Horseracing Integrity Act Reaches Key Milestone in House
Bipartisan measure now sponsored by more than half of House members
Washington, January 15, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Horseracing Integrity Act (H.R. 1754), introduced last year by Congressional Horse Caucus co-chairs Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY), has officially received formal endorsement by a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives, with 226 Members now cosponsoring the legislation. This bipartisan bill authorizes 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 throughout the sport.
“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,” 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.”
“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.”
“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.”
The U.S. horseracing industry exists today under a diverse patchwork of conflicting and inconsistent rules governing medication policies and practices across 38 different racing jurisdictions. Lack of uniformity in the rules of horseracing has impaired interstate commerce and undermined the public confidence in the sport. The Horseracing Integrity Act responds by setting a level playing field for fair competition within and 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, reforms expected to raise the popularity, credibility and international competitiveness of the U.S. horse racing industry.
Tonko and Barr have introduced a version of this legislation since 2015. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate and has 23 cosponsors.