Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity FAQ
Q. Who are the members of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity?
A. Our coalition is made up of stakeholders from inside and outside the Thoroughbred industry who are acting in the best long-term interest of the sport:
- Major Thoroughbred racing organizations – Breeders’ Cup Ltd., Consignors and Breeders Association, the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, The Jockey Club, The Jockey Club of Canada, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association;
- Racetracks from around the country – Arapahoe Park, Centaur Gaming, Keeneland Association, Inc., Meadowlands Racetrack, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs;
- Animal welfare groups – The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association;
- And the Water Hay Oats Alliance, which is 1,000 members strong.
You can learn more about our coalition on the About Us page.
Q. How long has the coalition been in the works?
A. Many of us have been working on these issues for decades. However, we decided to form a coalition once we saw the legislation would likely be introduced in Congress.
Q. What are our goals?
A. We support the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 that would encourage the adoption of a national, uniform standard for drugs and medication in American Thoroughbred racing, and the granting of rule making, testing and enforcement oversight to an entity created by the U.S. Anti Doping Agency. In a sport built on the integrity of competition, nothing is more important than a level playing field for the horses, jockeys and trainers who compete, as well as the fans who wager on the races.
Q. Are you recruiting other members?
A. We are in discussions with several organizations within and outside the industry. Anyone who believes in the integrity of clean sport and the best welfare of the horses that compete are invited to support our coalition and join with us to support national, independent testing and enforcement should visit our site and contact their member of Congress.
Q. Will the proposed legislation create a new federal governmental entity to regulate drugs and medication in Thoroughbred racing?
A. No. This is not about creating new governmental agencies or providing for ongoing government oversight. It’s about supporting legislation that would grant independent authority over rule making, testing and enforcement oversight regarding drugs and medication to an entity created by U.S. Anti Doping Agency (USADA) – a national, independent, non-governmental organization with a proven track record of creating uniform standards and science-based oversight to protect the rights of clean competitors and the integrity of competition.
Q. Why is it necessary to create a new, national independent authority over rule making, testing and enforcement oversight regarding drugs and medication?
A. Despite its national and international scope, modern Thoroughbred racing is still being conducted under outdated state-by-state drug and medication rules –creating confusion and risk for owners and trainers whose horses’ race across state lines, and inconsistency for bettors who want to be able to fairly evaluate horses. It’s clear that when it comes to medication, the industry can’t both promote and police the sport. Only a national, independent, non-governmental organization like the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency can create and maintain a system that protects horses and the future of Thoroughbred horse racing for all of our participants and fans.
Q. What is USADA’s role, specifically?
A. This will be a collaborative effort. Among the provisions in the legislation, USADA would create an independent, non-governmental nonprofit governed by a board comprised of USADA representatives and representatives from the Thoroughbred industry. The legislation calls for an 18-month study period, during which time USADA will partner with experts from throughout Thoroughbred racing to learn from their experience and perspectives before establishing new rules and standards. Their collaborative expertise and experience will enable the creation and maintenance of a robust anti-doping program that is based on established science and best practices and will ensure the highest levels of integrity.
Q. How is USADA qualified to take on this challenge?
A. While the physiological makeup of horses and humans are different, the need and method for effective testing protocols, uniform standards and penalties, as well as proper lab accreditation, is the same. No entity is more qualified than USADA to establish an entity to create a robust program that can protect the rights of competitors and the integrity of competition.
Q. Is this legislation really necessary?
A. We commend all of the good work by our state racing commissioners and regulators. However, national uniform medication reforms have been implemented unevenly – leaving patchwork systems in place that have created a wide disparity in the effectiveness of medication testing and enforcement. While well meaning, this has negatively impacted the perception of fair competition across the sport, and has done little to build confidence in the minds of our sport’s fans and critics, many of whom are concerned about drug use and testing.
Q. When you say that there aren’t uniform regulations in place, what do you mean?
A. We do not have uniform medication rules, testing rules and procedures, lab accreditation, and enforcement procedures in place in every racing jurisdiction in the United States, or even in all of the major racing jurisdictions. We also do not have a system in place that can react quickly and uniformly throughout the nation to address the latest new drug being used by those who would cheat to gain an unfair advantage.
Q. Does this proposed legislation call for the ban of Lasix?
A. The legislation grants authority over all medications, race-day included, to an entity created by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.