Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity
James L. Gagliano
James L. Gagliano — President and Chief Operating Officer, The Jockey Club

Stuart S. Janney III:
Thank you, Edwin. We are indeed experiencing challenges and growing pains, so it's reassuring to hear that you've been down a similar road and that USADA stands ready to assist.

I hope you've enjoyed your time here in Saratoga, and we very much look forward to seeing more of you in the future.

The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity was launched about a month ago, and Jim Gagliano is going to tell us about its short history and about its future plans…

James L. Gagliano:
Thank you, Stuart.

As I stand here today, I'm representing the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity.

I'd like to share some insights into the creation, the development, and the goals of the Coalition and some thoughts on what the racing landscape might look like in the future if we achieve those goals.

I think it's safe to say that everyone in this room knows our industry needs to reform its practices when it comes to the use of drugs, drug testing, and penalties.

The current system was created long before racing was the interstate business it has become and it has not adequately changed with the times.

We may not all agree on the best road to reform, but we do agree that change is needed.

At recent editions of this conference, we have painstakingly presented factual updates regarding the progress on reform efforts. There is no need to belabor the point except to say that wide gaps remain, and as Dr. Anderson indicated earlier, we may need to go even further in some of these reforms.

Instead, we should focus our efforts today on reconciling our differences. Frankly, we're too small an industry not to do so. Our leaders, in fact, are largely in this room.

With the recent introduction of H.R.3084, the Thoroughbred Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2015, significant elements of the industry have come together to support legislation that will designate USADA to establish the Thoroughbred Horse Racing Anti‑ Doping Authority.

We'll call that THADA.

Importantly, the THADA Board will have industry representation and industry input.       

Racing commissions, horsemen, vets, racetrack operators and other industry associations are all constituencies that can be represented. THADA will set anti‑doping rules for prohibited substances, out‑of‑competition testing, uniform penalties, and the accreditation and oversight of drug testing labs.

As the bill clearly states, Thoroughbred horse racing ‑‑ the Thoroughbred horse racing anti‑doping program, will also take into consideration international anti‑doping standards, including the world anti‑doping code.

Having one independent organization will enhance the integrity of the game, and I think Edwin just made a very compelling case for the way USADA has been able to help other sports.

We all have our self‑interests, as we should. For those of you who opposed this legislation or wished to remain neutral while state-by-state reforms play out, I'd ask you to pause for a moment and consider the alternative, and what the landscape might look like soon if H.R.3084 became law.

If you're a member of a state racing commission, imagine the day when your racing commission meetings, your time, and your press coverage are not dominated with talk of drug testing laboratories, medication thresholds, penalties. Under H.R.3084, you'll have an independent body setting the standards, enforcing those standards, and prosecuting those who violate them all in a coordinated and uniform manner.

If you're a horseman or veterinarian, imagine the day when you don't have to worry about drug thresholds and withdrawal times every time you ship a horse to a neighboring state or distant jurisdiction to compete.

If you're a racetrack operator or a bettor, imagine the day when you have complete and utter confidence that the horses at your racetrack are all competing on a level playing field, or the day when you have the complete faith that every horse in every race is winning on talent, not on pharmacological substance. I imagine that racetrack operators and bettors will long remember the 26‑day period earlier this year in Indiana when the drug testing laboratory missed seven positive tests, including the Class 1 drug commonly referred to as Ritalin.

As an industry, we often aspire to emulate the successful professional sports leagues, especially those that have aggressively attacked the issue of performance‑enhancing drugs.

We may never share revenues as they do, but wouldn't uniformity of rules and penalties greatly improve perceptions inside and outside of our sport?

This legislation took nearly nine months to develop, and it included input from USADA and from our fellow Coalition members. These groups all exist for different reasons, but we all share a common goal and a common bond through this Coalition.

We believe that this particular piece of legislation can once and for all bring much needed uniformity to the sport. We hope and expect that others will be joining this effort, including many of the industry groups that are here today and other breeds.

In fact, with his expressed approval, I'm very pleased to share with you that Frank Stronach, representing The Stronach Group, met yesterday with Edwin [Moses] about the legislation, and he has embraced it, subject to confirmation about the THADA Board's mandates. We look forward to working with Mr. Stronach.

Finally, on behalf of the Coalition, I'd like to briefly acknowledge the efforts of several individuals and organizations.

First, Congressman Andy Barr of Kentucky, and Congressman Paul Tonko of New York…They're the sponsors of H.R.3084, and they have great appreciation for the economic impact of the sport and realize the importance of a healthy Thoroughbred industry in their respective districts.

I also want to add that this morning we met with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who said to us today that she will be the sponsor of similar legislation in the U.S. Senate. We thank Senator Gillibrand.

I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge Representative Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, Representative Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, and Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico, each of whom deserves credit for bringing the issue of medication reform to the halls of Congress in recent years.

I'd like to recognize the leadership exhibited by Bill Farish and Craig Fravel on behalf of Breeders' Cup in support of the Coalition. It has been determined, focused and inspirational.

The founders of WHOA, many of you who are here today, all deserve a great deal of credit for building a diverse and influential industry force. To date, from my understanding, more than 1200 individuals have signed on to support WHOA.

Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States and his team have contributed to the Coalition a reasoned and valuable perspective along the way.

Garrett O'Rourke and Chauncey Morris of KTA and KTOB were an integral part of the process we went through, and lent valuable insights to the Coalition as it was being formed.

Edwin Moses, Travis Tygart, Annie Skinner, and the entire USADA team who have taken such a deep interest in our sport and have given so generously of their time over the last several years as evidenced by their presentation today, we thank you.

The formal introduction of the bill July 16th was an important step forward.

It will take determination, unity and support to move it forward.

It will take reconciliation and probably some sacrifice in the name of the greater good.

But most importantly, it will take dialogue, ongoing dialogue.

Every member of this Coalition believes we are going down the right path and this is good legislation.

We agree with Governor Beshear that the only way to comprehensively achieve these changes is through federal legislation. We believe that our athletes will be safer, the integrity of competition will be enhanced, and the image of our sport will be improved when this legislation is passed.

To those of you who have not become supporters, we look forward to working with you in the days and weeks ahead. I invite each of you to contact the Coalition with your thoughts and constructive comments so that we may advance this important initiative together.

Thank you for your time.

Back Agenda Next