House bill would create anti-doping horse racing authority

House bill would create anti-doping horse racing authority
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Lawmakers in the House want to do away with doping in thoroughbred horse racing.

Reps. Andy BarrGarland (Andy) Hale BarrLexington mayor launches bid for Congress Flake's exit gives GOP new hope in Arizona Overnight Defense: Senate panel to get classified Niger briefing | Corker, Trump feud heats up | House passes North Korea sanctions MORE (R-Ky.) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation Thursday to simplify a patchwork of rules governing medication policies and practices across 38 different racing jurisdictions.

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The Thoroughbred Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2015 would create an independent, nongovernmental anti-doping authority that would establish uniform regulations for the horse racing industry.

“This lack of uniformity in the rules of horse racing has impaired interstate commerce and it has undermined public confidence in the sport,” Barr told reporters during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

A uniform national medication program, lawmakers said, would level the playing field in a sport that contributes $25 billion to the national economy and employs roughly 400,000 people.

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate have long been pushing for more federal regulations of the industry, which the International Fund for Horses said in 2014 is “as steeped in tradition as in its drug use,” but previous bills to prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport have failed to move through Congress.

Anti-doping advocates, like Barry Irwin of the Water Hay Oats Alliance, said this legislation would encourage those who have gotten kicked to the sidelines because others have won races with illegal drugs to get back in the game.

The use of performance enhancing drugs in horse racing, Irwin said, has gotten progressively worse over the last 10 years.

“Trainers, chemical enablers and veterinarians are more sophisticated now than they ever were,” he said.