horse_steroidsCome Saturday at Belmont Stakes in New York expect a winner who may be running on anabolic steroids; this despite the recent public outcry on the use of steroids on equines.

Among those competing on anabolic steroids is Big Brown, the winner of the 134th Kentucky Derby. It was during this race that the tragic end of Eight Belles happened. Eight Belles was euthanized on track after she suffered injury after finishing second to Big Brown in said race. Her injury was rumored to be caused by improper medication.

The autopsy report on Eight Belles, however, showed she was negative for steroids. Same report said that she had no diseases or pre-existing bone abnormalities before her breakdown. The other 19 horses in the Derby were also tested for improper medication levels and the results came back negative.

The excerpt from International Herald Tribune article reads: “Among the nine trainers who are planning to run horses in the Belmont, only Rick Dutrow, the trainer of Big Brown, and Barclay Tagg, who trains Tale of Ekati, said their horses would race on steroids. Dallas Stewart, the trainer of Macho Again, said he had yet to decide whether his horse would receive them. The trainers Todd Pletcher and Nick Zito would not comment on whether their horses would.”

Anabolic steroids are widely used in the industry for bulking up young horses in sales. In competitions, these compounds are known to enhance appearance and performance of show horses and racehorses. Use of anabolic steroids on horses is legal in 28 US states; however, with the recent controversies, it is expected that many states will adopt a prohibitive stance on such practice.

Opponents of a blanket ban on steroids worry that this may prove detrimental instead of beneficial to horses. Steroids, they say, are necessary to aid in horses’ recovery from different conditions, which include abdominal and respiratory illnesses, and physical injuries. Further, they say there is no evidence that this group of drugs make horses run faster.