Best Horse Racing Betting Sites and Apps: Legal Horse Race Sports Betting

Author:

Alex W

Updated:

Aug 25, 2023

Huge sports fan. Football & MLS fanatic. Lover of all things gambling - Sports betting, Casino, Poker and of course, Las Vegas.

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horse racing betting sites

From the chariot races of ancient Rome to the Grand National race in modern Britain, horse racing is one of humanity’s oldest pastimes. Consequently, betting on horse races is also centuries old and maintains a very high level of popularity in the US and abroad to this day.

While most forms of sports betting in the US became legal after the repeal of PASPA in 2018, legal horse race betting started way back in 1978 due to the sport’s unique pool-based betting system. Today, you can legally bet both at the race track and through online racebooks, with a rich selection of wagers, bonuses, and odds at your disposal.

We’ve compiled a list of the best horse racing betting sites in the US ranked by these parameters to help you find just the right platform for your needs.


Best Horse Racing Betting Sites Reviewed – August 2023

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  • Legal US Racebook
  • Extensive U.S. track coverage
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691 ratings
Review
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  • Legal US Racebook
  • Cash back rewards system
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1148 ratings
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No Sweat First Bet Up To $1,000
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  • Convenient banking
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1265 ratings
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$1,000 First Bet on Caesars
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1444 ratings
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Up To $1,500 In Bonus Bets
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  • Promo Code: GAMBLEUSA
  • Super fast payouts
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Promo Code: BET1000
396 ratings
Review
New Player $1,000 Risk-Free Bet
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  • Huge free bet offer
  • Live betting & Odds boosts
Promo Code: BET1000
New Player $1,000 Risk-Free Bet
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Before you head on to place your bet on the Belmont Stakes or Kentucky Derby, you first have to find a horse racing betting site – also referred to as a racebook in the horse betting market. Different sportsbooks can provide a vastly different experience for prospective bettors. They can differ not only in the bet types and horse races they offer, but also in the horse racing betting bonuses and promotions, as well as their overall design and extra features.

Some venues, like FanDuel, may have a dedicated racebook app specialized for horse racing bets, while others might integrate betting on horses within their usual sportsbook dashboard.

As you’ll see from our reviews, each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and it’s up to the bettor to see which horse racing sites strike their fancy.

Top betting sites for horse racing:

  1.  FanDuel Racing🥇
  2.  Caesars Racebook🥈
  3.  BetMGM Horse Racing🥉
  4.  DK Horse
  5. TwinSpires
  6.  TVG
  7.  AmWager Racebook

FanDuel Racing Review

1148 ratings
Review
No Sweat First Bet Up To $1,000
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  • Convenient banking
  • Massive choice of sports
No Sweat First Bet Up To $1,000
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A titan in the US gambling market, FanDuel is behind one of the best sports betting and DFS platforms available in the country. Then it comes as no surprise that their specialized horse racing betting app called FanDuel Racing is the best betting site for horse racing in the US.

FanDuel Racing is available in 20 states and offers betting odds on the biggest horse racing events both in the US and abroad, including races like the Breeders’ Cup, Kentucky Derby, Dubai World Cup, the Epsom Derby, and so forth.

When it comes to bet types, both the single (Win, Place, Show) and so-called exotic wagers (trifecta, superfecta, etc) are supported over at the racebook. FanDuel Racing can be used both via the mobile app and desktop, both retaining the recognizable FanDuel interface. Overall, the app is pretty easy to use and contains helpful tutorials including those that help newbies understand horse racing odds.

While using FanDuel Racing you can quickly and easily access information about all the racetracks and upcoming races, as well as live-stream ongoing events and view the results from the racetrack.

As far as bonuses go, the welcome promotion is a $20 No Sweat First Bet. While it may seem low, horse racing bonuses tend to be smaller than those in other sports betting markets.


Caesars Racebook Review

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$1,000 First Bet on Caesars
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Next, we have another instantly-recognizable US gambling giant – Caesars Sportsbooks. Besides running successful sportsbooks and online casino platforms, the gambling operator has launched its own dedicated horse betting platform called Caesars Racebook.

Thanks to its fruitful partnership with NYRA Bets, a renowned horse racing betting platform, Caesars Racebook is able to offer odds for over 300 different racetracks across the globe. As for the app, it’s currently available in 16 states, which is less than what most of its competitors offer. While we did find this constraining, Caesars have openly stated they plan on expanding the list to encompass 30 states in the near future.

While the Caesars Racebook app initially launched only for iOS, there’s a fully functional Android app available now as well. After making an account you’ll be able to live-stream the action from the tracks in HD, as well as replay previous races on demand. All the standard and exotic betting options are at your disposal as well.

The Caesars Racebook welcome promotion for new customers is a 100% deposit bonus. The maximum bonus amount depends on the state you’re gambling from and ranges between $200 and $300. The wagering requirement sits at the usual 1x which has to be fulfilled before a payout can be initiated. Another perk of using Caesar’s horse race betting platform is that you’ll be able to participate in the awesome Caesars Rewards program most sports bettors and casino players are pretty familiar with already.


BetMGM Horse Racing Review

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Up To $1,500 In Bonus Bets
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BetMGM Horse Racing is a newly-launched horse race betting app hailing from the well-known online sports betting and online casino operator BetMGM. BetMGM’s foray into horse racing was made possible due to the company’s partnership with NYRA Bets and the New York Racing Association. This partnership allows BetMGM to offer wagers on over 200 different race tracks across the world, and covers Thoroughbred, Harness, and Quarter Horse races.

During this review we found the BetMGM Horse Racing app to be a bit basic, both visually and when it comes to features. Sure, there are helpful guides to assist you if you’re a newcomer to horse betting, but other than that the app is somewhat rudimentary. However, if you came just to place the bets, that process is quick and easy thanks to a clean overview of all the ongoing and future races.

The app can be used either on your mobile device (both iOS and Android), as well as on the desktop version of the app. BetMGM’s horse racing app also features a live streaming tool like others entries on our list, allowing you to keep up with your bets in real-time and watch how the races unfold.

New players can make use of the 100% deposit match bonus at BetMGM, up to $200. As you’ve noticed by now these bonuses are considerably smaller than those in regular sports betting, but this is pretty standard for promotions in the horse race betting industry.

One of BetMGM Horse Racing’s biggest drawbacks is its extremely limited state availability. The app is currently only available in these 3 states – Ohio, Florida, and Louisiana.


DK Horse Review

Launching in 2023, DK Horse is the latest addition to DraftKings‘ growing gambling portfolio after its successful breakthroughs into daily fantasy sports, sports betting, and online casino markets. The pari-mutuel horse racing app came to be as a result of a partnership between DraftKings and Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks.

The DK Horse app is currently available across 16 states, but knowing DraftKings, that number is bound to increase if the local state laws allow them to do so. As with the other horse racing betting sites on our list, DK Horse is available on Android, iOS, and desktop.

DraftKings lets you wager on a variety of top-tier horse racing events including all the Tripple Crown Races – Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. The app itself is extremely pleasurable to use, largely thanks to the tried & tested interface DraftKings has fine-tuned and improved over the years.

The section where DK Horse falters is the extra features. While it does come with live streaming, the ability to inspect the pari-mutuel wagering pools and handicapping sections, the extra analytics many experienced bettors rely on are missing.

As far as bonuses go, DK Horse rewards new users with a 100% deposit match bonus of up to $250. The minimum deposit required here is $25 and the playthrough requirement is 2x. Make sure to enter the promo code HORSE in order to redeem the extra money.


TwinSpires Horse Racing Review

Promo Code: BET1000
396 ratings
Review
New Player $1,000 Risk-Free Bet
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  • Huge free bet offer
  • Live betting & Odds boosts
Promo Code: BET1000
New Player $1,000 Risk-Free Bet
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While most other operators that appeared on our list so far have been companies that originated from “regular” sports betting and online casino spheres, TwinSpires is a bookie that solely focuses on horse racing. Their horse racing betting app launched way back in 2007 and is operated by Churchill Downs Inc – the company behind the Kentucky Derby and the Churchill Downs Racetrack.

The TwinSpires Horse Racing platform supports pretty much every type of bet you can think of, from the trifecta to the quinella, daily double, or pick 6 bets. You can access their platform in 30 states across the US, outmatching most of its competitors by quite a large margin when it comes to availability. The same goes for races, as TwinSpires covers more than 300 thoroughbred, harness, and quarter-horse tracks worldwide.

TwinSpires features a clear, easy-to-use, albeit simplified interface. You can easily manage your betting slip, look for past and upcoming races, access handicapping tools, expert picks, and so forth. The horse racing betting platform is available on desktop, mobile, and tablet.

The current TwinSpires Horse Racing signup bonus rewards new registrees with a $200 deposit match promotion. Unlike percentage-based deposit bonuses present with other bookmakers, here the bonus cash is rewarded in $100 increments for every $400 wagered, meaning you have to wager $800 to get the $200 bonus. Make sure to use the TwinSpires bonus code BET200 to redeem this promotion.


TVG Horse Racing Review

Promo Code: GET250
945 ratings
Review
Get A $250 Bonus Bet
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  • Legal US Racebook
  • Extensive U.S. track coverage
Promo Code: GET250
Get A $250 Bonus Bet
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TVG horse race betting is renowned as the go-to for horse race viewing on television. However, some people may not be aware that it also offers horse betting online.

First, you will need to create an account. This is a straightforward process and takes just a few minutes. You must provide some personal information such as your name, address, phone number, and birthdate. Additionally, you will need to give the last four digits of your Social Security number.

When your account has been verified, you can now bet on any horse race online via the website, and download their horse racing betting app from the App Store. Unfortunately, there is currently no app available for Android users; however, the website is fully optimized for mobile. The usual range of straight and exotic bets is available for bettors. TVG also acts as a hub of information for almost all races, providing critical info on the form of a horse and conditions for a race. As it is TVG, you can watch lots of races online via the TVG website.

The site offers several options for funding your account, including PayPal, TVG BetCash (directly depositing from your bank account), PayNearMe, check, wire transfer, TVG prepaid card, and credit or debit cards.

When you have made your first deposit, the method you used will automatically be chosen as the method to withdraw your cash.

TVG offers a generous bonus code when you first sign up. New users can claim a Risk-Free Bet on their opening wager.All customers receive points for each bet, which can later be used for wager credits.


AmWager Horse Racing Review

691 ratings
Review
Get A $500 Sign Up Bonus
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  • Legal US Racebook
  • Cash back rewards system
Get A $500 Sign Up Bonus
21+. T&C Apply
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AmWager is one of the best new online horse betting operators going.

You must provide your name, phone number, birth date, and Social Security number. Additionally, you must create a username, password, and a PIN for using at tracks.You can only place bets via a mobile browser; there is no app. In addition to that, AmWager offers plenty of straight and exotic bets that a seasoned bettor would expect to find.

Banking options include Express Funding to link your bank account, wire transfer, at the tracks, PayNearMe, and credit card. The same options for withdrawing your winnings are available once they have been used to deposit.

The same as TVG, users get points for each bet which can be redeemed later for wager credits.


Top Horse Racing Betting Sites Comparison

Horse Racing Betting Site🏇Horse Betting Bonus🎁
FanDuel Racing$20 No Sweat First Bet
Caesars Racebook100% deposit match bonus up to $300
BetMGM Horse Racing100% deposit match bonus up to $200
DK Horse100% deposit match bonus of up to $250
TwinSpires Horse Racing$200 deposit match bonus
TVG Horse Racing$200 No Sweat First Bet
AmWager Horse Racing$150
Deposit Match

How To Bet On Horse Racing

Once you have completed the sign-up process and have made your first deposit, you are ready to make your bet and hopefully pick a winner. Therefore, it is vital to know the horse racing betting basics before you start betting. First, you need to locate your selection and your chosen bet type. Next, you need to add this to your bet slip and submit the amount you wish to wager.

You can navigate your way to your race via the track listings or the timeline of races at all three significant racing sites. You will notice the runners for each race, with the odds for win and show and a toggle for more options. Adding a bet to your bet slip is simple and takes seconds.

Most sites place the bet slip to the right, or you will see it pop up on the screen. For single bets, you can add your stake, then confirm to place this. You must first add all the selections to your slip for multiples bets (trifecta, exacta, and superfecta). Once that is done, you can relax and watch the race via a live stream and hope your horses give you some joy.

If you want to bet on a different kind of horse race, virtual horse racing has become extremely popular in the US. The great thing about virtual horse racing is that races will never be called off due to a thunderstorm or bad weather.


Types of Horse Racing Bets

Before making your horse racing picks for the Breeders Cup or for an event at Belmont Park, you should have a grasp on the full range of bets you can place. Placing a horse racing bet on your horse racing betting site of choice is straightforward, but understanding the betting odds how the wager works is more complicated. Below is a snapshot of the different types of bets:

  • Win: Your selected horse must come in first place.
  • Place: Your horse must come in first or second place.
  • Show: Your horse must finish in the top three.
  • TrifectaYou bet on multiple horses, in this case three, and they must finish first, second and third in that exact order.
  • ExactaSame as above but only two horses in exact order.
  • Superfecta: Your horses must finish in the exact order from first to fourth.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with horse racing terms, the more you bet in North America, the more familiar you will become. The sites we have listed on this page will also include horse racing tips for thoroughbred racing and will show consecutive races from different horse racing tracks around the country.

Horse Racing in the US

The best bets for newcomers might be a straight win or place wager, as you are not dealing with cumulative odds. Also, before claiming any bonus always check the bonus wagering requirements before submitting the wager.


Racing Mobile Apps

Betting remotely via your mobile device is extremely easy. The best horse betting sites’ interface ensures their design is compatible with mobile use. The most straightforward way for bettors is to access their websites via their mobile devices. The display will automatically adjust to fit the smaller screen. All of the features, such as live streaming and results/stats, will work as usual.

Dedicated mobile apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store (for Apple devices). Sites including TwinSpires and TVG all offer dedicated mobile apps. Android users can download the app for TVG, but there isn’t one available for the others.


What is Parimutuel Betting?

Parimutuel betting is a betting system commonly used in gambling on horse racing, greyhound racing, and other sports events. The term “parimutuel” comes from the French words “pari mutuel,” which means “mutual betting.” In this system, all bets are pooled together into a single wagering pool, and the odds and payouts are determined by the total amount of money wagered on each selection or outcome.

Here’s how parimutuel betting works:

  • Bets: Bettors place their bets on various possible outcomes of a race or event. For example, in horse racing, you might bet on a specific horse to win, place (come in first or second), or show (come in first, second, or third).
  • Pooling: All the bets placed on a particular outcome are pooled together to create a betting pool. This pool of money is used to pay out the winners.
  • Odds Calculation: As bets come in, the odds for each possible outcome change based on the amount of money wagered on each option. The more money that is bet on a particular outcome, the lower the odds for that outcome become. Conversely, if fewer bets are placed on an outcome, the odds for that outcome increase.
  • Payouts: After the event is over and the outcome is determined, the betting pool is divided among the winning bets. The larger the pool and the fewer winning bets, the higher the payouts for each winning bettor. This means that the payout for a winning bet is not predetermined but depends on the total bets and the odds at the time of betting.
  • House Commission: The parimutuel system deducts a percentage, known as the “takeout” or “house cut,” from the total betting pool. This percentage goes to the racetrack or betting operator to cover operating expenses and profits.

Parimutuel betting is different from fixed-odds betting, where the odds are set at the time of placing the bet and remain fixed regardless of how much money is wagered. Parimutuel betting creates a dynamic and potentially more exciting betting experience, as the odds and potential payouts can change up until the moment the event starts.

Overall, parimutuel betting is designed to create a fair and transparent betting system where the odds and payouts are determined by the collective actions of the bettors. It is widely used in horse racing and other forms of sports betting where multiple outcomes are possible.


How to Read Horse Racing Odds

Everyone may develop their own horse race betting strategy in time, but it is essential to know what the odds mean before you can do that. In every race, the amount of money bet on the individual horses decides the odds. These are stated as positive or negatives.

For example, if you see 5:1, you’ll win $5 for every $1 you stake (plus your initial stake back). Alternatively, if you see 1:5, you will need to bet $5 to win each $1 of return. This is known as an “odds-on” selection, where a race has a firm favorite, which is widely expected to win. The odds for show and place selections are smaller than for win bets as you have multiple chances of being paid.

There is a degree of skill involved in horse racing, as it is challenging to find value from the field. Choosing a potential winner or finding horses whose price is better than their genuine winning chances will earn you excellent profits over time.

Online horse racing betting sites can assist you in making winning selections by providing statistics detailing the results of previous races. These include a list of results, a form guide, past performances, and information on the trainer. In addition, numerous databases are paid services, and racebooks offer them as a benefit for bettors who wager on a specific meeting.


Types of Horse Races in the US

In the United States, horse racing encompasses various types of races, each with its own characteristics and significance. Here are some of the different types of horse races commonly held in the U.S.:

Thoroughbred Racing: Thoroughbred racing is the most prominent type of horse racing in the U.S. It includes a wide range of races, such as:

Claiming Races: Horses are available for purchase before the race, and anyone can claim a horse by submitting a claim slip before the race starts.

Allowance Races: Horses in allowance races are not for sale, and these races are designed for more competitive horses that have won fewer races or haven’t been claimed.

Stakes Races: Stakes races are high-profile events with larger purses. They include Grade 1, Grade 2, and Grade 3 races, which are ranked by prestige and purse size. Examples include the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, and Breeders’ Cup races.

Handicap Races: Horses carry different weights based on their past performance to level the playing field and create a more competitive race.

Quarter Horse Racing: Quarter horse racing is known for its high-speed sprints over short distances (generally a quarter of a mile). It is particularly popular in the southwestern U.S.

Harness Racing: Although less common than thoroughbred racing, harness racing involves trotting or pacing horses pulling drivers in sulkies. The sport is often associated with Standardbred horses and is popular in certain regions.

Steeplechase Racing: Steeplechase races involve horses jumping over obstacles like fences and hurdles. Notable steeplechase events include the Grand National at the Far Hills Race Meeting.

Arabian Racing: Arabian horse racing features purebred Arabian horses competing in flat races, often over short to middle distances.

Mixed Discipline Races: Some tracks host mixed discipline races that combine elements of different types of racing, such as a turf race followed by a jump race.

Match Races: Although less common today, match races involve just two horses competing against each other, often to determine supremacy or settle disputes.

Derby Races: Similar to the Kentucky Derby, many states have their own derby races for three-year-old horses.

Breeders’ Cup: While not a type of race per se, the Breeders’ Cup is a prestigious series of thoroughbred races held annually, attracting top horses from around the world.

State-Bred Races: Many states offer races exclusively for horses bred within that state, promoting local breeding industries.

Claiming Crown: A series of races that focuses on claiming horses, often held as a season-ending event.


How Are The Payouts Decided?

Every racing bet is pooled. The total bet around the country on an individual race is divided among the selections. For example, if $1 million is bet on win in a race, half of this is on a single horse. If the horse triumphs, the winners are paid 1:1. The rewards for show, trifecta, and place are determined in the same way.

To work out how much you could win based on the current odds, you need to multiply your stake by the odds shown and add that stake back in. For example, if you see odds at 8:1 and wager $10. Your payout would be 8 x $10 + $10 = $90.


Most Famous Horse Races In the US

There are historic and prestigious events for all types of horse racing, ranging from Albanian horses to harness. However, in terms of events that capture the public’s imagination, the Triple Crown takes some beating.

This race involves three races for thoroughbreds. Additionally, each has a qualifying stage meaning only the best horses and jockeys can participate. We have included the races involved in the Triple Crown below in date order.

Kentucky Derby

This is held at the Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, KY. The Kentucky Derby has a rich history, starting in 1875, and caps a two-weeklong festival featuring many races.

Preakness Stakes

The second leg of the Triple Crown takes place at the Pimlico Racetrack in Baltimore, MA. Preakness Stakes occurs only two weeks after the Kentucky Derby on the third Saturday in May. It is 1900 meters and on a dirt track.

Belmont Stakes

If a horse has been successful in the previous two races, the eyes of the world will be on the last leg of the Triple Crown. The Belmont Stakes occurs in Elmont, NY, in June. This is a 1.5-mile race and has been going since 1867. If the Triple Crown is at stake, it attracts massive TV audiences.


Types of Horse Betting Bonuses

As you’ve probably noticed, the horse race betting bonuses are considerably smaller and less varied than the promotions offered by sports betting platforms. This is mainly due to the pool (parimutuel) system of betting, which leaves racebooks with a smaller profit margin. While small, horse betting bonuses usually come with more favorable conditions. These are the most common types of horse betting promotions:

Deposit Match Bonuses

With deposit match bonuses, racebooks will reward new registrees by matching their initial deposit up to a certain amount. As we’ve said, they are considerably smaller than regular sports betting bonuses, and among the racebooks we’ve reviewed they’re mostly capped at $200 or $400.

Bonus Bets/Bet Credits

US racebooks also reward players with free horse racing bonus bets and bets credits through a variety of promotions, usually via loyalty programs or race-specific promotions.


States with Legal Horse Race Betting

We have listed the online horse betting legal states below. Bettors can wager online or via a mobile device in the United States, but it is not legal in every state. Players are not required to be residents to bet, they just have to be physically located within state lines.

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

How you can bet differs by state, but some apps are legal in all of the above. In addition, websites and apps available in these states allow betting on races across the country and internationally. Due to its unique betting system, legal horse race betting predates legalized sports betting, but the regulations varied differently from state to state. Following the 2020 horse racing doping scam, the US Congress drafted the Horseracing Safety and Integrity Act, which plans to create national regulations for horse racing and create a new enforcement agency to uphold said law.