Horseracing Integrity Act reaches key milestone in the House

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Irad Ortiz Jr. celebrates after riding Vino Rosso to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic horse race at Santa Anita Park, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, in Arcadia, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEWS10) – Local Congressman Paul Tonko announced Wednesday that a major milestone has been reached to help pass the Horseracing Integrity Act. Rep. Tonko says that the bill has received formal endorsement by a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives with 226 members co-sponsoring the legislation.

The bipartisan bill authorizes the creation of a non-governmental anti-doping authority governed by representatives of all major constituencies of the industry and responsible for implementing a national, uniform medication program throughout the sport. The bill was introduced by Rep. Tonko and Republican Rep. Andy Barr from Kentucky.

“Establishing a single, national approach to medication testing with strong independent oversight and enforcement will help ensure the long-term viability of this sport of kings. The stakes for this legislation are high, especially in regions like ours with historic ties to an industry that contributes billions of dollars and supports thousands of jobs in the New York economy each year, much of it at and around our legendary Saratoga Race Course,” said Rep. Tonko.

Reps. Tonko and Barr have introduced a version of this legislation since 2015. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate and has 23 cosponsors.

Here in New York, NYRA has already committed to phasing out the use of Lasix at all of its New York tracks. Beginning in 2020 two-year-old horses will not be allowed to be treated with Lasix within 24 hours of a race. In 2021 that ban will be extended to all stakes races.

All tracks owned or operated by Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), The Stronach Group, Del Mar, Keeneland, Lone Star Park and Remington Park, Los Alamitos Racecourse (Thoroughbred), Oaklawn Park and Tampa Bay Downs are also participating in the ban on Lasix.

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