Water Hay Oats Alliance launches new website

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The Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA), a grassroots movement of individuals who support the passage of federal legislation to prohibit the use of performance enhancing drugs on race day, is pleased to announce the launch of the organization’s new website.

Founded in May of this year by Arthur and Staci Hancock, Gretchen and Roy Jackson, and George Strawbridge, Jr., WHOA was formed to give the growing number of concerned horsemen the ability to band together and speak as a group.


“The alliance was formed by a group of Thoroughbred owners who are tired of the drugs, both legal and illegal, given on race day,” explained Gretchen Jackson. “It is our goal to create a win-win situation for those who love the sport and the horses.”

 “The website will allow interested parties to add their names to the WHOA membership roster, keep abreast of news, and join forces to support the legislation,” added Staci Hancock.  

WHOA founders and supporters agree that the widespread use of race day medication in America is damaging the sport, that the industry has demonstrated that it cannot police itself, and that Federal legislation is currently the only viable solution.  “By an amendment to the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978, national uniformity can be accomplished.” said Strawbridge.  

“The time has come to accept the Federal government’s offer to help us clean up our sport.  We need to work with them, not against them, if we are serious,” said Arthur Hancock. “This is what the Water Hay Oats Alliance is all about…..working for clean racing and a better future for our horses, our jockeys, our sport and the next generation.”

Click here to visit the website.

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  • ParkedWithoutCover

    Question? Why do a lot of these people that signed this document still race their own horses on medication?

    • Equine Avenger

      Anyone that has to ask that question is truly clueless.

      • May Flower

         Truly clueless.

        • Big Red

          Truly clueless because the answer is obvious, they are simply hypocrites looking for a reason to their recent years of lack of success.
          Why not survey the top horsemen what they think rather then a bunch of  wanna-be trainers.

          • Doubleaccord

            Right, and while we’re at at, let’s canvas junkies to see if they are for or against legalizing heroin, and the military brass to see how they’d feel about cutting the defense budget.

          • McGov

            Nice one.

          • Stanley inman

            “… Why not survey the top horsemen what they think…”

            Why don’t top horsemen speak out?
            Excellent observation, big red.

            How about,
            Because they know raceday meds are performance enhancing;
            Because they can do it; they just don’t want to talk about it?
            Naturally,
            Because it puts their own economic interest before the horse.
            Is that what you meant when you referred to “hypocrites”?
            Now I see it.

          • Big Red

            My point is that trainers like Motion, Pletcher, Asmussen, Mott, all train for these people and support the use of the lasix.  Stop with the “keep up with the Joneses”. If an owner wants to ban all meds on race day, then go race in England.

          • Joe S.

            Yes, and be sure to include ” top horseman” R. Dutrow in the survey!!

    • stillriledup

       Beacuse they have to keep up with the Joneses. If you race on no medication while others are racing on medication, you’re putting yourself behind the 8 ball. Im sure that many owners would love to race medication free and on ‘oats and hay’, but the powers that be have not passed such rules. Racing has owners and trainers who willingly cheat and owners and trainers who only cheat to ‘keep up’…its the owners and trainers who are the willing cheaters that will only stop if the rules change.

      The owners and trainers who do enough to keep up with the joneses would love legislation passed to level the playing field, but until that happens, those owners have to keep doing what they’re doing to remain competitive.

      • Hossracergp

        Cheat to “keep up”?  Now, I’ve heard it all.  Do you really think the people who are smart enough to cheat with undetectables will stop using them if raceday meds are not allowed? That’s funny. 

        If you have a headache and take an asprin to feel better, will I feel even better than you do if I take an asprin and I don’t have a headache?

        If you’re going to pat yourself on the back and take a stand against something, then do it. Make the sacrifice and stand up for your ethics, that’s called having character and integrity.

        But to stand up and say everyone should stop doing something because I don’t think it’s right, but I will continue to do it too until they stop doing it is just plain ridiculous.

        That is pretending to have ethics and integrity if you can’t muster up enough courage to act on your beliefs.

        • Convene

           Perhaps in some cases. However, when you go broke because you can’t beat the drug users, you go out of business and another voice for the level playing field is gone.

          • Hossracergp

            The individuals involved in the creation of WHOA are those least likely to go out of the racing business. If you make the Forbes 500 list, chances are good you are not worrying about how to pay your training bill at the end of the month.

  • ParkedWithoutCover

    Question? Why do a lot of these people that signed this document still race their own horses on medication?

  • Equine Avenger

    Anyone that has to ask that question is truly clueless.

  • May Flower

     Truly clueless.

  • Big Red

    Truly clueless because the answer is obvious, they are simply hypocrites looking for a reason to their recent years of lack of success.
    Why not survey the top horsemen what they think rather then a bunch of  wanna-be trainers.

  • stillriledup

     Beacuse they have to keep up with the Joneses. If you race on no medication while others are racing on medication, you’re putting yourself behind the 8 ball. Im sure that many owners would love to race medication free and on ‘oats and hay’, but the powers that be have not passed such rules. Racing has owners and trainers who willingly cheat and owners and trainers who only cheat to ‘keep up’…its the owners and trainers who are the willing cheaters that will only stop if the rules change.

    The owners and trainers who do enough to keep up with the joneses would love legislation passed to level the playing field, but until that happens, those owners have to keep doing what they’re doing to remain competitive.

  • Hossracergp

    Cheat to “keep up”?  Now, I’ve heard it all.  Do you really think the people who are smart enough to cheat with undetectables will stop using them if raceday meds are not allowed? That’s funny. 

    If you have a headache and take an asprin to feel better, will I feel even better than you do if I take an asprin and I don’t have a headache?

    If you’re going to pat yourself on the back and take a stand against something, then do it. Make the sacrifice and stand up for your ethics, that’s called having character and integrity.

    But to stand up and say everyone should stop doing something because I don’t think it’s right, but I will continue to do it too until they stop doing it is just plain ridiculous.

    That is pretending to have ethics and integrity if you can’t muster up enough courage to act on your beliefs.

  • Doubleaccord

    Right, and while we’re at at, let’s canvas junkies to see if they are for or against legalizing heroin, and the military brass to see how they’d feel about cutting the defense budget.

  • Stanley inman

    Bravo,
    Love the name;

    Apologists for raceday meds;
    Want to discuss water, hay, oats?
    Tell us how that harms the horse, the sport, the breed, the racefan, the track owner.
    Be specific please.

  • Stanley inman

    Bravo,
    Love the name;

    Apologists for raceday meds;
    Want to discuss water, hay, oats?
    Tell us how that harms the horse, the sport, the breed, the racefan, the track owner.
    Be specific please.

  • McGov

    Nice one.

  • Stanley inman

    “… Why not survey the top horsemen what they think…”

    Why don’t top horsemen speak out?
    Excellent observation, big red.

    How about,
    Because they know raceday meds are performance enhancing;
    Because they can do it; they just don’t want to talk about it?
    Naturally,
    Because it puts their own economic interest before the horse.
    Is that what you meant when you referred to “hypocrites”?
    Now I see it.

  • Jon Cohen

    It is truly unfortunate that this business has so many hypocrites in it.  Let’s see all those good ole boys take this same stand and clean up their own backyard first.  Let’s see them RAISE AND SELL horses to the end users using only the aforementioned hay, oats, and water.  Start with CLEAN HORSE SALES.  It is laughable that they want to lay the evil in the industry on the end users. Talk about biting the hands that feed !!!

    • Cass

       Wait a minute here,  I sell several yearlings annually  and I ONLY use grain, hay and pasture and I know several breeders that do exactly the same.  Don’t paint us all with the same brush

  • Jon Cohen

    It is truly unfortunate that this business has so many hypocrites in it.  Let’s see all those good ole boys take this same stand and clean up their own backyard first.  Let’s see them RAISE AND SELL horses to the end users using only the aforementioned hay, oats, and water.  Start with CLEAN HORSE SALES.  It is laughable that they want to lay the evil in the industry on the end users. Talk about biting the hands that feed !!!

  • Carapanfarm

    Why is medicating a Racehorse, an athelete, always have to be construed as “hopping”, “juicing” and seemingly associated with the”Dirtbag Element” of the industry?
    Equine atheletes, as do human atheletes, sometimes require a maintaince program of medication to help them during thier rigorous racing careers.
    I am amazed at the fact that we hardly ever hear anyone complain about Dwayne Wade having numerous injections in his damaged knee, so that he would be able to continue on with his quest for an NBA championship, or the many Pro Football players who leave for the locker room for a “bit of repairs”, and soon return to action.
    I am also confounded with the fact that a “Milkshake”, consisting of simple baking soda and water, would be deemed as illegal, yet it has been shown to considerbly help horses during the extreme stress of racing. It certianly makes sense that we should be constantly seeking ways to help these animals and not stick our heads in the sand because it was initally done on the QT.

    • Sampan

       A horse can’t complain.
      That’s why it needs WHOA.
      WHOA is out to protect the horse and sport.
      Plain and simple.

      • Dc

        You must not get around horses much, because they sure can complain, it is up to us to listen.

    • Sean Kerr

      Because milk shaking helps the horse perform past its natural ability and feel no pain at a crucial point in the race – as we know the racing community loves to run a horse by masking unsoundess. It is unethical to push a horse when it needs a rest. Maybe Salix isn’t juicing – but if a horse is bleeding it is telling us it needs time to heal. It is naive to think that the racing community is focusing on therapeutic – then why do so many trainers vet bills exceed the training bill? What about stacking? Surely you are aware that therapeutic and legal meds are being over-prescribed and abused. Ditto the welfare of the horse: the horse has no say, no choice in deciding if it needs to take a rest. A failure to see the reality of these points is to live in denial.

      • Carapanfarm

        Milk shaking in no way helps a horse perform past it’s natural ability, it enables it to recover a little quicker during the race. There is no way that milk shaking can in any way mask unsoundness.
        My question for Sean Kerr, Have you put your money where your mouth is? Have you owned a Race Horse, experianced the ups and downs of the business?

        • Cass

           yes the business is up and down but this is not an excuse to milk shake a horse and yes I do own and breed racehorses

          • Carapanfarm

            My point is, if a milk shake is not a narcotic, not harmful and indeed helpful, than why should it be illegal? Do we have to search for excuses to help an Equine Athelete? If milk shakes were made legal than it would be up to the individual owner/trainers to take advantage of using it.  

    • RayT

      Here, Here….You hit the nail on the head. The problem with any of the drugs used in racing either theraputic or illegal hops are not understood by the general public. It kills me the same people who sound off the loudest against drugs, take nsaids and asprin and others for pain, anti acids for heartburn, fat burners, sleep aids, cold meds, arthritis meds, coffee, soda, energy drinks, alcohol etc etc to make it thru their day, but expect ALL athletes to preform “Clean”.

      Sodium Bicarb is the greatest example of over reaching. Yes it will increase the O2 level in the blood/muscle which in turn fades off fatique. It will not make a horse or human run faster, just delay and reduce the latic acid production. It will not mask other drugs, it will not reduce pain, if anything it will increase pain levels as the nerve endings will simulate with the added O2 level. This has always been used not so much for the race itself, but to reduce the recovery after the race. It is greatly effective in reducing a condition known as Azoturia which occurs commonly in fillies after a hard work or race. It is also greatly effective in treatment of stomach ulcers. I could name several more ailments which benefit greatly from the evil Sodium Bicarb, but why, evil evil evil……

      There are alot of bad drugs in horse racing that need to be banned as they are. Enforcement seems to be the problem there. How many Cocaine positives does it take to totally ban a trainer????

      This is my two cents. I have breed, owned, trained TB’s for over 40 years, and have always put the horse first and will continue to. If this means treating a ailment with medication, so be it.

      • Dc

        Extremely well said, but it makes too much sense, the naysayers have a problem with comprehension.

        • Tinky

          Makes “too much sense”?

          This is completely ridiculous:

          “Sodium Bicarb is the greatest example of over reaching. Yes it will increase the O2 level in the blood/muscle which in turn fades off fatique. It will not make a horse or human run faster, just delay and reduce the latic acid production.”

          The notion that milkshaking doesn’t allow horses to run faster is sheer fantasy. Ask any trainer – and there are many – who has used them on his horses. 

          You might also take a look at the records of the following three NY trainers before, during, and after Dr. Galvin was caught red-handed giving a milkshake: Sciacca, O’ Brien, Bond. 

          • Rayt

            I’ll type real slow so maybe you’ll get it. We are discussing SODIUM BICARB, effect and usage, not the other ingredients to said “milkshake”.

            I have used sodium bicarb on many horses, for many different ailments, not one, not a single one has picked up a single tick as far as being faster. 

            I speak from experience, over 1000 starts as a trainer, 1500 as a owner, winning 21.45%…….. I know trainers who run 100% drug free and I know trainers that can only run thru the needle.

  • Carapanfarm

    Why is medicating a Racehorse, an athelete, always have to be construed as “hopping”, “juicing” and seemingly associated with the”Dirtbag Element” of the industry?
    Equine atheletes, as do human atheletes, sometimes require a maintaince program of medication to help them during thier rigorous racing careers.
    I am amazed at the fact that we hardly ever hear anyone complain about Dwayne Wade having numerous injections in his damaged knee, so that he would be able to continue on with his quest for an NBA championship, or the many Pro Football players who leave for the locker room for a “bit of repairs”, and soon return to action.
    I am also confounded with the fact that a “Milkshake”, consisting of simple baking soda and water, would be deemed as illegal, yet it has been shown to considerbly help horses during the extreme stress of racing. It certianly makes sense that we should be constantly seeking ways to help these animals and not stick our heads in the sand because it was initally done on the QT.

  • Joe S.

    Yes, and be sure to include ” top horseman” R. Dutrow in the survey!!

  • voiceofreason

    Good for them. Positive step. More of this, less of the other crap.

  • voiceofreason

    Good for them. Positive step. More of this, less of the other crap.

  • Sampan

     A horse can’t complain.
    That’s why it needs WHOA.
    WHOA is out to protect the horse and sport.
    Plain and simple.

  • Big Red

    My point is that trainers like Motion, Pletcher, Asmussen, Mott, all train for these people and support the use of the lasix.  Stop with the “keep up with the Joneses”. If an owner wants to ban all meds on race day, then go race in England.

  • Sean Kerr

    Because milk shaking helps the horse perform past its natural ability and feel no pain at a crucial point in the race – as we know the racing community loves to run a horse by masking unsoundess. It is unethical to push a horse when it needs a rest. Maybe Salix isn’t juicing – but if a horse is bleeding it is telling us it needs time to heal. It is naive to think that the racing community is focusing on therapeutic – then why do so many trainers vet bills exceed the training bill? What about stacking? Surely you are aware that therapeutic and legal meds are being over-prescribed and abused. Ditto the welfare of the horse: the horse has no say, no choice in deciding if it needs to take a rest. A failure to see the reality of these points is to live in denial.

  • R.A.C.E. Fund, Inc.

    Just Say Whoa to Drugs!

  • R.A.C.E. Fund, Inc.

    Just Say Whoa to Drugs!

  • Carapanfarm

    Milk shaking in no way helps a horse perform past it’s natural ability, it enables it to recover a little quicker during the race. There is no way that milk shaking can in any way mask unsoundness.
    My question for Sean Kerr, Have you put your money where your mouth is? Have you owned a Race Horse, experianced the ups and downs of the business?

  • Cass

     Wait a minute here,  I sell several yearlings annually  and I ONLY use grain, hay and pasture and I know several breeders that do exactly the same.  Don’t paint us all with the same brush

  • Cass

     yes the business is up and down but this is not an excuse to milk shake a horse and yes I do own and breed racehorses

  • Convene

    I think George Strawbridge’s comment on the WHOA site sums it up pretty well. I personally have no objection to therapeutic drugs used during layup to treat specific injuries. I just have an objection to their use in racing horses. Seems to me if they still need the meds, they’re not done healing. Cleaning up the gene pool might be tricky now and won’t happen quickly. Some things just keep passing from generation to generation and breeding them out will take time. I know plenty of folks will take umbrage to these views and no doubt that’s their right. Me? I say, “Hats off to WHOA.”

  • Convene

    I think George Strawbridge’s comment on the WHOA site sums it up pretty well. I personally have no objection to therapeutic drugs used during layup to treat specific injuries. I just have an objection to their use in racing horses. Seems to me if they still need the meds, they’re not done healing. Cleaning up the gene pool might be tricky now and won’t happen quickly. Some things just keep passing from generation to generation and breeding them out will take time. I know plenty of folks will take umbrage to these views and no doubt that’s their right. Me? I say, “Hats off to WHOA.”

  • Dantana

    No drugs in Europe?
    Any number of horses get a jug before loading into their “horsebox” at “the yard”.

    • Grarick

       Some of them do. And in that “jug” are electrolytes, vitamins B, C, E and selenium. Nothing else.

      • Dc

        Electrolytes! whoa that is in a milkshake!!!

  • Dantana

    No drugs in Europe?
    Any number of horses get a jug before loading into their “horsebox” at “the yard”.

  • Carapanfarm

    My point is, if a milk shake is not a narcotic, not harmful and indeed helpful, than why should it be illegal? Do we have to search for excuses to help an Equine Athelete? If milk shakes were made legal than it would be up to the individual owner/trainers to take advantage of using it.  

  • Grarick

     Some of them do. And in that “jug” are electrolytes, vitamins B, C, E and selenium. Nothing else.

  • Convene

     Perhaps in some cases. However, when you go broke because you can’t beat the drug users, you go out of business and another voice for the level playing field is gone.

  • Dc

    Extremely well said, but it makes too much sense, the naysayers have a problem with comprehension.

  • Dc

    Electrolytes! whoa that is in a milkshake!!!

  • Tinky

    Makes “too much sense”?

    This is completely ridiculous:

    “Sodium Bicarb is the greatest example of over reaching. Yes it will increase the O2 level in the blood/muscle which in turn fades off fatique. It will not make a horse or human run faster, just delay and reduce the latic acid production.”

    The notion that milkshaking doesn’t allow horses to run faster is sheer fantasy. Ask any trainer – and there are many – who has used them on his horses. 

    You might also take a look at the records of the following three NY trainers before, during, and after Dr. Galvin was caught red-handed giving a milkshake: Sciacca, O’ Brien, Bond. 

  • Hossracergp

    The individuals involved in the creation of WHOA are those least likely to go out of the racing business. If you make the Forbes 500 list, chances are good you are not worrying about how to pay your training bill at the end of the month.

  • Rayt

    I’ll type real slow so maybe you’ll get it. We are discussing SODIUM BICARB, effect and usage, not the other ingredients to said “milkshake”.

    I have used sodium bicarb on many horses, for many different ailments, not one, not a single one has picked up a single tick as far as being faster. 

    I speak from experience, over 1000 starts as a trainer, 1500 as a owner, winning 21.45%…….. I know trainers who run 100% drug free and I know trainers that can only run thru the needle.

  • Dc

    You must not get around horses much, because they sure can complain, it is up to us to listen.

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