Editor’s Note: This statement is from Tony Somone, Executive Director of the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association, which has 500 members and represents approximately 2,000 harness racing industry jobs within the state.
Hinsdale, IL – The Illinois Harness Horsemen stand in staunch opposition to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 (HISA).
Those that support this proposed legislation do not speak for us and most certainly do not speak on behalf of the stars of our sport, the horses. To eliminate the use of Lasix would be counterproductive to what science tells us and simply inhumane. In this day and age, we have been bombarded with the message to “trust the science.” Look no further than the recent statement by the North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians (NAARV) who oppose this legislation as well. They are the experts, they are the ones we should be listening to. To see the NAARV statement, click here.
This proposal has other red flags in it as well. Harness horsemen will be paying a disproportionate amount to fund it and we do not believe that the individual state regulatory agencies can work successfully in conjunction with a newly formed federal agency and have little faith in the actual execution of it all.
We understand and encourage measures to insure that horse racing is held to the highest degree of integrity. However, this knee jerk reaction which appears to us as an attempt to muddy the waters on the issue of catastrophic breakdowns in Thoroughbred racing is not the answer. We implore Congress to see through this game of smoke and mirrors and oppose this poorly thought out piece of legislation. Thank you.
The Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association.