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New Version of Federal Oversight Legislation Introduced
Friday, May 26, 2017 RSS Feeds

From edited press releases–Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), the co-chairmen of the Congressional Horse Caucus, introduced H.R. 2651, the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017, at a May 25 press conference.

The legislation, an updated version of the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 that never came up for a federal vote, would establish an authority to create and implement a national uniform medication program with input from the horse industry.

The authority would be governed by a board composed of the chief executive officer of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), six individuals from the USADA board, and six individuals selected by USADA who have demonstrated expertise in a variety of horse racing areas.

“With growing momentum and support, the time has come for uniform medication rules in American horse racing,” Barr said. “Uniform rules will ensure the integrity and competitiveness of American horse racing and lay the groundwork for the future success of this great American sport.”

Some of key elements of the bill include:

• A prohibition on the administration of any drug within 24 hours of a race.

• The expansion of jurisdiction to all breeds of racehorses, not just Thoroughbreds.

• Compared to the 2015 version, it strips out references to the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978 as they pertained to using simulcasting privileges as a cudgel for compliance.

• Anti-doping controls to be moved under the purview of the Federal Trade Commission.

• Funding to initially come from “loans and donations,” but states will pay for oversight once the program is up and running. • Language in the bill specifically prohibits the raising of pari-mutuel betting takeouts to cover a state’s share.

According to a press release from Barr’s office, the legislation is supported by a growing coalition of individuals and organizations representing a broad spectrum of interests across the horse industry, including the Water Hay Oats Alliance, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, The Jockey Club, and Keeneland Association.

The bill received a major boost last month when it was also endorsed by Frank Stronach, founder and honorary chairman of The Stronach Group, which operates a conglomerate of United States racetracks and is an industry supplier of pari-mutuel wagering technologies.

Stronach made his commitment contingent on the inclusion of the race-day medication ban. That clause, known as the “Stronach Amendment,” has been added to the new bill.

“As a racetrack owner, I realize we have to make changes to get the horse racing industry on a sound and healthy foundation,” Stronach said. “At the same time, I realize that small breeders and small racehorse owners are the backbone of our industry, and I will do everything I can to ensure they have the opportunity to earn a reasonable living and fulfill their dreams.”

The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity (CHRI) issued a press release on Thursday in support of the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017.

“Representatives Barr and Tonko deeply appreciate the scope and economic impact of horse racing, not only in their home states but across the country, and they should be commended for their devotion to an ongoing legislative effort that will help ensure the future of our horse racing,” said Shawn Smeallie, executive director of CHRI. “Both of them, along with their respective staff members, have worked closely with a broad range of equine industry stakeholders to revise the original bill they introduced in July 2015 [and] we are grateful for their diligence.”

Specific elements of the bill’s drug oversight program include:

• A uniform set of anti-doping and medication control rules.

• Lists of permitted and prohibited substances (which may

include, without limitation, drugs, medications, naturally occurring substances, and synthetically occurring substances) and methods.

• A prohibition upon the administration of any prohibited or otherwise permitted substance to a covered horse within 24 hours of its next racing start, which shall be effective not later than January 1, 2019.

• A process for sample collection.

• Programs for in-competition and out-of-competition testing (including no-advance-notice testing and mandatory reporting of each horse’s location for testing).

• Testing procedures, standards, and protocols for both in-competition and out-of-competition testing.

• Laboratory standards for accreditation and testing requirements, procedures, and protocols.

• The undertaking of investigations at racetrack and non-racetrack facilities related to anti-doping and medication control rule violations.

• Procedures for investigating, charging, and adjudicating violations and for the enforcement of sanctions for violations.

• A schedule of sanctions for violations.

• Disciplinary hearings, which may include binding arbitration, sanctions and research.

• Management of violation results and programs relating to anti-doping and medication control research and education.

Courtesy of the TDN

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