Statement from IFHA Chairman Louis Romanet regarding the USA based Stonach Group announcement earlier this week permanently banning raceday medication at its California racetracks of Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields:
"The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), composed of racing authorities and race organizers from all major racing jurisdictions across more than 50 countries, has as its core missions to protect the safety of horses and riders and to ensure the integrity of our sport.
An unwavering anti-doping policy in both training and during competition is of the utmost importance to safeguarding the welfare of racehorses and the fairness of racing.
I am in complete support of the actions and decisions made by The Stronach Group to bring its medication policies in line with international standards, notably those outlined in Article 6 of the IFHA’s International Agreement on Breeding, Racing, and Wagering (IABRW).
Article 6 of the IABRW, drafted with input by racing regulators, veterinarians, chemists, and administrators from around the world, has served as the basis for medication regulation, enforcement, and testing for racing authorities such as the British Horseracing Authority, France Galop, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, Japan Racing Association, Racing Australia among others.
I am calling on other jurisdictions and race organizers in the United States to adopt stringent medication principles in accord with Article 6 of the IABRW. This adoption, in addition to the implementation of the guidelines outlined in the recently introduced Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019, will apply internationally accepted measures that protect horses, jockeys, and all stakeholders of our great sport."
The Stronach Group’s chairman and president, Belinda Stronach, released an open letter announcing their shift in policy.
“The sport of horseracing is the last great sporting legacy platform to be modernised. If we expect our sport to grow for future generations, we must raise our standards. Today, I’m announcing the Stronach Group will take the unprecedented step of declaring zero tolerance for race-day medication at Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields," said Stronach.
"These thoroughbred racetracks will be the first in North America to follow the strict International Federation of Horseracing Authorities standards.
“We have arrived at a watershed moment. The Stronach Group has long been a strong advocate for the abolishment of raceday medication, but we will wait no longer for the industry to come together as one to institute these changes. Nor will we wait for the legislation required to undertake this paradigm shift. We are taking a stand and fully recognise just how disruptive this might be."
The Stronach Group owns seven racecourses in the US, including Gulfstream Park and Laurel Park.