Washington, D.C. — In response to the FBI raiding multiple horseracing facilities across the U.S. and federal prosecutors charging racehorse trainers, veterinarians and drug distributors for involvement in a corrupt scheme to rig race outcomes, Animal Wellness Action lauded federal authorities for treating the problem seriously and renewed its call for lasting reform by passing national legislation to end doping of horses on race day.
The arrests come on the heels of a recent hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives on the Horseracing Integrity Act, H.R. 1754, led by U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Andy Barr, R-Ky., that would ban race-day doping in American horseracing and create a uniform national standard for drug testing and regulation under the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Animal Wellness Action has been leading the charge to pass the legislation and testified before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee in support of the bill in January.
“Unscrupulous trainers that drug horses are not only putting animals and jockeys at risk of life and limb, but they are rigging the system and making a mockery of anyone who bets based on their knowledge of the athletes involved,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, and a lifelong horseman. “The betting public will no longer tolerate the racing industry’s drug addiction, and we applaud the Department of Justice for stopping doping abuses. What more evidence does Congress need to step up and pass comprehensive legislation to end performance-enhancing drugs in American racing?”
U.S. Sens. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced a similar measure in June of 2019, S. 1820 in the U.S. Senate.
This landmark measure is backed by a broad base of industry players which range from the Jockey Club, The Stronach Group, The New York Racing Association, The Breeders’ Cup, Keeneland, and countless trainers, owners, and breeders invested in American horseracing.
Horseracing operates under an outdated, state-based, balkanized patchwork of medication rules that creates confusion and risk for owners and trainers and contains gaps in rules and enforcement. The Horseracing Integrity Act would greatly improve regulatory standards, ban the use of all medications on race day, and level the playing field for everyone invested in horse racing.