Congress Sets Hearing on Health, Safety in Horse Racing

A subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce will conduct a hearing on health and safety issues in horse racing April 30 in Pennsylvania, according to an April 23 notice.

The hearing was called by U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania. Pitts chairs the committee's Subcommittee on Health.

A list of speakers could not be immediately confirmed, but Thoroughbred owners and breeders Roy and Gretchen Jackson and George Strawbridge are expected to testify. Pitts' notice said witnesses will be announced "and are by invitation only."

The hearing will be held in Pitts' district at Unionville High School in Kennett Square, Pa. The hearing is titled "A Review of Efforts to Protect the Health of Jockeys and Horses in Horseracing."

The hearing has been in the works for about two weeks but hadn't been made official until the notice. It comes about a month after two members of Congress reintroduced controversial legislation that would ban all race-day medication in racehorses.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. EDT, six days before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) is run at Churchill Downs. The last congressional hearing on horse racing was held in June 2008 and dealt with similar issues, including equine medication.

The notice said a bipartisan staff meeting is scheduled for April 27 in Washington, D.C., to discuss the hearing.

About the Author

Tom LaMarra

Tom LaMarra, a native of New Jersey and graduate of Rutgers University, has been news editor at The Blood-Horse since 1998. After graduation he worked at newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as an editor and reporter with a focus on municipal government and politics. He also worked at Daily Racing Form and Thoroughbred Times before joining The Blood-Horse. LaMarra, who has lived in Lexington since 1994, has won various writing awards and was recognized with the Old Hilltop Award for outstanding coverage of the horse racing industry. He likes to spend some of his spare time handicapping races.

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