Eshoo, Pitts & Schakowsky Join in Bipartisan Effort to End Doping of Racehorses

June 4th, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) joined with Congressman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) to re-introduce legislation to end doping in horseracing and kick cheaters out of the sport.

H.R. 2641, The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, would provide the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) with authority to clean up the sport and enforce anti-doping standards in races with simulcast wagering. 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. This legislation is substantively identical to legislation introduced in the previous Congress by Reps. Eshoo and Pitts.

“The stakes are high this year for one of our country’s top athletes, American Pharoah, who will be vying for the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday,” Eshoo said. “But underlying this potentially history-making race is a plague on horseracing that still goes unnoticed and unaddressed: doping. This cruel and dangerous practice with race horses causes an average of 24 horses to drop dead every week, and it’s still permitted 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 Mother Earth’s most majestic creatures.”

“I am proud to reintroduce this important legislation,” said Pitts. “Before more people and animals are hurt, we need to put a responsible independent authority in charge of cleaning up racing. The American horse racing industry needs to align its standards with the international rules that prohibit drug use on race day. Our bill is a sensible, bipartisan measure to restore trust in racing and protect lives.”

“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.”

Horseracing showcases the beauty of an iconic American animal. The industry also has a $10 billion annual economic impact and sustains about 380,000 jobs nationwide.

Under the 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.

The bill would enable USADA to act as the anti-doping body without amending the Interstate Horseracing Act or involving any federal agency or regulation. The legislation would not require any federal taxpayer funds.

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