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Congressman Andy Barr

Representing All the People of Kentucky's Sixth District

Editorial: Welcome anti-doping bill for horse racing

Jul 21, 2015
In The News

When a Bluegrass Republican teams up with a Democrat who represents Saratoga Springs, it's a good bet they are speaking for those who care most about the future of Thoroughbred racing and breeding.

Lexington and Saratoga are centers of Thoroughbred sales and high-quality racing. The anti-doping legislation introduced last week by Reps. Andy Barr of Kentucky and Paul Tonko of New York grew from a long search by many in the sport who want to clean up the drug use that tarnishes U.S. racing and breeding stock.

Their commitment has produced a good plan that has earned the backing of animal-welfare groups.

The same non-government agency that polices drug use among United States' Olympic athletes would create a Thoroughbred Horseracing Anti-Doping Authority.

Funded by the industry, the new authority would adopt a list of banned and permitted substances and would be responsible for testing and enforcement nationwide, beginning Jan. 1, 2017.

Good-faith efforts to control the doping of racehorses have been impossible under the fractured governance of 38 separate horse-racing jurisdictions.

Congress has the power to impose an anti-doping program under the 1978 federal law that created simulcasting of races and produced millions in revenue for the industry.

The government would not be directly policing the racing industry, however, and no tax dollars would pay for the new authority.

As Gainesway Farm president Antony Beck urged on our pages last month, all the Kentuckians in Congress should get behind this overdue plan before confidence in one of Kentucky's signature industries "erodes any further."