Barr strives to bring integrity, transparency to horse racing

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) introduced legislation on Thursday to pave the way for the creation of a national uniform medication program that would govern various horse racing organizations.

Currently, different medication policies and practices are used across dozens of horse racing jurisdictions in different states. In addition to eroding competition and public confidence in horseracing, inconsistent and contradictory rules have hampered interstate commerce under current rules.

The Horseracing Integrity Act, H.R. 2651, which Barr introduced with U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), would authorize the establishment and implementation of a national uniform medication program that would be developed with input from industry stakeholders.

“With growing momentum and support, the time has come for uniform medication rules in American horseracing,” Barr said. “Uniform rules will ensure the integrity and competitiveness of American horseracing and lay the groundwork for the future success of this great American sport.”

Kentucky’s historic horse industry plays an important role in the state’s economy. More than 40,000 Kentuckians are employed in the equine industry, which has an overall economic impact of $3 billion, according to the University of Kentucky Department of Agriculture Economics.

H.R. 2651 strives to encourage fair competition across various jurisdictions and state lines, ensures the disclosure of information to breeders and wagerers, and improves the safety of horses, jockeys and drivers.

“A single, national approach to medication testing with strong independent oversight and enforcement is long overdue,” Tonko said. “This will help ensure the long-term viability of horse racing by bringing greater integrity to the sport and enhancing the care and welfare of horses.”

Tonko noted that New York’s horse industry contributes $4 billion to the state economy each year, much of it around the Saratoga Race Course.