An online poll conducted by Daily Racing Form demonstrated strong support among its readers for federal legislation to install an independent, non-governmental agency to regulate horse racing's medication rules on a national basis.
Of the more than 1,800 respondents to the survey, Daily Racing Form reports that nearly two-thirds – 64 percent – favored legislation introduced by Reps. Andy Barr of Kentucky and Paul Tonko of New York to put the United States Anti-Doping Agency in charge of medication rules, testing and enforcement. Twenty-two percent opposed the legislation, with the remaining 16 percent undecided or with no opinion.
An even higher percentage, 77 percent, believe the federal government should be in charge of medication regulations, with 16 percent favoring the current system of state-by-state oversight and 7 percent supporting tracks or a local entity to regulate drug rules.
The respondents by an overwhelming majority – 78 percent – feel the current system of regulations by individual states have not been effective “at catching cheaters,” as Daily Racing Form's summary of the survey explained. Only 16 percent said the states have been effective, and 6 percent had not opinion, respondents said.
The use of prohibited drugs ranked as the most important issue facing the horse racing industry, among a list of 10 possible issues provided by the authors.
A question about North America's race-day use of the permitted drug Lasix, which is not addressed in the Barr-Tonko legislation, found a divided audience. Forty-two percent oppose its use while 41 percent support use of the drug designed to treat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage in horses. Seventeen percent said they were undecided or had no opinion. Among those survey respondents who identified themselves as horse owners or breeders, 50 percent said they opposed the use of Lasix, with 43 supporting it and 7 percent undecided/no opinion.
WHen asked how important Lasix was in the list of 10 issues facing the North American horse racing industry, it ranked ninth.
A poll conducted earlier this year by the Paulick Report found similar support for the Barr-Tonko legislation. In that survey of 1,678 readers, 70.4 percent expressed support for federal legislation appointing USADA, while 29.6 percent were opposed.
The Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) also conducted a survey of its members. In that poll, 72 percent said they favored the Barr-Tonko legislation.
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