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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Congress Requests Info from Racing Association

Last week, the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a letter to the President of the Racing Commissioners International (RCI) requesting certain information to six specific questions, no later than June 2nd. The letter was sparked by both the death of Eight Belles and a previous hearing by the Subcommittee on performance-enhancing drugs held in February with an eye towards new legislation to address the drugs issue.

The information requested is as follows:

- Number of trainers penalized for medication or performance-enhancing drugs during the last five years, including names, infraction and terms.
- Number of horses suffering fatal injuries on racetracks around the country, including nature and severity of injuries.
- Whether a comprehensive tracking system for injuries is supported or would it support in the future.
- Regulations imposed on breeding operations in states where slots subsidize breeding to ensure that thoroughbreds are biologically engineered to be durable and sound.
- Whether the association supports a central governing body similar to other countries.
- What are the most pressing problems facing the industry and what reforms can be initiated to address them.

The letter is signed by the chair of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, which has "primary jurisdiction over the commercial practices of sports and gambling, including the Interstate Horseracing Act (IHA)."

As thoroughbred racing has no centralized authority, the letter was sent to the RCI because it is the "association that represents State racing commissions, which play the key role as primary regulators of Thoroughbred horseracing in the United States." RCI's website lists the following mission statement: "To protect and uphold the integrity of the pari-mutuel sports of horse racing, dog racing and jai-alai through an informed membership, by encouraging forceful and uniform regulation, by promoting the health and welfare of the industry through various programs and projects."

Buckle your seat belts folks, the suits in Washington are now in the game.



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