Federal Issue Brief

 H.R. 1733/S. 886, The Interstate Horseracing Improvement Act of 2011

PDF fileView PDF version

AVMA Position:



Introduced by Congressman Edward Whitfield (KY-1st) and Senator Tom Udall (NM), H.R. 1733/S. 886 would amend the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 to: 
  1. Prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in horses on race-day in a race subject to interstate off-track wagering.
  2. Creates requirements for an 'accredited third party conformity assessment body'.
  3. Civil penalties and suspensions from racing are laid out based on the number of violations.
  4. Enforcement would be carried out by the host racing commission or the Federal Trade Commission.


  • There is no central agency that regulates medication use in racehorses.


  • This bill is not consistent with AVMA policy on Therapeutic Medications in Racehorses.
  • The AVMA and Association of Equine Practitioners support the responsible use and regulation of valid therapeutic medications in horseracing.
  • The definition of performance-enhancing drugs is extremely broad and could be taken to include drugs that do not affect performance of the horse.
  • There is no specific authorization of appropriations in this bill to carry out the required provisions.

Current Status:

  • H.R. 1733: Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.
  • S. 886: Referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

 AVMA Contact:

Dr. Whitney L. Miller, Assistant Director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division, 202-289-3211.