The House Business and Industry committee passed Tuesday a bill sponsored by Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell, to create a fund in the state treasury for the testing of race horses.
“Across New Mexico, horse racing is a vital part of communities — whether people are raising, training, or racing the horses or just enjoying a day at the tracks,” Ezzell said in a statement. “Yet, the future of New Mexico horse racing has been severely jeopardized by scandal, doping and cheating. The New Mexico Racing Commission has attempted to cut down the occurrence of cheating and doping; however, they can only do so much without the help of additional funding.”
More funding would allow the state to increase the number of horses tested for drugs and enable it to perform tests outside of races, such as through random selection prior to races.
Ezzell said horses are given performance enhancing drugs, as well as pain killers to keep them racing, which increases the possibility of accidents and even death for race horses.
“Additionally, each accident has the potential to greatly injure and harm jockeys,” she said. “We must put an end to this.”
House Bill 187 says, “The purpose of the fund is to ensure the testing of racehorses at a laboratory that meets or exceeds the current national laboratory standards for the testing of drugs or other foreign substances not naturally occurring in a horse, as established by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, Inc.”
“We owe it to the betting public to get it right,” Ezzell said. “This is our opportunity to rectify the problem of cheaters not being welcome in New Mexico.”
The bill will move on to the House Appropriations and Finance committee.