The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) released the following statement Friday after it was announced that Congressman Paul Tonko was introducing national legislation that would allow the United States Anti-Doping Agency to regulate medication rules and drug testing in horse racing:
The National HBPA, on behalf of its affiliates and 30,000 members, would like to address the announcement made by Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) on May 29. We are the largest horsemen's group in North America, and we have long been supporters of national uniformity in medication policies. However, we are opposed to any legislation that interferes with the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 (IHA).
The announcement by Rep. Tonko says this proposed legislation “does not eliminate or modify any of the consents, agreements or approvals required” with respect to the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978. However, the release also goes on to say that the new governing body, THADO, will have control of “the privilege to accept, receive or transmit wagers on Covered Horseraces.” It is well understood that horsemen groups, in a working relationship with racetracks, have a veto right by law under the IHA to designate who transmits a signal from a given racetrack. We will look to Congressman Tonko for clarification of this announcement, as this seems to contradict itself with regards to current law within the IHA.
With that said, all horsemen represented by the National HBPA, along with others within the racing industry, will come together to ensure the industry's largest group is heard in Washington. This announcement by Congressman Tonko (D-NY) and his proposed legislation do not have the support of the racing industry's majority voice, the horsemen.
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