Congressman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) have introduced H.R. 2012, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. The bill would provide the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency with authority to clean up the sport and enforce anti-doping standards in races with simulcast wagering.
"Today, I'm proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to end the dangerous doping of racehorses," said Pitts. "Since the announcement of draft legislation a few weeks ago, we've gained support in the House of Representatives, with my colleagues from Illinois and California joining us on the bill. With Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) working in the other chamber, I'm confident that we can make the sport safer for horses and jockeys through this sensible, affordable legislation."
"Doping is a serious problem in today's horseracing industry. That is why I am so pleased to join my colleagues today to introduce the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act," said Schakowsky. "This bipartisan bill would put an end to this terrible practice, making sure that recognized veterinary standards are met to protect racehorses and prevent dangerous drugging that can lead to pain, suffering and even death."
"As we approach the third and final race of this year's Triple Crown, it's important that we shed light on a scandal that is plaguing horse racing in America--doping," said Eshoo. "This cruel and dangerous practice with race horses not only causes an average of 24 horses to drop dead every week, but it is still permitted by law in the U.S. The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act will outlaw doping in horse racing and create a culture of safety for some of the most majestic creatures on earth."
USADA is a non-governmental organization that is designated as the official anti-doping agency for the U.S. Olympics and works with sports leagues to strengthen clean competition policies.
Under the new legislation, USADA would develop rules for permitted and prohibited substances and create anti-doping education, research, testing and adjudication programs for horseracing. It would also:
- Put an end to race day medication;
- Set a harmonized medication policy framework for all races with interstate simulcast wagering;
- Require stiff penalties for cheating, including "one and done" and "three strikes, you're out" lifetime bans for the worst cases; and
- Ensure racehorse drug administrations comply with veterinary ethics.
Last year, committees in both the House and Senate held hearings where jockeys, veterinarians and owners testified that abuse of legal and illegal substances are contributing to increased breakdowns of racehorses and deadly accidents.