Series Reveals Reality of Drug Wars in Racing

by | 06.24.2013 | 1:13pm

Congratulations are in order to the Thoroughbred Daily News and contributing writers Ryan Goldberg, Bill Finley, and Lucas Marquardt for the six-part series on drugs in horse racing that just concluded. If you haven't read the entire series, do yourself a favor and visit the TDN's website and catch up on this comprehensive, eye-opening volume of information.

Horse racing is not unique in having to fight drug wars.

Other sports in recent decades have been plagued with bad publicity over the use of performance-enhancing substances by individuals who, for whatever reason, feel they have to get an edge.

Track and field had its Ben Johnson and Marion Jones scandals spanning 20 years from 1988 to 2008, with many other Olympic athletes brought down by enhancements in drug testing or investigations into cheating. That sport appears to be cleaner today than it has been in decades.

The Tour de France, which American Lance Armstrong dominated for an unprecedented seven years, was saturated with stories of mysterious sudden deaths of otherwise healthy young men, team doctors with pharmacological degrees and sketchy backgrounds, and allegations of widespread doping. That sport reached such depths of dishonesty that the governing body couldn't find clean riders to give the vacated titles to once Armstrong's seemingly impenetrable defenses were disarmed last year.

Then there's Major League Baseball, where a century of tradition was destroyed by a decade of deceit. Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriquez all injected excitement into the game with their home run prowess, but it turns out their performances all were enhanced through modern science. That scandal, despite the best efforts of Commissioner Bud Selig, is still playing out, as a number of players – including Rodriguez again – currently are under investigation for cheating.

Horse racing, it seems, has always been accused of having an underbelly of unseemly conduct when it comes to drugs. Yet in some ways it has been ahead of the curve in at least giving the impression that the sport is being policed properly.

The TDN series – along with previous reporting by Joe Drape and Walt Bogdanich in the New York Times – peeled off several layers of that onion. Some major racing states are relying on antiquated testing equipment and others are not devoting enough resources to standard post-race drug screening. Enhanced security procedures, out-of-competition testing, and drug research are not even in the vocabulary of most state racing commissions or the labs with which they do business.

Racing has its own version of the steroids-fueled home run race or the blood-doping tainted competitions in Olympic sports and cycling. Perhaps several.

The milkshaking era, which ran from the early 1990s until the mid-2000s, has finally been reined in – for the most part – through TCO2 testing that measures the amount of total carbon dioxide in blood. We'll never know how many Kentucky Derby winners or Grade 1 winners were milkshaked during that period. Though illegal in most states – Kentucky and Louisiana were the last two jurisdictions to ban them, in 1999 – testing didn't begin until around 2005, years after the Standardbred industry had begun testing on this type of cheating. A cynic might say the playing field was level during those years if everyone was cheating – which would put horse racing on par with cycling.

Equally perplexing was the longstanding permitted use of anabolic steroids until 2008, when trainer Rick Dutrow did the sport a favor by spilling the beans about the steroid regimen he followed for Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown. That drug was banned after a Congressional hearing into the matter.

The most recent scandal involved dermorphin, an insidious peptide painkiller originally derived from Amazon tree frogs but produced by dubious compounding pharmacies that operate outside of regulatory agencies. While mostly confined to Quarter horse racing, the so-called frog juice migrated to Thoroughbred tracks, just as other illegal, performance- enhancing substances have done in recent decades.

Horse racing can ill-afford many more of these scandals.

The TDN series didn't offer a single solution to our sport's problems, but outlining the challenges and focusing on areas of progress should give us a better idea of a path forward.

If you haven't done so already, put it on your summer reading list.

  • 4Bellwether666

    A bunch of humans (be thankful not all) are born with larceny in their hearts…Very sad but true…You just got to weed them out…Period…

  • voiceofreason

    And then there are those (on this very board) that would argue we don’t need federal oversight, that we can police ourselves just fine.

    “We’ll never know how many Kentucky Derby winners or Grade 1 winners were
    milkshaked during that period. Though illegal in most states – Kentucky
    and Louisiana were the last two jurisdictions to ban them, in 1999 –
    testing didn’t begin until around 2005, years after the Standardbred
    industry had begun testing on this type of cheating.”

    This industry cannot die fast enough… but it’s trying really hard to.

    • salthebarber

      All of the runners in the Derby were tested in training and post race and all came back negative. I believe the same was true last year. Much of the testing issues in this country are due to lack of budget in state testing labs. In Hong Kong they spend $5000 per horse for testing in the U.S. it’s about $200-$500.

      • Don Reed

        What a coincidence! Each year, I put my Derby bets in, and the results are negative.

  • Richard C

    Adult humans make a decision to juice – equine athletes have no choice… of the Thoroughbred breed in the USA is on a parallel line with the East German sports machine, as chronicled in the chilling book of pure evil – “Faust’s Gold” – where youngsters who showed potential in a variety of athletics became unknowing experiments to create super athletes; no matter the health consequences as bodies broke down due to the drugs being poured into their systems by “physicians”.

    • salthebarber

      The 4th of the TDN series pretty much concludes there a very few illegal drugs in the game. The U.S. horses are not breaking world records. If anything, they are getting slower.

      • Tinky

        The argument that there are few illegal drugs because horses aren’t breaking records is built on a foundation of sand. Other than a small number of top-class horses, those which benefit from PEDs wouldn’t be expected to break any records.

        Steroids were rampant in MLB for years. Other than two or three home run hitters, who was breaking records?

        • salthebarber

          Tinky, I believe the 5th in the series said 80% of the baseball players were on steroids in that era. The performance of these players went up quite a bit. It was easy enough to see it on a day-to-day. I remember quite a few Red Sox appeared to be on it and later admitted it. Their performances improved across the board. But, only the top level broke records.

          In the steroids era in horses, there were quite a few horses who were running out of their heads. I think there have been some studies that show the average speed ratings of horses are in decline since the end of that era. I remember there was one such trainer whose horses came on the track breathing fire. It lasted a few years and then it stopped. Their speed ratings were quite high, in general.

          With all that said, I realize I am still on shaky ground. I will not mention the trainer’s name.

  • thevoiceoftruth69

    Someone needs to teach TDN how to feature an article. Just spent five minutes on their site and couldn’t find it. Hint: Put it at the top center of page.

    • Don Reed

      You would be shocking how, when I raise this issue with inept writers & editors, it brings on an editorial ice age (their response).


      • Don Reed

        This was my first visit to their site. They sure do love that Flaming Napalm Bomb Red, don’t they? Within ten seconds, my eyes were booking a flight out of the room to save my sight.

        A real shame, seems like a solid, reputable outfit. Internet art directors are not THAT expensive to hire as OTO consultants – maybe someone who can get their ear can talk some common sense into their heads.

        • Mimi Hunter

          We must have visited different sites – I didn’t have any problems finding it or saving it to my computer, and I’m nearly computer illiterate. I went in from ‘Paulick’s Report’ article sent to my email address.

          • Don Reed

            Always glad someone else escaped my fate. The cut-and-paste (I can’t read long articles on computers) results in the column lines being about two inches across before a new line wraps around/starts anew.

            This makes it impossible (for me at any rate) to restructure the writing in case I want to reduce the artificial length of the article set up an alphabetical listing of the drugs, index of personal names, chronological list of events, etc.

            Seeing as how the racing industry isn’t, as a whole, going to do anything about the problem, anyway (other than to make a scapegoat out of the occasional trainer), not that big a deal.

    • Sue Finley

      Dear Voice,
      I don’t know how to tell you this, but it’s literally at the top center of the home page, just as you suggest. It has been there all week.

      • thevoiceoftruth

        Yes, I do see that. Still, page is cluttered. I literally looked at the page for 4-5 minutes, I left the home page becuase it blends in too much. Key is not to use craigslist as a template for making a webpage.

  • Tinky

    Speaking of the “reality of drug wars in racing”, here’s an update.

    As of 6/23 (not including that day’s results):

    Rudy Rodriguez had run 85 horses at Belmont and had won nine races (11%)

    Jane Cibelli had run 45 horses at Monmouth and had won four races (9%)

    Both have been under heightened scrutiny. While the evidence is technically circumstantial, anyone who still believes that those two were NOT cheating while rolling along at around 30% should contact me for a special deal on a bridge.

    • harry doodle

      jane’s 4 for 90 sence she left tampa. Im pretty sure the pulick report has something to do with that

      • we’re watching

        Yes, hurrah for PR. And for all of us who continue to comment on this drug scandal both here and in the racing paper. The racing paper leaves the subject alone for the most part, preferring to remain on first name bases with most or all of the trainers in racing.

    • Don Reed

      Excellent reporting. Thank you.

  • Mike

    Pretty biased to the conspiracy types. Rarely a class 1 violation at any major track. People talking about EPO have no knowledge. Ask Dr. Maylin, head of testing for all NY racing and you will get a different story. If there is a problem with excess of LEGAL meds, change the rules and watch 60% of the smaller owners go broke.Too many people with little knowledge of what help vets legitimately give each day with a platform but no clue!

    • AJH

      Mike, if you read the articles you will find that they touch on that very subject. There is an entire entry on withdraw times and the lack of national unity in racing. That being said, i do beleive racing is making a move in that direction. Also, i would argue that extending withdraw times on such drugs as Clenbuterol, would level the playing fields, making it easier for small owners and trainers to compete with larger stables. I don’t like to think of any of these articles as attacks on Veterinarians but, more of a move toward a national standard in thoroughbred racing all the way around. I agree that this is not the only answer to clean up racing nor is it best ( the liscencing office is you begin) but it is the most publicized and thats not going to go away.

    • Hopefieldstables

      Really ?

      Abuse of palliative meds by those with a vested interest takes place daily and it is those who warn of this who are without a clue?

      Tell me, this “help” that the vets “legitimately give”, escalated since the 80s, what has it delivered?

      Longer careers? More starts per year? Less catastrophic injuries?

      What exactly is better since the “help” ? I remain “clueless” of the benefits delivered.

      Oh I forget of course, its the horse at fault. It is weaker right? and these meds prevent it from being weaker still.

      Is that the usual mantra?

      • Mike

        Seriously,breakdowns have something to do with legal meds???

        • Kim Howell

          From Davis’s Drug Guide 11th edition, p.587, action of Furosemide (Lasix/Salix) “Increases renal excretion of water, sodium, chloride, magnesium, potassium and CALCIUM.”

          Low levels of all the above can contribute to, or cause directly, several muscular conditions including spasms, seizure and cardiac arrest. Calcium, of course, must come from somewhere and since TB’s often start Lasix before turning calendar TWO…well surely you can begin to see…

          • Beach

            Yeah–get it, folks? Kim is talking about depleting the animal WHEN IT IS GROWING…think long and hard about whether or not that’s something you would want to do to a KID.

          • Mike

            In NY at the highest level of knowledge and testing for EPO:

            Use of Synthetic EPO is NOT performance enhancing since horses make all they can use in a race.

            There have been NO positives for synthetic EPO in many years.

            Of course some have tried to gain an edge by using it.

            Check the facts with the experts ( Dr. Maylin) and stop reading Internet nonsense posted by clueless conspiracy idiots!!

          • Roisin

            Thank you for your post. Forgive me for going into a little more detail because some seem to have their heads in the sand !
            The Calcium issue, especially, in young horses is so important and the depletion due to Lasix is so hard on animals still growing. The body needs the lost Calcium and pulls it from the bones in order to restore balance and it is a no brainer to figure out what the result can be for the bones. I might add, no horse of any age can afford to lose Calcium from their bones.

        • Hopefieldstables

          If you do not understand how corticosteroids and NSAIDs lead to increased breakdowns, therein lies the problem.

          Incredible. Your rhetorical question is startling and revealing.

          • Mike

            Hope, you do not know what you are talking about. There is no science to confirm the relationship between NSAIDS and breakdowns, NONE!

          • Hopefieldstables

            the irony…..

          • betterthannothing

            “Science” can be biased or flawed. Use good old common-sense.

          • Beach

            I’ve only got two words for you–Coronado Heights, and probably a lot of other horses like him.

    • Kim Howell

      No knowledge of what? Administration of EPO? It’s action? Side effects and treatment of same? Or are you stating EPO is not and never has been used, in which case you are SADLY deluded?

  • Don Reed

    “… a century of tradition was destroyed by a decade of deceit.”

    Now, THAT’S writing.

  • David

    Guess there is some safety in numbers when considering other sports and earlier generations of incidents. The difference (IMO), however, is instead of elected action by and on human beings involved in the other sports noted, it is the horse that is being subjected to the actions of humans, humans whose motivation isn’t always in the therapeutic well being of the animal, is it?

  • Jay Stone

    A lot of what was said in those articles were old stories repeated. We. Red national regulation of rules concerning mess and penalties. Some states are oblivious to problems while other ones are too harsh. Too many people are commenting on medications they know nothing about. Every day pharamaceutical companies develop mess to help
    Humans. These drugs end up in this business with no way of testing for them until the labs get a hold of them. This Accounts for a no name trainer turning into a hall of famer for a short period of time. On the prevalence of sudden death by the Baffert horses this is a problem. I have been in South Florida racing for over 20 years and have seen almost none of this. It is sometimes over a 100 degrees out here and it doesn’t happen. Blaming this on conventional Clem is ridiculous

    • Jay

      You are so correct. I know Clem, and he loves horses. He would never harm them.

    • betterthannothing

      Clem is a cool guy. Clenbuterol is a killer in the wrong hands.

      • Mike

        Huh?? You have no idea what you are talking about re Clen b given by a licensed vet!

        • betterthannothing

          Wrong hands include drug-selling vets.

  • Jay Stone

    The problem is the state of florida is very slow in giving out penalties. Immediate responsibility for this ultimately lands in the individual tracks which have house rules. Lacking federal intervention the state needs a strong racing commission consisting of competent, qualified, racing people combined with law enforcement individuals not just week political appointees. A case like the Cibelli case is obvious but loaded with politics. If here name was Dutrow she would have been out that day.

  • Beach

    I’ve read the first two parts, and will of course continue with the others.

    As a health care professional, I am appalled. The trainers are bad enough, but how some of these “veterinarians” call themselves “doctors”, I don’t know. The reality is that they’re dealers or pushers.

    And what kind of garbage practice is it that the horses’ medical records, when claimed, are not passing from vet-to-vet so the “doctor” can see when the horse had what, to avoid double-dosing, dosing too close together, giving too much of the same class of drug, etc. Would any of you, as humans with a complicated medical regimen, switch your doctor and tell the new guy, “Well, what the hell, just ‘wing it’…” You have got to be kidding me.

    These poor animals have no say in what they are given and I don’t know how any jockey feels safe climbing on some of their backs.

    When human joints are injected, there is a “rest period”(not “oh, yeah, go sprint six furlongs, at least, two days later”) depending on the joint injected and a certain amount of time in which the joint should NOT be injected again; and a limited number of times that the joint can/will be injected before the attending physician must decide on another course of treatment.

    Would any human give himself multiple doses, in succeeding days, of, e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, Orudis, etc., and not expect to go into renal failure?!! If so, he’s a fool.

    And re: excessive use of corticosteroids, I guess some like messing with their horse’s immune system, glucose tolerance, mood, and possible future risk for cancer. But what does the future matter–what we want is PURSE MONEY NOW… :-/

    Perhaps the AAEP should also pull its head out of its posterior, and consider its professional standards(or lack thereof).

    I know I have discussed it in the past with some astute writers on this blog, and I hope said people re-post the data or links–but, I hope the succeeding 4 entries in the series report the data on breakdowns/sudden cardiac deaths, comparing America(with its rampant racing drug culture) to, say, Hong Kong or Britain.

    I hope and pray like mad that at least some of this changes for the better. It’s wrong to do this to these magnificent, talented animals. And most of it is not done for treatment/rehab…it’s like giving a junkie his “fix” so he can appear to function like a “normal” human, and perform and not bother you, making money all the while. YUCK

    • Kim Howell

      Couple your astute and direct comments with the negligible quality control at some ‘compounding pharmacies’ (see the fungal meningitis outbreak in Michigan that kept me working overtime all winter) and wonder exactly what our precious Thoroughbreds are being given.

      • Beach

        Which makes me sick–when I first graduated nursing school 25 years ago, we mixed all of our own meds except chemo. The system eventually became pharmacy mixing it all and the nurses hanging/giving it all(on the “floors”; of course MD’s like anesthesiologists gave all their OWN meds)…I disliked that system and got out of that racket, because I’m(admittedly) such a control freak that I don’t like hanging(IV) or giving what *I* haven’t mixed myself. And FYI, mixing isn’t hard as long as you read and follow directions and pay attention to what you are doing.

        Thus, my point is that compounding pharmacies need to get their acts together.

        This is bad enough whether it’s humans or animals; but, I think way too many have the sick attitude of “who cares, it’s just a horse”…well, I care, and a lot of other people do, too.

        I so hope your next winter is better than your last…Ugh… :-/

    • walter magee

      Vets are taught in school that treaments a horse receives are intellectual property. This wrong headed philosophy puts a horses welfare at risk and encourages competition between vets instead of cooperation. You cannot at present get a horses medical history without written conscent of the previous ownets. This stupid sitiation is in direct conflict to a horses well being.

      • Beach

        It’s also a poor reflection on the owners; just like my kids I would WANT the new doctor to have the records from the past one. But of course, that’s not the case when many don’t really want the others to know what they’re actually doing. And I guess the owners don’t care, either, as long as they’ve been to the bank recently.

        Thank you for your comment/info…”Intellectual property”…what a colossal load of crap and hubris…

        • Beach

          PS–Also, if people are concerned about bleeding in horses, they should reconsider all the NSAIDs they’re giving them. DUH–There’s a reason why NSAIDs are used as , basically, JV blood thinners for actual or potential human cardiac patients.

      • maryland

        Some owners are clueless as to their horse’s medical records. Trainers often “eat” the vet bills, getting it back in the day rate. One reason they do this is to keep on the good side of an owner and so keep the horse in their stable, and hopefully get more horses from the owner. Of course, if these trainers don’t like their chances with the horse, then they will send the vet bills to the owner.
        I have seen it done.

  • walter magee

    As painful to some as it may be, stricter enforcement of drig use is having a beneficial effect. Horsemem are rediscovering older methods of management that entail appraisals of their horses condition that are not distorted by routine drug use. Tthis equates to better management of training and running campaigns that incorporate rest before the point of no return. They are learning that economically this resurgance of old management practices is cheaper in the long run and prolongs the productivity of their horses. Thoroughbreds are not weaker, the symptoms of impending trouble have been disguised by dug use. This has led to inaccurate assessments that push a horse too far by the time even drugs become ineffective

    • betterthannothing

      AMEN! Now racing needs to offer substantial incentives to horsemen for training and racing their horses clean and be transparent about their health records which will be easy to do with nothing ugly to hide.

    • Wingtips

      Please provide names. Who has curtailed their needle use?

  • Craig W. White

    Thanks for the link Ray. All of your reporting is excellent and spot-on.

  • salthebarber

    Does anyone know if anabolic steroids are still being used for out of competition training in the U.S.? This has been discussed here in another topic. I was wondering about what is actually done in practice in North America.

  • Ben van den Brink

    What might be usefull in this, is pre race testing. In the timespan that horses are beiing walked before a race.

    • Ben van den Brink

      Offcourse on the backstretch

    • betterthannothing

      Testing is needed however, abuse and doping prevention with 24/7 surveillance, security and tracking of horses, strict substance control and transparent records and the threat of serious punishment would be far more humane and efficient.

  • Lexington 3

    Who are Ryan Goldberg, Bill Finley, and Lucas Marquardt?

  • Mimi Hunter

    I’ve read about half of the articles and will finish them later today. They are very well researched and written, but sadly, I haven’t found any surprises. Evidently cheating to win is almost the accepted norm of competition. The only difference being that people do it to themselves, while the horses [and probably dogs] have it done to them. And if you have any doubt that it is common practice to try to ‘help’ improve things in a horse read the ads to the right of this column – and those are legal, probably work very well. I really hope that everybody hassles the powers that be to come up with rules that will work, can be enforced, and that everybody will use.

    • Lou Baranello Former Steward

      Miml: The rules are not the problem. The problem lies in the personnel – stewards and racing commissioners – who have been charged with the responsibility of regulating this industry and have failed miserably. Asking for rule changes is the same as demands for more gun control laws. Every gun that killed or maimed anyone had the finger of a man or woman on the trigger. Only when the law and rules are improperly applied do we find such an extent of medication violations as we have today.

      • Mimi Hunter

        If the rules and/or laws aren’t there to enforce, open season has been declared. There has to be some sort of agreement on what the rules are before the stewards and commissioners have even a slight hope of enforcing them. You also can’t have one state enforcing a strict set of rules while another says ‘Come-on over and race here. We don’t test for …..’ The industry has to push to level the playing field. And it will have to push hard for a long time. There has always been those who will cheat to win. The horse racing industry will have to decide if they will continue to turn a blind eye to what goes on. AND as far as gun control laws are concerned: If guns are banned, only the criminals will have guns. I would like to see ‘the right to keep and bear arms’ interpreted in the same wide open fashion that ‘separation of church and state’ is. IMHO

        • Lou Baranello Former Steward

          Mimi, Thank you for responding but your response does raise questions in my mind. Please help me here. When you say, if the rules aren’t there to enforce, my first question is, Are stewards and racing commissioners denied access to rule books in any jurisdiction that you are aware of? I think not and that causes me to say that there are rules in place. Your statement that some sort of agreement is necessary as to what the rules are before stewards and commissioners can have even a slight chance of enforcing them begs the question, what would be the terms of that agreement and who would be the parties to it? What would be its ultimate purpose? We can and do have states enforcing a stricter set of rules than their neighboring jurisdictions. I agree with you on the gun control issue. Criminals have no respect for any law and they will continue to have access to weapons of their own choosing just as some trainers will continue to have access to illegal drugs. The problem is that the regulators did not regulate. Mimi, are you familiar with the Administrative Procedures Act of any state? If you are not, then reading one state’s version would be very enlightening. Keep in touch.

          • Mimi Hunter

            Lou, you are going way too deep into what I said. If there aren’t any rules to enforce – there aren’t any, period – I know of no instance at all where this is the case. There would be no rule books to deny access to. Everybody involved has to agree that the rules in the rule book are there and that they apply to everyone – participants agree to follow the rules – the ones enforcing the rules are bound by what the rules say in making decisions. Lou, No, the regulators did not regulate – probably because they didn’t want to make anyone mad enough to take their horses elsewhere, causing that track to loose money. That’s a real shortsighted way of looking at it. If something isn’t done, the fans will loose faith in the track. I know of one track in the early 70’s, where I could routinely pick in the 90% range – it got to be no fun at all. When racing is no fun, It might as well pack it all in ’cause it’s done.

          • Lou Baranello Former Steward

            Mimi This opinion of yours that everybody has to agree on a few matters is utter nonsense. There are already rules in the books of each racing jurisdiction. Licensees and others can present themselves at the hearings that each commission provides to hear comments on adoption, amendment and rescission of any rule. If the comments offered at these hearings are not persuasive, the commission will in all probability adopt or amend the proposed rule-s as written. They don’t ask anyone to “agree” on things of that nature. Anyone receiving a license is subject to the existing rules and has no choice in the matter. I would still like to hear from you on the “Agreement”, its purpose and who are the parties to it. No one has to agree on any of this, all they must do is conduct themselves in accordance with the rules which are supported by legislation.

          • Mimi Hunter

            Lou, I’ll try one more time. You’re still reading too much into what I’m saying and the way I’m saying it. When I go to a horse show, there is little place at the bottom of the application that says I have to agree to abide by the rules of whoever is holding the show. I have to sign it saying that I agree. I usually don’t know exactly what the rules are, but I’ve agreed to follow them. There has to be something similar in horse racing – or there wouldn’t be all the problems with trainers, etc. breaking the ‘rules’ by giving certain medications to their horses. The rules aren’t uniform or these same trainers wouldn’t be able to go to a different track or state to sidestep suspensions.
            Another example: When you buy software or download an application, you have to check the little box that says you agree to the ‘terms of use’ or you can’t use it. I know that I, for one, have not read the 8 or 10 pages of fine print.

            Also ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse’ ‘Anyone receiving a license is subject to the existing rules’ and has no say in what they are. They have ‘agreed’ to the rules. That is the ‘agreement’

  • raceclean

    Running a horse on performance enhancing drugs not only impacts the racing industry, but the breeding industry as well. When a horse wins while on performance enhancing drugs, it distorts the sires ability to throw productive offspring. When a horse (on drugs) wins, everyone flocks to that stallion to breed their mares to.

  • Mimi Hunter

    I’d like to know why this article is tied to a Dr. Oz comment on a diet plan on Facebook? Couldn’t comment on it on fb the comment place kept coming up on the diet ad?? I’ve read the articles; I sure hope there is enough pressure put on the states and tracks to really do something about it this time; but at the same time I didn’t find any surprises in what they reported. It’s sad.

  • Larry Ensor

    Have been wondering who was going to blink first. I believe this is the first time the PR has linked to something in TDN. I am pretty sure TDN has never linked to anything from the PR. Though they are completely different publications there have been a number of things in the PR that TDN readers would fine of interest and visa versa.
    I am surprised that a number of PR poster are not regular readers of TDN. It has been around for along time. Pre mass internet use by way of a daily fax. It provides excellent free statistics. Their racing coverage is concise and give links to pedigree references for horses sold at auction. It has evolved nicely over the years. So has the PR.

  • David

    One of the more insight exchanges in PR’s existence. Such a divergence of opinion by qualified
    and not so much is (to me) indicative that 1) something is wrong and, 2) change should be implemented. This whatever it is – sport or business – is crumbling. Livelihoods are fiercely protected with such efforts supported by ineffective and disconnected regulation and oversight.
    Once the game was able to survive, actually grow, despite inherent dysfunction; those days are gone those successful in maintaining status quo are the assassins.

    • Lou Baranello Former Steward

      David: Excellent observation on your part.

  • Jay Stone

    The average person would be dumbfounded by some of the terminology used. The state lacks any power to enforce rules. What power it does have takes way too long. Simpson analogy is not applicable to discussion. This is a billion dollar industry which needs regulation by non bureaucrats. The battle of racetracks that we could be facing is as simple as in a free market society the strong with the best product should and will survive.

  • betterthannothing

    After reading the whole series, it is more clear than ever that first and foremost abuse and doping PREVENTION should be used.

    Doping (and abuse) prevention should begin with seamless tracking, surveillance and security inside barns and continue wherever competitive horses are taken.

    Doping (and abuse) prevention should include moderate use of therapeutic meds, strict medication control, transparent medical records, off-competition soundness monitoring and testing, mandatory standard training regimen before racing and mandatory rest and retirement if/when needed to protect horses and trainers, “claiming game” and other major reforms to promote health, soundness, longevity and integrity.

    All two year olds to be sold at breeze sales should be equally protected.

  • Beach

    What the heck, I’ll “pile on” some more–what may seriously be at issue here is the injudicious use of “legal” meds. It is true that I am not an equine vet, but I would like one to show me study results that support use of multiple NSAIDs as effective treatment for aches/pains and musculoskeletal issues.. And many times when athletes are given such things, “rest” is part of the treatment and they don’t necessarily shove themselves right back out on the court, track, ball field, whatever. Such actions may result in more problems or more injuries, fatal ones for horses.

    I’m in my mid-40’s and was very active yesterday, and prior to bed my left knee and hip were aching like crazy. I took some ibuprofen before bed, a “legal” dose–not ibuprofen, naproxen, Celebrex, Orudis, Piroxicam, etc., all together, one after the other, or on succeeding days. If I did I’d probably end up with a GI bleed or in renal failure, or both. I truly do not see how “layers” of drugs out of the same class benefits these horses. Enlighten me…thanks.

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