Barr, Tonko Introduce Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act

Implementation of national uniform medication rules by an independent nongovernmental authority will enhance the safety, integrity and popularity of American thoroughbred horseracing.

July 16, 2015

Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), the co-chairmen of the Congressional Horse Caucus, today introduced the bipartisan Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015.  Under existing law, the American thoroughbred horseracing industry labors under a diverse patchwork of conflicting and inconsistent rules governing medication policies and practices across 38 different racing jurisdictions. This lack of uniformity in the rules of horseracing has impaired interstate commerce and undermined public confidence in the sport. 

By establishing an independent, nongovernmental anti-doping authority charged with the responsibility of implementing a national uniform medication program with input from the thoroughbred industry, the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act will encourage fair competition and a level playing field across state lines, assure 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 and jockeys.  This, in turn, will enhance the popularity and international competitiveness of American thoroughbred horseracing.

"I am proud to represent Kentucky's Sixth Congressional District, the Horse Capital of the World," said Congressman Barr.  "For well over a century, thoroughbred breeding and horseracing have provided good paying jobs, opportunity and entertainment to the people of our Commonwealth.  To build upon this proud heritage and to ensure an even more prosperous future for this signature industry, we must tear down the silos that divide the industry and replace the existing state-by-state system of conflicting and inconsistent rules with a national uniform medication program that facilitates interstate commerce, promotes safety, and enhances public confidence in the integrity of the sport.  By passing this bill and implementing these common sense bipartisan reforms aimed at uniformity, safety and integrity, we can lay the foundation for the future growth, popularity and international competitiveness of the American thoroughbred industry."

“While the nation’s sporting spotlight focused on American Pharoah this May and June, the Thoroughbred industry is a year-round enterprise responsible for a large number of quality jobs across the nation,” Tonko said.  “The racing industry has taken significant steps toward medication reform in the past several years, and this legislation will build on that progress by providing a uniform, national solution that sets the highest standards of independence, fairness and integrity – ensuring the future health of the sport and protecting thousands of jobs across the country.”

Arthur B. Hancock, III, a co-founder of the 1,200 member grassroots organization the Water Hay Oats Alliance said, “Senator Charles (Mac) Mathias, Jr. challenged the horse industry to clean up our sport in 1981. Now, over 30 years later, the horse industry has finally come together to work for meaningful drug reform and uniformity across its 38 racing jurisdictions. At last, we have a chance to revive our reputation and regain racing’s prestige and proper place in the world of sport.”