Empire State Harness Horsemen’s Alliance opposes Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020

The Empire State Harness Horsemen’s Alliance, representing harness horsemen, owners, trainers and other racing and agriculture industry stakeholders across New York State, opposes S.4547, the federal Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020.

The mission of our Alliance is to support the harness racing industry statewide and to advocate for policies and programs that protect Standardbred horses, ensure the integrity of our game and generate positive economic impacts.

Unfortunately, S.4547 — which was clearly written by Thoroughbred stakeholders with absolutely zero input from the harness industry — will do none of these things and, in fact, will have negative consequences across the board.

On protecting both horses and integrity, the bill’s proposed elimination of race-day Lasix will actually harm Standardbred horses. Both the USTA and countless veterinarians support its health benefits for our equine athletes and therefore it is clear that this wrongheaded proposal — which is not supported by objective evidence — was developed by Thoroughbred interests. On economics and job creation, the bill’s new $45 per start surcharge will no doubt drive many of our smaller players out of the industry entirely….thereby hurting farms, feed stores, veterinarians and others on down the food chain. Again, this will have a much greater impact on harness racing, as Thoroughbreds race far fewer times every year. And finally, it must be noted that this new regulatory body will no doubt be controlled by Thoroughbred stakeholders and the well-being of our harness industry will likely never be a high priority.

On behalf of the Harness Horse Association of Central New York, Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association, Saratoga Harness Horsepersons Association, Standardbred Owners Association, Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association, and the tens of thousands of hard-working racing and agriculture stakeholders they represent, we once again urge the United States Senate to reject this ill-advised piece of legislation.

Should you have any questions about ESHHA’s position, please call Joe Faraldo at 718.544.6800 or Joni Yoswein at 212.233.5700.

Thank you.

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