Horseracing Integrity Act introduced in Congress

by | May 25, 2017 | Breaking, Business, National news, Top Stories

From a press release

Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), the Co-Chairmen of the Congressional Horse Caucus, today introduced H.R. 2651, the Horseracing Integrity Act. The legislation, an updated version of the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015, establishes an authority to create and implement a national uniform medication program with input from the horse industry.

“With growing momentum and support, the time has come for uniform medication rules in American horseracing,” said Congressman Barr. “Uniform rules will ensure the integrity and competitiveness of American horseracing and lay the groundwork for the future success of this great American sport. I am grateful for Congressman Tonko and our coalition for their work over the last two years to improve this legislation which has broadened our base of support and will help us to pass this bill into law.”

“I am excited to partner once again with Congressman Barr on this critical issue,” said Congressman Tonko. “A single, national approach to medication testing with strong independent oversight and enforcement is long overdue. This will help ensure the long-term viability of horseracing by bringing greater integrity to the sport and enhancing the care and welfare of horses. Much is at stake here, especially in regions like ours with long historic ties to an industry that contributes $4 billion to the New York economy each year, much of it in and around the Saratoga Race Course.”

The bill would create what it describes as a “private, independent, self-regulatory, non-profit corporation” that would be charged with developing and implementing a medication control program for the Thoroughbred, standardbred, and quarter horse industries. The cost of the so-called Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority would be borne by industry participants, though the bill specifically — though toothlessly — prohibits increasing takeout “to collect fees to fund the Authority.”

The bill would also prohibit the use of raceday medication, including the anti-bleeder medication Lasix, in use today by over 90 percent of Thoroughbreds.

The Horseracing Integrity Act, say its sponsors, will encourage fair competition and a level playing field across state lines, assure full and fair disclosure of information to purchasers of breeding stock and to the wagering public and provide for the safety and welfare of horses, jockeys, and drivers. This, in turn, will enhance the popularity and international competitiveness of American horseracing.

The legislation, which is not expected to pass either house, is supported by a coalition of individuals and organizations including the Water Hay Oats Alliance, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, the Jockey Club, and Keeneland Association, and Frank Stronach, owner of The Stronach Group.