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Saturday 18, May 2013

  Senator Wants To Give USADA Power To Police Horse Races With Simulcast Wagering

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Senator Wants To Give USADA Power To Police Horse Races With Simulcast Wagering

U.S. Senator for New Mexico, Tom Udall, wants Congress to be even more aggressive in trying to stamp out performance enhancing drugs in horseracing.

A few weeks back, Udall announced that he would sponsor a bill that could authority to the United States Anti-Doping Agency to police all races with simulcast wagering. In an interview, Udall said there is so much corruption in the industry and they make noises about changing, but they never do. The Senator said putting testing in the hands of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency would clean up the sport and makes it more interesting to the public and more successful economically and added that it was USADA that cleaned up bicycle racing with Lance Armstrong and the Olympics.

Two Republican members of the House of Representatives, Ed Whitfield of Kentucky and Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, are supporting Udall in what is cited as the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. The bill still only in a draft form was made available to public as millions of racing fans and casual observers prepared to watch the Kentucky Derby. The chronic abuse of racehorses with painkillers and other drugs is dangerous and just plain wrong, Udall said and added that racing groups have promised drug reform for decades, but this bill would bring in real standards and enforcement from an organization with a proven record for cleaning up sports.

Last year, Vince Mares, agency director for the New Mexico Racing Commission, publicly said drugs were sullying horseracing and he favored uniform testing standards, but declined comment on the bill of Udall until he saw it in final form. In a testimony before a committee of state legislators last October, Mares said cheating was a sad fact of life at New Mexico’s five tracks and asked for hundreds of thousands of dollars in state funding to help stop it.

A Kentucky-based organization, Racing Commissioners International, criticized the forthcoming bill as one that would be a step backward for honesty in horseracing. Ed Martin, president of Racing Commissioners International, remarked we are concerned while we have the utmost respect for what the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency does in human sport that the program they deploy permits the use of prohibited substances in competition upon receipt of a therapeutic-use exemption, something we do not allow in horseracing.

The second state bill increases civil penalties for violators of doping laws, and allows for those cases to be turned over to the appropriate district attorney for possible criminal prosecutions; both bills were sponsored by Sen. Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces. Pitts, the Pennsylvania congressman, said federal legislation was required because abuses and dangers in horseracing were a national problem and added that he chaired a hearing last year that took a deep look into the problems of both legal and illegal drugs in horseracing. Pitts added that we heard testimony about how abuse of drugs is killing horses and imperiling riders and before more people and animals are hurt, we need to put a responsible national authority in charge of cleaning up racing.

Shaun Hubbard, general manager of Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino, declined to talk about Udall’s forthcoming bill.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Senator Wants To Give USADA Power To Police Horse Races With Simulcast Wagering

Tuesday 02, Mar 2010

  Kentucky Derby winner’s trainer suspended

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Kentucky Derby winner's trainer suspendedRick Dutrow, trainer of the 2008 Kentucky Derby winner that tested positive for a breathing stimulant in May 2008 after a race at the Churchill Downs has been suspended for a period of 30 days.

The suspension was for a period starting from 15th November to 15th December 2009 and was imposed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

It is important to note here that many states in the United States, including Kentucky, have banned Stanozolol and other anabolic steroids ever since this incident was first reported.

Wednesday 07, Oct 2009

  A thoroughbred’s injury sheds light on use of medications in horses

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A thoroughbred’s injury sheds light on use of medications in horsesKentucky Derby’s beloved I Want Revenge sustained a bad ankle on April 7. On April 10, the colt’s right front fetlock was X-rayed, and on April 14, an ultrasound was conducted on it, according to testimony and veterinarian bills. The next day, I Want Revenge was injected in his right front digital sheath with hyaluronic acid and Vetalog, a corticosteroid.

However, according to his owner, David Lanzman, the trauma was only observed for the first time on the day of the derby.

On two occasions, veterinarians have testified, I Want Revenge’s ankle was injected with what amounted to new transmission fluid. The second time was just four days before the Derby and was done at the request of his trainer, Jeff Mullins. Irrespective of the consequence of the , the treatments are a striking illustration of how the use, and overuse, of legal medications have placed America’s thoroughbred population at ever greater chance of injury.

There is a developing concern inside the veterinary community that overmedication — with drugs like corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory that can have severe consequences — and inattentive supervision are part of the reason the United States has the world’s worst fatality rate for purebreds.

Thursday 10, Sep 2009

  Trainer who won 2008 Kentucky Derby agrees to suspension

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Trainer who won 2008 Kentucky Derby agrees to suspensionThe trainer of the 2008 Kentucky Derby winner will be serving a 30-day suspension after reaching an amicable settlement with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

It is noteworthy to note here that Salute the Count, horse of Rick Dutrow, was tested positive for a breathing stimulant in May 2008 after a race at the Churchill Downs. It then led to suspension in the month of July but an appeal was made to restrain the order, leading to this Tuesday’s settlement. The suspension runs from 15th November to 15th December 2009 as per the settlement norms.

This news about suspension once again highlight and reaffirm the fact that steroids and sports share a very close relationships, despite stringent measures being formulated and deployed by the government and drug officials.

Wednesday 06, May 2009

  Eight Belles and Big Brown Exposed Steroid Use in Kentucky Derby

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Eight Belles and Big Brown Exposed Steroid Use in Kentucky Derby The filly Eight Belles was remembered at the Kentucky Derby through a race called The Eight Belles Stakes.

The death of Eight Belles has created awareness on harsh treatment and practices done by horse trainers to assure winning. The three year old filly came second to the Kentucky Derby winner, Big Brown. The death of Eight Belles and the winning of Big Brown both initiated issues on steroids.

When the Eight Belles died, various speculations regarding the cause of its death made headlines. During the investigation, there was no direct link between the death of the filly and steroids. Big Brown, however, was found positive on Winstrol since its trainer recently admitted.

Thursday 30, Apr 2009

  Steroid Ban and New Changes in Horse Racing

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Steroid Ban and New Changes in Horse RacingBig Brown, winner of last year’s Kentucky Derby, became popular not just by winning first in the race but also because of steroid issue. Recently, Rick Dutrow Jr., told the media that he did give Big Brown Winstrol every 15th of the month.

Winstrol used to be legal in Kentcucky Derby, but due to the outburst brought by the incident, the use of anabolic steroids was banned. No horse will be allowed to join in the race in Triple Crown series with the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby.

The issues on Big Brown and the death of Eight Belles brought awareness on some unfair practices and procedures done on horses. Aside from steroid ban, other changes were made including the banning of toe grabs placed under the horses’ shoes while racing or training. However, investigations on the cause of death of the Belles revealed that no steroid residues were found in the bodies.

Three trainers, Larry Jones, Rick Dutrow Jr. and Michael Matz agreed on the changes done because they all want is the best for their horses. They believe that there should have national body to employ rules on everything on the sport including licensing and medication.

Tuesday 01, Jul 2008

  Use of steroids on horses might end soon

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horse_steroidsUse of anabolic steroids in thoroughbred racing might be outlawed by January next year. This is likely if the recommendation of a safety panel pushed through. The panel was established by the North America’s Thoroughbred registry, The Jockey Club.

“Hopefully, we can say this is the last year horses were racing on steroids,” said Stuart S. Janney III, chairman of the committee.

Aside from a sweeping ban of the use of anabolic steroids, other recommendations made by the panel are banning of toe-grabs and prohibiting jockeys from striking horses with a riding crop with an arm raised above shoulder height. Toe-grabs are horseshoes known to cause injuries in horses.

The three safety proposals are being endorsed by several stakeholders in the sport.

“Anabolic steroids have no valid purpose in the training and racing of the equine athlete,” said Bill Casner, chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. Alex Waldrop, president of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, and Bill Farish, chairman of Breeders’ Cup Ltd., also issued statements endorsing the panel’s recommendations.

It is also expected that Congress might take action in said issue. A House Energy subcommittee is due to hear testimony from key players in the industry about anabolic steroids as well as other safety concerns.

Anabolic steroids aid in fast recovery of horses from injury. They are also known to stimulate appetite, weight gain, hair/coat growth, among others. The two most commonly used anabolic steroids in thoroughbred racing are Equipoise (boldenone) and Winstrol (stanozolol). These two steroids reportedly increase protein synthesis, a process necessary for ideal tissue building to occur.

Currently, anabolic steroids use on horses is still considered a legal practice in three states where the Triple Crown is held – Kentucky, Maryland, and New York.

Rick Dutrow, the trainer of Big Brown, has openly admitted that his horses are administered with stanozolol every month. Big Brown is the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes this year.

Monday 30, Jun 2008

  Use of anabolic steroids on horses hard to determine

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horse_steroidsThe recent testimony of Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg at a Congressional hearing drove home the point that it is very difficult to determine if equine athletes are on anabolic steroids.

In humans, the tell-tale signs are more obvious – acne breakout, incredible physique on both in male and female users, hair thinning on males, hair growth on females, plus an enhanced performance in the playing field. Most of these physical indications of steroid use do not apply to horses.

In said hearing, Van Berg compared horse training to “chemical warfare” and that there is dearth of scientific proof that would suggest that anabolic steroids make better, stronger, and faster horses.

Dr. Scot Waterman, executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, seemed to agree with the trainer. “It’s an impossible question for us to even answer. A .01 (percent) change in performance would alter the outcome of a 1-mile race 50 percent of the time. That is an impossible change to measure with scientific study,” Waterman said.

However, the issue gets more contentious as anecdotal evidence suggests that anabolic steroids could act as performance boosters.

Rick Dutrow openly admitted that all of his horses are administered with anabolic steroid Winstrol (stanozolol) every month. This drug is not banned in three states where the Triple Crown is held. Dutrow is the trainer of Big Brown, who recently won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness races of the Triple Crown.

Big Brown performed poorly in the Belmont Stakes and some speculated that the reason was because Dutrow did not administer the horse with steroids in the 5-week interval between the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes.

“Everybody is trying to figure out why Big Brown didn’t run,” said Dr. Don Catlin, president of the Anti-Doping Research Institute. “I don’t know why. But I do know if I’m on steroids and if you stop them a couple of weeks ago, I’m going through withdrawal and I’m not going to feel like running. But you can’t test for that.”

Friday 30, May 2008

  Ban of Steroids Use on Horses Eyed

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horse_steroidsNews of steroids use in Major League as well as in the athletic field has been recently landing on front pages of news sources. This hot topic is also bleeding over into the horse racing sports and industry.

With the recent appointment of DVM Mary Scollay as Kentucky’s first equine medical director, the use of anabolic steroids on equines may be facing stricter regulations. Her appointment came in the aftermath of the tragic end of Eight Belles, a filly who finished second in the recent Kentucky Derby held on May 3. Eight Belles has suffered injury only a quarter of a mile past the finish line and has to be euthanized several minutes later.

Anabolic steroids are widely used in the industry for bulking up young horses in sales. In race horsing, these compounds are known to enhance appearance and performance of show horses and racehorses. Use of anabolic steroids on horses is legal in the United States except for the state of Iowa. However, because of recent negative events in race tracks across the country, such practice may end soon.

There have been much publicized criticisms that say animals are exploited through the use of anabolic steroids to boost stamina and power. The Congress, for one, has questioned the practice of injecting racehorses with steroids to keep them on their feet during the weeks before high-stakes races. Also, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and other similar groups have proposed a ban on steroid use in the month prior a race to give horses time to get the drugs out of their systems. If this proposal is pushed through, it would be in effect December this year.

However, at the other side of the fence, are opponents of a blanket ban on steroids use. 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.

Wednesday 28, May 2008

  Equine Director to Impose Stricter Guidelines and Steroid Tests

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horse_steroidsThe tragic end of champion filly Eight Belles recently has heightened the public awareness on the use of anabolic steroids on horses. It has also put pressure on horse race horsing authorities across the United States to curb this practice.

The recent hiring of Dr. Mary Scollay as Kentucky’s first equine medical director might be the response to that growing pressure. According to a release announcing the appointment, Scollay will “serve as a consultant on equine medication and health issues and make recommendations on strategies to enhance equine safety and to prevent illicit activities.”

Scollay’s duties include recommending how to prevent illicit activities in horse medication and implementing stricter review procedures for horse autopsies. Further, the Florida veterinarian ‘will help advise whether – and how – the state should impose steroid tests,’ according to Sports Illustrated article. Her appointment was announced on May 19 during a meeting of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority (KHRA).

Scollay is a 13-year senior veterinarian at Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park. She has been at the forefront in the national investigation concerning race horses’ welfare. She will begin her duties on July under a contract between KHRA and the University of Kentucky Research Foundation.

The incident of Eight Belles occurred at the 134th Kentucky Derby held at Churchill Downs on May 3. In said event, Eight Belles has finished second to Big Brown but has to be euthanized after she collapsed with two broken front ankles. The filly was euthanized on the track several minutes later.

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.

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

Also, it seems the trainers decided to buy steroids from down south in Mexico! causing the initial investigation into steroid use.