HOW LONG HAS WHOA BEEN IN EXISTANCE AND MANY MEMBERS DO YOU CURRENTLY HAVE?
WHOA was founded in 2012 on a phone call with lobbyist Frankie Trull. She suggested that lobbying as an alliance of individuals would be more powerful than each of us lobbying on our own. As an alliance, WHOA has given us common ground. From those early days with 10 original members, WHOA’s membership has grown to over 1,500 members who have endorsed our pledge and signed on to the WHOA membership roster. http://www.waterhayoatsalliance.com/join.shtml.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE ITS MEMBERSHIP, PRIMARILY, BREEDERS AND OWNERS?

WHOA is a grassroots group of like-minded Owners, Breeders, Trainers, Jockeys, Equine Practitioners, Industry Professionals, Handicappers and Racing Fans who stand against the permissive use of performance enhancing drugs in American horse racing.
WHOA’s membership is open to anyone with a stake in the racing game. It includes all racing disciplines: Thoroughbred, Standardbred, Quarter Horse.
The membership breaks down as follows:
Owner/Breeders 45%
Industry Professionals 15%
Equine Practitioners 1%
Trainers 4%
Jockeys <1%
Handicappers 2%
Racing Fans 16%
Horse Lovers 17%

HOW MANY TRAINERS ARE MEMBERS OF THE ORGANIZATION?
There are currently 54 trainers in WHOA; 10 of them, Hall of Famers.

WHEN WAS THE BARR-TONKO BILL ORIGINALLY INTRODUCED AND WHAT IS ITS CURRENT STATUS?

The Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 was introduced June 3, 2015. This bi-partisan effort is lead by Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY). Both are co-chairmen of the Congressional Horse Caucus. Sadly, the original legislation never made it to committee, but during that time new industry groups worked with legislators and industry leaders to make improvements to the bill. The Coalition for Horseracing Integrity (CHRI) was founded with three original members: WHOA, the Jockey Club and the HSUS. CHRI now boasts 17 members who are working to promote passage of the legislation.

The Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 was reintroduced on May 25, 2017. H.R. 2651 includes new provisions to the original legislation that include: all racing disciplines, no race day medication and oversight by the FTC. All of the changes were supported by WHOA. The CHRI and its member organizations have been assured by Energy and Commerce leadership that the bill will move to committee this fall. Monthly D.C. fly-ins are being held to push for passage and grow support in the house. Currently there are 85 co-sponsors of H.R. 2651. The senate version of the bill promises to be introduced in the coming weeks.

ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED IN THE LACK OF A FINAL SOLUTION THUS FAR?
It is frustrating that the industry cannot come together to support clean racing either through the National Uniform Medication Policy or federal legislation appointing USADA as the independent anti-doping agency responsible for horseracing in the U.S. Polls consistently show that the American Public wants clean and fair sport.
But racing has no national cohesiveness because no single organization has been appointed to deal with its problems. Everything is regulated from state to state. So we are trying to adopt and pass something on a national basis.

HOW MUCH OF A HINDRANCE HAS NATIONAL AND REGIONAL HBPA BEEN TOWARD WHOA’S EFFORTS?

In general, WHOA’s stand on medication, medication reform, uniform penalties and testing, and so on, are opposed by the HBPA. The HBPA has been very active in lobbying against the current legislation.
The HBPA claims to be against the use of performance enhancing drugs in Thoroughbred racing, yet we have never seen any evidence to support this policy; they have gone so far as to fund legal defense of horsemen accused of breaking the law.

WHERE WILL THE FUNDING COME FROM?

Under HR 2651, the Horseracing Anti-Doping Agency (HADA) will not receive any federal funding. Its initial budget and any subsequent budget that exceeds a prior year’s budget by more than 5 % would require approval by 2/3 of its board, meaning that at least three industry board members would have to vote in support. The cost of HADA’s operations would be allocated to states on a per start basis and the states will have the opportunity to choose whether or not it collect the fees from the industry as they so choose or to let HADA do so.
Due largely to HADA’s anticipated out of competition testing (OOCT) protocols (which is in line with the RMTC’s recently approved OOCT program), there will be increased costs – which will impact the states differently due largely to the disparities in their current testing budgets. The end result of having the HADA program with robust nationwide OOCT testing (which is far from the case currently) is that US racing will have a worldclass anti-doping and medication control program to help ensure the safety of our athletes and the integrity of our product.

WOULD WHOA ENDORSE A POLICY THAT COULD POTENTIALLY USE AN INFINITESIMAL PORTION OF FUTURE AUCTION SALE REVENUES--SAY 1/2 OF 1 PERCENT—TO BE DIVIDED TO UNDERWRITE TESTING AND AFTERCARE INITIATIVES?
The Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) is a grassroots movement of like-minded individuals who support the passage of federal legislation to prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of horse racing. Period. As a grassroots alliance, WHOA does not have a board of directors, WHOA simply has a specific mission statement to stay true to. WHOA relies on it supporters to act as a decision-making body should the case arise.
So while some members may or may not agree to a particular policy, WHOA keeps its blinkers on and stays focused on our goal: The appointment of an independent anti-doping program run by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). WHOA believes that USADA leadership will solve the problem of widespread drug use in American racing and put U.S. racing jurisdictions in step with international standards.
It is obvious that after years of committee review and discussion, America’s racing industry cannot police itself by eliminating the proliferation of performance-enhancing drugs in our sport, nor does it possess the power to adequately punish the purveyors of these drugs.

WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATE ON THE POSSIBLE EXPANSION OF OUT-OF-COMPETITION TESTING?

Without a national program and budget, it is up to each state racing authority or individual racetracks to initiate and fund such initiatives.

HOW MUCH IS THE RELUCTANCE OF HORSEMEN TO GIVE UP THE USE OF RACEDAY LASIX BEEN A FACTOR IN PROGRESS OR LACK THEREOF?
It has been the elephant in the room.

HOW DISAPPOINTED IS WHOA THAT THE US TROTTING ASSOCIATION RECENTLY RELEASED A STATEMENT THAT IT WOULD NOT SUPPORT THE BIPARTISAN HORSE RACING INTEGRITY ACT OF 2017?

While we are disappointed, we are not surprised, as the pro-medication forces among the troops of participants in harness racing are very strong.

WILL THE RECENT SUPPORT OF AN ORGANIZATION SUCH AS THE ASPCA MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE IN WHETHER THE LEGISLATION WOULD BE ADOPTED?
According to recent polls by Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) https://media.gractions.com/130D0DEC14413A987751556AFC00A53D2C17D6F9/a566eb73-01bc-4b5e-af87-282581fd7c46.pdf the American public supports medication reform. Therefore, groups like HSUS and the ASPCA, who represent national animal welfare concerns are powerful allies and will help educate and organize the general public.
Doping destroys public confidence in racing, defrauds the betting fan, weakens the genetic pool and, most importantly, puts the life and limb of our equine athletes and their jockeys at risk.

WHAT OTHER NATONAL ANIMAL RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS WOULD IT TAKE TO MAKE THE AMERICAN PUBLIC ACCEPT THE NOTION THAT THE HORSE RACING INDUSTRY, CONTRARY TO POPULAR PERCEPTION, TREATS ITS ANIMALS EXCEPTIONALLY WELL?

To have the support of HSUS and ASPCA on a national level speaks volumes.

IF THE HRIA IS ADAPTED, HOW LONG DOES THE ORGANIZATION THINK IT WOULD TAKE TO BENEFIT FROM THE BREEDING OF HEALTHIER HORSES THAT WOULD NO LONGER BE PERMITTED TO COMPETE USING RACEDAY MEDICATION?
It took 30 years to get to this point…three generations. So to turn the tables back, it may take the same period to return to “clean” bloodlines. But with infusion of the international market, it could be shorter. Whatever the case, if our industry is to reclaim its place in the international market, we must breed a horse who runs on his own merit and ability… and not chemical ability.

WITHOUT WHOA, OR ORGANIZATIONS LIKE IT, SHOWING THAT THE INDUSTRY IS SERIOUS ABOUT LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD FOR ALL IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE HORSES AND RIDERS, WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF RACING SURVIVING IN THE LONG TERM?
WHOA has raised the bar and encouraged industry groups to take a stand against the status quo. WHOA has given members a platform to share their common belief in clean sport and drug-free racing. WHOA has given members a voice by standing together for the common good.
If WHOA can continue to push the boundaries, raise awareness and demand that U.S. racing eventually joins other international horseracing jurisdictions and IFHA rules of racing, our grassroots efforts will have paid off.
Horse racing will always be with us. But it will never be as popular or widespread as in the past, like many other forms of entertainment and gambling. Racing has encountered a number of things that have diminished its footprint.
As rural life changed and cities developed, the disappearance of the horse on roads and farms changed people’s tastes. NASCAR has flourished as people embraced those speedy machines. Racing at one time had a virtual monopoly on domestic gambling. Today there are any number of ways one can place a wager.
Racing has been slow to adapt to the changing landscape, but there are many passionate supporters of the game and they are sure to develop strategies that will allow the sport to be conducted in the future.