Lazarus, a lawyer, has run point on difficult matters before. For nearly 10 years, she was at the National Football League, working on collective bargaining issues as well as putting together deals and partnerships internationally.
Lazarus became the general counsel for Fédération Equestre Internationale, the governing body of horse sports, shortly after several equestrian horses failed drug tests at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Her top priority was to come up with a new set of doping rules and punishments, a task that required navigating entrenched officials from 180 countries.
“I had to learn how to dial back the aggressive American in me,” Lazarus said.
Lazarus was with the federation in 2009 when the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, was suspended for six months after two positive doping tests on his endurance racing horses. The sheikh’s then wife, Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, was president of the governing body at the time.
“She’s tough. She’s smart. She is organized and a great communicator,” James L. Gagliano, chief operating officer of the Jockey Club, said of Lazarus. “Clearly, she is what the sport needs.”
The most highly anticipated (or feared, depending on your point of view) aspect of the authority’s work is the investigative and punishment protocols that it will put in place by Jan. 1, 2023. The costs of investigations and enforcement will consume a third of the authority’s $14 million budget for 2022.
Drug testing is expected to be centralized, fast and efficient — no waiting weeks for a second sample.
That was not the case when Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test after winning last year’s Kentucky Derby. It was not until 11 months later, after a long and winding road through the courts, that the colt’s trainer, Bob Baffert, was issued a 90-day suspension by Kentucky regulators that kept him out of this season’s Triple Crown races.