Bill would be a winning bet
Now that the grandeur and excitement of the mass appeal Triple Crown races have passed for the year, thoroughbred racing will retreat to relative obscurity.
But a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Joseph Pitts, a Lancaster Republican, should ensure that the horse-racing business gets the regulatory oversight it needs to protect horses and jockeys.
A ground-breaking report by The New York Times last year revealed that an average of 24 horses a week die at U.S. racetracks and that many jockeys are seriously injured. It revealed doping as a key cause of horses breaking down.
The bill would give the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency authority to set and enforce standards. And the bill itself specifically would outlaw race-day medication of injured horses, set a medication policy for any race included in interstate simulcast wagering, set stiff penalties for cheating including lifetime bans in egregious cases, ensure that equine treatment complies with veterinary ethics, and exclude non-compliant tracks from interstate wagering.
Beyond safety and veterinary ethics, money is at stake. Americans bet $10.8 billion on races last year. They deserve assurances that the horses are sound. Congress should pass the bill.