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Tuesday, September 01, 2020Contact: Shannon Luce (859) 224-2716
Industry Support of Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is Widespread

McConnell Bill Broadly Addresses Equine Safety

Lexington, Ky. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday announced the planned introduction of the bi-partisan Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) at an event at Lexington’s storied Keeneland race course. The bill will focus on the health of Thoroughbred racehorses and jockeys by requiring national, uniform safety standards that include anti-doping and medication control and racetrack safety programs. An independent, self-regulatory authority will be empowered to implement and manage new safety standards and programs. 

Senator McConnell was joined in the announcement by members from Breeders’ Cup, Churchill Downs Inc., Keeneland Association, and The Jockey Club. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) was also in attendance to support the act. The HISA immediately brought widespread support from across the Thoroughbred racing industry.

“Improving the health and safety of racehorses has long been the top priority of The Jockey Club,” said Stuart S. Janney III, chairman of The Jockey Club. “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.”

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will be tasked by the authority to oversee the medication control program. USADA manages the anti-doping programs for America’s Olympic athletes. This is “a historic moment for Thoroughbred horse racing,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart. “This game-changing, bi-partisan legislation will protect the health and safety of equine athletes and provide clean competitors a level playing field.”

“I would like to thank Senator McConnell for introducing this legislation, which will fulfill our mission by providing a national, uniform standard for drugs and medication in horse racing,” said Shawn Smeallie, CHRI executive director. “I look forward to working with the original co-sponsors of the bill – Sens. Gillibrand (D-NY) and McSally (R-AZ) and Reps. Barr (R-KY) and Tonko (D-NY) – as we push the more comprehensive legislation found in HISA.”

Other organizations and individuals have provided statements supporting the act and more are expected (click here to view the letters):

Antony Beck
Arthur B. Hancock
Barry Irwin
Janet Elliot
Ted Kuster
Mark Casse
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
Shug McGaughey
New York Racing Association
Doug O’Neill
Todd Pletcher
Dale Romans
Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital
Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association
United States Anti-Doping Agency
Water Hay Oats Alliance

We will provide updates to this list as they become available.

The CHRI represents a diverse group of racing organizations, racetracks, owner and breeder associations, and animal welfare groups that support adoption of a national, uniform standard for drug and medication rules in horse racing. To learn more, visit