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Tonko, Barr Introduce Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017

Bipartisan bill would provide uniform medication rules, has received widespread support

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Washington, May 25, 2017 | comments
“A single, national approach to medication testing with strong independent oversight and enforcement is long overdue. This will help ensure the long-term viability of horseracing by bringing greater integrity to the sport and enhancing the care and welfare of the horses. Much is at stake here, especially in regions like ours with long historic ties to an industry that contributes $4 billion to the New York economy each year, much of it at and around the Saratoga Race Course.” - Rep. Paul Tonko
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WASHINGTONCongressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Horse Caucus, introduced H.R. 2651, the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 today.  The legislation, an updated version of the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015, establishes an authority to create and implement a national uniform medication program with input from the horse industry.

“I am excited to partner once again with Congressman Barr on this critical issue,” said Congressman Tonko. “A single, national approach to medication testing with strong independent oversight and enforcement is long overdue. This will help ensure the long-term viability of horseracing by bringing greater integrity to the sport and enhancing the care and welfare of the horses. Much is at stake here, especially in regions like ours with long historic ties to an industry that contributes $4 billion to the New York economy each year, much of it at and around the Saratoga Race Course.”

“With growing momentum and support, the time has come for uniform medication rules in American horseracing,” said Congressman Barr. “Uniform rules will ensure the integrity and competitiveness of American horseracing and lay the groundwork for the future success of this great American sport.  I am grateful for Congressman Tonko and our coalition for their work over the last two years to improve this legislation which has broadened our base of support and will help us to pass this bill into law.”

The Horseracing Integrity Act will encourage fair competition and a level playing field across state lines, ensure full and fair disclosure of information to purchasers of breeding stock and to the wagering public and provide for the safety and welfare of horses, jockeys, and drivers.  This, in turn, will support the growing popularity and international competitiveness of American horseracing. Under existing law, the American horseracing industry labors under a diverse patchwork of conflicting and inconsistent rules governing medication policies and practices across dozens of different racing jurisdictions. This lack of uniformity in the rules of horseracing has impaired interstate commerce and undermined public confidence in the sport.

The legislation is supported by a coalition of individuals and organizations across the industry including: Humane Society of the U.S., New York Racing Association, the Water Hay Oats Alliance, and the Jockey Club.  The bill received a major boost last month when it was endorsed by Frank Stronach and the Stronach Group, one of the world’s leading racetrack operators and suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering technology.

 

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