Bipartisan measure now sponsored by more than half of House members
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Horseracing Integrity Act (H.R. 1754), introduced in March by Congressman Andy Barr and Congressman Paul Tonko, has gained support from a majority of the House of Representatives, with 226 Members now cosponsoring the legislation. This legislation authorizes the creation of a non-governmental anti-doping authority governed by representatives of all major constituencies of the industry and responsible for implementing a national, uniform medication program for the entire horseracing industry.
“The bipartisan support we have garnered for this legislation demonstrates the urgency of needed reforms in the horseracing industry,” said Congressman Barr. “At the end of the day, my efforts are about ensuring the safety of our equine athletes and the integrity of the sport. I will continue to educate my colleagues on the need for transparency and standardization in horseracing and build on this momentum to fight for Kentucky’s signature industry.”
“After years working side by side with my friend Congressman Andy Barr to move this legislation forward, I am deeply gratified that our bill to strengthen America’s horseracing industry and elevate the health and safety of our equine athletes is finally getting its due support,” Congressman Tonko remarked. “Establishing a single, national approach to medication testing with strong independent oversight and enforcement will help ensure the long-term viability of this sport of kings.
The stakes for this legislation are high, especially in regions like ours with historic ties to an industry that contributes billions of dollars and supports thousands of jobs in the New York economy each year, much of it at and around our legendary Saratoga Race Course.”
“Industry leaders in the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) are encouraged by growing support in the U.S. Congress for the Horseracing Integrity Act and have high hopes for its passage in 2020,” said Staci Hancock, Managing Member of WHOA. “WHOA supports the creation of a national independent agency, under the leadership of USADA, to oversee the rules, testing and penalties essential to the health of our horses, and our sport. Additionally, the Horseracing Integrity Act puts U.S. horseracing on track to achieve international uniformity in drug and medication rules. The over 1,800 members of WHOA appreciate Congressmen Barr and Tonko for their ongoing efforts on our industry’s behalf.” Currently, the horseracing industry labors under a diverse patchwork of conflicting and inconsistent rules governing medication policies and practices across thirty-eight different racing jurisdictions.
This lack of uniformity in the rules of horseracing has impaired interstate commerce and undermined the public confidence in the sport. By encouraging fair competition and a level playing field across state lines, assuring full and fair disclosure of information to purchasers of breeding stock and to the wagering public, and providing for the safety and welfare of horses and jockeys, the Horseracing Integrity Act will enhance the popularity and international competitiveness Congressman Barr and Congressman Tonko have introduced a version of this legislation since 2015. They serve as co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Horse Caucus. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate and has 23 cosponsors.