Today marked the introduction of The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in the Senate by Sponsor Mitch McConnell

September 10, 2020

The House Energy & Commerce Committee passed H.R. 1754, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) by a recorded vote of 46-5, as amended.  A substitute amendment by the bill’s sponsor, Congressman Tonko (R-NY), which encompassed the HISA language, also passed 46-5. Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), John Shimkus (R-IL). Michael Burgess (R-TX), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) voted no in both instances.  

During the debate, Rep. Schrader raised concerns about the lack of veterinary involvement in the crafting of the bill, as well as the lack of veterinary representation on the Authority created in the legislation. He also expressed concern about the prohibition of furosemide, suggesting that furosemide should be allowed during the suggested three-year study period until a determination can be made as to whether or not they should be prohibited. Congressman Tonko forcefully pushed back on these concerns and was backed up by Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ).

Due to the ongoing efforts of Congressmen Paul Tonko and Andy Barr , the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is poised to move to the House Floor for a vote.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act today to help set national standards to promote fairness, increase safety, and help preserve Thoroughbred racing. At a press conference last week in Lexington, the Horse Capital of the World, Senator McConnell joined U.S. Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) and leading Kentucky stakeholders, including Keeneland, Churchill Downs Incorporated, Breeders’ Cup Limited, and the Jockey Club in announcing the introduction of the bill

They also announced the launch of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, an independent, non-governmental regulatory body responsible for improving current regulations and bringing a new level of transparency. The Board will set national standards for track safety, anti-doping and medication rules, and lab protocols. Senators McConnell and Gillibrand’s bipartisan bill will provide federal recognition and enforcement power for the Board to enable them to develop uniform, baseline standards for Thoroughbred racing. 

“It’s been a privilege throughout my Senate career to deliver for Kentucky’s signature horseracing industry and the workers who support it. The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act we introduce today will help protect this sport for the future with uniform, national standards. Baseball, football, and other professional sports have a central regulatory authority, and Thoroughbred racing should too,” said Senator McConnell. “I am proud to join Senator Gillibrand, my colleague from another Triple Crown state, in introducing ourbipartisan legislation, along with Senator McSally and Senator Feinstein. Together, we can make Thoroughbred racing as fair and as safe aspossible. We owe nothing less to the jockeys, trainers, breeders, equine athletes, and fans.” 

“Having grown up near the races at Saratoga Race Course, I know how important it is to protect horses at Saratoga and across the country. Congress must put an end to the harsh treatment of racehorses and solidify health and safety standards for both racehorses and racetracks,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I’m proud to work with Majority Leader McConnell on the bipartisan Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. This legislation will do the important work of creating an independent regulatory process tasked with implementing anti-doping and safety programs to help ensure health and safety in America’s historic horseracing industry.” 

“The misuse of potentially dangerous substances in racehorses to boost performance harms horses and has led to numerous injuries and deaths,” said Senator McSally. “I have worked for years to protect racehorses against this abuse and uphold the integrity of the sport. I’m pleased to join Majority Leader McConnell and other bipartisan Senators to do just that by creating uniform racetrack safety standards that will better enforce anti-doping measures.” 

“I’m pleased to join Leader McConnell in introducing a bill to finally establish uniform, nationwide standards to protect racehorses, jockeys and the integrity of the sport,” said Senator Feinstein. “Given the troubling number of racehorse deaths in recent years, this legislation is a step in the right direction, and I will continue working to ensure that increased safety standards, like those adopted in California, are applied nationally.” 

U.S. Congressmen Andy Barr (KY-06) and Paul Tonko (NY-20) will sponsor identical legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

@PastTheWire wow. I am thankful you took the time to provide such detail about an all time great horse and the tragedy of that final race.

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