The future of horse racing will be in jeopardy if Congress doesn’t pass the Horseracing Integrity Act.
The future of horse racing will be in jeopardy if Congress does pass the Horseracing Integrity Act.
Those were the mixed messages heard by Members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce on Tuesday during a hearing in Washington, D.C., entitled “Legislation to Promote the Health and Safety of Racehorses.”
At one extreme was former Maryland Jockey Club racetrack owner Joe De Francis, now chairman of the National Horseracing Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States. De Francis described racing’s credibility problems on equine safety and integrity issues as “a growing tsunami … about to crest and destroy us.”
At the other extreme was Dennis Drazin, CEO of Monmouth Park in New Jersey, home district of Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Frank Pallone Jr. “If you ban Lasix,” Drazin told Pallone and other Members, “my track, Monmouth Park, probably won’t survive.”
A ban on the race-day use of the diuretic Lasix is the most controversial component of the Horseracing Integrity Act, which would establish an independent, non-governmental organization under the umbrella of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to regulate medication policy in horse racing. But the race-day ban of that drug is not the only reason the bill was opposed by some of the witnesses who testified against the bill.
Drazin, who led the fight that eventually saw the Supreme Court strike down a federal ban on sports betting, predicted that – if passed into law – the legislation would be challenged as unconstitutional…(CONTINUED)