‘A Great Step Forward’: Stronach Throws His Support Behind Horseracing Integrity Act

by | 04.25.2017 | 6:20pm
Arthur Hancock, Frank Stronach, Staci Hancock and Travis Tygart

On Tuesday, Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) announced the support of Frank Stronach for the Horseracing Integrity Act. Congressman Barr plans to reintroduce the legislation, to create uniform medication standards across the 38 different racing jurisdictions in the United States.

“Today, horseracing in America took a great step forward,” said Congressman Barr. “Frank Stronach, Founder and Honorary Chairman of North America's largest Thoroughbred racing company, The Stronach Group, announced his unqualified support for the Horseracing Integrity Act. This bipartisan legislation, which I sponsored with Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), will finally bring uniformity and independence to horseracing's anti-doping program and no race day medication.

“There are few people more committed to the future of horseracing in North America than Frank Stronach, a multiple Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Breeder and Outstanding Owner. To have someone of his stature endorse this legislation puts the Horseracing Integrity Act on a clear path toward success.”

The Horseracing Integrity Act would create an independent anti-doping program to ensure that all racing states are playing by the same anti-doping rules, and that all racing jurisdictions are in step with international standards. Regulation of horse racing in the United States is highly fragmented among the 38 racing states, which has led to a wide disparity in the effectiveness of medication testing and enforcement.

The bill designates US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), a non-profit, private and independent organization, to run a nationwide program to protect the integrity of American horseracing. Stronach emphasized that under the legislation, USADA should work together with state regulators and members of the horse racing industry to achieve the highest integrity at a reasonable cost. We would work together to form an independent anti-doping authority with exclusive jurisdiction over the sport, creating uniform lists of permitted and prohibited substances and methods, a program for in- and out-of-competition testing programs, and the establishment of uniform sanctions for violations. Importantly, the bill requires no federal funding.

The Stronach Group is one of the world's leading horse racetrack operators and suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering technology and owns racetracks including Santa Anita Park, “The Great Race Place”, Pimlico Race Course, home of the legendary Preakness, and the spectacular Gulfstream Park, one of Florida's newest entertainment destinations.  The Stronach Group is a leading producer and distributor of televised horse racing programming and one of the world's leading thoroughbred race horse breeders, having produced numerous Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup champions.

Statement from the Coalition of Horse Racing Integrity:

The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity (CHRI) applauds the decision of Frank Stronach, the founder and honorary chairman of The Stronach Group, to strongly support the Horseracing Integrity Act, legislation that will create a uniform, nationwide, conflict-free drug testing enforcement program for horse racing.

Stronach made the commitment on behalf of The Stronach Group after a meeting of industry stakeholders in Lexington, KY on Monday, April 24, 2017. Among those in attendance were members of CHRI, Stronach and Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY).

The Horseracing Integrity Act is expected to be formally introduced in the House of Representatives in the next few days, with Congressmen Barr and Paul Tonko (D-NY) as the co-sponsors. The original version of the bill, H.R. 3084, introduced last Congress garnered the support of nearly 90 co-sponsors.

“Like Congressmen Barr and Tonko, Frank Stronach realizes and appreciates that this industry sorely needs a national, uniform, anti-doping and medication control program that would be developed and enforced by a private, independent, self-regulatory non-profit organization,” said  Shawn Smealie, executive director of CHRI.  “We also expect a Senate version of the new bill to be introduced in the near future and we are heartened by the growing support for this approach not only in the halls of Congress but throughout the horse racing industry.”

The regulation of horse racing in the United States is highly fragmented among the 38 jurisdictions and it has led to a wide disparity in the effectiveness of anti-doping and medication control rules, testing and enforcement.

Statement from the Water Hay Oats Alliance:

Yesterday in a meeting held in Lexington, Kentucky with Congressman Andy Barr, Travis Tygart of USADA, and members of WHOA and the Coalition for Horseracing Integrity (CHRI), he added the formidable weight of the Stronach Group to our efforts in support of the Horseracing Integrity Act, which will be reintroduced in the coming days.

WHOA would like to thank Frank Stronach for his continued support and ongoing dedication in our fight for clean racing and integrity in our sport and for the protection and well-being of our horses.

WHOA would also like to thank Representatives Andy Barr (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) for their continued leadership in Washington, D.C.  WHOA's membership looks forward with great anticipation to the reintroduction of their sponsored legislation.

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