Stop Doping Horses for Fame and Greed

Target: Alexander M. Waldrop, Director of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association

Goal: Reform testing system to better protect racehorses from illegal drugs.

The presumed winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby has tested positive for an illegal substance. Since this prize race-horse, Medina Spirit, cannot inject himself with potentially damaging drugs, the suspicion falls on his handlers…or his renowned trainer, Bob Baffert. Such controversy is hardly new ground for this man, who just in the year prior to this incident watched five of the horses he trained face failed drug tests while blaming everything from contamination to cancel culture. This time, he has been suspended from the track where he earned so much of his fame and notoriety. Baffert and his alleged wrongdoing are symptoms of a much more prevalent problem for this fading sport that exploits animals for profit.

Many of the steroids and drugs, including the banned substance betamethasone cited in this case, are used to help horses “push through the pain.” Animals experiencing tender legs and other ailments can be numbed for a period to the point where they race with these conditions not treated but only suppressed. In the long-term, the drugs could do irreparable damage to the horses’ well-being. Injuries are exacerbated and may become crippling, not to mention the dangers the drugs themselves can do to the animal’s body systems.

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which would create more stringent rules and enforced penalties regarding doping in horse racing, was passed by Congress, but will not take effect until 2022. In the meantime, opportunistic individuals acting in bad faith can continue to game the system and put animals at risk. Prior to the latest scandal, Baffert had managed to maneuver his way out of any substantial penalties for the disqualifications of his horses.

This corrupt testing system must be overhauled now. Sign the petition below to demand horse racing’s highest authority for once protect and ensure the welfare of its most prized commodities.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Waldrop,

A lack of quality control, a confusing mess of different rules and regulations, lack of transparency, and now one of the biggest scandals to ever hit the sport: these are the realities of American horse racing’s much-maligned and never-changed drug testing system. The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act may finally bring some measure of responsibility. The time for meaningful action, however, is now.

You have a horse under a cloud of suspicion competing in the second leg of the Triple Crown. You have angry fans who want answers. You have a trainer who has escaped responsibility but never suspicion time and again. Most of all, you have a tragic legacy of animals potentially hobbled and sickened in the prime of their lives.  As the chief governing body of horse racing in America, this organization has the leverage and influence to make the needed changes with more expedience.

Help overhaul the dangerous and outdated drug testing system, truly enforce suspensions and penalties, and safeguard the living beings that have sustained your enterprise for decades.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Kybluegrass

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6 Comments

  1. Gloria Navan says:

    These horses are used by owners and trainers only for the money they can earn … until they can no longer make a profit.

  2. So Tiff, just exactly what are you trying to accomplish here? It is already ILLEGAL to dope horses…so what is your point of this petition or is it just more foolishness from the liberal tiff??

    • They do it behind their backs illegally and horse racing is cruel anyways and this has nothing to do with politics. I’m an animal lover speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

      • Kristine says:

        Hi Amy. As an experienced horse person I can tell you racing is not cruel in of itself, and if it is, then every other equine discipline is as well. There are good, and bad people in every aspect of life, including every equine industry. Most horse people of every equine breed are good people, who truly love horses, hence their involvement, hard work, and passion, but sadly in every riding discipline there are cruel people. Racing gets picked on MUCH MORE, due to being in the public eye, and the money involved, mainly due to gambling, but other facets of the horse world are every bit as bad, and the general public for most part is completely unaware! Show horses are drugged to both perform as desired, or to conceal issues, including joint injections, but show horses are not tested like racehorses. Show horses also endure some cruel training, and shoeing tactics, and this does not just apply to Tennessee Walking Horses. Arabian show horses, mainly halter horses, are whipped WAY more than any racehorse, AND with way more painful whips, not the cylinder shaped foam now used in racing, and I speak from years of experience in the Arabian, and American Saddlebred show horse world. I wouldn’t let the nasty trainers touch my horses. I am also a HUGE animal lover, I don’t even like to see a bug suffer, I save insects drowning in water, but most people aren’t aware of just how much cruelty goes on in every equine industry, and more of the outright cruelty happens in show horses, not race horses. If you’ve never attended an Arabian, Saddlebred, or especially a Tennessee Walker horse show, rodeo, etc, make a point of it, or Google some footage. MOST people involved, as I said, DO LOVE their horses, and treat them VERY well, but the halter horses are often mistreated with whip just so they look better when posing for the judge, the pretty pose comes from fear of being hit! You will even see them pulling back away from their “handlers!” Even young horses, yearlings, it’s disgusting! Look at the whips used, not just for halter, but for regular riding crops at horse shows, the end is very fine, and leaves QUITE a sting to the skin when struck, I have felt it, AND have seen welts on horses from it, so there is MUCH work to be done for ALL horses, the racing industry does not deserve to be singled out like this, and the minuscule amount (0.00000105 grams in entire body after picogram math to calculate total amount in horses entire bloodstream) found in Medina Spirit, IF even confirmed after split sample, should not warrant a DQ, even though I agree with tight restrictions being needed, this is minor, and being unfairly blown out of proportion. Churchill Downs until just months ago allowed up to 10 picograms of that substance, (I realize this is double that), and recently made it no tolerance for any, and I think that’s unfair, especially if proven he was being treated for a skin fungus with an ointment prescribed by vet, and I find it ironic that track, who preaches integrity, and the buck stops here stance allowed decades of Lasix use, a proven enhancer of performance, but that’s my opinion, we will all see in coming weeks how it plays out. In the meantime, I will be cheering Medina Spirit on Saturday in the Preakness, glad he doesn’t know what everyone is saying about him. 🙏

    • Stop Animal Abuse Stop Animal Abuse says:

      RACING IS NOTHING BUT CRUEL I GREW UP ON HORSES AND I KNOW THESE HORSES ARE TOO YOUNG TO BE RAN ANYWHERE NEAR AS HARD AS THIS THEIR BONES HAVE NOT YET DEVELOPED AND THEIR LEGS FUCKING SNAP AND THEY ARE SOLD TO BUTCHERS TO BE SLAUGHTERED WHEN THEY COME UP LAME AND STOP MAKING THESE “CARING” RICH PEOPLE MONEY! IT WOULD BE LIKE PEOPLE MAKING THEIR FOUR YEAR OLDS RUN AN ADULT MARATHON!!!!

  3. Just recently a Arizona politician introduced a bill to bring horse racing back to our miserably HOT state. Dog racing has left -too many broken legs on the first turn. Luckily rescues had to beg the owners to let us take the animals and pay for their Veterinary care.
    I am very much against any exhibition
    of any animal as it is the animal that suffers -and over medicating so the animal does not feel the pain has
    been so wide spread in horse racing that it was the Jockey’s group that exposed this travasty. Not the owners, nor the trainers.

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