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Monday 23, Jun 2008

  Steroids still reigns Belmont Stakes

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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.

Tuesday 17, Jun 2008

  Ban of steroid use on horses expected

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With the upcoming Triple Crown race at Belmont Stakes in New York this Saturday, many racing stockholders are holding their breath, not just for the winner but for the news regarding anabolic steroid use on equines.

The use of steroids to enhance the appearance and performance of horses has been recently spotlighted because of the unfortunate incident of Eight Belles. The champion filly was euthanized on the track during the 134th Kentucky Derby held at Churchill Downs on May 3. In said event, Eight Belles has finished second to Big Brown.

Speculations abound that the Belmont Stakes could be the last legally steroid-fueled race. With the Congress’ scheduled hearing this month regarding steroid use and other concerns on horse safety, the bet is it would be for the total ban of this practice.

Use of steroids is still considered legal in many states, although it may face a complete prohibition through the initiative of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. Before the consortium’s action, steroids are banned only in state of Iowa. This year, however, nine other states issued bans.

Anabolic steroids are used on horses primarily to speed up recovery of horses suffering from illnesses, injury, or extreme stress. These compounds promote erythropoiesis (red blood cell production), protein synthesis, healthy appetite, among other things.

According Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing, steroids “typically are used in horses for the mental attitude.” He added that “they make them more aggressive horses, able to withstand the rigors of training a bit more.”

Winstrol, one of four steroids approved by the FDA for use on horses, is advertised as a substance that corrects nitrogen imbalance without the undesirable effects of unmanageable behavior, aggressive tendencies, and impaired reproductive activity.   Winstrol is also one of the popular brands of anabolic steroids used by many athletes. Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson has reportedly used Winstrol to enhance his performance on the track.