Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Horse Racing and Drugs in the U.S.A.

horse racingBy now you know I'm a proponent for totally drug-free horse racing. I realize that it's an extremely complicated issue to be argued back and forth and up and down, but Michael pointed out this article on the Daily Racing Form's website which glaringly illustrates my point. The subject is the retirement of Eclipse Award winner Miesque's Approval who possesses his own very interesting rags-to-riches story. His ran his last race in the The Dubai Duty Free and turned in a disappointingly dull performance. You can read about it for yourself here.

Consider this quote from his trainer, Marty Wolfson. "They can't race on any medication in Dubai, which is a disadvantage for most if not all the American horses - and especially an 8-year-old like Miesque's Approval, who is kind of arthritic." Which brings me back to my position that with drug-free racing only the most talented, athletic and fittest individuals will win races. And imagine - trainers will actually have to be horsemen and horsewomen again instead of the promotional agents they are now.

secrets of horse racingSo who benefits from the blocks, milkshakes and other various hops? Not the trainers as you might at first think. Instead consider vet bills to rival a state budget and owners who pressure a ''win at all costs" attitude and then turn a blind eye to the realities on the backside. And if it's a top trainer who's burdened with these demands it becomes all the more compelling. If you follow horse racing you're aware that six out of the top ten trainers have served suspensions and/or hefty fines in the last year.

2 comments:

Michael Bray, Owner/Trainer said...

Drug use in the world of thoroughbred horse racing is, and always has been, considered the norm. Most owners expect their trainers and vets to take the best "hold" they can get away with. When the trainer and/or vet refuse or try to give a horse time most take the horse away and give the animal to another who will. Most want to "hop and drop" so as to pass the problem to someone else. This is not the best kept secret in the industy. The states and racetracks involvement is as much to blame as anything else. While generating huge amounts of income from the industry the states continue to focus their effots mainly on the trainer i.e. the "absolute insurer rule". What a load of crap! Step up to the plate and offer real security. The racetracks and the states need to make stronger efforts to "insure" the integrity of the so called "Sport of Kings". The owners need to accept their share of the problem as well. While some claim to run on only hay oats and water, they tend to look the other way when their horses and trainers are involved in fines and/or suspensions due to drug use. And they continue to support drug use by constantly giving their horses to many of the top trainers after they have "served their time". They do this because they know that trainer will continue to "take the best hold". In 2006, 6 of the top 10 money earning trainers were fined, suspended or both for various drug infractions. The owners continue to look the other way and continue to support their efforts and reward them with the top horses in the racing industry. Horses should compete, not only in racing but all sports, drug free. Then the real cream of the crop, horses and horsemen/women, will rise to the top. The owners have to take a stronger stance against the continued decline of this fine sport. While human athletes have the voice to "just say no", the equine athelets have no such voice. We must be their voice. The bottom line is the only thing that truly suffers is the horse.

Moe said...

I would have to agree. And so would anyone else who has spent hours and thousands of dollars trying to save discarded and broken race horses, as well as show horses after a drug induced career. Time to cull the industry and only show the best breds drug free.