WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 25, 2017) -- The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity (CHRI) today announced its strong support for the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017, introduced by U.S. Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) earlier today.
The bill, designated H.R. 2651, would require that a uniform, anti-doping and medication control program be developed and enforced by a private, non-profit, self-regulatory organization known as the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority.
The authority would be governed by a board composed of the chief executive officer of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), six individuals from the USADA board, and six individuals selected by USADA who have demonstrated expertise in a variety of horse-racing areas. The Federal Trade Commission would have limited oversight of the authority.
Polling in recent years has shown widespread support for medication reform through federal legislation.
“Representatives Barr and Tonko deeply appreciate the scope and economic impact of horse racing, not only in their home states but across the country, and they should be commended for their devotion to an ongoing legislative effort that will help ensure the future of our horse racing,” said Shawn Smeallie, executive director of CHRI. “Both of them, along with their respective staff members, have worked closely with a broad range of equine industry stakeholders to revise the original bill they introduced in July 2015 and with their colleagues in the House of Representatives and United States Senate. We are grateful for their diligence.”
The coalition represents a diverse group of horse racing and animal welfare organizations, including Breeders’ Cup Ltd., the Consignors and Breeders Association, The Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, The Jockey Club, the Jockey Club of Canada, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the Water Hay Oats Alliance. Other members include Arapahoe Park, Centaur Gaming, Keeneland Association Inc., Meadowlands Racetrack, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs.
Frank Stronach, the founder and honorary chairman of The Stronach Group, announced that he would strongly support the Horseracing Integrity Act after a meeting of industry stakeholders in Lexington, Ky., on Monday, April 24, 2017. Among those in attendance were members of CHRI, USADA, Stronach, and Rep. Barr (R-KY).
Stronach made that commitment contingent on the inclusion of a race-day medication ban. That clause, known as the “Stronach Amendment,” has been added to the new bill.
“As a racetrack owner, I realize we have to make changes to get the horse racing industry on a sound and healthy foundation,” he said in a statement the day after pledging his support. “At the same time, I realize that small breeders and small racehorse owners are the backbone of our industry, and I will do everything I can to ensure they have the opportunity to earn a reasonable living and fulfill their dreams.”
A complete copy of the proposed legislation is available at http://barr.house.gov/sites/barr.house.gov/files/HIA2017.pdf
The new bill varies from the original bill, formally known as H.R. 3084 or the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015, in several ways. The new version:
•Covers Quarter Horses and Standardbreds, not just Thoroughbreds,
•Has no effect on the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978,
•Provides for limited oversight by the Federal Trade Commission (without any involvement in the day-to-day activities of the authority),
•Provides for a larger board with an increased number of members with horse racing-related expertise,
•Features standing technical advisory committees, which may include active members from the racing industry, and
•Stipulates that drug rules take effect on a nationwide basis from day one. The authority will establish permitted and prohibited lists of medications, naturally and synthetically occurring substances, and treatment methods. The bill requires that the authority prohibit the use of medication within 24 hours of a race no later than January 1, 2019.
The authority will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with state racing commissions and their respective staff members throughout the country, and the authority will be funded entirely by the industry.