House Passes McConnell's Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act / Support Pours in for Bipartisan Legislation

McConnell official 600

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) applauded passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act by the U.S. House of Representatives. Today's vote marks the first time legislation to federally recognize an independent horseracing regulatory authority has passed a chamber of Congress.

"Our bipartisan legislation to recognize a national standard for Thoroughbred racing is receiving support from all corners. Now, it's earned the approval of the House. Today's vote was another important step toward protecting our beloved sport for the horses, jockeys, trainers, breeders, and fans," said Senator McConnell. "I'd like to congratulate Congressmen Andy Barr and Paul Tonko and their colleagues for championing this legislation in the House. I look forward to their continued support as work continues to pass this bill into law."

The House-passed bill is a companion to legislation Senator McConnell introduced earlier this month with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).


Horseracing's Storied Organizations

CHURCHILL DOWNS INCORPORATED: "It is critical to the future of Thoroughbred racing that the safety and integrity of our sport be governed by world-class, uniform standards across the United States. The leadership of Senator McConnell and Congressman Barr has been instrumental in our shared goal of bringing the Thoroughbred industry together to achieve this goal." 

KEENELAND: "This groundbreaking legislation and the collaborative effort behind it speaks to the commitment those of us in the Thoroughbred industry have to establish uniform safety and integrity standards across the U.S. and bring American racing in line with international guidelines."

THE JOCKEY CLUB: "The Jockey Club has long pursued a collaborative solution within our industry to establish national reforms ensuring clean competition and improved safety for horses and humans alike. We strongly believe that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is vital to developing uniform and effective medication and safety regulations that will enhance the integrity and safety of American horse racing and improve the sport." 

BREEDERS' CUP LIMITED: "This legislation gives us an opportunity to make the single most significant and far-reaching safety and integrity enhancement in the history of Thoroughbred racing by bringing our sport into the 21st century and protecting its future for generations to come." 

1/ST RACING: "At 1/ST RACING our priority is to ensure the safety of our horses and riders and we believe that the investment into equine health and safety is not on only the right thing to do, it is crucial to the future of Thoroughbred racing. The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act recognizes that industry stakeholders including the owners, trainers, breeders, jockeys, and racetrack operators must be unified toward a new standard of equine health, safety, and welfare."

Anti-Doping and Animal Welfare Groups

U.S. ANTI-DOPING AGENCY: "The introduction of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act marks a historic moment for thoroughbred horse racing. This game-changing, bipartisan legislation will protect the health and safety of equine athletes and provide clean competitors a level playing field. USADA is honored and humbled to carry out the anti-doping responsibilities detailed in the Act, implementing uniform rules through our independent model in service of clean competition. As with Olympic sport, one set of rules, enforced independently and uniformly, is the bedrock of any meaningful anti-doping program." 

WATER HAY OATS ALLIANCE: "Without federal legislation mandating that USADA enact 'clean' drug rules, reliable testing, qualified labs and strict penalties for violators, the sport of American horse racing faces an uncertain future. With Senator McConnell's leadership and the continued efforts of Representatives Andy Barr and Paul Tonko in the House, WHOA's members look forward to the day when our great sport can rebuild its reputation, protect our beloved horses and their jockeys, and reclaim racing's place as one of America's top spectator sports." 

HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES: "We cannot continue to look the other way when a racehorse is severely injured or killed during training or a race. This measure will advance necessary reforms that will make or break horseracing in the United States."

Top Trainers

DALE ROMANS, All-time Win Leader at Churchill Downs: "My colleagues and I love this game and love our horses. We want them both to flourish with safety and integrity. It is time for me to announce I support the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) in order to unify our medication control under the aegis of USADA, and for our sport to develop and enforce one rulebook of standards and procedures for the health and safety of horse and rider." 

TODD PLETCHER, Two-time Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer: "I thank you for your leadership and vision in sponsoring the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) to reform anti-doping practices for Thoroughbred racing and to create a meaningful program of racetrack safety standards to better protect and nurture our equine athletes. You will have my support for this initiative, which is both critical and timely for the Thoroughbred industry." 

JANET ELLIOT, Hall of Fame Trainer: "It is high time that America joins with the rest of the racing world, and develops uniform international rules and standards. It is absurd that each state in the country has its own set of rules. In order to have top class racing we must work together to abolish all race day medication. The elimination of performance enhancing drugs is imperative for the health and safety of our equine and human athletes, and the long-term health of the breeding industry. I support the efforts made by WHOA and wish to see the progression of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act." 

Veterinary Leaders

ROOD AND RIDDLE EQUINE HOSPITAL: "In addition to its emphasis on safety, fairness, and integrity this bill represents a step in the direction of nationwide uniformity and cooperation, which our industry greatly needs." 

HAGYARD EQUINE MEDICAL INSTITUTE: "Hagyard supports independent oversight of uniform laboratory standards, testing, and accountability. A uniform set of rules to govern horse racing's therapeutic medications will help racing achieve the highest level of welfare for the horses and jockeys crucial to our industry. Hagyard Equine Medical Institute understands that any effort that can enhance the safety of horseracing requires the support of the veterinary community. We are encouraged by the spirit of compromise demonstrated and we appreciate the collaborative efforts put forth by multiple industry stakeholders."

Top Industry Associations

NATIONAL THOROUGHBRED RACING ASSOCIATION: "We thank Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his willingness and unique ability to bring the industry to the table to craft this comprehensive legislation. We also applaud Congressmen Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for their pioneering efforts in support of federal anti-doping and medication control standards in the form of the Horseracing Integrity Act, which served as the basis for this historic compromise."

KENTUCKY THOROUGHBRED ASSOCIATION: "The Kentucky Thoroughbred Association endorses the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020, to be introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, adding independence and accountability to the original principles of uniformity in laboratory standards, testing and penalties."

NEW YORK THOROUGHBRED HORSEMAN'S ASSOCIATION: "Horse Racing is at a crossroads. The 2019 breakdown crisis and this year's shocking indictments of veterinarians and trainers have exposed the industry's uneven commitment to both equine safety and competitive integrity. What's been obvious for years, to owners, trainers, bettors and fans – is that our industry's institutions need structural change."

THOROUGHBRED HORSEMEN'S ASSOCIATION: "It has been our widely-expressed view that the original Horseracing Integrity Act, as proposed, should encompass mandatory equine safety and welfare standards for all racetracks and horsemen, and the creation of an investigative and enforcement arm of the industry. We intend to continue to be a constructive participant since the legislation, if enacted, will require substantial industry support and assistance."



ANTONY BECK, Gainesway Farm


B. WAYNE HUGHES, Spendthrift Farms

BARBARA BANKE, Stonestreet Farm

BARRY IRWIN, 2011 Kentucky Derby Winning Owner

BRUTUS CLAY, Runnymede Farm


CINDY & STEVE STEWART, Hunterton Farms



DAN METZGER, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association

DELL HANCOCK, Claiborne Farm

DENNIS DRAZIN, Monmouth Park

DON M. ROBINSON, Winter Quarter Farm

DOUG O'NEILL, Two-time Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer


FRED HUDSON, U.S. Harness Racing Alumni Association

FREDERICK J. SEITZ, Brookdale Farm


GEORGE STRAWBRIDGE, JR., All-time Leading Steeplechase Owner in North America


GREG GOODMAN, Mt. Brilliant Farm

HUGH A. FITZSIMONS, JR., Hall of Fame Horseman

JIM SQUIRES, 2001 Kentucky Derby Winning Breeder

JOANNA GROSSMAN, PHD, Animal Welfare Institute Equine Program Manager and Senior Advisor

JOE HARPER, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club



KENNY TROUTE, Winstar Farm

LOUIS ROMANET, International Federation of Horseracing Authorities

MARK CASSE, Hall of Fame Trainer

MARTY IRBY, Animal Wellness Action Executive Director

MEG LEVY, Blue Water Sales

RICHARD MANDELLA, Hall of Fame Trainer

RO PARRA, Millennium Farms

S. WALKER HANCOCK, JR., Claiborne Farm

SETH W. HANCOCK, Cherry Valley Farm

SHUG MCGAUGHEY, 2013 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer


TED KUSTER, Shawhan Place



WILL & BILL FARISH, Lane's End Farm



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