Horseracing Integrity Act reintroduced; 'national standards' sought

The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity on Thursday announced its strong support for the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019, introduced by U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY) the same day.

 

The bill, designated as H.R. 1754, would create a private, independent horse racing anti-doping authority, the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority, responsible for developing and administering a nationwide anti-doping and medication control program for horse racing. HADA would be governed by a board composed of six individuals who have demonstrated expertise in a variety of horse-racing areas, six individuals from the United States Anti-Doping Agency, and its chief executive officer. USADA is recognized by Congress as the official anti-doping agency for the U.S. Olympic, Pan American, and Paralympic sports.

 

The new set of rules, testing procedures, and penalties would replace the current patchwork of regulatory systems that govern horse racing’s 38 jurisdictions. Passage of this bill will result in a substantial increase in out-of-competition testing, which will help ensure horses are free from performance-enhancing drugs during racing and training.

 

“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 CHRI. “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.”

 

H.R. 1754 is nearly identical to the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R. 2651), also introduced by Reps. Barr and Tonko, which garnered the bipartisan support of more than 130 representatives last Congress. Joining the effort in 2019 are Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection & Commerce, and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), co-chairs of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus. CHRI is hopeful and optimistic that the legislation will move through the committee process this year, building on this strong showing of support from key lawmakers.b

 

“Horses should race and train only when they are free from performance-enhancing drugs and not on a cocktail of medications,” said Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action. “We are proud of the key leaders in the horse racing industry and animal protection groups that have come together on this bill.”

 

The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity represents a diverse group of racing organizations, racetracks, owner and breeder associations, and animal welfare groups that support adoption of a national, uniform standard for drug and medication rules in horse racing. For more information and to read a copy of the proposed legislation, visit horseracingintegrity.com.

 

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