H.R. 1754 — The Horse Racing Integrity Act

Racehorse in red hood. The Horse magazine online.
Racehorse in red hood. Image source: The Horse magazine online.

On March 24, 2019, Rep. Paul Tonka (D-NY-20) introduced The Horse Racing Integrity Act, H.R. 1754.

The goal of the bill is:

To improve the integrity and safety of horseracing by requiring a uniform anti-doping and medication control program to be developed and enforced by an independent Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority.

The summary of H.R. 1754 states:

This bill establishes the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority as an independent, private non-profit corporation with responsibility for developing and administering an anti-doping and medication control program for (1) Thoroughbred, Quarter, and Standardbred horses that participate in horse races; and (2) the personnel engaged in the care, training, or racing of such horses.

The Federal Trade Commission shall have oversight over the authority. An interstate compact may be established after five years to take over the authority’s duties.

The bill takes into its consideration the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, and Standardbred racehorse.

FOX AND HEN HOUSE

H.R. 1754 is a very lengthy bill. Admittedly we have not fully analyzed it. But our legal team and chief lobbyist have read it. So has Mrs Farrell.

They all arrived at the following point independently — it has a “fox watching the hen house” vibe going on.

Look at the last two lines of the summary regarding oversight. “An interstate compact may be established after five years to take over the authority’s duties”. What do you make of that?

OUR STANCE

Neutral. We neither support or oppose this bill.

In answer to the two most asked questions we get, here’s our answers.

“Isn’t it better than nothing”? Possibly.

“Isn’t it better than what we got now?” Almost anything is.

STATUS

H.R. 1754 has 120 cosponsors, and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 961 – Drugs, racing and toxic horse meat

Backstreet Bully. Toronto Star image.
Backstreet Bully. Toronto Star image.

By VIVIAN FARRELL

H.R. 961, the “Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2019, stipulates:

“(3) equines raised in the United States are frequently treated with drugs, including phenybutazone, acepromazine, boldenone undecylenate, omeprazole, ketoprofen, xyalzine, hyaluronic acid, nitrofurazone, polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, clenbuterol, tolazoline, and ponazuril, which are not approved for use in horses intended for human consumption and equine parts are therefore unsafe within the meaning of section 512 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act;”

After looking at the drugs cited, I began to wonder how many of them are commonly used in horse racing since racehorses are given a laundry list of drugs while training and racing. Here are the drugs mentioned in H.R. 961 in order of reference. The ones with checkmarks are used in racehorses. You will be seeing a lot of checkmarks.

• phenybutazone (analygesic, painkiller) ✓

• acepromazine (tranquilizer, phenothiazine derivative, decreases dopamine levels and depresses some portions of the reticular activating system) ✓

• boldenone undecylenate (anabolic steroid) ✓

• omeprazole (treatment for ulcers) ✓

• ketoprofen (potent pain reliever, fever reducer, and anti-inflammatory medication) ✓

• xyalzine (sedative, analgesic and anesthetic) ✓

“In horses, the drug depresses the central nervous system and slows the respiratory rate; it is also a partial heart block,” Paulick Report, February 12, 2019

• hyaluronic acid (used to treat equine inflammation; helps delay onset of osteoarthritis in racehorses) ✓

• nitrofurazone (antibiotic treatment for surface bacterial infections of wounds, burns, and cutaneous ulcers for use on large animals such as horses; has been linked to cancer in humans) ✓

“Backstreet Bully was unloaded from a trailer after dawn and led by his halter into an abattoir in rural Quebec. Once owned and raced by Magna’s Frank Stronach, the chestnut thoroughbred was to be slaughtered then packaged for human food.”

SeeStar investigation: Ottawa refuses to say whether drug-tainted horse meat entered food chain”, Mar. 31, 2013, Tuesday’s Horse.

• polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, marketed as Adequan (used for the intramuscular treatment of non-infectious degenerative and/or traumatic joint dysfunction and associated lameness of the carpal and hock joints in horses) ✓

Clenbuterol. Photo: Benjamin Norman / New York Times.
PHOTO CREDIT: BENJAMIN NORMAN / NYT
A bottle of the drug Clenbuterol, also know by the brand name Ventipulmin.

• clenbuterol (a bronchodilator that is helpful for horses with heaves, an inflammatory condition that causes the airways to constrict) ✓

Banned in Quarter Horse racing in 2017; last year, the CHRB determined that “It can still be used for health reasons. However, it cannot be administered so close to a race that it can be detected in samples. [Arthur]* said the normal clearance time is three weeks to a month. See “CHRB Moves To Ban Presence Of Clenbuterol On Race Day”, Paulick Report, Oct. 26, 2018

• tolazoline (A vasodilator that apparently has direct actions on blood vessels and also increases cardiac output) ✓

• ponazuril (used for the treatment of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM), a debilitating neurological disease) — all horses

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Meat derived from horses treated with any of the drugs mentioned bars them from entering the human food chain. It is immoral and unethical to continue slaughtering American horses for human consumption, including the racehorse.

Please contact your U.S. Representative today to cosponsor H.R. 961. It will take you about 10 minutes. Go to step by step guideline »

IN MEMORY OF BACKSTREET BULLY
And Thousands Like Him

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* California Horse Racing Board Equine Medical Director Dr. Rick Arthur, DVM

Boycott Santa Anita — Bet Elsewhere

Well, there it is. Our Twitter message.

Everyone on Twitter, please retweet this message. We are of course targeting the horse racing gambling fraternity. While gambling goes on at the racetrack the highest percentage of bets are placed online.

We are being as clever as we know how. Weigh in with your suggestions. But most of all, please retweet our message.

You can find us at twitter.com/horsefund.

Thank you everyone.

Boycott betting on Santa Anita races — Twitter campaign

Racehorse training at Santa Anita. Photo credit: Nikki Burr.
Racehorse training at Santa Anita. Photo credit: Nikki Burr.

The legal market handle on horse racing in the United States in 2018 was $11.26 billion while experts predict the illegal sports betting market could be anywhere from $80 billion to $150 billion annually. On horse racing alone.

Let’s see if we can put a bit of a dent in Santa Anita’s handle (we’ll talk about that a bit more further down).

Even if it’s a tiny fraction, the gambling industry will not like seeing these two words together anywhere, especially on social media: boycott + gambling.

You Bet. They Die.

Team Santa Anita Park racetrack have killed 29 racehorses since December.

The number was at 27 when the Governor of California stepped in and asked Santa Anita to shut down for the current season. They refused.

Santa Anita killed two more racehorses after that, bringing the total to 29.

Then the California Horse Racing Board asked Santa Anita Park to shut down for the current season. They refused.

Twitter Campaign

Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, June 11, we will be tweeting something along these lines:

Stop the carnage. 29 dead racehorses and counting. Boycott betting at Santa Anita until they are closed.
.
#boycott #betting #santaanitapark

Please either retweet our message @horsefund or tweet the above message from your own account.

If you choose to change the message up please use the same hashtags.

Will It Hurt?

If our Twitter campaign works, will reducing the handle and takeout hurt the track? You bet!

Handle: In sports betting lingo the term handle refers to the total amount of money wagered over a specific period of time.

Takeout: Say a million dollars is wagered on a particular race. According to California law, the racetrack is required to keep 15.43 percent of that, or $154,300, while $845,700 is paid out to winning bettors. Then, of that $154,300, about 45 percent goes to the horse owners who finish in the money (first place gets 60 percent; second place gets 20 percent; third place gets 12 percent; fourth place gets six percent; and fifth place gets two percent). Then around 45 percent goes to the racetrack for operating expenses — what’s known as the takeout.

(Source: https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/where-does-the-money-go-when-you-bet-at-the-racetrack).

Online gambling is where most of the action is, so getting punters to boycott betting on Santa Anita horse races will hurt even more if we can get bettors to please stay away. I mean, there’s plenty else to bet on, right?

Thanks everyone.

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The current race meeting season at Santa Anita closes on June 23.
https://www.santaanita.com/full-calendar/

“You Bet. They Die.” This slogan was coined we believe by Animal Aid UK concerning the Grand National steeplechase in England.