The use of performance-enhancing drugs, sometimes referred to as doping, has plagued sports for decades. Not only does it ruin the spirit of competition, but it can cause severe health risks for those involved.
In this article, we look at the latest legislation passed in an attempt to regulate the horse racing industry.
Horse racing is often affected by the scourge of doping. It’s received widespread criticism due to a series of incidents involving trainers illegally injecting horses with steroids.
A recent example saw high profile trainer Jason Servis charged for doping. This came after Servis’s horse, Maximum Security, won the 2019 Derby and was later disqualified for interference.
In an attempt to regulate the sport and bring it back to its former glory, a committee approved new legislation for the horse racing industry. The bill looks to discourage the use of performance-enhancing drugs and prevent fatalities in the sport.
According to a database put together by The Jockey Club, an average of eight horses pass away every week during races. The Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act will concentrate on radically bringing these numbers down. It’ll also help in weeding out guilty parties responsible for this cruel behaviour.
The bill looks to give independent authorities federal recognition, allowing them to enforce medication standards and track safety. In addition, it’ll require stringent testing of horses for any presence of performance-enhancing drugs.
The introduction of these measures will surely make the sport more investable, currently many US and Canadian casinos, like those on Casinopro Canada are large investors in horse racing. Many courses are located on site with or very close to casino gambling establishments.
Mitch McConnell, one of the main driving forces behind this bill, has received plenty of support from the community. In fact, the legislation received 46 votes in favour of the act and five votes against it in the Democratic-controlled group.
While many racing organizations support the new legislation, there are still those that oppose it. Co-sponsors from states like Florida, New Jersey and Louisiana have not given their approval. This comes as no surprise, especially since some of the sport’s biggest scandals have arisen from these areas.
McConnell hopes to have the legislation passed before the congressional session ends. He has also indicated that he plans to speak with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, about this issue.
Not only has doping in the horse racing industry sullied its name, but it has received backlash from public organizations. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, calls for perpetrators to receive life-long bans and criminal charges.
Not only can doping result in the pain and death of innocent horses, but it also cheats bettors out of their money.
To understand why doping is illegal, we’ll take you through some of the most common drugs that trainers and their vets use.
A regularly used performance-enhancing drug, Epogen, helps boost the count of red blood cells. It increases the horse’s endurance and speeds up recovery after a race. Misused, it thickens the blood and can lead to a heart attack.
Another type of drug contains substances used to relieve pain. Customized Analgesics, referred to as pain shots, allows trainers to hide a horse’s physical issues. As you can imagine, this can cause horrific results for both the animal and the jockey.
Similarly, a drug called Red Acid helps drastically reduce inflammation and swelling. Again, trainers use this chemical in an attempt to cover up health issues before a race.
This new bill will see stricter rules and regulations that serve both racing horses and fans of the sport. Safety of horses should always be of paramount importance within racing, and as those who are involved in the sport and who love it as fans are racing people, it can only be a positive that horses will be better looked after.