WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Andy Barr testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce in support of the Horseracing Integrity Act, legislation he introduced with Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20).
Currently regulated by 38 separate jurisdictions, the horseracing industry labors under a patchwork of conflicting and inconsistent, state-based rules governing prohibited substances, lab accreditation, testing, and penalties for violations. This lack of uniformity has impeded interstate commerce, compromised the international competitiveness of the industry, and undermined public confidence in the integrity of the sport.
“There is nothing more synonymous with the Commonwealth of Kentucky than thoroughbred racing and breeding,” said Congressman Barr. “Today’s hearing on the Horseracing Integrity Act was an important step in advancing reforms to protect our equine athletes and jockeys. I remain firm in my belief that the future prosperity of this sport relies on uniformity throughout the industry, and I will continue to work to increase the popularity and public confidence in thoroughbred horseracing throughout the nation.”
“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 advancing through Congress,” Congressman Tonko said. “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 for communities we serve with historic ties to horse racing, a sport and industry that represents billions of dollars and thousands of jobs across New York, much of it at and around our legendary Saratoga Race Course.”
"Since our first district meeting with Congressman Barr and his Central Kentucky constituents six years ago, he has carefully considered racing's drug problem and worked with parties on both side of the issue to find the best way forward. The Horseracing Integrity Act is the result," said Staci Hancock, Manager of the Water Hay Oat Alliance. "Today more than ever, it is clear this is an issue that needs to be addressed in this Congress. Over the last 35 years, our industry has been unable to come together, and we do not have the luxury of more committee meetings and discussion. Our equine athletes, our wonderful sport, and the breeding business that depends on it, are at stake."
The most recent draft of the Horseracing Integrity Act was developed through a highly deliberative and bipartisan process and takes into consideration a diversity of perspectives from all parts of the industry. The result is support from 229 Members of the House and 25 Senators. We must build on the momentum in Congress and the industry as a whole to ensure the safety of our athletes and increase the popularity, public confidence, and international competitiveness of the sport.
Watch Congressman Barr’s full testimony HERE.
Read Congressman Barr’s written submitted testimony HERE.