‘A Monumental Step In The Right Direction’: Tygart Hopes USADA Can Help Reform Horse Racing

There has been a recent spike in discussion following passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) by Congress  last week. Some may be skeptical on whether the creation of a national Authority truly will have an impact on the regulation of medication and safety policies in American racing, but Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), believes USADA’s involvement could be just what the industry needs, according to columnist Dan Wolken in USA Today.

“I think it should be night and day because the current system is a myriad, a patchwork of different rules and regulations and it’s not applied evenly across any of the 38 different racing jurisdictions,” Tygart told Wolken. “Our hope is to absolutely professionalize it and give those in the sport confidence that it works and that there is no choice other than to win the right way, which is clean and ultimately that’s going to benefit the sport itself as well as the health of the animal.”

Two scandals within the racing industry this year involving Bob Baffert’s four separate medication violations and the FBI probe that led to 27 people being indicted for illegally conspiring to dope racehorses have amplified the need for intervention from the government and the USADA. Wolken wrote. An independent oversight program can eliminate the conflicts of interest within the current state horse racing boards, which are typically occupied by people with financial interests in racing or involvement in some way.

“it created a perfect storm where there’s no other solution,” Tygart said. “The status quo is unacceptable and this is a monumental step in the right direction.

“There’s a lot of money being made under the status quo and we saw that when we took over the Olympic world as well,” Tygart told Wolken. “So are we going to be able to get people off their little fiefs that are churning money? Let’s hope they come along and get on board, but if they are earning that money the wrong way they’re going to get sanctioned and that’s the way it ought to be.”

Read more at usatoday.com.

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