Opposition to S. 1820 and H.R. 1754, the “Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019”

The National Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), founded in 1940, advocates on behalf of thoroughbred race horse owners, trainers, and backstretch personnel in both the United States and Canada. It is comprised of 30 affiliates and close to 30,000 individual members. The HBPA exists to provide a voice for all horsemen within the thoroughbred industry and to promote the integrity of the industry on all levels.

According to the American Horse Council, the horseracing and breeding industry has approximately $36.6 billion in total economic impact annually, providing more than 240 thousand direct jobs.

Today, we write to respectfully offer our reasons for opposing the so-called “Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019.” Specifically, we are deeply concerned by the following provisions of H.R. 1754 as well as S. 1820:

Federalizes the sport of horseracing

The bill would create a federally-based system for developing and administering an anti-doping and medication control program under the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), gutting the current state-based system, which has been in place and worked well for more than 100 years;

New board with no representation

Creates an unelected, national board that specifically prohibits current owners, trainers, jockeys, and veterinarians from serving on it. The board would replace the current state regulatory structure;

New fees and costs

Allows this newly-created board, without any representation from the industry, to impose new fees and costs on the industry. This is truly taxation without representation. The majority of those who will have to pay the fees are working class. They are not the people you see on TV at the Kentucky Derby;

Veterinarians oppose Lasix ban

Provides no scientific basis for banning a veterinarian-endorsed therapeutic medication, Lasix. Lasix provides important mitigations of the occurrence of Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH), a disease which causes bleeding in the lungs of a racehorse. In fact, Lasix is the only scientifically proven and approved treatment for a horse with EIPH, according to the American Association Veterinary Medicine and the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Current industry policy endorses the use of this medication on race day because it is in the best interests of the health and welfare of the horse; and

Ignores the rigorous testing already in place

Performance-enhancing drugs are not allowed or tolerated in horse racing, and this uniform policy is the same in every racing jurisdiction. In fact, drug testing in the industry is rigorous and effective. In 2018:
o 258,920 samples were subjected to rigorous testing with 99.4% free of any violations
o Of the 0.6% violations, only 107 samples (or .04%) had an effect on performance.

Finally, the organizations below have informed the National HBPA they do not support H.R. 1754:

  • American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP)
  • American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
  • National American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians (NAARV)
  • American Quarter Horse Racing (AQHA)
  • Associations of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI)
  • California Thoroughbred Trainers Association (CTT)
  • National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) and its affiliates
  • Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC)
  • Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (THA) and its affiliates
  • Harness Horsemen International (HHI) and its affiliates
  • United States Trotting Association (USTA)

Contact your US Senator and let them know how important this is. If you don’t know who that is call 202 224 3131 to find out.