Talk about necessity being the mother of invention.
With the specter of a government shutdown looming, Congress was forced to approve funding to keep the business of government moving.
Not only did lawmakers approve appropriations to make that happen but also attached a racing omnibus bill to the trillion-dollar stimulus package that will help provide a measure of economic relief for Americans.
So those suffering from the distress caused by the Covid-19 pandemic will get some badly needed aid and horse racing just might have a future in this country with proper execution, which is easier said than done.
The Horseracing Safety and Integrity Act which needed Congressional approval was made possible by a two-day extension that kept the federal government running. By attaching the omnibus bill to the Stimulus package, needed funding became available to make the HISA concept work.
With the Federal Trade Commission acting as the umbrella agency, a Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority would be created to overhaul racing’s drug and medication rules and equine drug testing procedures. The United States Anti-Doping Agency will act as HISA’s testing and enforcement arm.
USADA will replace the patchwork quilt of oversight that has existed on the state and regional levels since forever. Not only were those methods of oversight inadequate, regional testing lacked the science to keep up pharmacologically but, in their defense, were badly underfunded.
Fortunately for the horse racing industry, this landmark legislation had bipartisan support, the Senate giving its approval Monday. The House of Representatives had voted its approval on September 29.
The bill had the backing of prominent stakeholders in the industry, led by The Jockey Club and other major racing organizations but their efforts were often hamstrung by the actions of national horsemen’s groups.
At least now those horsemen who depend on veterinarians to help insure the success of their ‘programs’ can take comfort in the fact they finally will be able to enjoy the benefits of the uniformity they have been seeking for years.