Press Release

Legendary Trainer Bob Baffert Endorses Horseracing Integrity Act to Ban Doping in the Sport

Washington, D.C.  — Today, Bob Baffert, American horseracing’s best-known figure, endorsed the Horseracing Integrity Act, a measure to ban race-day doping of horses in American racing. Baffert’s endorsement was released in an essay published in the Washington Post. The legislation collectively has 275 Congressional cosponsors and is led by lawmakers representing major horseracing states and districts. H.R. 1754 is led by U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., Andy Barr, R-Ky., and S. 1820 is authored by U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Martha McSally, R-Ariz.

Animal Wellness Action has been championing the measure that would ban the use of race-day medication in the sport, and create a uniform national standard and regulations for drug testing under the authority of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that oversees Olympic testing, and is widely recognized as the world’s leader in eliminating medication abuse.

The endorsement comes on the heels of 27 federal indictments of horseracing industry insiders that came to light on Monday.

“Leaders in the horseracing industry and animal protection organizations have come together to stop the epidemic of race-day doping of horses, and seeing Bob Baffert added to the roster of endorsers juices our effort in the best way,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, who testified before the U.S. House in support of the bill in January. “The lives of horses are entrusted to us, and we must do what we can to stop the rash of breakdowns, injuries, and deaths of horses on America’s racetracks.”

“It is time for the horse-racing industry to unite in support of a national anti-doping regulatory system,” said trainer Bob Baffert in the Washington Post. I invite all of my colleagues to join me in clearly asking Congress to pass the Horseracing Integrity Act.

This landmark legislation 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Horseracing operates under an outdated, state-based, balkanized patchwork of medication rules that creates confusion and risk for owners and trainers and contains gaps in rules and enforcement.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 horseracing.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News

Animal Wellness Foundation is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.