Representatives Paul Tonko and Andy Barr, co-chairs of the Congressional Horse Caucus, reintroduced H.R. 1754: the Horseracing Integrity Act today to establish a uniform national medication program, bringing the United States in line with international standards.
“Horseracing thrives when we put the majestic equine athlete front and center” Tonko said. “Our legislation creates a set of nationwide rules that are clear, consistent, and conflict-free. This will make horseracing safer for our equine athletes and jockeys while increasing confidence in the sport among the trainers, owners, horseplayers, and horseracing fans alike. This sport of kings has long supported good jobs and delivers billions of dollars in economic impact every year in my home state of New York and throughout the country. I am grateful to Congressman Barr for partnering with me on this common-sense legislation and look forward to advancing our measure through the House.”
“As the Representative for the Horse Capital of the World, I have the distinct honor of fighting for the future of this great American sport,” said Congressman Barr. “I continue to believe the prosperity of Kentucky’s signature horseracing industry depends on national uniform medication standards and testing procedures. I am proud to reintroduce this legislation with my friend and colleague, Congressman Tonko, and I look forward to building upon the great bipartisan work we secured last Congress, including more than 100 cosponsors, to ensure the safety and integrity of this sport is preserved for years to come.”
The Horseracing Integrity Act:
Establishes a conflict-free, self-regulatory organization responsible for creating and implementing an anti-doping program for the entire horseracing industry
Develops standardized list of permitted and prohibited substances, treatments and methods for all covered races in the United States
Requires full & fair information disclosure to breeding stock purchasers and the wagering public
Bans the use of all medications within 24 hours of a race
Provides for the increased safety and welfare of horses, jockeys and drivers
“The Jockey Club is grateful to Representatives Barr and Tonko for their strong support of the Horseracing Integrity Act,” said Jim Gagliano, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Jockey Club, “this legislation is vital for the health and safety of our athletes and the integrity of the sport of horse racing.”
This bill is supported by the Humane Society of the U.S., New York Racing Association, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Animal Welfare Institute, the Water Hay Oats Alliance, the Jockey Club, Animal Wellness Action, the Breeders’ Cup, Keeneland Association, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and the Stronach Group.
“This is a horse-first bill. This bill will help ensure a safer environment for horses and riders at all tracks,” said Shawn Smeallie, executive director of Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity. “Representatives Tonko and Barr, along with their respective staff members, have worked tirelessly on this legislation. Thanks to their efforts, this initiative has gained the support of key stakeholders across the industry and continues to gain momentum. We look forward to working with other racing industry organizations to ensure productive legislative activity this year.”
Ed Martin, the President and CEO of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, had a much more negative reaction to the bill’s reintroduction, saying, “The sponsors of this legislation have proposed nothing to address the significant part of the racehorse industry that is totally unregulated. This bill will do nothing to protect horses. It is shocking that the use of bisphosphonates on young horses is not addressed, given the significant concern that they adversely affect bone development in young horses and contribute to stress fractures as they do in other mammals.”