especially the players and their families,” Harbaugh said in his statement Jan. 16. “My heart is at the University of Michigan. I once heard a wise man say, ‘Don’t try to out-happy, happy.’ Go Blue!”

The Broncos moved on as well, continuing their discussions with several other candidates. Denver has interviewed former Saints coach Sean Payton, former Colts and Lions coach Jim Caldwell, former Stanford coach David Shaw, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and their own defensive coordinator, Ejiro Evero.

Harbaugh now has met with the Vikings and Broncos in back-to-back years. While one source wondered how many more chances Harbaugh would get, another league source said “The league is likely to be interested in Jim as long as he is successfully coaching. He’s proven at every level including the NFL. That’s a hard resume to match.”

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