U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) has become a co-sponsor of the Horseracing Integrity Act, a bill introduced in mid-June by her fellow senators Martha McSally (R-Arizona) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York).
According to a release from Feinstein, the Horseracing Integrity Act sets out to establish a uniform, national standard to prohibit doping and medication for racehorses; creates a new, independent body to oversee the use of drugs and medication, a body to be overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA); and bans the use of Lasix and other medication 'dangerous' to racehorses.
The statement reads: “I'm co-sponsoring the Horseracing Integrity Act because it's past time that we end the rampant doping that plagues horse racing and is contributing to racehorse fatalities. We can't sit idly by while these magnificent creatures continue to die.
“Drugs, including the much-prescribed Lasix, allow trainers to mask illnesses and push horses beyond their physical limitations. The result is too often a catastrophic injury requiring the horse to be euthanized. There is no reason a healthy horse should need drugs to race. If a horse is sick enough to require medication, it's too sick to race. Period.
“The tragic deaths of racehorses at Santa Anita and Del Mar only scratch the surface of the sport's serious issues. Doping is a problem bigger than any track. It demands a national solution.
“Banning doping is one of the biggest steps we can take to clean up the problems with horse racing. It will save horses' lives, and that's something we should all support.”
As far back as April, Feinstein engaged in discussions with the California Horse Racing Board, at the time calling for the suspension of racing at Santa Anita while the cause of a rash of deaths was investigated. As recently as Nov. 4, just two days after the Mongolian Groom (Hightail) incident in the GI Breeders' Cup Classic, the senator renewed her call for the cessation of racing and pledged to work with California Governor Gavin Newsom towards a resolution of the problem.