New federal horse racing safety bill seeks to create uniform drug testing


Kentucky Congressman Andy Barr is working on new legislation to keep horses safe at race tracks.

This comes as the industry has come into question recently after many high-profile horse deaths over the past few months, including four during Keeneland’s Spring Meet and 23 at Santa Anita race track in California since December.

Rep. Barr spoke about his proposed legislation in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday just days ahead of the Kentucky Derby.

“Regardless of the cause of deaths out at Santa Anita,” Rep. Barr said, “We know that our legislation would elevate American racing to international standards.”

The Horse Racing Integrity Act aims to implement a regulatory group that would create nationwide anti-doping and medication rules. In addition, the legislation would create and implement uniform testing standards.

Right now, anti-doping and medication rules vary from state to state and even track to track.

“It’s going to help reinforce the public’s perception of the sport,” Rep. Barr said of the decision. “But, we still need to see uniformity across the board.”

The horse deaths, Rep. Barr says, have brought this issue of safety to the forefront for everyone in the industry. He says the conversation was needed.

“If the industry can self regulate and get to a place of uniformity on its own then great. We don’t need it on the federal level,” Rep. Barr said.

The Horse Racing Integrity Act will receive a hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee soon, according to Rep. Barr.



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