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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

HOUSE SCHEDULED TO VOTE ON HORSE RACING INTEGRITY AND SAFETY ACT

By Steve Rogers,

LEXINGTON, KY, SEPT. 28, 2020 – The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Tuesday on H.R. 1754, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, led by U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Andy Barr, R-Ky.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the bill 46-5 earlier in the month.

The bill mirrors S. 4547 – legislation introduced by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif. and promises to end doping ad other issues in Thoroughbred racing in America.

The proposal includes a ban on race-day doping and the establishment of a uniform national standard for rules and regulations for U.S. horseracing that would be overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

It also addresses racetrack safety standards.

“This anti-doping legislation will modernize horseracing in the U.S., put the welfare of the horses at the center of the enterprise, and hold the industry to a higher standard that mirrors the rest of the world,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action who testified before Congress on the issue in January.

The doping of American racehorses has been the subject of Congressional attention for almost a decade with horses dying on racetracks, and the indictment of 37 trainers and veterinarians in March 2020.

The bill has the support of Animal Wellness Action (AWA), the Animal Wellness Foundation (AWF), and key players throughout the horse racing industry, including all three Triple Crown racetracks. Churchill Downs, which runs the Kentucky Derby, is the most recent corporation to get on board. The effort continues to enjoy the support of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity (CHRI), which includes The Jockey Club, the Breeders Cup, Keeneland Racecourse, the Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association, the Water Hay Oats Alliance, and AWA and AWF.

The measure is also supported by all three Triple Crown Races and their parent companies.

The patchwork of regulations across the U.S.’s 38 racing jurisdictions has undermined the public’s confidence in horseracing, threatened the integrity of competition, and endangered the human and equine athletes. Enactment of the HISA will address these problems head on while helping to enhance the public’s interest in this very important industry.

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