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USTA Addresses Integrity/Safety Act

Published: September 21, 2020 4:44 pm ET

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On Monday, September 21, the United States Trotting Association issued a press release in regard to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.

The contents of the release appear below.


Owners, Trainers, Drivers Will Pay For Federal Legislation If Enacted

Who will pay for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act if it is enacted?

It won’t be the federal government. In fact, the bill explicitly states that the feds won’t be required to put one penny into it, nor will they be responsible for any debts or costs incurred by the newly created Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority (HADA). That mandate is a big reason why the bill has gained momentum on Capitol Hill.

No, the government won’t pay for any of it. But you will!

Here’s how. The text of the bill makes liberal mention of 'per start' fees that likely will be assessed in order to fund this new bureaucratic entity. It’s been the plan all along, and even was confirmed by a Jockey Club representative during a January subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C. Although proponents have been cagey, even evasive, in revealing what that figure will be, it’s widely believed to be in the neighborhood of $45 per start.

That means a few things. One, you’ll take a pay cut. A $45 per start fee will, based upon 2019 start numbers, remove over $13 million from purse accounts. And two, since Standardbreds make more starts than their fragile, lightly-raced Thoroughbred counterparts, harness racing will contribute more toward the operation of HADA than Thoroughbred racing. Never mind that total Thoroughbred purses are three times those of Standardbreds.

Maybe this cost is billed directly to owners. Perhaps money is taken straight out of purse accounts. Maybe drivers’ fees are reduced. We don’t know because the bill doesn’t say. We just know that one way or another, you’re paying for this.

Don’t believe the hype. Please contact your elected representatives to let them know you oppose the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, a bill that will put horses at risk and take money out of your pocket to do it.

To find contact information for your U.S. Senators, click here and 'Choose a State.'

To find contact information for your U.S. Representative (House), click here and enter your zip code.

For a letter template to send to your U.S. Senators and Representatives, click here.

The letter can be sent by email or you can call your Congressman’s office directly to state your opposition to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020. We request that you share it with as many of your colleagues and fellow industry participants as possible and ask them also to contact their representatives in Congress.

If you need additional information or have any questions, contact Dan Leary, director of communications at [email protected].



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