Historic twin spires of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo by Abbie Myers.

The Horseracing Integrity Act and the future of horse racing

The Bloodhorse magazine reports:

The Horseracing Integrity Act (H.R. 1754), introduced in March by Congressman Andy Barr, a Kentucky Republican, and Congressman Paul Tonko, a New York Democrat, has gained additional support from the House of Representatives, with 226 members now co-sponsoring the legislation.

The bill received co-sponsorship from a majority of the House in mid-December.

That sounds encouraging doesn’t it? But wait. Nothing about horse racing is ever quite as it sounds.

This is new. Those supporting the Act are talking about it in slightly more open terms concerning what it will actually do and who will be doing it. Look.

The Horseracing Integrity Act 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 for the entire horse racing industry.

” . . .governed by representatives of all major constituencies of the industry and responsible for implementing a national uniform medication program for the entire horse racing industry.”

That begs the following question. If these people are already capable of implementing a uniform medication program, why aren’t they doing it now across their own jurisdictions, especially considering how obviously loathe they are to give up any control of? Not a single one of them truly wants to operate under a single, all-encompassing regulatory umbrella.

A Group with a View

While all of this is going on, word is Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) does not look on the Horseracing Integrity Act with a friendly eye. They have reportedly given Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell his marching orders regarding bill, which he will no doubt carry out. This means of course that the bill has absolutely no hope of becoming law, unless CDI suddenly changes their mind. And why would they?

CDI knows that most of the various racing jurisdictions across the country, left to their own devices, will eventually self-destruct (i.e. California which may go completely away this year via Referendum) or become ripe for takeover, eventually leaving CDI in complete control of all the venues it wants, and get rid of the ones it doesn’t.

Imagine. A portfolio of historically significant racetracks under the management of a single corporate entity such as CDI. Horse racing would be in a strong position to be managed properly and perhaps even ethically to the benefit of all concerned, especially the horses, with a view of restoring the breed — perhaps even improving it and making it the envy of the world.

And if they fail the horses — which are our only concern? Then horse racing will be much easier to take down when they are operating under one roof, no matter how rich and powerful an entity it has become.

Kelleway says she has had reports from owners and jockeys about the poor physical condition of some horses they have observed at certain other yards. She declined to name names but felt the authorities have not usually applied the same scrutiny to the sport’s bigger names as to the smaller operators.

“I believe they should bring in what they do in Sweden, where you have to trot horses up to show they’re 100%. I’ve been to Stockholm and they were doing this before every race.”

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1 thought on “The Horseracing Integrity Act and the future of horse racing”

  1. “……governed by representatives of all major constituencies of the industry…..”
    I’m looking forward to their interpretation of that :-).

    “……..to the benefit of all concerned, especially the horses……”
    Shouldn’t this be worded “except” the horses” ? I believe every thinking individual, with even an ounce of compassion, knows there is only one way left to benefit the horses. I don’t have enough history to comment on it’s demise. All I have is current information of the past few years and it appears to have wound itself into the ground. Thinkers with no compassion whatsoever can identify several reasons for this. One certainly is the single sided and unfathomable treatment of many horses. This uncivilized entertainment needs to be gone.

    Like

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