As predicted by horsemen earlier this year, members of Congress are again preparing to introduce legislation that would regulate the use of medication in racehorses.
The Jockey Club, in a statement released May 1, said the new bill is called the "Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act." It would put the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which handles drug testing for the Olympics, in charge of the endeavor.
One of the sponsors is New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat who has pushed similar legislation in the past. Since the late 2000s, members of Congress have introduced equine drug-related bills only to have them never reach the floor for votes.
The New York Times reported the bill could be introduced the week of May 5.
In February Brian Fitzgerald, a lobbyist for the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, said members of Congress were expected to introduce a bill this year.
"We believe they will try to raise the stakes by putting pressure on us (on the race-day medication issue) by opening up the Interstate Horseracing Act (IHA)," Fitzgerald said at the time.
Most industry organizations have publicly opposed any attempt to open the IHA, a 1978 law that authorizes simulcasts across state lines. Fitzgerald indicated the talk in Washington, D.C., is that the law could be used to create some sort of "national medication regulation organization."
The latest attempt at federal regulation comes at a time when horse racing never ha