Barr-Tonko Bill Draws Additional Congressional Support

by | 10.13.2015 | 11:36am

The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity (CHRI) announced today that six additional members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed on in support of the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 (THIA). They are Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), David Joyce (R-OH), Jerold Nadler (D-NY), and Joe Wilson (R-SC).

“The growing number of co-sponsors supporting this bill is an illustration of its wide appeal, across party lines and state lines,” said Staci Hancock, co-founder of the Water Hay Oats Alliance, one of the member organizations of the CHRI. “The racing community continues to advocate for uniform standards and a level playing field for interstate horse racing through independent oversight by USADA. We are proud that this bill continues to gather support, and value the leadership each of our co-sponsors demonstrates in backing this critical legislation.”

THIA, or H.R.3084, is the only legislative proposal with active support across a wide range of stakeholders that make up America's horse racing community. The new co-sponsors, comprising an even split between Democrats and Republicans, represent districts from six states across the country, demonstrating the widespread support THIA continues to earn on Capitol Hill.

In supporting THIA, Representatives Blumenauer, Brooks, DeLauro, Joyce, Nadler and Wilson join House co-authors Andy Barr (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) as well as co-sponsors Richard Hanna (R-NY), David Jolly (R-FL), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Ted Yoho (R-FL).

The Coalition's membership includes Arapahoe Park, the Breeders' Cup Ltd., Centaur Gaming, the Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association, the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Veterinary Medicine Association, the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), The Jockey Club, Keeneland Association Inc., the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders, the Meadowlands Racetrack, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, and the Water Hay Oats Alliance.

The Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 will direct the non-governmental, non-profit U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to create an independent, racing-specific, non-governmental and non-profit organization to work collaboratively with state racing commissions and their respective staff members throughout the country to create uniform, high standards in drug and medication testing and enforcement for Thoroughbred horse racing.

Additional information, including stories from supporters and ways to contact Congressional members to express support for this legislation, is available at www.horseracingintegrity.com.

  • Your blog is the abomination., I hope you cleaned it up after I sent you a raft of corrections.

    • Andrew A.

      USADA testing a farce. Watch Documentary on EPIX website.

      • I watched this documentary, which I would label as a “hit piece.” It is filled with innuendo, quotes that are are legit but taken out of context and outright lies (see the very end after the credits where there are comments by USADA refuting many of the claims.

        As for some the of the participants interviewed, they consist of people with huge conflicts of interest, whiners and outright liars.

        I follow track and field closely and everything you saw was blown out of proportion or wrongly characterized.

        • Andrew A.

          Glad you watched. Watching track and field closely and being an expert on the testing system are to different things. Watching closely does not make you any more of and expert than I am.
          Travis Tygart is too slick for his own good and IMO opinion is more interested in the cash flow than catching the real cheaters, most of whom get away with the cheating even with USADA testing.

          • Give me your e-mail address and I will send you a detailed report on the false allegations of the Mayweather issue. It should change your mind. I think Travis Tygart is high admirable and so far as anybody has seen a highly principled individual. If he never did a thing but get Lance Armstrong, he would have served society and sport very well.

          • Andrew A.

            I read the stuff about Mayweather on the USADA site. Catching a couple of high profile guys while ruining the lives of many people who weren’t trying to cheat isn’t a win for anyone. With horses it will be many times worse and once horse racing is all in with the USADA there will be no getting out.

    • John G. Veitch

      I agree with Steve, the Bill as written, has provisions that are of concern to me. One is the funding mechanism, which is not defined. The other is the provision that makes owners liable for a Trainers actions. A Trainer fined for a positive that is the result of a contamination can also result in the owner/groom being fined too. We all want a level playing field, but I’m not convinced this is the best approach.

      • Chancey Gardner

        Mmmm … sure would pressure the trainers/owners a little more to be clean. An owner who doesn’t mind how he gets wins will just migrate his racing stock to a different cheat ( yes, we have seen that recently ). This would alleviate that ridiculous dodge.

        • John G. Veitch

          Key word in my comment is “contamination”, a positive that results from a purely unintended absorption. One morning I had a cup of coffee in my left hand and was about to pet my horse with my right. The trainer yelled at me to stop, indicating that any coffee on MY HAND would be absorb by the horse and be detected as a caffeine positive. These tests detect so low levels, that unintended absorptions result in a positive. So if indeed that horse tested positive as a result of my petting, the Bill would allow the Groom to be fined. That’s fair??

          • Ben van den Brink

            A contamination case was handled in the Netherlands but the commission did .not granted that one. As contamination through hands is impossible.

            Get at least your facts rights, or the commission needs to get better attorneys.

            New York is having it,s own testing rules and needs to be supervised

            IMHOI

          • John G. Veitch

            I’ll take the advice of my Trainer.

      • Owners will pay. That’s the way it is. This will put the pressure on owners t pick the right trainers.

        • David Juffet

          We need more horseman and less clueless so called trainers

    • Steve Zorn

      Barry: as soon as all Team Valor horses race without Lasix, I’ll pay attention to what you say.

      • Until your horses run at all, even if they’re hopped to the gills, I won’t pay attention to what you say. Once again you have proved how naive you are about racing. Lasix is likely a performance enhances. I don’t feel like racing our horses at a disadvantage while others are using a legal PED. I know you are a lawyer, so you have to be intelligent. Use that brain power to understand this point.

      • David Juffet

        Steve what your saying makes no sense. You can’t be that dumb.

    • Judith Van Doren

      Letting fed govt have a pinkie in the game, gives them the wiggle to do more control down the road. If you have not learned by now we have a communist operating government under obama, then you will never learn.

      • Ben van den Brink

        It depends how you are formulating communist, we think in our country more in therms as left from the middle

        • Judith Van Doren

          obama was a professed communist (marxist) prior to running for office of senator, then president. obama has made deals with china and russia, even stood down when russia ordered him to. obama is a communist-muslim-cultist, islamic terrorist supporter and traitor to USA. obama’s administration is made up of like people (communists and muslim-cultists, soros’ son is a member of obama admin.). More and more are being hired by obama, nothing going thru congress.

  • Chancey Gardner

    Rick Violette, Mr. Race Day Meds Supporter – you need say no more. The lines are well defined on this issue.

    • Steve Zorn

      There’s only one race day med: Lasix. Calling it race day medS is an effort to make us sound like cheaters. We aren’t.

      • Ben van den Brink

        I suppose we differ about that one. Diuretics are performance enhacers, hence they are forbidden in human sports.

        Racing horses with ailments (bleeding grade 3 and 4) is in no way ethical behaviour.

        • shakeyoudown

          The big question that I have is what do you do with the bleeders that are unable to race without Lasix and how do the small stables absorb it financially? I am a responsible owner and have several of my horses that can no longer run due to injury or lack of talent on my farm being trained for another career or just enjoying being a horse. If I had several more to take care of because they are bleeders, the economics of it may make me reconsider the investment of staying in the game. A sport where horses can have a career or life ending injury every morning is risky enough, you compound that with a percentage of horses that will never make an owner a dime if they are bleeders and cannot run on Lasix puts them out of business.
          The only owners that could afford to stay in the game will be the ultra wealthy or the syndicates. The mom and pop outfits will be left out in the cold.

          • Ben van den Brink

            I weeded one out and gave her as a pasture ornament. That one hurted a lot, as I was breeder and owner/ trainer. She was always on her toes, and her mind was troubled so to say.

            She could not been bred after giving her away, as I sent up the papers to the jockeyclub.

            It is almost impossible to detect ( from the catalog pages) bleeders nowadays in the states, as 95% races with the stuff. While Iam 100 % sure, that the breed does not the 95% in factual bleeders.

            Startingout with just a small number from lasix, raceday free races and built further upon that.

          • shakeyoudown

            Gulfstream Park is carding Lasix Free races which I applaud however you need to allow for the horses that cannot race without it.

          • Ben van den Brink

            I would differ the last one: allow racing without raceday meds

          • Mike Oliveto

            Don’t you understand that the Phipp’s and other KY bluebloods don’t give a rat’s behind about the “small guy”? They look down their noses at the “small guys” as riffraff. By weeding out all the “small guys” it leaves the old money bluebloods with bigger pieces of the racing purse pie to cut up amongst themselves.

          • Ben van den Brink

            If all horses are racing without any med,s than there is a level playing field again.

            Still just one winner in a races, sometimes two.

            But trying to make the last buck out of a racehorsie is not my piece of the pie.

            I have always been a small guy, training and owing 1 at the time

          • That is absurd. If you think that Phipps races horses to garner a bigger share of the purse in this manner you don’t understand his motivation in racing horses and probably never will. The so-called bluebloods are practically all gone from racing. Who are they? If you know clue me in because they have all left the building. Nobody I know is trying to shut the so-called little guy out of racing.

          • Mike Oliveto

            If you say so then it must be true…

          • Translation: I cannot dispute what Irwin wrote.

          • Mike Oliveto

            By “sweeping statement” do you mean like saying “All trainers are liars”? Why don’t you back that one up?

          • LongTimeEconomist

            Actually, Barry’s comments are attributable to his enormous experience and his excellent command of the English language.

            Please remember that ad hominem attacks serve only to demonstrate the small mindedness of those who make them.

          • The number of horses that bleed chronically are very small. Rest helps. Not racing them as much helps. Adjusting conditions under which they live helps. But if they still bleed enough that it drastically impairs their performance, the humane thing to do is retire them. I have raced more than 700 horses since the mid 1970s and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of horses I’ve had that bled from the nose. And I can count on the other hand without using all of the fingers the number of horses I’ve had to retire because of chronic bleeding. And to discount another old wives tale, I don’t know of any vet that ever had a patient drop dead in a race from bleeding. I guess if one races at the very lowest level in America and races horses that have been put through the mill, it is possible that more of these types of animals are more prone to bleeding. But I’ve raced horses all over the world and bleeding has been a problem in very few of them.

          • shakeyoudown

            The don’t have to bleed from the nose to stop them from running.

          • LongTimeEconomist

            They weren’t out in the cold before lasix was permitted. Might have to make alterations to their breeding stock or pay less to purchase yearlings, etc., but they’ll benefit in the long run.

        • Northern Dancer

          Name me one competitive sport whereby an athlete summons a private vet to receive a needle into their vein 4 hours prior to competing? There are none. Lasix isn’t the issue. It’s an integrity issue. Nobody here can prove what’s in that needle unless it’s given by a government vet, and even then it’s not 100% guaranteed.

    • John G. Veitch

      I attended the NYS Gaming forum on Lasix in August. I watched two Veterinarians give two totally contradicting statements on the affects of Lasix in regards to “masking” & other affects on the horse. So in my humble opinion, the use of Lasix to help “cheat” is still not yet proven.

      • John, this issue is not about Lasix per se, but the fact that it is a drug and those opposing race day meds want horses to race free of drugs on race day. This argument has never been about whether a drug is effective. Most drugs are effective. This is not the issue. The issue is whether racing is going to be conducted on a level playing field free of horses running in altered states. Do you understand this? The pro-Lasix crowd has made it about Lasix, not the anti-drug folks.

  • Ben van den Brink

    I,ve some questions from the top of my mind:

    Where,s the Asmussen report, after 1,5 yrs, it should have been published and rewritten.
    How about split blood samples, and b stale testing, even in our country that is normal.
    The Bill Mott case
    Double blind lab testing done on samples.

    Without full integrity, through the whole industry from bottom to top, there will be no grow.

    Certification in terms like iso, only means that all administrative labor has been done, but is completely useless without factual fact finding.

    Just IHMO

    • Northern Dancer

      I agree with everything you say. These multiple drug violating Trainers are ruining the business for honest Trainers, and Owners. All my Owners left, and took their money with them. Okay, so they weren’t the big Owners that buy 20 horses per year, but they did buy 4-6, and they did believe in the game. Not anymore. When you have thousands of people who buy 4-6 per year leaving this business that adds up. Of course the integrity issue goes without saying.

  • Peyton

    I will throw in my usual ‘none of the arguments about how the feds will help or hurt’ are relevant. Because it will be declared unconstitutional for the fed to regulate states’ rights gambling. By imposing drug requirements for horses the fed will be overstepping their right. The drug requirement will be a condition placed on a state’s right to control gambling within their own boundary. Don’t think the IHA will be changed to make this a fed interstate commerce issue and it will die in committee or court. That’s my usual on this subject.

  • If a college professor graded this so-called documentary it would not be a mark above the letter D. It is all over the map and really has no central point, unless you buy that b. s. about athletes being exploited.

    • Andrew A.

      You’re the only guy i know of so far with this opinion.

      Maybe Ray should invite the guy who did the documentary to write a guest commentary on it.

  • Susan

    While national racing standards seem like a good idea to ensure that all tracks live up to the same standards, have you seen the federal government do anything well (except for the military)? We all want to maintain the integrity of these beautiful animals and racing in general. We breed to race to breed so we want our horses clean and if we have a winner, we want an honest win so we can breed other winners. However, getting back to the issue of the feds – using the health care deform law as an example, it does not to provide better health care (its mission) to the masses. It is a bureaucratic boondoggle of reports made by insurance companies and other bureaucrats. It tries to force people to buy health insurance while doing nothing to improve health care. Person has to see a health care provider – not just buy insurance. Federally created mess. The states where there are racetracks have an obligation to the horses and betting public and should do something in earnest to create level playing fields without another federal agency creating jobs for other bureaucrats.

    • Northern Dancer

      The current system is horrific, unacceptable, and supports doping. I’m willing to give the USADA a try. We don’t know the outcome, but I bet that those top Trainers will be unable to maintain the win ratio’s that they have under the current system.

  • KARL Bittner

    Why are we still having to defend this piece of legislation when it is clearly the only way forward on so many level it has become maddening to defend. Every single argument against it raises false and misleading information such as this is a government takeover of horseracing. Nothing could be further from the truth. I can only surmise from it’s detractors that they are not interested in the long term survival of the sport I so dearly love. If you are not interested in it’s survival, then go play fantasy football or something.

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