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 right now across their own jurisdictions, which they are so obviously loathe to give up control of? Not one of them truly wants to operate under a single all encompassing 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 truly our only concern? Horse racing will be much easier to take down when operating under one roof, no matter how rich and powerful an entity it has become.