Proposed Bill Calls for Federal Anti-Doping Racing Rules

Race-day medications for racehorses would be banned and an independent agency would be charged with enforcing rules.

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Administering race-day medications to racehorses would be banned a under proposed bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this week. The legislation would also put an independent anti-doping agency in charge of enforcing rules and penalties for violators.

Sponsored by U.S. Representatives Joe Pitts (R-PA), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act would ban race-day medications and allow the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to develop rules identifying permitted and forbidden substances. It would also charge the USADA—the national organization which manages the U.S. Olympic Committee’s anti-doping program—with creating anti-doping education, research, testing, and adjudication programs for horse racing.

The bill would also set a medication policy framework for all races with interstate simulcast wagering, require stiff penalties—including a lifetime ban—for worst-case violators, and ensure drugs administered to racehorses comply with veterinary ethics.

“Before more people and animals are hurt, we need to put a responsible independent authority in charge of cleaning up racing,” Pitts said. “The American horse racing industry needs to align its standards with the international rules that prohibit drug use on race day

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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