Kicking the Habit

Last week Joe Drape of the New York Times reported on a summit at Belmont Park on the use of drugs in American horse racing:

The American thoroughbred industry has acknowledged recently that it is in trouble, and on Monday, its counterparts from around the world told it why: it races too often, allows race-day medications that prop up inferior horses and is paying the price for these flaws with plummeting sales at breeding auctions.

“European buyers are drifting away because we view the performances of U.S. horses with skepticism because of the medication policies, and the stallions are not comparable to ‘clean’ European stallions,” Denis Egan, the chief executive of the Irish Turf Club, which is responsible for regulating Ireland’s racing industry, said at an International Summit on Race Day Medication at Belmont Park.

With bipartisan legislation calling for federal regulation of performance-enhancing drugs and medications as well as stiff penalties for offenders, horse racing’s stakeholders are taking a hard look at their medication rules.

…and there’s good news already – the Breeders’ Cup has banned the use of Lasix for two year olds in the 2012 races, and all horses by 2013. The NYT has an excellent page of related articles here.

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