Backers of a bill that is meant to put all matters related to use of drugs and medications in American thoroughbred racing under the US Anti-Doping Agency have been put before members of the Congressional Horse Caucus.

The Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 (HR 3084) proposes that all rule-making, testing, and enforcement as it relates to drugs and medications must be placed under the jurisdiction of an entity created under the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Supporters of the bill are hopeful that they will manage to get the bill a Congressional committee or sub-committee that would be an important step towards getting it passed into law.

A few days back, eminent personalities from the horse racing industry appeared before members of Congress who form the Horse Caucus to put their case for the bill. The caucus includes 28 representatives from both parties, and is entrusted with the task of raising awareness of the American equine industry and its economic impact on the United States.

The bill presently has the support of 33 bipartisan members from the House of Representatives, including cosponsors from California, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, and South Carolina. Representatives of the industry were sent invitation for participating in the panel in Washington DC by Congressional Horse Caucus co-chairmen Andy Barr (R-Ky.) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), who introduced the bipartisan bill last July. This hearing is seen by many as an educational opportunity for members of Horse Caucus and the industry for examining the legislation.

Panelists who spoke included National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association chief executive Eric Hamelback, racehorse owner/professional chef Bobby Flay, former Maryland Jockey Club owner Joe De Francis,  Breeders Cup Ltd president and chief executive Craig Fravel, and Chauncey Morris, who is executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Inc.

Flay remarked we have not been even remotely close to getting everyone on the same page because we are a sea of individual jurisdictions and he can say with the utmost certainty that will never happen. The racehorse owner/professional chef added we need federal oversight and we need it now and also remarked that we need to rebuild the reputation of American horse racing so that the general public understands without question that we are putting the health and well-being of the horse first and foremost in the equation.

Breeders Cup Ltd president and chief executive Craig Fravel remarked we should not confuse progress with success and we who profess our commitment to integrity, uniformity and transparency should not be content with any system so long as there is room for major improvement. Fravel also commented that the system contemplated by HR 3084 shrinks 38 rulemaking and enforcement bodies to one and also said it creates a system that makes sense, and he wants to thank Congressman Barr and Congressman Tonko for their concern for our industry and their support for an effort to make a great sport as good as it can be.

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