The Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015
Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)
Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)

Stuart S. Janney III:

Thank you, Kip, for that very interesting look into the future.

Like Julie Broadway, our next two speakers have a Washington connection, but their roots are in two districts that are so vital to our interests. Lexington, Kentucky, and Saratoga, New York.

They have a deep appreciation for the Thoroughbred industry, particularly the economic impact it brings to a community. They also know that the future health of the sport and all those jobs and businesses built on it are tied to consumer confidence and the integrity of competition.

That's why they've introduced and promoted the passage of H.R.3084, the Thoroughbred Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2015. As an industry we should be immensely grateful for their interest and their concern, just as we are grateful to both of them for being here today with an update.

We'll call on you first, Congressman Barr.

Rep. Andy Barr:

Thank you, Stuart. Good morning. It's my great privilege to represent Lexington, Kentucky, and the surrounding Bluegrass region in Congress, the horse capital of the world. As co chairman of the Congressional Horse Caucus, I've had, with my friend Congressman Paul Tonko of New York, the privilege of leading efforts to advance the Thoroughbred Horse Racing Integrity Act.

I'd like to recognize my other colleague, Elise Stefanik, a congresswoman from New York who is also a co-sponsor.

Today I want to reflect briefly on why I believe federal legislation is needed and what needs to happen going forward to achieve our ultimate objective.

First, why subpoena federal legislation necessary? To be sure, we have much to celebrate about our sport of Thoroughbred racing. As advocates of reform, we must never hesitate to point out there is far more good about the state of racing today than there is bad.

Friday's inspiring Hall of Fame induction ceremony is ample evidence of that fact. The speakers who have presented here today also showcase initiatives to promote the sport. And American Pharoah proved that greatness is still possible, going wire to wire in the Breeders' Cup Classic and winning the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred racing.

So calls for reform should not be misinterpreted as unfair or destructive criticism of the sport we all love. But the reality is this. There is tremendous competition for today's entertainment dollar. And the industry must continue to innovate to win over new betters and new fans.

Without new growth strategies, there is a real risk that nationwide handle, the number of racetracks, racetrack attendance, foal crops, bloodstock sales, and Thoroughbred ownership will continue to decline over the long term. And that means fewer jobs and opportunities for the men and women who earn their livelihood in an industry that generates over $3 billion annually in my home state of Kentucky alone.

While those of us close to the racing industry hold the sport in high regard, the recent McKinsey study commissioned by The Jockey Club reveals that medication related issues have undermined public confidence and the integrity of racing and adversely impacted fans perception of the sport.

This perception of doping has compromised export sales of American breeding stock to perspective buyers in foreign jurisdictions with strong rules prohibiting race day medication. And Thoroughbred racing continues to labor under a diverse set of inconsistent and conflicting medication rules that vary from state to state.

The industry has made notable strides in recent years to adopt uniform standards. The work of the racing medication and testing consortium, and the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, has been positive and should be commended.

But the fact remains that to date only ten states have fully adopted the national uniform medication program; the remaining 28 state racing jurisdictions operate under rules only applicable to that state and have great variances.

Since more than half of all Thoroughbred race horses compete in multiple states in a given year, this creates serious problems for owners, trainers, equine practitioners and the betting public. Since the majority of industry handle is wagered across state lines through simulcast wagering, the absence of national uniform medication rules impedes interstate commerce.

I am a conservative who believes in federalism and states’ rights. But I also understand the framers of the constitution conferred to Congress the power to regulate Interstate commerce precisely for the purpose of eliminating these kinds of impediments to interstate exchange.

I'm a realist who recognizes that all of racing's challenges are not solely attributable to the perceptions of doping or cheating. But I also recognize the importance of eliminating any and all excuses for young people to not become fans of our sport.

And I believe that the predicate of innovation in marketing is a commitment to integrity, safety and uniformity of rules.

As I was preparing my remarks, I couldn't help but look at old transcripts of Jockey Club Round Tables in the past. And I found an interesting speech from former Jockey Club chairman Nicholas Brady from August 10, 1980.

I was particularly interested to read what my grandfather, the late J.B. Faulconer, then executive vice president of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, was listening to at the time. And he was in this room then. This is what Chairman Brady had to say 36 years ago, and I quote:

It is becoming increasingly obvious that we are at war on the issue of medication, at war with the humane associations, at war with the public and the media, at war with the Congress, and at war among ourselves. We will lose that war by default if every organization in racing continues to forge its own consensus on medication. The time has come for us to end our internal disputes and come together to find an equitable solution to this program. I recognize that it is a complicated program and that feelings are strong and polarized. But if our industry wants to control its own destiny, if we are to prevent federal legislation of unknown consequences, we must develop support for an industry wide medication policy and then take effective actions to restore public confidence in racing. What should we do? We must have a reasonable, fair, enforceable, and uniform rule adopted in all racing jurisdictions.

As noted in Chairman Brady's remarks, much of what was said at that 1980 Round Table was directed to how the industry might avoid federal legislation.

I would submit that the inability of the industry to develop on its own national uniform rules for the past 36 years is the most persuasive argument for why we need federal legislation today. But not legislation of unknown consequences, as Brady feared; rather, legislation of well understood consequences, crafted by the industry for the industry that will reinvigorate public confidence, eliminate barriers to Interstate commerce, and avoid overreaching federal intervention in the future.

And not legislation that would invite federal overreach or excessive legislation, instead legislation that will actually reduce regulation from 38 different conflicting and contradictory regulatory systems into a single, streamlined, and uniformed regulatory system.

Second, our experience to date working on this bill helps us see the path forward.

During previous Congresses, legislators proposed federal solutions, but despite their best efforts, their work fell short. I've known from the beginning this project wouldn't be easy. Many told me to not get involved, that the industry was too divided, that the problem was too hard to solve.

But after listening to my constituents and industry participants, I did get involved. Not because I thought it would be easy, but it was the right thing to do and well worth the effort. And I knew our efforts had to be different from those failed efforts in the past.

So today I'm proud to say our effort has been different because we set out to build a diverse and broad coalition of support, a coalition that now stands behind us and continues to grow. Our inclusive efforts have allowed us to earn the endorsements from 17 different stakeholder organizations, which in turn has allowed us to earn support of more than 50 members of Congress and a growing industry in reform from both sides of the aisle in both houses of Congress.

But to continue our progress and move legislation forward and to achieve our objective, to achieve safety and integrity through national uniform standards, we must continue an open and inclusive discussion about how we can improve the legislation to incorporate as many stakeholders and members of Congress as possible.

Only with a consensus approach and an earnest willingness to compromise will we ultimately enact the reform we need.

I believe that organizations in the industry have far more in common than they have differences, and these overlapping priorities should be seen as opportunities.

So in conclusion, I issue this call to action to every faction and organization within the Thoroughbred industry. Come together in the months ahead. Not just as members of the Coalition for Racing Integrity, but also with racetracks and horsemen's groups and veterinarians and organizations who are not yet part of the coalition.

Meet with a facilitator, if necessary, and find areas of potential compromise, overlapping interests and common cause. Produce a statement of principles that will guide lawmakers in improving the existing legislation to further enlarge our coalition of support.

Thank you again to Stuart and The Jockey Club for inviting me to speak today. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you to champion these reforms to ensure integrity in Thoroughbred racing, enhancing the safety of the equine and human athletes involved, and to promote the long term growth and prosperity of the sport we all love.

Thank you very much.

Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY)
Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY)

Stuart S. Janney III:

Thank you, Andy. And now it's a great pleasure to ask Congressman Paul Tonko to address our conference.

Rep. Paul Tonko:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Stuart, I appreciate the invitation, and president, Jim, thank you for the invitation. The Jockey Club has had a tremendous reputation over the years in this tremendous sport that is honored and recognized across our country and certainly the world.

So thank you, Jockey Club members, for the institution you are, for the imagery you've personified and for the love of the sport that you obviously bear.

It's a pleasure to join with all of you. Let me thank the members of the Coalition who have responded to H.R.3084. I think that growing list of membership is a sign of great hope for this legislation and truly inspirational to those of us who are preparing to continue to do the good fight for H.R.3084.

Let me also thank Shawn Smeallie and all the work he's done to network with the Coalition members and The Jockey Club to be able to go forward with soundness.

Andy Barr, Congressman Barr, thank you for your friendship and the partnership that we've shared on this bill and as co-chairs of the Horse Racing Caucus in the House. It is indeed an honor to work with you, and thank you, Congresswoman, for the support on the measure.

The overall sense of this legislation just shared by my colleague is about providing for that integrity in the sport. I welcome you here to the 20th Congressional District of New York. Saratoga Springs is a part of that district that I represent.
As a young individual, I understood in those early days the importance of this sport and the ambience that surrounds it. I had the good fortune of living in this district to come to Saratoga to witness many a champion come across that finish line.

And the sport, indeed, is much loved, and an important economic multiplier for this region, for state of New York, $4 billion plus and for the nation. For that reason, we must take seriously the future of this sport.

I think it's so important for us to speak to the integrity of the sport by your willingness to self-govern, self-regulate in a way that will be meaningful. We've talked about the patchwork of solutions that have been out there because of the voluntary nature of the national program. That isn't quite good enough, and you've brought that to our attention.

I believe the fans are very discerning fans. They want integrity in the sport. They want to know that there's fairness, a fair and level playing field. And there is a concern they have for the equine athletes.

I know of your love and your respect for the equine athletes. I share that love and respect, as I am certain my colleagues do, and it's important for us to go forward on this path to make certain that we provide the kind of structure that will serve as an organization that will allow for the protocol to be developed for sound testing, for the procedures, and certainly for the responsiveness that comes for those who broke from those given standards.

So I think it's important for us to look at the best construct that we can offer. I know that New York has been very serious in its reviews of this sort of sector of the industry. But I know that states or compacts of states do not want to put themselves at a competitive disadvantage, so the voluntary nature doesn't serve us well.

I serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House [U.S. House of Representatives] to which this bill is referenced. As the name implies, we deal with commerce, both interstate and international.

So the interstate nature of this business, crossing over those borderlines, is routine work, and we need to have a standardized operation that is strong, that is effective, that is transparent, and certainly that is independent.

Many have said, well, why USADA? Well, there are obviously those physiological differences between human athletes and the equine athlete. But certainly there is that force, that experience that USADA brings in developing the protocol, the procedures, the testing, and the response, again, to that testing that brings great experience and expertise.
When you fuse that with the respective that is shared with the organization that is defined in the legislation, you get the perspectives from all in the horse racing industry matched with the strength of USADA, and it offers us the best outcome.

Now, I'm proud of the growing list of sponsors for H.R.3084. Andy and I have been doing our work. We've been sweating as we work through the halls to make sure we get those sponsors. I'm proud to say New York has produced the most sponsors. That's not a challenge. But I'm proud to say we've got the most sponsors. Thank you again, Elise, and to all who in a bipartisan fashion have jumped on to this legislation.

We're continuing to share innovation and dialogue that is growing more and more sponsorship. And I'm convinced by a few months into the exercise, a few months more we'll have accomplished that sponsorship level that cannot be ignored. But those who are on the legislation are meaningfully placing their name on that legislation.

Again, I think it's got great opportunity that it presents to each and everyone in this room and beyond to make a difference. So as we go forward, we'll continue to work those delegations to get those sponsors that we need and to enable us to foster this effort that will bring great strength to the industry that will enable us to know that we'll be a success story, and that the industry will have prospered because of it.

I carry with me a letter from Senator Gillibrand, the junior member of the United States Senate for the State of New York, and she visited last year and unfortunately can't be here this year, but I quote from a recent letter where the senator expresses her support for medication reform and commitment to working with you. [It is] addressed to the chair and the Thoroughbred horse racing industry to introduce a Senate companion to the Thoroughbred Horse Racing Integrity Act H.R.3084. She wants to do that before the end of year.

So I think what we have here is moving forward that's only growing in strength, talking to sub- committee chairs and rankers at the Energy & Commerce Committee that will first visit this legislation and pushing for hearings so that we can get all of the effort into working order and make sure that expeditiously the outcome is success for this industry and that we will have that growing sense of respect out there from all of the discerning fans.

So thank you, everyone, for the opportunity to be with you again this year, and look forward to working with you to develop that list of sponsorship that we require. Again, thank you, Andy.

Stuart S. Janney III:

Thank you very much, Congressman Barr and Congressman Tonko, for that update and your remarks. It is comforting to know that people of your stature understand and fully appreciate the benefits of a healthy Thoroughbred industry. We're grateful for all that you have done, beginning with the formal introduction of your bill more than a year ago and for what you continue to do as we attempt to enhance the integrity of Thoroughbred racing with this legislation. We also appreciate Senator Gillibrand's interest, and it was good that you, Congressman Tonko, pointed that out.

We've come a long way with this legislation. Today there is growing support for it, and it comes from a wide range of industry constituents. We'll keep the industry apprised of the progress with both bills in the weeks and months ahead.

Before we break for a brief ten minute intermission, I'd like to say a few words about Dinny Phipps who left us nearly four months ago.

Dinny devoted his life to this sport and to The Jockey Club in particular. He serves as chairman of The Jockey Club for 32 years, longer than anyone had in the past, and quite likely, longer than anyone will in the future.

Besides providing guidance to the registry and The Jockey Club's affiliated companies, he cared deeply about The Jockey Club's two charitable foundations: Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation, which funds equine research, and The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation, which assists needy individuals in our industry.

When he passed away in early April, the family requested that donations be made to those two charities.

Knowing Dinny as I did, I'm quite sure he would be very happy to learn that in these four months, nearly $400,000 has been donated in his name to those charities. Those funds will help horses and they'll help people who care for horses.

If anyone in the audience today or anyone watching the live video stream would like to still make a contribution to either of these charities, you can do so at the websites or this address listed on the slide.

Dinny took great pride in the Round Table Conference. He always insisted it be topical, interesting, and, above all, productive; that it wasn't just a bunch of talk, but rather a place where influential industry stakeholders could learn about an important initiative that would benefit Thoroughbred racing or hear a progress report on such an initiative.

I think the fact that we have more than 300 people in this room today and hundreds more watching the video stream conveys the widespread interest in this event and the news that emanates from it.

Anyway, we've put together a short video montage to remember Dinny today.

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