Delegates who attended the 52nd International Conference of Horseracing Authorities on Arc weekend in Paris, France heard presentations relating to the health, welfare, and safety of jockeys, the harmonization of rules, and the stimulation of betting handle.
In the days leading up to the conference, several of them took the opportunity to share their respective thoughts on Article 6 of the IFHA International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering.
Article 6 addresses the ” biological integrity of the horse”, prohibited substances, genetic and cellular manipulations, prohibited practices, medication in training, and out-of-competition testing. It is designed to ensure that a horse is allowed to compete only when free from the influence of drugs and medication, and it includes assurances that the horse has not received alterations to its genome with the intent of enhancing performance.
Among the provisions of Article 6 is the relatively new 6E, which provides specific guidance for out of competition testing, a regulatory initiative of increasing importance to detect more sophisticated attempts to enhance performance.
Since its inception in 2012, the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) has continuously lobbied for a ban on raceday medication in North America to align with international standards in Article 6. WHOA’s goal is the passage of the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 and the creation of a Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority in the U.S.
Under the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority, there would be full adoption of the specific principles contained in Article 6.
Following are comments provided to WHOA by some of those IFHA delegates.
Louis Romanet, International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities:
“Horse racing is an increasingly global sport. In order to safeguard the fairness of competition and confidence of stakeholders, bettors, and the public at large, racing authorities throughout the world must adopt and enforce robust doping control measures that include out-of-competition testing. Only under these regulations will we ensure that racehorses do not compete under the influence of any prohibited substance.”
Nick Rust, Chief Executive, British Horseracing Authority:
“In Great Britain, along with most other leading horseracing nations, we have subscribed to Article 6 of the IFHA agreement, which prohibits the use of such substances. We realize the difficulties of introducing such measures across all states, but we would like to see the United States follow suit so that there is widespread adoption of Article 6 throughout the world.”
Brian Kavanagh, Horseracing Ireland:
“Horse racing and thoroughbred breeding are now truly global activities and it is only a matter of time before we see uniform medication and anti-doping rules worldwide. Drug testing and anti-doping policies are the cornerstone of our industry and as the equine world becomes smaller, the rationale for uniformity becomes more obvious.”
Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chairman, Asian Racing Federation:
“The Asian Racing Federation’s guiding principles are based upon a commitment to the values of fair competition, transparency, health and welfare of racehorses, and respect for fans. The use of prohibited substances is fundamentally contrary to these values.”
Andrew Harding, Executive Director, Racing, Hong Kong Jockey Club:
“The Hong Kong Jockey Club adopts a zero tolerance regulatory approach to the use and abuse of prohibited substances and backs it up with stringent enforcement. This approach is consistent with our world view that there is simply no place for doping in racing at any time.”
Dr. Makoto Inoue, Presidential Counsellor for International Affairs, Japan Racing Association:
“The Japan Racing Association strongly believes that there is simply no place for the misuse of doping agents in racing. The JRA takes pride in our comprehensive integrity system, which ensures a high level of testing of racehorses, both in and out of competition.”
Frances Nelson QC, Racing Australia:
“Stringent anti-doping measures are key to ensuring that horses compete in races free from the presence or effect of substances which may be performance-enhancing. Racing Australia fully supports the IFHA’s approach to Article 6. Without it’s global adoption, the integrity of racing is compromised.”
Oscar Bertoletti, OSAF, South American Organization for the Promotion of Thoroughbreds:
“Thoroughbred racing is following the same path as other sports have, regarding the process of globalization, the uniformity of rules, and the welfare of its athletes. It is in this direction where OSAF has been continuously working, in line with IFHA´s strategic policy of Tolerance Zero regarding the use of forbidden substances in competition.”
It is WHOA’s firm belief that through passage of The Horseracing Integrity Act now before congress, U.S. racing will be able to fully support the provisions of Article 6 and meet uniformity with the highest international standards.