Runhappy Connections Join Water Hay Oats Alliance

by | 10.05.2015 | 11:19pm
Two-time graded stakes winner Runhappy competes without raceday administration of Lasix

The connections of Runhappy, winner of the G3 Phoenix Stakes Friday and one of the leading contenders for the Breeders' Cup Sprint, have joined the Water Hay Oats Alliance. Also known as WHOA, the organization advocates for medication reform in horse racing, including the elimination of furosemide, better known as Lasix, a drug developed to treat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage but now administered to more than 90% of all North American starters.

Runhappy races Lasix-free.

“The use of illegal drugs nearly destroyed cycling and it almost ruined track and field,” said James McIngvale, whose Gallery Racing owns Runhappy, a Super Saver colt who scored his first stakes victory running Lasix-free in the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga on Aug. 29. “It has already done irreparable damage to the image of horse racing. Running these magnificent animals on illicit drugs is not only unfair to the animals but to the great fans who support the game.

“The horse with the best talent should win, not the horse with the best pharmacy,” McIngvale added. “The 21st century is all about being ‘organic, transparent, genuine, authentic and real.' Let's apply these words to horse racing in the United States and take our game into the 21st century.”

“For me, drug free racing is a simple and logical paradigm,” said Maria Borell, trainer of Runhappy. “Why would we put something into a racehorse's body that we would not put into our own bodies?”

“It's about more than just leveling the playing field in racing,” Borell added. “It's about doing what is right for these animals and their well being. It's about producing better, stronger Thoroughbreds for our future and ensuring the integrity of the sport and the breed.”

Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, who has ridden Runhappy in both stakes victories, added: “I'm very happy there is a group of people willing to step up to the plate and look out for the best interests of the horses. It will make this game safer for everybody, riders and horses. It will be good for the integrity of the sport. It has to be a national group, with one law for every state.”

McIngvale, Borell and Prado join a growing list of WHOA supporters, including trainers, owners, breeders, consignors, veterinarians, racetrack owners and executives, regulators and journalists.

The Water Hay Oats Alliance is a member of The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity (CHRI) – whose membership also includes the Breeders' Cup Ltd., the Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association, the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Veterinary Medicine Association, The Jockey Club, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders, the Meadowlands Racetrack, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Centaur Gaming, and Arapahoe Park.

The CHRI supports  The Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015.  This bill, introduced in July 2015 to the House of Representatives by Congressmen Andy Barr (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY), will direct the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to create an independent, racing-specific, non-governmental and non-profit organization to bring uniformity and clean sport to horse racing.

  • Kellye Pikul

    I grew up watching James McIngvale jump up and down while yelling, “Gallery Furniture — We’ll save you money!!” on very late night TV. He does many very nice things for the Houston community. Go Runhappy!!!

    • Tinky

      Sorry to hear about your traumatic childhood, and I hope that you have been able to overcome it.

      • Kellye Pikul

        To his credit, or to my TV taste discredit, those commercials ran during “the cool” shows. Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired very late, probably due to the nudity. :)
        The Midnight Special, Fridays, Saturday Night Live, etc.

        • Tinky

          Wow! That is surprising. You had good taste in comedy, and, as you suggest, perhaps he was clever to have chosen those shows.

  • Roark

    Many of these big name WHOA hypocrites race their 3 year old stars on Lasix. Runhappy has been walking the walk while they have been talking the talk.

    • MLS

      I agree. Hard to take them seriously when those that preach WHOA use Lasix on their own horses running. No other word works but hypocrites….

  • At the risk of annoying Vince!! See Matthew 20:12 -“these last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and the heat of the day”. Why are these people joining up now? Deathbed conversions trying to get on the right side of history – someone should point that out to them.

    • Roark

      WHOA begged them to join now that they are running in the BC. The fine connections of Runhappy would be just as happy continuing to race drug-free without any need for media attention. Save your ‘right side of history’ nonsense for something else. WHOA is not worthy of them. Perhaps you misunderstood the story?

      • Sorry if I misunderstood that they have been operating under “European rules” all along; I mistakenly thought that they had just seen the light – on careful rereading of Roark [below] I now see that he may be confirming your view. The question of “why now?” remains valid I suppose?

        • Roark

          Because WHOA saw Runhappy winning big races cleanly and asked the connections to join. That’s a fact. Runhappy and his peeps have been doing it ‘clean’ throughout; while other industry clowns are merely talking about it. BTW, I greatly respect your career Mr. O’Gorman and enjoyed your book immensely. You and I have corresponded in the past.

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