• HISA: Anti-Doping Partnership Could Be Announced Next Month
    Paulick Report

    As U.S. racing ticks closer to the first wave of implementing the new federal racing laws on July 1, Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority CEO Lisa Lazarus revealed a few more details about the coming transition in a session of the Association of Racing Commissioners International conference on April 11.

    Lazarus said Monday she expects HISA will make an announcement about an agreement with an enforcement agency for the anti-doping and medication control component of the new regulations in the next month. She did not indicate what entities may be in talks with the authority and said no agreement had yet been finalized.

  • Commentary: Horse Racing Looks Toward Progress, Not Sterilization To Extinction
    Paulick Report

    When the holders of extreme views vie for attention, they often rely on the cheap tricks of skilled propagandists, like using highly charged and often outrageous language to make emotional appeals infused with urgency. Claims are often built around a kernel of truth so that they seem credible. And comparisons are made between their issues and common human experiences; the more emotional the better ...

    ... “Sterilization to extinction” and lies are not the answer to making racing safer for horses and riders. Progress, however, is what all the people involved in horse racing will continue to work toward now and in the future.

  • Federal Judge Dismisses HBPA Constitutionality Suit vs. HISA

    Jim Gagliano, the president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, which has backed the implementation of HISA, emailed a statement to TDN that read, in part, “For those long supporting the passage and implementation of the Act, this is a result we have long anticipated … We look forward to HISA beginning the first prong of its programs to enhance our sport on July 1.”

  • NHBPA, Industry Statements on HISA Decision

    U.S. Senate Repulican Leader, Ky Senator Mitch McConnell:
    Kentucky's signature horseracing industry is a key part of our heritage and supports 24,000 workers across the Commonwealth. Working closely with sport leaders, horse advocates, and fans, Congressman Barr and I led the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 to passage to promote safety and fairness across Thoroughbred racing, ensuring the sport's future viability. This legislation's advocates knew from the beginning that it was fully constitutional, and I am pleased the court agreed with our arguments, which I supported through an amicus brief. I congratulate the Horse Integrity and Safety Authority for their recent positive momentum, moving us all closer to a safer, better-regulated American Thoroughbred racing industry.

    Ky Congressman Andy Barr:
    The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was carefully and thoroughly drafted with an eye toward ensuring the Authority it created was constitutional in its structure and powers. Throughout the process Senator McConnell and I consulted with lawyers and relevant precedent to ensure the statute would survive any constitutional challenge. The fact that the Northern District of Texas has upheld HISA reinforces that due diligence. I look forward to seeing the Authority begin its programming this summer and the further advancement of the sport.

  • Federal Trade Commission Approves HISA Racetrack Safety Rules, Accreditation Standards
    Paulick Report

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Friday approved the rules and accreditation standards that comprise the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's (HISA) Racetrack Safety Program, marking a major milestone in HISA's mission to protect the wellbeing of equine and human athletes along with the integrity of the sport. With the FTC's approval, HISA will now move forward with robust industry education efforts ahead of the program's July 1, 2022, implementation date.

    “The Racetrack Safety Program's multi-faceted approach will enable veterinarians, horsemen and all racing participants to optimize the safety of every horse before they set foot on the track while also increasing our understanding of the conditions that contribute to equine injuries,” said HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus. “The importance of this program cannot be overstated as we build on advances the industry has already made by implementing national, uniform rules and regulations, increasing accountability, and using data- and research-driven solutions to enhance the safety of our horses and jockeys.  We sincerely believe that this data will generate the information we need to help prolong equine and jockey careers.

  • View From The Eighth Pole: Real Or Perceived, Conflicts Of Interest A Problem For KHRC
    Paulick Report

    Remember the time Travis Tygart, as head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, came up to Lance Armstrong and gave him a big hug after one of Armstrong's seven Tour de France victories?

    Yeah, me neither.

    I've been told horse racing is different, that it's unique. We are expected to accept things that probably wouldn't fly in other sports or industries.

    So I guess it's perfectly OK for Jonathan Rabinowitz, an attorney who chairs the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, to hug Bob Baffert near the Churchill Downs infield winner's circle after Baffert-trained Medina Spirit finished first in the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

    It's also fine that another KHRC member, Charlie O'Connor, director of sales for Coolmore America, gave Baffert a congratulatory hug. After all, Coolmore and Baffert have done a lot of business together, whether it's at Thoroughbred auctions or on the racetrack, where Baffert has trained a number of horses for the Ireland-based global Thoroughbred powerhouse.

  • HBPA Panel Details Myriad of Flaws in HISA

    HOT SPRINGS, Ark.–The National HBPA's National Conference at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort kicked off Wednesday morning with a panel on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act entitled “HISA: Where are we now?”

    It was a question largely answered with more questions, as has been the case with much of the dialogue about HISA since the legislation was passed and signed into law by former President Donald Trump in late 2020 as part of the massive COVID relief bill. The legislation requires the law to go into effect July 1.

    “I spend my days these days on the phone answering the same question: 'What will HISA do?'” said Ed Martin, president and chief executive officer of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, a trade association representing racing regulators. “The answer is 'anybody's guess,' and the fact that I'm saying that should be troubling to everybody.”

  • Judge Hears Arguments on HISA's Constitutionality

    Oral arguments took place Feb. 16 in a federal case filed by the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and several state affiliates seeking nullification of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. 

    The HBPA organizations argue that the HISA, passed by Congress and signed into law in December 2020, violates the non-delegation doctrine of the U.S. Constitution in that it gives governmental authority to a private, unaccountable organization overseen by a federal agency with no expertise in horse racing. According to the HBPAs, the act authorizes the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, also known as HISA, to make federal laws and tax the industry to pay for its operations.

    All this, say the plaintiffs, is in violation of Article I of the U.S. Constitution which states that all legislative powers granted by the Constitution are vested in congress.

  • If we dont clean up our act, we wont have a sport
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    Was the future of Thoroughbred racing in the US changed utterly on Monday, March 9, 2020?

    That was the day on which New York-based US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman outlined bombshell indictments alleging a widespread conspiracy to cheat among certain trainers – notably Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis – and others involving misbranded and adulterated drugs. In other words, a doping conspiracy via performance-enhancing drugs.

    Berman made no bones about the significance, saying: “Today’s unsealing of four indictments for widespread doping of racehorses is the largest ever of its kind from the Department of Justice.

    “These defendants engaged in this conduct not for the love of the sport, and certainly not out of concern for the horses, but for money. And it was the racehorses that paid the price for the defendant’s greed. The care and respect due to the animals competing, as well as the integrity of racing, are matters of deep concern to the people of this district and to this office.”

    Well, it has been almost two years since then and there has been some very good progress. First, in December 2020, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was signed into federal law and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) was founded. Unfortunately, the United States Anti-Doping Authority (USADA) has not reached a business arrangement with HISA, which is a potentially serious problem.

  • N.Y. lab losing battle of doping in horse racings cat and mouse game
    Times Union

    It was not until 2020, after the sprawling federal case exposing horse racing doping, that Congress finally approved a law to establish national regulations for the sport and replace the current balkanized system of rules and enforcement varying by state.

    The federal Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) is now in the process of creating the new rules that will govern thoroughbred horse racing and shopping for a new enforcement agency to oversee drug use in the sport, after failing to reach an agreement with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to do the job. HISA is expected to take over regulation of the sport in the next year or so.

    Who will be HISA's new partner on drug testing and how they will remedy the issues that have challenged state drug testing operations is still unknown.

  • USADA have proved themselves time and again - there's not a better option for racing
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    In my most recent article, I wrote of the danger of HISA and USADA not finding a way to work together. I received a broad range of responses in print and on podcasts and I am grateful for those. However, for readers not familiar with USADA, their management and their operation, perhaps I did not provide enough detail to support this position.

    I truly believe that USADA (the United States Anti-Doping Agency) can benefit Thoroughbred racing in a way no other organization can.     

    On March 28, 2014, a little over two months after the launch of this site, I wrote an article headlined The time is now for medication reform. It was in response to an outrageous undercover video secretly filmed by a PETA employee in the Steve Asmussen barn and aggressively reported by the New York Times. Of course, long after the damage was done to Asmussen’s stable - 20 months later on November 23, 2015 - the New York State Gaming Commission dismissed allegations of widespread animal abuse against him, although it did fine him $10,000 for seemingly minor transgressions involving the use of a feed supplement.

  • What the NFL could learn about drug testing from the UFC
    CNN Health

    The ‘gold standard’ of drug testing

    When it comes to testing for PEDs, the protocols of the United States Anti-Doping Agency and its international counterpart, the World Anti-Doping Agency, have been called the “gold standard” of testing. The US agency was created to oversee the US Olympic team and tests athletes for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the professional mixed martial arts league. 

    In fact, UFC is the only professional league in the country to turn its testing over to the USADA. Major League Baseball, the NFL and others craft their testing policies as part of the collective bargaining process between the players’ union and the league. And some critics say that relationship can result in putting the leagues’ interest ahead of the players...

    ...It was former US federal agent Jeff Novitzky, now vice president of athlete health and performance for the UFC, who was hugely instrumental in bringing the two organizations together a year and a half ago.

    Novitzky got involved in the world of anti-doping in 2002 and made a name for himself for the investigation he conducted on BALCO Laboratories. It involved several dozen high-profile athletes, including baseball stars Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi and Olympian Marion Jones, who were clients of BALCO. 


  • Our Voices: Drug Convictions Should Send Clear Message

    Cameras are not allowed in New York City's federal courts.

    If they were, horse racing could have a few new poster boys—the kind to act as a deterrent, not an inspiration.

    In the past month, trainer Jorge Navarro, veterinarian Dr. Kristian Rhein, and drug distributor Michael Kegley Jr. all appeared before United States District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil in Manhattan's Southern District of New York courthouse for their roles in a race doping scheme that involved adulterated and misbranded performance-enhancing drugs. They were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 30 months to five years.

    For the good of the entire horse racing industry, current images of those individuals should be plastered on racetracks and industry websites for all to see—as a reminder of how the pursuit of a winner's circle photo is not worth the risk of a mug shot.


  • Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority Appoints Lisa Lazarus as Chief Executive Officer
    HISA Press Release

    January 11, 2022 – The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) Board of Directors announced today that Lisa Lazarus will serve as Chief Executive Officer of the Authority starting February 15, 2022. The board reached this decision after engaging Russell Reynolds to undertake a nationwide search for a permanent Chief Executive Officer. Under Lazarus’ leadership, HISA will implement the racetrack safety program on July 1, 2022, engage a best-in-class independent enforcement agency to oversee the Authority’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) program, and work with stakeholders across the U.S. to evaluate and improve both programs on an ongoing basis.

  • Bob Baffert to face serious doping allegations at hearing this month as drugs crisis in US racing continues
    The Sun

    Bob Baffert is one of the most famous and recognisable trainers in the world. He has won nearly £250 million in prize-money and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2009.

    But far from helping build the sport’s reputation, Bob has gone at it with a wrecking ball in recent years.

    He has had multiple runners - including Grade 1 winners - fail drug tests. They include Medina Spirit, who tested positive for steroids after winning the Kentucky Derby last May.

    He was banned from having runners in Kentucky and New York, but because each state has its own rules he was allowed to continue racing his horses in California, where his yards are based.

    To put that into context, it's like John Gosden having numerous doping breaches, his runners being banned at Epsom and Newmarket but allowed to compete elsewhere. It’s insane.

  • Unable To Reach Final Terms: Horseracing Integrity And Safety Authority Suspends Negotiations With USADA
    Paulick Report

    The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) announced the suspension of negotiations pertaining to USADA's potential future role as the independent enforcement agency for HISA's Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) program. As mandated by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020, USADA and HISA had been engaged in good faith negotiations but were unable to reach final terms. To date, USADA has led the process of authoring draft rules for HISA's ADMC program. As set forth in the HISA statute, the Authority is evaluating options for engagement with other leading independent enforcement agencies.

  • If HISA and USADA don't find a way to work together, racing may have no future in America
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    I have a few comments to share that the USADA and HISA parties might consider as ways to meet in the middle of whatever impasse has been reached. 

    First, I am sure that both parties realize and hopefully appreciate that the window of time from the passing of the legislation to launching the business is approximately 18 months and should clearly have been a minimum of 24, but that cannot change. This must be putting strain on both entities as the deadlines loom. Second, I have no insight as to the factors behind the impasse. However, differences of opinions and differences on budgets and money could be very real.

    However, while this is not a problem of anyone’s making on either side, the harsh reality is, if the two parties cannot find a clear path forward, there are no “other leading independent enforcement agencies” that can properly fill the void. 

  • The Week in Review: USADA-HISA Must Settle Their Differences

    Whatever the reason may have been, Authority Chairman Charles Scheeler and his crew and Tygart and his team need to lock themselves in a room with the understanding that no one can come out until they have reached an agreement that will bring USADA back into the fold. That may mean that it will be the Authority that has to blink first, that it will have to find a way to give Taggart whatever it is that he is looking for. Horse racing needs USADA a lot more than USADA needs racing.

    Maybe the relationship between the two is beyond repair and nothing can be done to salvage it, but racing has to try. The alternative is that everything goes back to the status quo and that, without USADA, the bad guys continue to run amok. HISA, without USADA's involvement, becomes so irrelevant that the act might as well be repealed. That depressing possibility should be considered unacceptable by the Authority, The Jockey Club and everyone else who has been trying so hard to bring meaningful change to a sport that needs just that.

    There has to be a way. Make it happen.

  • USADA Unable to Reach Deal With HISA Authority

    For many, this announcement will come as a bolt out of the blue.

    Indeed, A little more than two weeks ago at the latest Race Track Industry Symposium at Tucson, Charles Scheeler, chairman of the Authority, unveiled a key development for what was to be the working mechanics of HISA's drug testing program.

    According to Scheeler, individual states were going to continue conducting race-day testing and sample collection come July 1 next year. At the same time, USADA would manage the out-of-competition (OOC) testing program.

    However, when the 2023 season rolls around, USADA was expected to assume responsibility for both race-day and OOC testing. 

  • Statement from USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart on Equine Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program Negotiations
    USADA Press Release

    “We are deeply disappointed to announce that we have been unable to reach an agreement with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority for USADA to become the enforcement agency for the anti-doping and medication control program for thoroughbred racing under the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.  After months of negotiations, we have been unable to enter an agreement in line with the requirements of the Act, and one which would have given us a reasonable chance to put in place a credible and effective program.  While we are obviously saddened by the outcome at this stage, we tried our absolute best to find a way forward but without success.” 

    “While we desperately tried to reach an agreement to implement the program, without compromising our values, we have always said the passing of the legislation and the finalization of uniform, robust rules are huge victories for the horses and the equine industry.  We are honored to have been involved with these efforts to restore the integrity of thoroughbred horse racing. Though we are unsure what the future holds for USADA – if any – in this effort, we have offered to assist the Authority and others in the industry to ensure that the sport gets the program it needs and that the horses deserve.”


  • Symposium: HISA Panels Light on Specifics

    Over the course of three panel sessions Tuesday during the latest Race Track Industry Symposium (RTIP) at Tucson, Arizona, more flesh was publicly added to the bones of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA).

    Nevertheless, overall specifics were pretty light on the ground–frustratingly so, for many–with an overarching message that the various medication and safety programs are very much a work in progress.

    Looming over proceedings was yesterday's news that Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit (Protonico), suffered an apparent sudden cardiac death after a scheduled workout at Santa Anita.

    Indeed, Charles Scheeler, chairman of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority–the broad non-profit umbrella established by HISA and commonly referred to as just the “Authority”–kicked the presentations off by warning that the sport is viewed by many to be in an “existential crisis.”

  • Takeaways From Tucson: HISA Talk Dominates Global Symposium On Racing
    Paulick Report

    HISA Drug Testing Will Be Phased In

    Charles Scheeler, the chairman of HISA, outlined the progress the organization has made during a very compressed timeline from passage of the legislation in December 2020 until its mandated launch July 1. A board of directors and chairman was named in May 2021, interim staff including a CEO was hired in July, when meetings and collaboration with the presumed enforcement arm, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), began. In September, stakeholder talks started, along with meetings with current state regulators. HISA presented its draft of proposed safety regulations to the FTC on the eve of the Symposium. It requested and received a waiver from the FTC to delay submission of proposed anti-doping and medication policies for at least 10 days (until Dec. 16). Draft anti-doping/medication regulations shared with industry organizations were met with considerable feedback. The FTC will conduct public register review in January and February and the rules must be approved by March 1 – four months in advance of HISA's launch.

    Scheeler said the final regulations approved “will not be perfect” or “written in stone.

  • Spotlight on HISA as Global Symposium on Racing Opens

    he Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act dominated Day One of the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program's Global Symposium on Racing, with four panels devoted to the federal legislation set to be implemented in stages starting July 1. Members of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority walked attendees through draft rules for racetrack safety and anti-doping and medication control while emphasizing their intent to modify as necessary for as long as the programs exist.

    "We will always be engaged in the process of continuous improvement," said HISA chairman Charles Scheeler, who set the stage with an overview of HISA and its timeline. "What we expect is that the program we roll out in 2022 won't be as good as the one we have in '23 or '24 or '25."

  • View From the Eighth Pole: A New Sheriff In Town?
    Paulick Report

    It's clear, from the proposed rules and comments by Tygart and Muir in a series of media interviews, that racing is in for some significant changes.

    Gone will be the good old boy community of racing commissioners with conflicts of interest involving some of the people they are regulating. It is hoped the cavalcade of attorneys appealing fines, suspensions and disqualifications on behalf of trainers will grind to a halt as well, with strict, understandable and loophole-free regulations in place when the transition to the Authority occurs next July...

    ...Tygart added, “When you sign up to be a 'covered person,' you agree to the rules of the game. If you don't like the rules, you don't have to play.”

    Racing has needed a new sheriff for some time. It may finally have found one.

    That's my view from the eighth pole
    Ray Paulick

  • New anti-doping, medication rules for horse racing unveiled
    The Washington Post

    The nascent Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority on Thursday released a draft of proposed anti-doping and medication control rules designed to bring uniformity to a sport that has operated for years under patchwork regulations in 38 racing states.

    Since July, HISA has been working with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to develop rules that are now open to public comment, including from those in the racing industry.

    On Dec. 6, the proposed rules go to the Federal Trade Commission for further public comment and FTC approval. If approved by the FTC and HISA, the rules would take effect July 1.

  • USADA's Travis Tygart and Tessa Muir Join the TDN Writers' Room

    To coincide with the release of its anti-doping guidelines for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's CEO Travis Tygart and Equine Program Director Tessa Muir joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland Wednesday evening. Sitting down for an expansive, near hour-long interview as the Green Group Guests of the Week, Tygart and Muir broke down all facets of the potential uniform medication policies and regulations, talked about the varying  working relationships they've developed with state racing commissions, elucidated how testing and doping investigations would work under HISA and much more.

    “Some of this can be a challenge because it is a bit of transformational change,” Muir, who has previously worked for Racing Victoria and the British Horseracing Authority, said of USADA's overarching goals. “But it's about securing a future for the sport and making sure we've still got the social license to operate. And the end goal, the vision of what we're all here for, is for the horse. To keep the horse safe. We're here to make the sport fair for the trainers, owners and bettors, the people who invest in the sport and come to the races to embrace it. Those are the principles behind what we're doing, and it's a huge privilege to be involved in this process.”

  • Q&A with USADA's Tygart and Muir

    Draft rules for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) were unveiled Thursday morning, broad details of which can be read here.

    As expected, these draft rules aren't full and comprehensive, and are subject to revision. Nevertheless, as currently written, they signify a fundamental revision to the way the industry is policed, including a markedly more stringent approach to medication violations.

    To discuss these rules, the TDN sat down Wednesday afternoon with United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart and Dr. Tessa Muir, head of the agency's equine program.

  • HISA Draft Rules Augur Fundamental Changes For Industry
    Dan Ross, TDN

    Draft rules for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) were unveiled Thursday morning, auguring fundamental shifts to the way the industry is policed, including a markedly more stringent approach to medication violation penalties.

    Far from concrete, these draft rules are subject to the red pen. Nevertheless, as currently written, they raise notable differences to the working status quo.

    Broadly, the draft rules take a binary approach to drug testing, breaking medications down into primary and secondary categories.  A primary substance is one that is always prohibited, while a secondary substance is one generally prohibited on race day.


  • Proposed HISA Rules Published for Stakeholder Review

    he Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's Standing Advisory Committees, comprised of experts from inside and outside the Thoroughbred racing industry, and the independent U.S. Anti-Doping Agency published initial drafts Nov. 11 of proposed rules on hisaus.org for public comment. 

    As prescribed by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020, USADA has led the drafting process for the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program. Three of the six documents pertaining to the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program, including the proposed Equine Protocol, Prohibited List and Definitions, have been posted for public comment. The remaining documents, which include Equine Arbitration Procedures, Testing and Investigation Standards, and Standards for Laboratories and Accreditation will be published over the next two weeks. 

  • HISA Publishes Initial Draft Of Proposed Anti-Doping, Medication Control Rules
    Paulick Report

    The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's (the Authority) Standing Advisory Committees, comprised of experts from inside and outside the thoroughbred racing industry, and the independent U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), have published initial drafts of proposed rules on hisaus.org for public comment.

    As prescribed by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 (HISA), USADA has led the drafting process for the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program. Three of the six documents pertaining to the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program, including the proposed Equine Protocol, Prohibited List and Definitions, have been posted for public comment. The remaining documents, which include Equine Arbitration Procedures, Testing and Investigation Standards, and Standards for Laboratories and Accreditation will be published over the next two weeks.

  • Six additional states weigh in against Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act
    USTA Communications Department

    The State of Ohio, joined by the States of Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, and Nebraska requested leave yesterday to file an amicus brief supporting the effort to persuade the federal court in Lexington, KY to strike down the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) as unconstitutional.

    The six amicus states join the States of Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Louisiana, which are already plaintiffs in the case, along with the United States Trotting Association, several state racing commissions, the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association, several Native American-owned race tracks, and Hanover Shoe Farms, Inc.

  • U.S. Attorney Outlines Doping Case That Built on Itself

    In a 155-page filing Sept. 2, U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss outlined a case that built on itself as a wiretap of trainer Jorge Navarro—that wiretap already has been found to be legal—brought additional persons of interest into the investigation. Intercepted conversations between Navarro and prominent trainer Jason Servis, discovered in the Navarro wiretap, was one example of how the case built on itself, and, the Attorney argues, were important evidence in justifying further wiretaps.

    The wiretap of Navarro already was allowed into court and the trainer pleaded guilty to charges related to performance-enhancing drugs Aug. 11. Now 11 other defendants, including Servis, are attempting to suppress evidence obtained from their premises, cellphones, and electronically stored information


  • In Saratoga Springs, Horse Racing's Troubles Cloud a Tradition
    The New York Times

    The arrival of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which becomes law on July 1, 2022, is cause for hope. The law calls for a board overseen by the Federal Trade Commission to write rules and penalties that will be enforced by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. USADA regulates Olympic athletes in the United States and revealed Lance Armstrong’s cheating, issuing him a lifetime suspension in 2012.

    And that is a very modern solution.

  • What We Learned From New Wiretap Evidence In The Federal Drug Case
    Paulick Report

    Last week, prosecutors filed a 155-page response document in an ongoing fight over wiretap evidence against trainer Jason Servis and a handful of other defendants in the well-known federal drugs case. While it remains unclear when U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil will rule on a series of motions to exclude intercepted phone, text, and email conversations among the defendants, the response did include previously unpublished transcripts that shed new light on the case......

    .....You can read the full response document here.

  • What Will HISA Look Like?

    This time next year, the machinery of horse racing in the U.S. may be almost a month into a radical system overhaul.

    But with scant few calendar pages between now and then, what do we know about how the cogs, wheels, and pulleys of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) will work together?

    To find out, the TDN reached out to Charles Scheeler, chair of the HISA board of directors, interim executive director Hank Zeitlin, as well as several individuals listed on HISA's two standing committees. All explained that they were unable to comment publicly at present.

  • Will HISA Be Ready in Time?

    If the letter of the law is any reliable prognosticator, this time next year the United States horse racing industry will already be nearly a month into what promises to be a major realignment of the planets.

    With the official enactment of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) on the first of July, 2022, racing jurisdictions North and South, East and West will be bound by the same medication standards, safety rules, and enforcement mechanisms–a hallelujah for many who have long championed the ouster ofl'ancien regime to pave the way for national uniformity.

  • USADA's Dr. Tessa Muir: Industry Confidence In Anti-Doping Program Key Element To HISA Success
    Paulick Report

    Dr. Tessa Muir, who joined the United States Anti-Doping Agency as head of its newly created equine program earlier this year, is part of the team developing those regulations. While USADA does not yet have a contract with the Authority, it's fully expected that it will be the agency named to that position, enforcing anti-doping policies in much the way it does for athletes in the Olympics, Paralympics and UFC fighters from the world of mixed martial arts.

    Muir has worked as a regulatory veterinarian with Racing Victoria in Australia and before then spent six years with the British Horseracing Authority as a veterinarian assistant and anti-doping manager.

    “We are diligently working with the Authority,” Muir said in an interview with the Paulick Report. “The core rules that we are developing will form the basis of the program. Implementation is that final step in bringing HISA to reality.

    “Alongside the rules,” Muir added, “we are working with the Authority and hope to have a contract in place with them ASAP.”

  • Q&A with USADA's Dr. Tessa Muir

    Last month, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced that in Dr. Tessa Muir, it had plucked from foreign shores a new hire to head its equine program at a time when the agency plays an integral role in implementing the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), overhauling the industry's governing status quo.

    Before Muir joined the USADA staff roster, she had hopscotched her way up the industry ladder, from exercise rider to private veterinarian to head of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA)'s anti-doping program between 2013 and 2019. Her last position was as a regulatory veterinarian in Australia, for Racing Victoria.

  • When It Comes To HISA, Much Of What We Know Is How Much We Don't Know
    Paulick Report

    At this point, the feasibility of the July 2022 deadline for implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is a matter of conjecture. According to panelists and audience members at the Racing and Gaming Conference at Saratoga Aug. 16, there's a wide range of opinions on whether the legislation (which was signed into law at the end of 2020) is a good idea, where its greatest legal and logistical challenges may lie, and whether it will make its deadline.

  • Muir to Head New USADA Equine Program

    Former British Horseracing Authority anti-doping manager Dr. Tessa Muir has been recruited by the United States Anti-Doping Agency to head its new equine program, which will fully implement the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act from July 1, 2022.

    Muir, who worked for the BHA from October 2013 to November 2019, before taking up the role of regulatory veterinarian with Racing Victoria in Australia, has been charged with putting into practice systems that will ensure the integrity of the U.S. Thoroughbred racing industry is in line with the majority of international jurisdictions.

  • Jockey Club Round Table: Information Will Sharpen HISA's Focus

    When the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority begins its oversight of the sport’s medication and anti-doping rules, drug testing, and racetrack safety in July 2022, the independent organization will have access to a wealth of information from The Jockey Club.

    The plan to share that information to assist HISA in its oversight was one of the highlights of the 69th edition of The Jockey Club Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing, which offered a virtual presentation the morning of Aug. 15. With HISA signed into law in December 2020, a large portion of Sunday’s conversation focused on implementation of the authority scheduled to launch July 1, 2022.

    “We are at a crossroads because in December of 2020 the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was signed into law,” said The Jockey Club chairman Stuart Janney III during his opening remarks. “I thank so many of you for your crucial support in passing this legislation. And I commit to you that The Jockey Club will do all we can to ensure successful implementation.”

  • Racing-law expert predicts long legal fight over Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority

    SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – A prominent and well-respected racing-law expert predicted Monday that federal courts are ready to revisit doctrines regarding the delegation of government powers to private companies, a development that could lead to a drawn-out legal battle over a new national regulatory authority for horse racing.

    The expert, Bennett Liebman, a former member of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, told attendees of the Racing and Gaming Conference on Monday that while the Supreme Court has not made a prominent ruling on delegation powers since 1936, the present make-up of the court includes several new justices who have indicated that they may want to revisit the issue. If that were the case, it would jeopardize the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, a private horse racing regulatory body created by federal legislation passed late in 2020.

    “The Supreme Court is looking for an opportunity to review this issue,” Liebman said. “And if it does, we are in for a very long and difficult amount of litigation. . . . This should be a major concern for the industry and for the proponents of HISA.”

  • Timeline for HISA Implementation Comes Into Clearer Focus

    With the July 1, 2022, implementation date looming for the nationwide regulatory Authority mandated by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) to go into effect, Charles Scheeler, the chairman of the Authority's board of directors, on Sunday outlined the timetable for the sport's new ruling body to be fully operational.

    Speaking via pre-recorded video during Sunday's 69th Annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing that was hosted virtually by The Jockey Club (TJC), Scheeler said the Authority is currently developing its anti-doping and safety programs side by side, and that by the fall those initiatives will be shared publicly in an effort to generate feedback.

  • Scheeler says HISA may present draft rules on safety, integrity in fall
    Daily Racing Form

    SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The principals seeking to implement the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority expect to submit draft rules and regulations to the Federal Trade Commission by the end of this year after several months of deliberation among industry constituencies, the chairman of the authority said Sunday in prerecorded comments broadcast as part of The Jockey Table Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing.

    Charles Scheeler, the former legal counsel to former Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) who was appointed chair of HISA in May, said that a draft of the rules should be ready to be distributed and discussed among racing constituencies in “the fall,” in advance of the year-end submission to the FTC. HISA is committing to that timetable to ensure that the rules can meet the public-comment requirements necessary to obtain formal approval by the effective start date of the authority, July 1, 2022.

  • Trainers React to Navarro Guilty Plea

    On Wednesday, disgraced trainer Jorge Navarro pled guilty to one count of distribution of adulterated and misbranded drugs with the intent to defraud and mislead, a major development in the doping scandal that has rocked the sport since indictments were announced in March of 2020. Navarro will likely spend time in prison and has been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $25,860,514. His career is over and he may be deported to his native Panama. But was this good day or bad day for the sport?  And what needs to be done from here to clean up the game? Those were among the questions we posed to some prominent trainers who are known not just for their abilities but for their integrity. Here's what they had to say:


  • Thoroughbred Trainer Jorge Navarro And Head Of New York Veterinary Clinic Plead Guilty In Federal Doping Case
    Southern District of New York
    Press Release

    Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Kristian Rhein and Jorge Navarro represent the supply side and the customer side of the market in performance enhancing substances that have corrupted much of the horse racing industry.  As he admitted today, Navarro, a licensed trainer and the purported ‘winner’ of major races across the world, was in fact a reckless fraudster whose veneer of success relied on the systematic abuse of the animals under his control.  Rhein previously admitted that he flouted his oath as a veterinarian to protect the animals under his care, choosing instead to pursue money through the sale and administration of unregulated substances used by trainers engaged in fraud and animal abuse.  These latest convictions demonstrate the continued commitment of this Office and our partners at the FBI to the investigation and prosecution of corruption, fraud, and endangerment at every level of the horse racing industry.”

  • Feds Call Navarro A 'Reckless Fraudster,' Say Drugs Have 'Corrupted Much Of The Horse Racing Industry'
    Paulick Report

    It turns out Jorge Navarro really was “The Juiceman,” and contrary to remarks on a 2017 video captured by a horseplayer at New Jersey's Monmouth Park, it was anything but vegetable juice.

    In federal court on Wednesday, Navarro acknowledged his role in a racehorse doping scheme that involved multiple performance-enhancing substances, including imported clenbuterol and blood-building drugs he both admitted giving to his horses and distributing to others.

    As the Department of Justice stated in a press release, Navarro was a “reckless fraudster whose veneer of success relied on the systematic abuse of the animals under his control.”

    Horses Circle

    The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HiSA) got off to a solid start last month when Maryland attorney Charles Scheeler was elected by other directors to chair the nine-member board that will act as the independent medication and safety regulator for thoroughbred racing in the United States .

    The board includes a few names horse racing should be familiar with (z, and Joseph De Francis, whose family previously owned Maryland Tracks Laurel and Pimlico).

    But there are others who bring major league sports experience to the agency. Adolpho Birch spent 23 years at National Football League headquarters, focusing on enforcing integrity and drug issues while Leonard Coleman served as President of the National League for Major League Baseball (and a former member of the Board of Directors of Churchill Downs Inc. . is).

    From the political world comes board member Steve Beshear, who served as attorney general, lieutenant governor and governor of Kentucky (his son Andy is the current governor of Kentucky). Dr. Susan Stover of the University of California at Davis pioneered groundbreaking research in equine injury and prevention. Scheeler played a prominent role in Major League Baseball’s Mitchell Report, which examined the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport.

    They are an outstanding group with a variety of skills that should work well together as the industry ventures into uncharted waters with the development of national drug and safety regulations that require approval from the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, DC .

  • New Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority board chair: 'Steep climb' to make sport clean, fair

    In his first public comments since being appointed chairman of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's board, Charlie Scheeler said Wednesday that Medina Spirit's case is instructive for how the sport should be run going forward.

    The HISA is set to take effect in July 2022, although early work is underway to "try to make a sport which is safer, which is clean and which is fair to those who we govern," Scheeler said in a videoconference session. "It's quite a steep climb."

  • Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority chairman Scheeler outlines goals

    Charles Scheeler, who was elected chairman last week, made the prediction during a half-hour question-and-answer session with media members on Wednesday afternoon conducted over an internet-conferencing service, his first public appearance on HISA matters.

    During the appearance, Scheeler said that the authority had just begun its work in devising standards that the authority will enforce in all 38 racing states, and he characterized that work as being “very early in the process.” But he said that despite that workload, and despite the potential for complications presented by two separate lawsuits challenging the agency’s legality, HISA officials expected to meet their mandate.

    “It’s our intention, and we have every expectation, of being up and running in July ’22, and meeting the deadlines in the act,” Scheeler said.

  • HISA: Details Are Scant, But You Can Bet More OOCT Is Coming
    Paulick Report

    Charles Scheeler, newly-elected chairperson of the board of directors for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, said that there's a lot which is still TBD for the new governing authority for horse racing. Scheeler appeared on a media call June 2 to discuss the authority's progress so far after being elected at the authority's inaugural meeting on May 27.

    The authority, which is set to take over horse racing regulation in summer 2022, is still finding its feet. Scheeler was unable to specifically site any one state or organization's rules or model rules that would be picked up by the new group to govern medication use or safety policy. The rule-making for medication use and safety practices is left up to separate committees, which were just formed in early May.

  • Horse racing's new executive says cleaning up sport's drug culture entails 'steep climb'
    Courier Journal

    The new sheriff in town is going to need more ammunition.

    Charlie Scheeler, the first chairman of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA), recognizes that cleansing his sport’s drug culture will be a “steep climb.”

    Robust rules enforcement will require more resources. Penalty structures now in place must be revised if they are to deter bad actors. Governance by 38 separate jurisdictions has been a recipe for inconsistency and inefficiency... 

    “Until now, horse racing has been governed like the old revolutionary era Articles of Confederation, where the states called the shots, made the rules and you ended up with some results, and you see them here (with Baffert) which are sometimes consistent, sometimes inconsistent,” Scheeler said on a media teleconference Wednesday afternoon.


  • Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit's failed drug test is confirmed


    • The second test of blood from Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit confirmed the presence of the banned steroid betamethasone, a lawyer for the horse’s owner said.
    • The second positive test increases the risk that Medina Spirit’s victory will be overturned by Kentucky racing officials.
    • Medina Spirit trainer Bob Baffert has said the betamethasone may have come from an ointment used on the thoroughbred.
    • Baffert-trained horses have been banned from the Belmont Stakes, the third jewel in racing’s Triple Crown.
  • Bob Baffert suspended from home of Kentucky Derby after Medina Spirit's failed drug test confirmed

    "Mr. Baffert's record of testing failures threatens public confidence in thoroughbred racing and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby. Given these repeated failures over the last year, including the increasingly extraordinary explanations, we firmly believe that asserting our rights to impose these measures is our duty and responsibility."

    The suspension, which includes trainers directly of indirectly employed by Bob Baffert Racing Stables, is effective through the conclusion of the 2023 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs Racetrack, CDI said.

  • Positive Drug Test Confirmed for Kentucky Derby Winner Medina Spirit
    The New York Times

    Medina Spirit’s positive drug test after the Kentucky Derby has been confirmed, setting the stage for the colt trained by Bob Baffert to be the second horse in the 147-year history of the race to be disqualified as its winner because of a failed drug test.

    Citing the positive test, Churchill Downs on Wednesday immediately suspended Baffert, a seven-time winner of the Derby and the most recognizable figure in the sport, from entering horses at the racetrack in Louisville, Ky., for two years. That means that no horse trained by Baffert or his stable can race in the Derby in 2022 and 2023.

    “Reckless practices and substance violations that jeopardize the safety of our equine and human athletes or compromise the integrity of our sport are not acceptable,” Bill Carstanjen, chief executive of Churchill Downs, said on Wednesday. “Mr. Baffert’s record of testing failures threatens public confidence in thoroughbred racing and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby.”

  • 'Monumental Task Ahead Of Us': Scheeler Elected Chairperson Of Horseracing Integrity And Safety Authority Board
    Paulick Report

    “I'm honored to be selected by my fellow board members as the first chairperson of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. We have a monumental task ahead of us, and I want to thank the nominating committee for bringing together this outstanding group of individuals whose inherent integrity and combined expertise give me confidence in our ability to meet the challenge,” said Scheeler. “All eyes are on the thoroughbred industry as we move into the third leg of the Triple Crown, and on behalf of the board and its standing committees, I'd like to express our unwavering commitment to our mission to protect the wellbeing of human and equine athletes and the integrity of the sport."

  • New York Racing Association suspends Baffert

    Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, applauded the decision saying "horse protection advocates will rest easier knowing that Baffert won’t be competing at the 2021 Belmont Stakes," adding "the State of New York continues to make the welfare of the horse, and eradicating cheaters from the industry, a top priority."

  • Heleringer: Will The Absolute Insurer Rule Save Racing ... Again?
    Paulick Report

    “Doped” horses. “Hopped” horses. “Drugged” horses. Cheating. Indictments. Scandals. Let the bettor beware.

    Those terms don't describe the current conditions in horse racing, but the overarching problems that dogged the sport nearly 90 years ago when racing had basically no reliable security system in place to protect the betting public. As is the case today, horse racing in the United States had no national governing body that set uniform standards and rules to police the sport. (Thankfully, this will finally change on July 1, 2022, with the federally mandated Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority.)

  • NYRA suspends Bob Baffert

    The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced the temporary suspension of Bob Baffert from entering horses in races and occupying stall space at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack.

    “In order to maintain a successful thoroughbred racing industry in New York, NYRA must protect the integrity of the sport for our fans, the betting public and racing participants,” said NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke. “That responsibility demands the action taken today in the best interests of thoroughbred racing.”

  • Brian Kilmeade dismisses Bob Baffert's claim Derby horse controversy 'cancel culture': 'You're no Dr. Seuss'
    Fox News

    "Fox News Primetime" host Brian Kilmeade sounded off after renowned horse trainer Bob Baffert pushed back on claims his Kentucky Derby-winning horse Medina Spirit was drugged before the race, as a preliminary post-race test reflected. https://video.foxnews.com/v/6253578594001#sp=show-clips

  • SNL's 'Weekend Update' parodies Bob Baffert's Kentucky Derby controversy
    Lexington Herald Leader

    The recent controversy surrounding Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit and trainer Bob Baffert was highlighted this weekend during Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update.”

    Comedian Beck Bennett parodied Baffert during the sketch, and the fake Baffert was interviewed by fellow cast-member Michael Che.

    The two quipped back and forth about the fallout of Medina Spirit’s failed drug test that threw the horse’s Derby win into question, as well as Baffert’s efforts to deny the allegations that he cheated using steroid betamethasone.

  • McConnell, Barr, Tonko File Brief Asking Court To Dismiss HBPA Lawsuit Against Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act
    Paulick Report

    Attorneys representing three Congressional proponents of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) have filed an amici curiae brief in support of a motion by defendants to dismiss a federal lawsuit by the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and several affiliates alleging that the federal law establishing national oversight on medication and safety policies for horse racing is unconstitutional.

    Attorneys Eric Grant of Texas and Paul E. Salamanca of Kentucky submitted the “friend of the court” brief on behalf of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, who pushed for the passage of HISA as part of omnibus funding bill in December while serving as Senate majority leader; Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr; and New York Rep. Paul Tonko. Barr and Tonko were the primary sponsors of HISA in the House of Representatives. The bill was signed into law by former President Donald Trump.

    The brief pushes back against a partial motion to dismiss from HBPA attorneys filed April 30 seeking the court to declare HISA unconstitutional and order an injunction preventing the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, the agency created by the law, from operating as a national oversight body.

  • Letter To The Editor: Baffert Scandal Demonstrates What NCAA Would Call 'Lack Of Institutional Control'
    Paulick Report

    Do you remember the beginning of Aladdin, when the genie warns Aladdin to be specific with his wishes, otherwise he may not get what he intended? Does anyone else in the Thoroughbred industry feel like the last two weeks have been an endless barrage of wishes for racing gone wrong?

    “I wish racing would get more mainstream media attention.”
    Ok, but it will be about yet another scandal.

    “I wish more people saw the need for national uniformity, consistency, and better drug testing.”
    Sure, but it will be because of a drug positive on the sport's largest stage.

    “I wish we had an underdog to cheer for, a horse the sold for a reasonable price beating the million-dollar yearlings.” Absolutely, but it's still going to be trained by a “super trainer” and comes with a side of scandal.

  • It's Triple Crown season: Here's what to know about horse doping
    National Geographic

    In the U.S., there isn’t a national horse racing regulatory authority—yet. Each state’s horse racing commission sets its own anti-doping rules and develops its own system of how to deal with rule-breakers, from drug testing and investigations to levying penalties.

    But in December 2020, Congress passed a law establishing the federal Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. When it goes into effect on July 1, 2022, this body will set national standards for the sport, including regulations, testing, and enforcement.

    “It’s been a long time coming,” Scollay says. For years, the patchwork of rules across the U.S. has caused confusion, and it’s at least partly to blame for the high level of failed drug tests, she says. Trainers must keep track of what each state says about the dosage of a drug that can legally be administered and how soon before a race.

  • Horseplayers Sue Baffert, Zedan Racing Over Medina Spirit Drug Test
    Paulick Report

    Four horseplayers have filed a class-action lawsuit against trainer Bob Baffert and Medina Spirit's owner, Zedan Racing, over the results of the May 1 Kentucky Derby in which Medina Spirit finished first but now is in jeopardy of being disqualified after Baffert revealed the horse failed a post-race drug test. 

    The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by 2012 National Horseplayers Championship winner Michael Beychok of Louisiana; Justin Wunderler of New Jersey (known on Twitter as frequent Baffert critic @SwiftHitter); Michael Meegan of New York; and Keith Mauer of California. They allege they were denied winning bets on the Kentucky Derby in amounts ranging from $100 to as much as $100,000 because of Baffert's “multiple and repeated acts of doping and entering horses into Thoroughbred races, including the Kentucky Derby” that the complaint said constitutes “racketeering activity” under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and laws of the state of California, where Baffert and his stable are based.

  • Judge Denies Defendant Motions To Dismiss, Request For Recusal In Federal Drugs Case
    Paulick Report

    Ever since March of last year, when more than two dozen trainers, veterinarians, and others were indicted for using or selling misbranded and adulterated drugs, racing fans everywhere have been asking – when is the next round of federal indictments coming? A May 14 status conference in the case provided no more clarity on whether or when a new indictment could be filed.

    U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil pressed prosecutors on the question Friday, since they – and The Jockey Club, which claims responsibility for part of the federal investigation – have talked about the possibility of a superseding indictment for months. The topic has come up in court before, since defense counsel argue they can't reasonably prepare a defense when they don't know if there are new twists coming for their clients. (A superseding indictment would replace an older indictment, and could include new charges for existing defendants, as well as the addition or removal of defendants.)

  • Drug Scandal Prompts PETA Preakness Ad: 'Hold Your Tickets!'
    PETA Press Release

    Last year, a bettor received a $20,000 settlement in a first-of-its-kind, PETA-supported lawsuit against a horse trainer and an owner for illegally drugging a horse before a harness race.

    “Any trainer who dopes horses is not only abusing them but also risking a lawsuit,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is alerting Preakness bettors that they should hang onto their tickets if they bet in person, especially after the Kentucky Derby debacle—they may end up taking horse abusers and cheaters to court.”

    Performance-enhancing drugs often mask horses’ pain, allowing them to race and train with injuries that would otherwise be disabling. Illegal doping and the overuse of medication frequently lead to broken bones and death.

  • Horseplayers Sue Baffert, Zedan

    Led by Michael Beychok, the winner of the 2012 NTRA National Horseplayers Championship, four gamblers have filed a Class Action Lawsuit against trainer Bob Baffert and owner Amr Zedan, alleging fraud. Each maintains that they made bets that would have won had GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (Protonico) not been “doped.” The plaintiffs allege that Baffert and Zedan are in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the California Control of Profits of Organized Crime Act (CCPOCA) and for committing state common law and equitable fraud.

    The suit was filed Thursday in United States District Court for the Central District of California.

  • Hegarty: Baffert needs to beware of the man in the mirror


    But the rules are the rules, and until they are changed, you have to play by them, just like everyone else. And if the Otomax story is legitimate, then it’s hard to ignore that this entire episode could have been avoided by having a single person in Baffert’s barn who knew the rules and respected them.

    Instead, the racing industry has Baffert’s vow to fight the positive, despite admitting to all still listening that the horse was treated, daily, right up until the day before the first Saturday in May, with an ointment that contained the regulated substance that triggered the violation, the uproar, and the outrage. It has Baffert pretending that there is a path to redemption by acknowledging one’s mistake yet refusing to take responsibility for its consequences. It has Baffert ignoring the most helpful advice he could ever be given, having found himself in a hole.

    First, stop digging. Please, for horse racing’s sake, just stop digging.

  • Horse racing needs to reckon with its drug issue

    Medina Spirit failed a drug test after the race, and he may be disqualified. Officials at Churchill Downs, the legendary track in Louisville, Kentucky, where the Derby has been run for nearly 150 years, have temporarily suspended Baffert from entering horses there. An investigation is underway. If it’s rigorous, it will lead to reform of a troubled and often tawdry sport, where gambling, horse breeding, drug abuse, wealth, animal abuse and glamour intersect.

    “These are pretty serious accusations here, but we’re going to get to the bottom of it and find out. We know we didn’t do it,” Baffert told reporters. He called the test results an “injustice to the horse.”

    Yeah, well, it’s an injustice to a lot of things, including common sense.

  • National Media Reacts To Medina Spirit Scandal With Skepticism, Outrage
    Paulick Report

    As the situation surrounding Medina Spirit's positive betamethasone test has evolved through the course of this week, racing and mainstream media have covered the story extensively. The revelation that the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner failed an initial post-race drug test has also garnered op/eds from industry and non-industry publications. Most of those headlines express little patience for trainer Bob Baffert's explanation of the drug's presence. 

    In the interest of understanding how racing and its issues are viewed in the broader, non-racing world, the Paulick Report staff has compiled a sampling of those opinion and analysis pieces here, along with observations therein that we found particularly interesting. We encourage you to click the underlined links to read the full op/eds.  


  • ARCI Backs Smooth Implementation of HISA

    Association of Racing Commissioners International chair Robert Lopez said May 11 that the U.S. members of ARCI are focused on a smooth and expeditious implementation of the newly enacted Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, the organization announced in a release.

    "We view this as an opportunity to achieve improvements we support and believe necessary," he said.   

    The ARCI had, in the past, advocated a different path to address these needs, specifically the creation of an interstate compact as an alternative to involving the federal government.  But only a few states picked up that mantle leaving interested lawmakers in Washington no other choice but to pass the new federal law.   

    "Uniform rules, uniform testing, expanded jurisdiction over horses, and the creation of a multi-jurisdictional investigative entity are all tremendous improvements that will result from this law" said Ed Martin, ARCI's President. 

  • Our Voices: Enough Already

    In the 1976 critically acclaimed movie Network, Howard Beale (masterfully played by Peter Finch) ranted "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."

    I feel your pain Howard. For the past year or so, I've been writing articles for BloodHorse expressing my concern/dismay over the prevalence of cheating going on in our sport. I've mentioned my experiences with the Shady Characters in our sport going back decades from when I first got involved in horse racing as a teenager. There have always been some bad apples in the sport that not only give our sport black eyes but also take money out of the pockets of those of us that dedicate our lives to the sport we love and all of those we employ and who rely on the success of our stables. Mr. Beale, I am mad as hell and it's time for a change.


  • Baffert in spotlight for wrong reasons going into Preakness

    Baffert in November vowed to “do better,” hiring a veterinarian for extra oversight and saying, “I intend to do everything possible to ensure I receive no further medication complaints.”

    Then one happened on horse racing’s biggest stage.

    “Somehow, here we are again,” Moss said. “A lot of people in racing are sort of scratching their heads as to why this would repeatedly happen to one guy.”

    Lukas said Baffert has “been hit with some circumstances that are uncontrollable.” While Irby and others point to the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act that goes into effect in July 2022 as an opportunity to better police drugs in horses, the 85-year-old Hall of Fame trainer thinks it should raise the threshold “to what’s realistic” for therapeutic medications above the 21 picograms Medina Spirit tested positive for.


  • Q&A: New Integrity Rules Coming to Horse Racing

    The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was signed into law on Dec. 28, 2020, and focuses on ensuring the integrity of Thoroughbred horse racing and on the safety of Thoroughbred racehorses and jockeys by requiring national, uniform safety standards that include anti-doping and medication control and racetrack safety programs.

    Once the new program becomes operative on July 1, 2022, states will no longer have the power to regulate or enforce their own rules and they have no ability to opt out of the Authority's anti-doping and safety programs.

    Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the authority empowered with enforcing the legislation......

  • Animal rights activist: 'Drop the hammer' on Bob Baffert after he admits guilt in Kentucky Derby doping

    Upon further review, Bob Baffert says there’s no conspiracy against his Kentucky Derby-winning horse after all.

    The Hall-of-Fame trainer acknowledged Tuesday that Medina Spirit was treated with an anti-fungal ointment that includes betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug at the center of a controversy that could cause Medina Spirit’s Kentucky Derby win to be invalidated.

  • Baffert acknowledges Medina Spirit treated with ointment that contained betamethasone

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After denying for two days that his Kentucky Derby winning colt Medina Spirit was treated with betamethasone, a drug prohibited on race day in Kentucky, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said on Tuesday that he has learned the colt was administered an ointment that contained the drug.

    Baffert said in a written statement that following the Santa Anita Derby, Medina Spirit developed dermatitis on his hind end and that his veterinarian recommended an anti-fungal ointment called Otomax. The trainer said the horse was treated with this ointment once a day until the day before the Kentucky Derby. That ointment contains the substance for which Medina Spirit tested positive in a post-Derby blood test, with 21 picograms per milliliter of blood.

  • Opinion: As excuses for Bob Baffert mount, he doesn't get benefit of the doubt after Medina Spirit's positive test

    There is one household name in horse racing, a man so well-known that TMZ has stopped him at restaurants and ESPN has invited him to be the celebrity guest picker on "College GameDay."

    Bob Baffert is the only person involved in the sport at any level who is likely to be stopped for an autograph or picture away from a racetrack, the product of his ubiquitous presence on television during the Triple Crown and his unmistakeable flop of white hair on top of a head whose eyes are constantly covered by sunglasses.

    And now, that may well be the image of horse racing’s greatest shame.

  • Baffert Tells Fox: "We Did Not Cheat"

    Embattled trainer Bob Baffert took his fight to clear his name to a national audience Monday, appearing on the Fox News show “America's Newsroom” where he once again emphatically denied any wrongdoing in the case of Medina Spirit (Protonico). Pressed on the issue by co-host Bill Hemmer, Baffert doubled down on denials he made Sunday, saying, “We did not cheat to win the Kentucky Derby.”

    Baffert has found himself in the cross hairs of one of the biggest scandals ever to hit horse racing and the GI Kentucky Derby. The story exploded Sunday morning when Baffert hastily called a press conference at Churchill Downs to inform the media that the he had ben notified by the Kentucky Racing Commission that Medina Spirit tested positive for the corticosteroid betamethasone. The betamethasone finding, if confirmed by a split sample, will be Baffert's fifth positive test for a regulated but prohibited-on-race-day drug within the past year. In every instance, he has denied any wrongdoing.

  • Our Voices: Current Facts Point to a Violation in Derby

    As the facts now stand, the substance was in the horse at a level it should not have been. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is investigating and will take appropriate action based on the facts of the case as they develop.

    But I can say this as someone who had to investigate such matters, if there was contamination, other horses will also trip the wire. The "only my horse was contaminated" claim usually doesn't stand up. Complaining about picograms doesn't either as today's sensitivity of the lab is a good thing. And let's be blunt, some substances have an enormous affect at a minute level.

    Claims that this won't affect the performance of the horse in the race miss one of the main points of the rule. It's not just about whether something can make a horse run faster, but also if the masking of pain or injury might put the horse at risk. Collectively, the more stringent rules are helping reduce breakdowns.

  • Opinion: Medina Spirit saga is exposing horse racing's incompetence on doping

    In a functional, competently run sport, there would not be a Monday morning in which the legitimacy of its showcase event was up in the air more than a week later. There would not be drawn-out, litigious uncertainty about whether a competitor in the middle of a doping inquiry would be allowed to enter the next big race. And there would not be a cartoonish figure in the middle of the scandal going on cable news to blather about “cancel culture” without being accompanied by a laugh track.

    And yet, within the Potemkin village that is horse racing governance in the United States, this was a very real sequence of events that spun off from Sunday’s bombshell that Medina Spirit had tested positive for a small but illegal amount of the anti-inflammatory drug betamethasone coming out of the Kentucky Derby, putting the colt’s win in jeopardy and an already beaten-down sport on the precipice of becoming a punchline.

    In horse racing’s zeal to plumb the depths of its own brokenness, there are no winners, only losers. It’s already a long and growing list. 

  • Q&A: Mary Scollay on Drug Testing Protocols & Baffert Otomax Explanation

    To discuss some of the issues that Baffert has raised in his interviews, the TDN spoke with Mary Scollay, executive director and chief operating officer of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC). Scollay was recently appointed to the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Standing Committee arm of the Horseracing integrity and Safety Authority.

    The TDN spoke with Scollay both prior to, and after, Baffert released his statement Tuesday. In her first interview, Scollay raised the possibility that the positive could be the result of exposure through use of a topical product that contains betamethasone.

    The two interviews have been spliced into the following, which has been edited for brevity and clarity.....

  • What Makes A Positive Test: An Explanation Behind The Figures And Thresholds
    Paulick Report

    Positive post-race tests have long been a source of fascination and discussion for horsemen, veterinarians, and fans of racing. But for those of us without an advanced chemistry degree, it can sometimes be unclear what those tests are meant to look for, and what makes a test “positive.”

    Veterinarians administer medications to Thoroughbreds in accordance with withdrawal guidelines provided by rulemakers. The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) provides a set of recommended guidelines for what should be considered a “positive” test, and when doses of certain drugs can safely be given to comply with those guidelines. If these guidelines are followed, experts say the owner or trainer who approved the medication should not be overly concerned about having a “positive” test after a race.

  • Kentucky Derby Winner Medina Spirit Fails Drug Test

    Louisville, Ky. (AP) -- Medina Spirit’s victory in the Kentucky Derby is in serious jeopardy because of a failed postrace drug test, one that led Churchill Downs to suspend Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert on Sunday in the latest scandal to plague the sport.

    Baffert denied all wrongdoing and promised to be fully transparent with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission during its investigation. Baffert’s barn received word Saturday that Medina Spirit had tested positive for an excessive amount of the steroid betamethasone, which is sometimes used to treat pain and inflammation in horses.

    Medina Spirit’s win over Mandaloun in the Derby stands — for now.

    “To be clear, if the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared the winner,” Churchill Downs officials said in a statement shortly after Baffert held a hastily planned morning news conference outside his barn to announce and respond to the allegations.

  • Medina Spirit, the Kentucky Derby winner, heads into the Preakness under a cloud after drug test
    The Washington Post

    Correction: A previous version of this story reported that Medina Spirit’s test showing 21 picograms of betamethasone exceeded a permitted limit of 10 picograms, a threshold to which trainer Bob Baffert had referred at his barn Sunday morning. In fact, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission altered that standard last August, disallowing any presence of betamethasone at any time in a 14-day window prior to a race.

    Horse racing’s Triple Crown season veered into confusion Sunday upon the news that Medina Spirit, the Kentucky Derby winner, tested positive for an excessive presence of betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug permitted only in sanctioned amounts. His trainer, Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, said his team never treated Medina Spirit with that particular drug.

  • Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit FAILS drugs test and faces disqualification
    The Amed Post

    US racing has been rocked with news that last week’s Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit has failed a drugs test.

    The colt is facing disqualification after anti-inflammatory drug betamethasone was detected over the legal limit in Kentucky racing.

    Medina Spirit had given 68-year-old trainer Bob Baffert a record seventh Kentucky Derby win.

    US racing has been stunned after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a drugs test.

    Trainer Bob Baffert said he is ‘totally shocked’ by the findings, which he called a ‘gut punch’.

    Baffert-trained horses have been involved in a string of positive tests in the last year but insisted he is innocent of any wrongdoing after announcing Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit has tested positive for 21 picograms of the anti-inflammatory drug betamethasone.

  • Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit fails drug test

    Medina Spirit, the thoroughbred that won this year's Kentucky Derby race, failed a post-race drug test, trainer Bob Baffert announced at a press conference Sunday, per AP.

    Why it matters: Baffert is a "Hall of Fame" horse trainer, but five of his horses have fail drug tests in about the past year, while the sport's leaders have vowed to crack down on horse doping, per AP.

    • Baffert's horses have failed about 30 drug tests in the past four decades, spurring accusations of repeated cheating by his competitors, the New York Times reports.

    State of play: Medina Spirit's test results showed more than the permitted amount of betamethasone, a steroid used to reduce pain and swelling, per the Times.

    • It's also the same drug found in one of Baffert's other horses last year.

    What they're saying: Baffert denied wrongdoing, saying he didn't know how Medina Spirit could have failed the test, according to AP.

    • “I don’t feel embarrassed, I feel like I was wronged,” he said.
    • "These are pretty serious accusations here, but we’re going to get to the bottom of it and find out. We know we didn’t do it.”

    What's next: Medina Spirit hasn't been disqualified yet but could be if another test confirms the result, per the Times.

  • Experts discuss latest Kentucky Derby controversy; what it could mean for future of horse racing

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - An event full of prestige, long-standing history and a good bit of controversy.

    “If the lab is able to detect the substance, it is an automatic violation,” said Executive Director of Racing Medication and Testing Consortium Dr. Mary Scollay.

    Another Kentucky Derby winner making headlines after Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test, according to trainer Bob Baffert. An initial test finding the anti-inflammatory drug betamethasone in his system.

    “It’s used in treating injuries and allowing a horse comfort while it recovers. But if you use the medication to treat the horse, then continue pressing it with training and racing, you put it at an increased risk of injury,” said Dr. Scollay.

  • Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit fails post-race drug test
    New York Post

    The result of the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown is now in doubt, and a Hall of Fame trainer is facing skepticism, and discipline, following a positive post-race drug test of his horse.

    Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s victory could be reversed, and Bob Baffert has been suspended from Churchill Downs after the horse tested positive for the steroid betamethasone that is used to treat pain and inflammation.

    Baffert told reporters he would be transparent with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission as it investigates the matter and denied knowledge of any wrongdoing. Medina Spirit was found to have 21 picograms of betamethasone in its system, Baffert said his barn was told.


  • Baffert: Kentucky Derby Winner Medina Spirit Tests Positive For Betamethasone
    Paulick Report

    Trainer Bob Baffert announced Sunday morning that Medina Spirit, winner of the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 1, has tested positive for betamethasone, a corticosteroid, and faces a possible disqualification from the race – the first medication DQ since Dancer's Image lost his Derby victory in 1968 after a disputed positive test for the anti-inflammatory phenylbutazone.

    If the drug is confirmed in a split sample it would be Baffert's fifth medication violation since May 2020

  • John Clay: A Triple Crown-sized black eye for horse racing, and Bob Baffert is involved again

    This couldn’t look much worse.

    Horse racing’s most famous event, the Kentucky Derby. Horse racing’s most famous trainer, Bob Baffert. A positive drug test. A Baffert horse. Again.

    The news hit like a thunderbolt Sunday morning, that Medina Spirit, the 12-1 shot who won last Saturday’s 147th running of the Kentucky Derby, giving Baffert a record seventh triumph in the event, had tested positive for an overage of betamethasone, a corticosteroid injected into joints to reduce pain and swelling.

  • Kentucky Derby Winner Medina Spirit Fails Drug Test
    New York Times

    The 2021 Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, failed a drug test after the race, putting a new stain on a sport troubled by doping problems and placing thoroughbred horse racing’s most recognizable personality, the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, under uncomfortable scrutiny.

    If he is disqualified, Medina Spirit will be stripped of the Derby title and its winning purse, and become only the third horse in the 147-year history of the race to receive such a penalty after finishing first. The colt cannot be disqualified until a second sample, collected at the same time as the first, confirms the result in a test expected in the coming weeks. Mr. Baffert will then have an opportunity to appeal.


  • McConnell and Barr: Thoroughbred racing is well-positioned for the future. Here's why
    Courier Journal Opinion

    The Kentucky Derby is called the most exciting two minutes in sports. This week, fans from around the globe will turn their attention once again to the Bluegrass State as the Derby returns to the first Saturday in May. As elected representatives of the Horse Capital of the World, we will also celebrate our progress toward preserving this cherished sport with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.

    Thoroughbred racing has faced intense criticism in recent years. Tragedies on the tracks, doping scandals in the stables and an unworkable regulatory framework have marred its storied legacy. Even the Washington Post’s editorial board called for an end to the sport altogether.

    Such a misguided move would inflict widespread damage on spectators and cities across the country. The American horse racing and breeding industry generates almost $40 billion annually for its communities. Horse racing’s TV viewership was on the rise at this point last year, even as other sports suffered. Watching even one heart-pounding photo finish is enough to understand why.

  • Second Civil Suit From Oklahoma, West Virginia Racing Authorities Questions Constitutionality Of HISA
    Paulick Report

    The Horseracing Safety and Integrity Act (HISA) is facing a second legal challenge after Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced this week he is filing a federal lawsuit calling into question the act's constitutionality. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern Division of Kentucky, includes a number of plaintiffs, including the states of Oklahoma and West Virginia and their racing commissions, the U.S. Trotting Association and Pennsylvania-based Hanover Shoe Farm, as well as the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association and a number of track ownership entities in Oklahoma. Defendants include the United States, the Federal Trade Commission, and a number of individuals working for the FTC and the HISA nominating committee.

    This suit, much like one filed in March by the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and a number of its state affiliates, questions the ability of HISA to delegate regulation to a private group while not making it accountable to a government organization. The suit questions the new authority's relationship to the FTC, which critics say can only approve or deny new rules, but has no substantive input on their construction.

  • Mangini Pleads Guilty in Race-Doping Scheme

    n operator of several pharmaceutical websites charged with conspiring to unlawfully distribute adulterated and misbranded performance-enhancing drugs for racehorses with the intent to defraud and mislead pled guilty April 23 in United States District Court.

  • The Friday Show: Adding An Asterisk To An Arkansas Derby Winner
    Paulick Report

    It's been almost a year since Bob Baffert-trained Gamine and Charlatan won races at Oaklawn – Gamine in an allowance race and Charlatan in a division of the Grade 1, $1-million Arkansas Derby – and then subsequently were disqualified when post-race drug tests detected the prohibited drug lidocaine.

    Those disqualifications were appealed, as was a 15-day suspension given Baffert by the Oaklawn board of stewards. Earlier this week after a two-day hearing, the Arkansas Racing Commission voted unanimously to restore the horses' wins, eliminate Baffert's suspension and instead fine him $5,000 for each positive.

    Paulick Report editor-in-chief Natalie Voss, who viewed the 15-hour proceedings online and reported on the commissioners' vote, joins Ray Paulick in this week's Friday Show to discuss the case and the challenges made by the Hall of Fame trainer and his attorneys to the drug testing process and stewards' rulings.

  • Adam Wachtel, Our Voices: More Shade
    BloodHorse Daily

    I will once again thank those that have put in the time and effort to get behind the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.

    We are in such great need of an independent body to develop and enforce uniform anti-doping and medication controls. I think it's important to focus on the fact that developing uniform rules across the nation is just part of the test. Enforcing the rules will take ingenuity and dedication. It will be a difficult task. I do hope that the committees formed as a result of the Act will be filled with people that understand our sport and are truly dedicated toward cleaning it up. We need it. 

    Having spent most of my 58 years involved in the sport, I have seen and heard a lot. I have written about some of this in past articles. There has always been a group of bad actors in the sport who try their best to ignore, circumvent, or simply thumb their noses at the rules. Whether it's greed or the desire to win at all costs, we have all been subjected to "Jackals" that have cheated wins and money away from those of us who try our best to abide by the rules.



  • Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act A 'Poll-arizing' Issue
    Paulick Report

    People apparently have strong feelings about the poll published over the last week in the Paulick Report asking readers whether they support or oppose the lawsuit filed by the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and state affiliates to stop the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act from being enacted.

    We've done polls before on this legislation, asking whether readers were in favor of the Act while it was working its way through Congress and then, following its passage in December 2020, whether the creation of a national office (the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority) for medication and safety regulations will have a positive or negative impact on racing.

    All those polls expressed strong support for the legislation.

  • The Business of Racing: HBPA Challenge to the Horseracing Integrity Act
    Past The Wire

    On Monday, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) filed a lawsuit in federal court in Texas seeking to overturn the recently enacted Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. The Act would establish a nationwide drug enforcement policy for racing, partially replacing the patchwork system of state-by-state regulation that, in the opinion of many racing folks, has permitted cheaters to avoid or delay the kinds of stiff penalties that would actually deter cheating.

    Most discussion of the Act has focused on its similarity to the human anti-doping program of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for Olympic athletes. But in fact, the Act is modeled more closely on the regulatory structure in the stock market, where a private entity, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) oversees the actions of stock brokers, dealers and advisors, under rules that it proposes and that are subject to approval by a federal agency (in that case, the Securities and Exchange Commission) and, ultimately, by the federal courts. In the case of racing, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act sets up a private entity, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, that has the power to propose rules for approval by the Federal Trade Commission and to establish enforcement procedures.

  • Horsemen's group tries to head off horse racing
    Las Vegas Review Journal

    The creation of the first federal regulatory body for horse racing hit a not unexpected speed bump this week when a national horseman’s group filed a lawsuit arguing the new law is unconstitutional.

    The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association filed the suit Monday in a U.S. District Court in Texas in an attempt to prevent the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 from being implemented next year as planned.

    The law, passed by Congress and signed by former President Donald Trump in December, calls for the creation of a federal body to design and implement uniform national horse racing medication and racetrack safety standards in the 38 states that conduct pari-mutuel horse racing.

  • One More Whoa After HISA Horse Leaves the Barn

    Congratulations, Thoroughbred racing. You are at each other's throats again. Has there ever been a sport so intent on sowing acrimony among its various factions? Well, maybe boxing. And the NFL. Major League baseball once quarreled itself out of the World Series. The NCAA can't seem to get athlete compensation right. And don't even ask about the Olympics and gymnastics.

    Okay, so horse racing is just like every other game in town, rife with internal combustion, oblivious to the downstream damage of public perception. The lawsuit filed by the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and others challenging the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is only the latest piece of evidence that the leaders of the sport can take two steps forward and two steps back and still think they have made good progress.


  • Letters to the Editor: Benard Chatters

    In the past five years, hundreds of thousands of pre-race and post-race drug tests throughout the country by professional accredited testing laboratories found that less than 0.06% were positive for drugs having no business being in a horse other than cheating. That is a far cry from the rampant corruption asserted by Mr. Finley in his support of HISA.

    Let me end by saying the National HBPA has always condemned cheaters and believes they should be kicked out of the industry. And we support uniform medication and safety rules along with their strict enforcement. No doubt improvements can be made to the status quo, but an unconstitutional HISA is not the answer.

  • Letter to the Editor: Jerry Brown

    I disagree with Victoria Keith's Op-Ed (link) on one point– horseplayers, not owners, fund purses, which ultimately fund everything in our industry, directly or indirectly. But I do agree with a lot of what she wrote. And while I don't believe the body given authority should be strictly made up of owners, they are at least industry stakeholders. If you tried, you couldn't come up with a worse idea than having a governing body that a) is not allowed by law to contain people from the industry; b) is not elected and can't be voted ou; c) but gets to decide how it gets funded.

  • Letter to Editor: Victoria Keith

    This is in response to Bill Finley's editorial “Horsemen's Groups Turn Their Backs on Honest Trainers, Owners”.

    I don't share the opinion that “every honest horseman should be 100% behind the Horseracing Integrity Safety and Integrity Act (HISA).” I do agree that every honest horseman wants to see our sport cleaned up and cheaters caught and removed. The points of disagreement in the HISA bill have been the removal of race-day Lasix and funding, which I'm not addressing here, and the makeup and selection process for the HISA governing bodies.

    Any governing body including the one established in the HISA bill should be one governed by the owners. The owners are who finance the entire sport. They put up the money for the horses who are on the track. The owners are who govern other professional sports.


  • Op/Ed Feedback: Why Is Legality Considered Optional?

    Bill Finley, in his Mar. 17 TDN opinion piece on the National HBPA challenging the legality of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, wrote: “It's hard to imagine that there is one horseman anywhere who cares one bit whether or not HISA is unconstitutional or not.”

    To Mr. Finley, it doesn't matter if this legislation, ramrodded through to passage with no Senate Committee discussion or debate as a little-known add-on to December's COVID relief bill, is legal or not. Who cares about the law's legality? he asks. The National HBPA cares.

    We believe thousands of horsemen and horsewomen, including HBPA members and those in other racing jurisdictions, care, but many are afraid to say aloud that the emperor has no clothes. If they don't care today, we are confident they will down the road when the harmful consequences of HISA are put into effect.


  • Suit Aims to Halt Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act

    Opponents of a new federal law that would move oversight of horse racing medication rules and drug testing from state regulators to an authority under the Federal Trade Commission by the summer of 2022 have shifted their efforts from the political arena to federal court.

    The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association filed a lawsuit March 15 that aims to prevent the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 from being implemented. Throughout the political process the National HBPA contended that HISA was unconstitutional while the bill's supporters countered that it would withstand judicial scrutiny.

    That scrutiny is now scheduled to take place. The lawsuit (National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association v. Black), filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, argues that HISA is unconstitutional in handing the power to regulate horse racing over to a private group.


  • National HBPA Releases Statements On Lawsuit Over Horseracing Integrity Act View Larger Image
    The Pressbox

    The National HBPA applauds the non-profit Liberty Justice Center for representing racehorse owners and trainers across the country in the federal lawsuit challenging the legality of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.

    The lawsuit, National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association v. Black, was filed on March 15, 2021, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. To read the lawsuit and information about this case, visit: https://libertyjusticecenter.org/media/horse-racing/

    The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association is North America’s largest thoroughbred horsemen’s group. The Liberty Justice Center is a national public-interest law firm that defends constitutional rights.

  • NTRA Statement on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act View Larger Image
    NTRA Press Release

    “HISA, a well-crafted and comprehensive piece of legislation, creates the national framework that addresses our industry’s critical need for consistent, forceful anti-doping control and equine safety standards. The NTRA Board of Directors, which consists of representatives from tens of thousands of breeders, owners and trainers from more than 40 states, as well as thousands of horseplayers and virtually every major racetrack in the United States, voted to support HISA. We plan to work tirelessly on behalf of our members and a broad array of interested parties and stakeholders to support HISA’s successful launch in July 2022.”

    Alex Waldrop,

    President and Chief Executive Officer,

    National Thoroughbred Racing Association

  • Op/Ed: Horsemen's Groups Turn Their Backs on Honest Trainers, Owners

    If you are an owner and trainer who plays by the rules, the last several years should have been hard to swallow. Racing, with its broken system, has proven unable to police itself and the result has been that cheaters have prospered and have done so at the expense of the vast majority of horsemen who do things right. Armed with syringes, the bad guys have been stealing money from the good guys. Lots of it.

    Which is exactly why every honest horsemen should be 100% behind the Horseracing Integrity Safety and Integrity Act (HISA). It will give them a fighting chance.

    HISA is not a magic bullet and it will not solve all of the sport's problems. Cheating will never go away totally. What HISA will do is to usher in a competent, effective system to police the sport. Instead of relying on each individual state and a system of drug testing that never really catches anybody, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will take over, responsible for leveling what has been, for far too long, an uneven playing field. There is no doubt that USADA is going to make it a lot harder to get away with cheating.

  • NTRA: Horse Racing and Integrity Act lawsuit is 'meritless'
    Horse Racing Nation

    The Horse Racing and Integrity Act signed into law late last year has garnered broad support among industry stakeholders. But it is by no means unanimous.

    This week, the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and 11 affiliated chapters announced it had filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law, which would create a national board to regulate the sport and also hand over drug enforcement duties to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

    The law is scheduled to go into effect no later than July 1, 2022.

  • NTRA: 'Contrary To HBPA's Hyperbole, HISA Is Neither Unprecedented Nor Unconstitutional'
    Paulick Report

    Following Monday's announcement that the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) is filing a lawsuit against the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) issued the following response:

    Contrary to HBPA's hyperbole, HISA is neither unprecedented nor unconstitutional. HISA emulates the long-established FINRA/SEC model, with even greater protections for all stakeholders. It is disappointing that the HBPA—an entity whose mission is supposedly the welfare of horses and horsemen—would seek to undo much needed reforms to protect the industry's participants.

    “HISA, a well-crafted and comprehensive piece of legislation, creates the national framework that addresses our industry's critical need for consistent, forceful anti-doping control and equine safety standards,” said Alex Waldrop, President and CEO of the NTRA.

  • Even now the cheats have not gone - but we can rescue the sport from them
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    “I would have gotten the message a year ago if I was the trainer, but I don’t know if some people did,” said Jockey Club chairman Stuart Janney. 

    “It’s great when they are caught in the regulatory framework and penalties become severe, but people need to go to jail. It’s not fun and games. Unfortunately, we continue to see things that look suspicious to us. 

    “We have been communicating with 5 Stones intelligence (5Si) [a leading private investigation firm retained by the Jockey Club] and they are not indicating that we’ve gotten to the bottom of the bucket. To the extent that we have knowledge, we believe there is a long tail to this. Maybe people are more careful of how they are cheating, but I don’t see a lot of evidence that people have stopped cheating.”

  • Navarro, Alleged Doping Co-Conspirators File Motions to Dismiss

    Jorge Navarro and Seth Fishman, DVM, the federally indicted trainer and veterinarian whose alleged litanies of racehorse doping date to at least 2002, both filed Feb. 5 motions to dismiss the drug alteration and misbranding conspiracy charges levied against them in United States District Court (Southern District of New York)...

    ...One of the supporting sub-points seemingly argues that the yet-to-be-implemented regulatory body borne out of the Horseracing Safety and Integrity Act (HISA) is actually the proper arm of the federal law that should be handling the case.

    The memorandum states: “The HISA of 2020 Gives the FTC Plenary Authority over Horse Racing.”

  • Voss: 'I Love Horses' Only Takes You So Far
    Paulick Report

    I think it's fair to say that most people in the racing industry were disgusted when they read the federal indictments last March of 27 people, including trainers, veterinarians, and drug makers. The very first person from that group of 27 was sentenced this week to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of drug adulteration and misbranding.

    I've reported on companies affiliated with Scott Robinson for several years now, and I had reason to suspect the conditions under which he and his co-conspirator Scott Mangini made illegal drugs were poor. Even I was surprised at some of the details in court documents filed around his sentencing, and I don't think I've been so horrified by a legal document since the original indictments.

    The pre-sentencing report filed by the prosecution is littered with strong language about Robinson's involvement in peddling products designed to act as performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) or as substitutes for more expensive prescriptions. Possibly the most upsetting part of the document, which you can read here, was intercepted messages between Robinson and Mangini describing issues Robinson was seeing with products headed off for sale.

  • What It Takes For A Reporter To Call Out A Cheating Trainer
    Paulick Report

    We received a frustrated letter to the editor this past weekend with a familiar tune. A horse had won a graded stakes race in impressive fashion, continuing a trend of improved form that had started after the horse left the barn of one trainer for another. Why, the reader asked, did they not see coverage of the race dotted with warnings or aspersions about the trainer and his horse's meteoric rise?

    It's a question we've heard before when a trainer has what a horseplayer considers an unusually high win percentage or when a horse turns in a dominant performance.

    'Why are you too scared to just say the guy is cheating?' people will ask, usually with too many exclamation points. 'Why do you promote these trainers all the time?' they'll write at the end of a race preview or recap.

    There are a few reasons we elected not to run that letter, and a few reasons we're not going to put out articles accusing someone of illegal activity based on suspicions or statistics.

  • Iowa HBPA's Moss Wants To Stop Recently Signed HISA Law From Being Implemented
    Paulick Report

    “This new group that is being formed is unchecked in how much they can charge us as the state of Iowa in order to actually regulate the racing industry within the state,” Moss told radioiowa.com. “There's going to be a reckoning coming — we're going to be in a tough position. We may reach out and request something of your assistance to try and help stop this from being implemented.”

  • The Jockey Club President Jim Gagliano Joins TDN Writers' Room

    “I don't think it should come out of the horseplayers' pockets,” Gagliano said of the HISA cost. “Every state funds its regulation differently. The problem that we faced when we were considering that matter, is there's really no one-size-fits-all that we could push down to the states. The most important thing we want to do is make sure we capture first the current expenses, and then that those were brought forward. After that, the Authority will work with each state and through its racing commission to determine what the number is. I suggest the simplest way is to share [the costs] between the tracks and the horsemen. But honestly, there's a lot of details to be considered.”

  • Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Brings Optimism

    One of the biggest stories of the year received a big update in the final days of 2020 when President Trump signed an omnibus bill Dec. 27 that included the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which was approved Dec. 21 by the Senate after being approved earlier this year by the U.S. House of Representatives...

    ...The years-long, sustained push for the legislation came from The Jockey Club and prominent breeders who rallied support through the Water Hay Oats Alliance.

    "With the passage of this bill, we restore confidence with our fans that the competition is clean, the game is fair, and the horse and rider are protected," said The Jockey Club chairman Stuart Janney III in a release.



  • The Week in Review: Could Breakage be Used to Pay for Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act?

    The breakage plus uncashed tickets, is that enough? Until The Jockey Club, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority or, perhaps, the United States Anti-Doping Agency or whomever, release a budget or an estimated budget, it's impossible to tell. But even if the breakage money pays for just a fraction of the program, it is a good place to start.

    The passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which appears to be inevitable despite President's Trump's reluctance to sign the omnibus spending bill that includes the Act, promises to be a tremendously positive, much-needed development for the sport.  It will come at a cost, but that shouldn't be too much of a cost. This is not something that horseplayers should have to pay for. The same goes for the owners. Whether it's with the breakage money or something else, when it comes to paying for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, the sport needs to get this one right.

  • The Meadowlands supports HISA

    "The HISA is important to all of horse racing to demonstrate that we are addressing the problems that have plagued the sport for the last several decades. It is clear the past and current policies do not work.

    "Virtually all the horsemen that I have asked support trying to eliminate trainers that drug the horses. Having the Federal government involved will put some teeth into the effort to stop them as the indictments and subsequent arrests of last March showed.

    "It seems inconceivable that in 2022 every thoroughbred racetrack will have uniform rules and be governed by this legislation while every standardbred racetrack will continue to be governed by the states despite the fact that 27 of the 29 people indicted earlier this year were associated with standardbred racing and only two were thoroughbred trainers.

    "Hopefully we can work with the USTA to modify the law next year to meet our needs which are considerably different than the thoroughbreds. If the USTA continues to oppose the legislation it would be our intention to ask the Racing Commissions in New York and New Jersey to allow us to opt in to the legislation since it does provide that option.

    "I remain confident that the majority of the issues that concern the Standardbred industry can be addressed and adjusted to where we can live with them," said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural.

  • 'Game changer': Officials praise horse racing safety bill
    The Seattle Times

    “This is a monumental step forward that will help secure the future of thoroughbred racing in the United States,” New York Racing Association president and CEO Dave O’Rourke said. “For the first time, the sport will have a unified set of national safety and integrity standards to replace an outdated system that relied on patchwork regulation. … This legislation will further modernize horse racing and arrives at a critical juncture in its history.”

    “It’s the first time it’ll have a national program for both the anti-doping as well as racetrack safety,” U.S Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis T. Tygart said by phone Monday. “The ultimate goals of both of those is to ensure as safe and fair and drug-free of a sport as possibly can be.”

  • USADA calls horse racing integrity act 'new era' in sport

    The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said on Monday the recently-passed Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) that will allow the body to oversee a national drug testing program for horse racing signifies a new era in the sport.

    HISA, which will put anti-doping/medication control and safety programs under the umbrella of one independent, non-governmental authority as opposed to individual state racing commissions, was signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday.

    “This passage signifies the beginning of a new era in the storied history of the horse racing industry,” USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said in a statement.

  • Trump signs horse racing integrity act into law
    Horse Racing Nation

    The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act became law with Sunday night's unexpected signing of a government spending package by President Trump.

    The HISA would create a private agency to regulate racehorse medication, phase out the use of Lasix and other race-day drugs and bring the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency into the enforcement process. It also would establish minimum standards for racetrack safety. The private agency would report to the Federal Trade Commission.

  • HISA Signed into Law

    “USADA is honored and grateful to be tasked with the anti-doping duties outlined in the Act. We are excited to spend the near future contributing to the design of a robust set of rules and customizing our gold-standard athlete service and testing model to ensure clean competition for equine athletes.

    “Thank you to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his leadership in getting this bill through Congress, and to Congressmen Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY), and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Martha McSally (R-AZ) the original cosponsors of the Horseracing Integrity Act.

    “USADA welcomes the opportunity to partner with horse racing stakeholders to develop uniform rules and to implement robust independent testing and enforcement that will contribute to the longevity and legacy of the sport of horseracing.”

  • USTA President Russell Williams statement on passage of HISA
    USTA Press Release

    Columbus, OH – Following is the statement from USTA President Russell Williams regarding the inclusion of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in the year-end omnibus bill and the passage of that legislation:

    “Inclusion of the HISA bill in the year-end omnibus legislation was not a surprise, and we have been working on the assumption that it would pass ever since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell first made it public,” said Williams.  “A new Congress, the 117th, convenes next month. It will provide opportunities to remedy many official errors that were made in 2020, including HISA.

  • Congress approves federal oversight for thoroughbred racing

    “There’s a new sheriff in town,” Jockey Club General Counsel Marc Summers told WAVE 3 News, “and that sheriff is going to be very, very committed to ensuring that the game is safe and that there’s the integrity necessary for our fans to have confidence in the results of races.”

    Currently governed by 38 separate jurisdictions and a patchwork of regulation, the Horse Racing and Safety Integrity Act does what racing could not do for itself, get all tracks in all states to adopt the same rules protecting horses.

  • What Happens Next? Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act FAQs
    Paulick Report

    With Monday's late-night passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act as part of an omnibus government spending bill, there are many questions about when the newly created Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority will begin to take shape and begin its national oversight of medication policies and safety standards for the sport, how it will be governed, and what it will cost.

    To get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, we went to Marc Summers, vice president and general counsel for The Jockey Club, which helped steer the legislation through the United States House of Representatives and Senate.

  • Opinion: By handing drug enforcement to U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, can horse racing clean up its act?
    USA Today

    “There’s a lot of money being made under the status quo and we saw that when we took over the Olympic world as well,” Tygart said. “So are we going to be able to get people off their little fiefs that are churning money? Let’s hope they come along and get on board, but if they are earning that money the wrong way they’re going to get sanctioned and that’s the way it ought to be. The health and safety of the equine athletes in this case is too important for the long term to let the status quo that obviously hasn't worked continue.”

    While horse racing has badly needed this kind of change and a national structure to regulate the sport, it’s too early to say everything will be fixed with one signature of a president. But if horse racing wants to get serious about catching and sanctioning its drug cheats, the willingness to hand that work to USADA shows they at least have a chance. 

  • Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act passes as part of year-end government funding bill
    Louisivlle Courier Journal

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., praised the bill's passage in a statement shortly after the vote.

    “Kentucky’s cherished horseracing traditions deserve to be protected. I’m proud the Senate agreed to my legislation to preserve our signature racing industry and the 24,000 workers who support it,” he said. 

    Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., also celebrated the move in the same statement.

    “With today’s passage of HISA in Congress we are in the final stretch of achieving the most transformational and consequential reform of the Thoroughbred horseracing industry since enactment of the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978," he said.


  • 'A Pivotal Moment': Industry Leaders Applaud Passage Of Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act
    Paulick Report

    “Kentucky's cherished horseracing traditions deserve to be protected. I'm proud the Senate agreed to my legislation to preserve our signature racing industry and the 24,000 workers who support it,” said Senator McConnell. “With the leadership of Congressman Andy Barr and the partnership of sport leaders, horse advocates, and fans, we're one step closer to promoting fairness and safety across Thoroughbred racing. As Majority Leader, I made this Kentucky-focused legislation a top priority in the Senate. I look forward to this major advancement for our beloved sport becoming law.”

  • Once an obstacle, Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell spurs horseracing reform
    Louisville Courier Journal

    "This game-changing, bipartisan legislation will protect the health and safety of equine athletes and provide clean competitors a level playing field,” USADA said in a prepared statement. “USADA is honored and humbled to carry out the anti-doping responsibilities detailed in the act, implementing uniform rules through our independent model in service of clean competition. As with Olympic sport, one set of rules, enforced independently and uniformly, is the bedrock of any meaningful anti-doping program.” 

  • HISA, horse racing bill, passed as part of omnibus legislation

    The U.S. Senate on Monday night approved an omnibus legislative package that included a bill that will establish a national regulatory body for racing beginning in the summer of 2022.

    The passage of the bill represents the culmination of 10 years of effort by its supporters, a cast of characters that has broadened over the past two years to include most major constituencies in the Thoroughbred industry. Under the bill, a non-profit, private company called the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority will approve national rules on medication policies and drug testing, to be enforced by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, another private, non-profit company.

    The bi-partisan bill, known as the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, has already passed in the House of Representatives, and the legislation is expected to be signed by the White House or, alternately, survive a veto attempt.

  • KEEP Applauds Congress for the Inclusion of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in the FY 2021 Omnibus Spending Bill
    Press Release

    The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) applauds the United State Congress for its inclusion of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in the FY 2021 omnibus spending bill that was passed by Congress tonight.

    KEEP is thankful for Senator Mitch McConnell and Representative Andy Barr’s longtime leadership on this issue. Additionally, KEEP is grateful for Representatives James Comer, Brett Guthrie, Hal Rogers, and John Yarmuth’s cosponsorship of the House of Representatives’ version of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.

    Elisabeth Jensen, KEEP’s Executive Vice President who oversees the daily operations of the organization, commented, “KEEP has been at the forefront of the industry in calling for uniform safety standards. This legislation is critical for Kentucky’s signature industry and we are thankful to the Commonwealth’s members of Congress who championed this issue. We look forward to working with our industry partners in the implementation of these new safety standards.”

  • Congress approves bill to crack down on racehorse doping
    The Washington Post

    WASHINGTON — A bill to ban race-day doping of horses and set national medication and track-safety standards for the horse-racing industry is nearing the finish line. Lawmakers gave final approval to the bill late Monday as part of the massive legislation on spending and pandemic relief.

    President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill in the next few days.

    Passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act comes after a series of doping scandals and a rash of horse fatalities in recent years. More than two dozen people were charged last March in what authorities described as a widespread international scheme to drug horses to make them run faster.


    Leaders from around the sport hailed the legislation as a new beginning for thoroughbred racing, which has come under fire in recent years as equine deaths and doping scandals have moved into the spotlight.

    Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Inc., called the bill's passage "a pivotal moment for the future of horse racing," and Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said it is "a landmark moment" for the industry.

  • Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Poised to Advance
    BloodHorse Daily

    After years of effort on similar bills that failed to advance, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Sept. 29. The legislation would see formation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to oversee the sport's equine medication, anti-doping policies, and drug testing—taking that responsibility away from state regulators. The bill's supporters, including The Jockey Club, prominent track owners, and animal welfare groups, believe the new approach will improve integrity and uniformity in these areas. The House action followed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican, Kentucky) voicing his support for the legislation—with some tweaks—Aug. 31 at Keeneland. The House bill was updated to include those changes and approved about a month later.

  • Year-end Congressional action includes anti-horse doping provisions

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVQ) – In what supporters call the the biggest gain for animal welfare in years, Congress included in the $900 billion year-end spending bill that is expected to be signed into law soon a provision to ban race-day doping of thoroughbreds.

    The measure is a prime part of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety (HISA) Safety Act. H.R. 1754/S. 4547 which was approved by the House this fall, concluding an eight-year campaign to end medication abuses leading to breakdowns and injuries and deaths on tracks across the nation, supporters of the legislation said Monday.

  • Congress Passes Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act led by Congressman Andy Barr and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
    Press Release

    “With today’s passage of HISA in Congress we are in the final stretch of achieving the most transformational and consequential reform of the thoroughbred horseracing industry since enactment of the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978,” said Congressman Barr. “For almost a decade, I have worked with industry stakeholders and my Congressional colleagues to build consensus around reforms that will protect equine athletes and strengthen confidence and international competitiveness in the sport. I am proud to champion this historic, bipartisan legislation with Congressman Paul Tonko and Leader McConnell and I look forward to President Trump signing it into law.”

  • Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act Passes Senate

    Included in a year-end government funding bill that included a $900-billion COVID-19 relief package, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was passed by the House of Representatives and Congress Monday night. The bill is expected to be signed into law shortly by President Donald J. Trump, which would mean that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, once considered a longshot to pass, will become a reality.

    The passage of the bill was a a bipartisan effort led by Congressmen Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

    “Kentucky’s cherished horseracing traditions deserve to be protected. I’m proud the Senate agreed to my legislation to preserve our signature racing industry and the 24,000 workers who support it,” McConnell said in a statement. “With the leadership of Congressman Andy Barr and the partnership of sport leaders, horse advocates, and fans, we’re one step closer to promoting fairness and safety across Thoroughbred racing. As Majority Leader, I made this Kentucky-focused legislation a top priority in the Senate. I look forward to this major advancement for our beloved sport becoming law.”


  • Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act passes as part of year-end government funding bill
    Louisville Courier Journal

    New federal legislation to regulate the horse racing industry on a national level passed the U.S. Senate late Monday and is expected to be signed into law by President Donald Trump.

    The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, included in a year-end government funding bill, was shepherded through Congress with support from multiple members of Kentucky's Congressional delegation. The legislation will have major impacts on one of the commonwealth's most prominent industries by addressing medical and safety standards in horse racing.

  • Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act Advances in Congress

    “It’s a great day,” said Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), a longtime proponent of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. “It’s going to save a sport, provide additional jobs and will be so respectful of the equine athletes, the jockeys and others who are involved. It begins and ends there. I am thrilled about it.”

  • McConnell Leads Senate Passage of Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act
    Press Release

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) led the Senate today in passing his Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which was included in the year-end government funding bill. The legislation now goes to President Trump’s desk to become law. Senator McConnell introduced the bipartisan legislation in September, only days after the 146th Kentucky Derby, to recognize a uniform, national standard for Thoroughbred racing.

  • Tonko Horseracing Reform Bill Nearing Finish Line to Become Law
    Press Release

    WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Paul D. Tonko tonight cheered the passage of his bipartisan legislation—H.R. 1754: the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act—as part of the bipartisan omnibus and COVID-19 relief legislation, H.R. 133, expected to be signed into law quickly by the President. Tonko’s bill, which he was able to convince 260 of his colleagues to cosponsor, would designate the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to design and implement uniform national horse racing medication and racetrack safety standards.

  • Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Poised to Advance
    The BloodHorse

    With the United States Senate including the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in an omnibus bill crafted around a funding package that would prevent a government shutdown, the industry landmark legislation that would overhaul oversight of racing's drug and medication rules and its equine drug testing appears poised to become reality.

  • Change is coming to American racing - but WE need to change too
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    Speedy progress for Integrity and Safety Act

    Since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, from Kentucky, announced his support for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) at Keeneland on August 31, things have moved quickly. Read this TRC article, which I wrote shortly afterwards, to see how the stars aligned to get McConnell’s support and get the industry fully aligned with this critical initiative. 

    McConnell added a safety component to the medication and integrity components. The Senate and the House drafted one bill for consideration and vote by both legislative branches. 

    On September 29, the House of Representatives passed the HISA bill on a unanimous verbal vote. McConnell intends to get the Senate bill passed during the ‘lame duck’ session, which will be convened before the end of the year. 

    The HISA will be the most important Federal legislation since the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 and in some respects even more important.

  • In Superseding Indictment, Servis Faces Far More Serious Charges

    Jason Servis and two veterinarians involved in the scheme to allegedly drug race horses could be spending considerable time in prison after the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York released a superseding indictment Friday that includes the charge of Mail and Wire Fraud Conspiracy. The maximum sentence under federal guidelines for the charge is 20 years.
    Five individuals named in the original indictment were not included in the superseding indictment, including former Servis assistant Henry Argueta. That could lead to speculation that the five are cooperating with law enforcement authorities.

    In addition to Servis, the wire fraud charges were directed at Alexander Chan and Kristian Rhein. According to the indictment, the two conspired with Servis to administer misbranded and adulterated PEDs.

  • Save horses by better regulating use of performance enhancing drugs
    The Baltimore Sun

    Federal legislation would regulate the industry and prevent the unnecessary death of horses. Enacting this legislation to reform horse racing and protect the equine and human athletes that form the foundation of the sport and business has strong support from an incredibly broad coalition of industry participants and beyond. Those that support reform include major racetrack operators such as The Stronach Group, Churchill Downs Inc., the New York Racing Association, and Keeneland Association Inc.; major industry organizations such as The Jockey Club and Breeders' Cup Ltd; thousands of individual horse owners and breeders represented by organizations such as the Water, Hay, Oats Alliance and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association; and major animal welfare organizations such as The Humane Society of the U.S. and Animal Wellness Action.

  • The Week in Review: HBPA Says 'Ramrodded' Integrity Act Could Get Challenged As 'Unconstitutional'

    If the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) gets passed by the United States Senate and then signed into federal law, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) could launch a legal challenge against it based on the alleged unconstitutionality of the independently overseen anti-doping, drug testing, and racetrack safety standard programs that the new federal law would create.

  • Reader's View: A national approach to safety will ensure the future of thoroughbred horse racing
    The Saratogian

    NYRA strongly supports the HISA and urges the Senate to follow the House’s lead and quickly bring it to a vote. NYRA has long advocated for a national approach to medication control and anti-doping across horse racing, and this legislation will move the sport forward through a unified set of enhanced safety and integrity standards..........Thoroughbred racing in the United States is at a crossroads. To help assure its continued success, lawmakers must act decisively to protect and encourage a sport that serves as an economic engine in states across the country. The Senate should swiftly pass this important legislation, and the President should waste no time in signing it into law.


  • 'At Long Last Rounding The Final Turn': Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act Passes In House
    Paulick Report

    The bill approved by the House today also has companion Senate legislation introduced recently by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

    U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “Our bipartisan legislation to recognize a national standard for Thoroughbred racing is receiving support from all corners. Now, it's earned the approval of the House. Today's vote was another important step toward protecting our beloved sport for the horses, jockeys, trainers, breeders, and fans. I'd like to congratulate Congressmen Andy Barr and Paul Tonko and their colleagues for championing this legislation in the House. I look forward to their continued support as work continues to pass this bill into law.”

  • Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Passes the U.S. House of Representatives
    Barr Press Release

    Washington, D.C. – Landmark legislation to reform the horse racing industry unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives today.  The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) led by Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), creates a new independent regulatory authority responsible for establishing uniform safety and competition standards for Thoroughbred horse racing.  HISA now heads to the U.S. Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is leading the effort for its passage.


  • Tonko Horseracing Safety Bill Passes in House
    Press Release

    WASHINGTON—Congressman Paul D. Tonko’s bipartisan national horse racing reform bill, H.R. 1754, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. The bill has long been co-led by Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) and would designate the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to design and implement uniform national horse racing medication and racetrack safety standards.

  • Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act passes House, heads to Senate next
    Louisville Courier Journal

    “After nearly six years working to advance this bipartisan legislation to modernize horse racing in the United States, we are at long last rounding the final turn,” Tonko said. “Our Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act puts the health and well-being of our equine athletes and jockeys firmly at the center of the sport and delivers common-sense medication and track safety standards that will lift this noble sport to higher standards of integrity and safety."

  • U.S. House passes horse racing safety bill

    “The horse racing industry must accept and adopt forward-thinking solutions as the health and welfare of the sport’s human and equine athletes are paramount to their future in California,” Newsom said in a statement. “These bills are an essential step to create a safer and more transparent horse racing experience for everyone involved and can serve as a model for other states to follow.”


  • House approves bill to combat doping in horse racing

    Racing also serves as a major economic driver in many parts of the country, including New York, said Tonko, whose district includes the well-known Saratoga Race Course.

    Even so, the sport in recent years has seen “the devastating results that can occur when these equine athletes are pushed beyond their limits,” Tonko said.

    Often aided by medications that can mask underlying health issues, the same tragic story “has played out countless times across the country,” he said, citing a patchwork of medical and safety regulations that are uneven and often unenforced.

    The House bill would empower an independent Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to set uniform, national standards for medication, track safety and testing of horses for performance-enhancing drugs, or PEDs.

  • Bill to regulate doping in horse racing passes U.S. House

    Tonko's and Barr's push to reform the industry got a final boost in August when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., secured the support of the biggest industry associations and racing organizations like Churchill Downs and Keeneland for a tweaked version of a proposal that Tonko and Barr had been pressing for years. With McConnell's support, the bipartisan legislation is expected to pass the U.S. Senate and become law.

    The House bill, which reflects the McConnell deal, would create and implement national medication and track standards for horse racing, an industry that has long operated under a patchwork of state laws.

  • U.S. House Passes Anti-Doping Bill to Reform American Horse Racing
    Horse Nation

    The Authority will be required to create a set of uniform anti-doping rules, including lists of prohibited substances and methods, protocols around the administration of permitted substances, and laboratory testing accreditation and protocols. These permitted and prohibited substances and practices will be developed after taking into consideration international anti-doping standards and veterinarian ethical standards, along with consulting racing industry representatives and the public. The new nationwide rules would replace the current patchwork of regulatory systems that govern horseracing’s 38 separate racing jurisdictions. For services related to the enforcement of this program, the Authority shall enter into an agreement with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which has a proven track record of conducting anti-doping and medication control activities for all U.S. Olympic athletes and its approach can easily be adapted to horseracing.

  • US House passes anti-doping bill to reform American Horse Racing
    Casino City Times

    The doping of American racehorses has been the subject of Congressional attention over the past five years with hundreds of horses dying on racetracks weekly, and the indictment of 37 trainers and veterinarians in March of 2020.

    The bill has the support of Animal Wellness Action, the Animal Wellness Foundation, and key players throughout the horse racing industry, including all three Triple Crown racetracks. Churchill Downs, which runs the Kentucky Derby, is the most recent corporation to get on board. The effort continues to enjoy the support of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity, which includes The Jockey Club, the Breeders Cup, Keeneland Racecourse, the Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association, the Water Hay Oats Alliance, and AWA and AWF.

  • Ky. delegation pushes horse racing reform bill through House
    Kentucky Today

    Barr says the passage moves one step closer toward historic reform for the horse racing industry.  “This legislation, developed through a highly deliberative and bipartisan process, will ensure the safety of our equine athletes and increase the popularity, public confidence, and international competitiveness of the sport.  I want to thank my House colleagues for supporting this legislation which will usher in a new era for this great Kentucky, and great American, industry.”

    U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is sponsoring a companion bill in the Senate, saluted the House action.  “Our bipartisan legislation to recognize a national standard for Thoroughbred racing is receiving support from all corners.  Now, it’s earned the approval of the House. Today’s vote was another important step toward protecting our beloved sport for the horses, jockeys, trainers, breeders, and fans.”


  • Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Passes House

    By a unanimous Sep. 29 voice vote, the United States House of Representatives passed a years-in-the-making bill that, if eventually signed into law, will develop and implement anti-doping, medication control, drug testing, and racetrack safety standard programs enforced by an independent authority whose powers would supersede the long-standing state-by-state regulation of the sport.

    HR 1754, which has existed in various proposed forms since 2015 and was amended Sep. 9 to match the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) companion legislation that got introduced in the U.S. Senate that same day, passed on Tuesday after five members of Congress from both parties spoke in favor of it while no representatives voiced objections. The Senate version of the HISA (SB 4547) does not currently appear on the near-term calendar of that chamber for voting. But it was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who determines which items come up for action, and McConnell has previously indicated he’s strongly in favor of a vote happening prior to the end of the current legislative session.

  • House approves bill to combat doping in horse racing
    The Washington Post

    WASHINGTON — The House approved a bill Tuesday to create national medication and safety standards for the horse racing industry as lawmakers move to clamp down on use of performance-enhancing drugs that can lead to horse injuries and deaths.

    The “Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act” comes after a series of doping scandals and a rash of horse fatalities in recent years. More than two dozen people were charged in March in what authorities described as a widespread international scheme to drug horses to make them run faster.

    Jason Servis, whose champion horse Maximum Security crossed the finish line first at the 2019 Kentucky Derby before being disqualified for interference, was among those charged.

  • The Hambletonian Society statement on the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act
    Hambletonian Society

    Cranbury, NJ — The Hambletonian Society supports the proposed Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), the latest version of which is S.R. 4547, introduced on Sept. 9, 2020.

    The Society believes that the current system of oversight and regulation of horse racing needs and demands changes in structure and execution and that the proposed legislation has the potential to bring new found confidence and trust to horseplayers, owners and all other participants.

    While some of the provisions of the original bill caused legitimate concerns for the Standardbred industry, since, among other concerns, it provided for “one size fits all” rules for all breeds, the amended bill now recognizes the uniqueness of other breeds, including Standardbreds.

  • Horseracing Reform Bill Scheduled for Landmark House Vote
    Horse Nation

    The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act includes a ban on race-day doping, the establishment of a uniform national standard for rules and regulations for U.S. horseracing that would be overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) is landmark legislation that would directly address the safety and welfare of racehorses, and the integrity of the sport itself, through better anti-doping measures and racetrack safety standards.

  • House scheduled to vote Tuesday on horseracing integrity measure

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) –  The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Tuesday on H.R. 1754, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, led by U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Andy Barr, R-Ky.

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the bill 46-5 earlier in the month.

  • NAARV opposes HISA federal legislation, cites devastating economic effects
    USTA Communications


    Columbus, OH — The North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians (NAARV), a group whose mission is to ensure the health and well-being of the racehorse through protecting and improving the veterinary care and welfare of the equine athlete, opposes the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, believing that its enactment would do just the opposite.

    Last week, the group wrote to the Congressional Budget Office to provide details regarding some of the devastating economic effects to the horse racing industry that the legislation would create.

  • Federal law adds much-needed oversight of all race day medications, not just Lasix
    Lexington Herald Leader

    Senator Mitch McConnell has introduced the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which addresses racetrack safety and doping issues in Thoroughbred racing. The debate about drugs has gone on for years, and all too frequently, opponents of reform get hung up on Lasix. The heart of drug reform goes far beyond Lasix and needs to address the serious equine health problems brought on by performance-enhancing and misused therapeutic drugs.

    Recently, Kentucky veterinarian Andy Roberts published a column in the Herald-Leader about Senator Mitch McConnell’s Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which focused on his opinion about Lasix. He wades deep into the Lasix issue and concludes by calling for a study on race-day Lasix by the national medication and safety authority that Senator McConnell’s bill would create.


    Edited Press Release – Last night leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives announced a scheduled a vote on H.R. 1754, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, led by U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Andy Barr, R-Ky. The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the bill 46 to 5 earlier in the month. The bill mirrors S. 4547 – legislation introduced by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif. and promises to end the era of widespread doping of horses in Thoroughbred racing in America.


  • Lawmakers schedule US House vote on racing reform bill

    Leaders in the US House of Representatives have scheduled a vote on a horse-racing bill that will tackle drug use within the sport.

    The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in an overwhelming 46 to 5 earlier in the month.

    The bill mirrors legislation introduced to the Senate.


  • Jockey Club Says USTA 'Grasping At Straws' With 'Underwhelming' Legal Attack On Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act
    Paulick Report

    The Jockey Club on Wednesday released a response from its general counsel, Marc Summers, to the United States Trotting Association's (USTA) recent assertion that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) is unconstitutional.

    In a recent press release, the USTA touts a secret “white paper” purportedly concluding that the HISA is “possibly” unconstitutional. Of course, no one else has set eyes on this white paper. But it is hardly surprising that — after months of USTA opposition to any bill like HISA — the USTA's hired-gun law firm would come up with the USTA's preordained conclusion.

    The USTA's unwillingness to release its legal analysis is telling: In reality, HISA is carefully crafted and constitutionally sound. The bill has been rigorously vetted. Many attorneys from different sectors (including Supreme Court and constitutional experts from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP) have thought through the very issues the USTA raises, because we anticipated that those who oppose the bill for other reasons would lob this type of unfounded attack. In the face of decades of precedent supporting the proposed statutory scheme, none of the USTA's four constitutional arguments withstands scrutiny.

  • USTA Voices Opposition To New Racing Legislation, Saying Funding Will Drive Many Horsemen Out Of Business
    Paulick Report

    The newly introduced Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 (HISA) is, like its predecessors, a Thoroughbred bill written by elite Thoroughbred interests in an attempt to address elite Thoroughbred problems. Indeed, Senate Majority Leader McConnell's bill did not include Standardbreds or other breeds, and the press release that announced the bill repeatedly cited only Thoroughbred racing and its interests.

    The bill has since been bastardized by an array of outside interests, and harness racing again has been pulled into the mix. A review of the revised language reveals that the bill now is a virtual clone of H.R. 1754 (Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019), and will harm, not help, Standardbred horses and the harness racing industry.

    While the United States Trotting Association (USTA) strongly supports state-regulated, breed-specific, uniform medication rules for horse racing, the USTA strongly opposes the HISA for a number of reasons and sees several areas of significant concern to the Standardbred racing industry.

  • Industry Institutions 'Need Structural Change': NYTHA Board Unanimously Supports Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act
    Paulick Report

    Statement from the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association:
    For eight years, there have been various attempts to enact federal legislation aimed at standardizing equine medication policy across the country. Typically, horsemen's groups have opposed those efforts. On Friday, the Board of Directors of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA) voted unanimously to support the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) that was recently introduced by Senator McConnell. Simultaneously adopted by the House of Representatives, the new HISA features significant changes that vastly improves upon previous proposals. As a result of these improvements, the HISA now deserves our support.

    Horse Racing is at a crossroads. The 2019 breakdown crisis and this year's shocking indictments of veterinarians and trainers have exposed the industry's uneven commitment to both equine safety and competitive integrity. What's been obvious for years, to owners, trainers, bettors and fans – is that our industry's institutions need structural change.

  • Near-certain passage of Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act raises host of questions
    Daily Racing Form

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – The federal bill putting in place a national regulatory body for Thoroughbred racing is considered a near certainty for passage later this year, generating timely questions about how the body will function and deliver on its promise of improving the industry’s drug-testing abilities and the safety of its athletes.

    The bill, called the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, was introduced in the Senate last week by Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader. On the same day, a House committee that had not called for a vote on similar legislation for the past five years swiftly approved its passage on a bipartisan basis. Officials who support the effort are now confident the legislation will be approved by the end of this year’s lame-duck session, if not sooner.

  • AQHA Declines To Support National Bill, Raises Questions About Whether Quarter Horses More Vulnerable To EIPH
    Paulick Report

    The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 is proposed national legislation that outlines a uniform anti-doping and medication control program to be developed and enforced by an independent horse racing anti-doping and medication control authority.

    While the American Quarter Horse Association is strongly committed to the welfare of the racehorse and supports industry reform to improve horse safety, the Association cannot support the current version of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act until key questions are adequately addressed.

  • USTA President Russell Williams' response to The Jockey Club
    USTA Communications Press Release

    Editor’s Note: The following is a statement from U.S. Trotting Association President Russell Williams in response to an announcement from The Jockey Club regarding constitutionality of the Horse Racing Safety and Integrity Act of 2020.

    Columbus, OH — Just a few days ago, after the USTA refused to abandon the principles it has been advancing for several years, one of The Jockey Club’s minions informed us that our principles did not matter, because the bill is assured of passage. The Jockey Club’s sudden fury is baffling, at first.


  • ARCI Analysis: McConnell Bill Authorizes Strict Control of Medications in Training
    Paulick Report

    The Association of Racing Commissioners International is preparing an analysis of the newly proposed legislation, the “Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act,” by Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R), so the group can prepare for a “smooth transition” should the measure be enacted. Earlier this week, the ARCI released an initial statement looking at the bill's effect on breeders.

    The federally sanctioned authority empowered by newly proposed legislation by Senator McConnell will be able to impose strict controls on the use of any therapeutic medications administered to a “covered horse,” effectively setting the stage for a program that could require a veterinarian to receive prior permission before treating the horse with a prescription medication.

  • It's Time For USTA To Support The Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act
    Paulick Report

    We've reached a critical stage in the debate over pending federal legislation that would bring sweeping and needed change to the way horse racing operates in America. The current bill, now called the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, is supported by hundreds of legislators, horse owners and breeders across the country, the Humane Society, and countless other people across all breeds who believe that only national oversight can begin to fix what's broken in our sport and provide the political and legal cover needed to sustain racing in the future.

  • USTA's budget: More for lawyers, less for employees

    Even if you are queasy about the pending federal legislation you should be alarmed that the USTA is operating in this manner. I have heard from many horsemen and horsewomen over the past few weeks who are simply shocked to discover that the USTA’s vitriolic opposition to federal legislation-- seemingly any federal legislation-- has found such profound expression in the association’s budget. Many are growing less skeptical of the pending federal legislation-- in its new and improved form-- and more skeptical of the USTA’s divisive and dangerous antics in opposing it.

  • Amended Horse Racing Integrity Bill Takes 'Step Forward,' Passes Congressional Committee

    While the House committee approved the amended bill in its chamber, McConnell went to to the Senate floor to introduce the sister bill, which lists US Sens. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) as cosponsors.

    McConnell noted the importance of having an independent national body oversee key aspects of the sport. Currently, regulatory bodies in each of the 38 racing-legal states make those decisions on their own. In addition, there have been questions about the impartiality of some regulators, who may be active owners, trainers, or have another interest in the sport.

    “Baseball, football, and other professional sports have a central regulatory authority. Thoroughbred racing should too,” McConnell said.

  • Majority Leader McConnell and Senators Gillibrand, McSally and Feinstein Introduce Bill to Help Make Horseracing Safer, Fairer, and More Transparent
    McConnell Press Release

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act today to help set national standards to promote fairness, increase safety, and help preserve Thoroughbred racing. At a press conference last week in Lexington, the Horse Capital of the World, Senator McConnell joined U.S. Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) and leading Kentucky stakeholders, including Keeneland, Churchill Downs Incorporated, Breeders’ Cup Limited, and the Jockey Club in announcing the introduction of the bill

    They also announced the launch of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, an independent, non-governmental regulatory body responsible for improving current regulations and bringing a new level of transparency. The Board will set national standards for track safety, anti-doping and medication rules, and lab protocols. Senators McConnell and Gillibrand’s bipartisan bill will provide federal recognition and enforcement power for the Board to enable them to develop uniform, baseline standards for Thoroughbred racing. 

  • NTRA Votes to Support Passage of Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020
    NTRA Release

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (September 9, 2020) – The Board of Directors of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has voted to support passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 (HISA). The action was taken Wednesday afternoon at a special meeting of the Board of the Directors.

    The HISA will improve the integrity and safety of Thoroughbred racing by requiring uniform safety and performance standards, including an anti-doping and medication control program and a racetrack safety program to be developed and enforced by an independent Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. 

    “We thank Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his willingness and unique ability to bring the industry to the table to craft this comprehensive legislation,” said Alex Waldrop, President and Chief Executive Officer of the NTRA. “We also applaud Congressmen Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for their pioneering efforts in support of federal anti-doping and medication control standards in the form of the Horseracing Integrity Act, which served as the basis for this historic compromise. We are committed to working with Leader McConnell, Sen. Gillibrand, Rep. Tonko, Rep. Barr and other allies in Congress to pass this important legislation before the end of this year.”

  • Why it's crucial we make sure the new Safety and Integrity Act really works
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    Regarding organizational structure, I believe USADA will be a huge asset on all aspects of medication testing and enforcement. It has been very active in U.S. Olympics and internationally in track and field, cycling and swimming. 

    USADA may not have worked in racing, but it has closely followed and exposed Lance Armstrong in cycling and Alberto Salazar in track and field. Not surprisingly, many of the same performance-enhancing drugs used in horseracing can be found across the broad range of sports. 

    As for finances, I shake my head every time I think about that amount of money that was spent on drug testing in the eight years I worked at NYRA with nothing to show for it.

    Finally, I am cautiously optimistic that, for many reasons, people in the industry are currently more willing to work together towards a mutually rewarding outcome than ever before. The battles that we have all endured over Lasix were very destructive for many aspects of the industry. 

    I spent 15 years on one side of the argument and now ten on the other, and little progress was made. We must make the Horse Racing Safety and Integrity Authority work. It may well be the last chance we get.

  • Horse Racing Standards Proving Rare Ground for Bipartisan Comity
    Bloomberg Government

    Democrats and Republicans bitterly divided over the next steps to help Americans struggling with the coronavirus pandemic and its blow to the economy are finding a piece of turf where they can agree: raising standards for U.S. horse racing.

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved legislation Wednesday that would lead to national anti-doping and safety standards in the horse racing industry.

    The bipartisan comity reflects the bill’s potential benefits to the racing industry’s fabled tracks in California, and to the Triple Crown venues in Kentucky, Maryland, and New York. Those states are also home to top legislators, notably Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who faces a tough re-election challenge in November.

  • McSally Introduces Bill to Help Make Horseracing Safer, Fairer, and More Transparent
    McSally Newsroom

    U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senators Martha McSally (R-AZ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act today to help set national standards to promote fairness, increase safety, and help preserve Thoroughbred racing.

    The Senators’ bipartisan bill will provide federal recognition and enforcement power to a nine-member Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. This independent, non-governmental regulatory body will set national standards for track safety, anti-doping and medication rules, and lab protocols for Thoroughbred racing.


  • Sen. McConnell Introduces Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act; Matching Legislation Moves To House Floor
    Paulick Report

    Congressman Paul D. Tonko's national horse racing reform bill H.R. 1754, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is poised to advance to the House Floor following a bipartisan 46-5 vote today to approve the legislation in the House Committee on Energy & Commerce. The bill advanced with amendments that match legislation introduced today by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The House bill has long been co-led by Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) and would designate the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to design and implement uniform national horse racing medication and racetrack safety standards.

  • House OK's bill to set national doping standards in horse racing

    "Our bill delivers commonsense medication and track safety standards that protect America's horses and jockeys, needed progress that will put this popular and historic sport on track for a strong recovery and a bright future," said top sponsor Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., whose district is home to Saratoga Race Course.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., whose state is home to the country's top breeding outfits and the Kentucky Derby, introduced identical legislation with senior Democrats from California and New York, which also have top racetracks and breeding operations.

  • House panel approves bill to combat doping in horse racing
    NBC News

    WASHINGTON — A key House committee on Wednesday gave bipartisan approval to legislation to create national standards for the horse racing industry to prevent fatalities and discourage illegal medication practices. The Senate's top Republican said he would press to pass the bill before the year is out.

    The 46-5 vote in a Democratic-controlled panel is a good sign for the bill's prospects.

  • USTA squares off with The Jockey Club in debate over Horseracing Integrity Act - Round 2
    Harness Racing Update

    We asked United States Trotting Association (USTA) president Russell Williams, who also is the CEO/president of Hanover Shoe Farms, and Jim Gagliano, the president of The Jockey Club, to engage in a virtual debate with one another over the legislation. Williams ardently opposes the HIA. Gagliano supports it and thinks the harness horse community should, too.

    The ground rules were this. In Round 1, we submitted questions to Gagliano, who answered them. Then Williams responded to Gagliano and Gagliano replied to Williams. The order was reversed in Round 2.

  • USTA squares off with Jockey Club over Horseracing Integrity Act
    Harness Racing Update

    As a potential decision-day approaches on Capitol Hill, and as racing integrity issues continue to haunt the industry, we thought it prudent to give the harness racing community an opportunity to flesh out some of the details of the pending legislation and to get answers to some of the basic questions that have been floating around about the measure for years.

    We asked United States Trotting Association (USTA) president Russell Williams, who also is the CEO/president of Hanover Shoe Farms, and Jim Gagliano, the president of The Jockey Club, to engage in a virtual debate with one another over the legislation. Williams ardently opposes the HIA. Gagliano supports it and thinks the harness horse community should, too.


  • Janney: 'I Have No Doubt' More Arrests Coming In Connection With Federal Investigation
    Paulick Report

    In his remarks concluding the very first digital edition of the Jockey Club Round Table on Matters Pertaining To Racing, Stuart S. Janney III indicated there are likely more arrests to come in connection with doping in horse racing.

    Janney, who is chairman of The Jockey Club, cited a working relationship between the organization and 5 Stones Intelligence that goes back to 2015, when The Jockey Club first became suspicious about the prevalence of doping and other illegal activities in racing.

    “In a short time they proved to our satisfaction that our worst fears were correct,” Janney said.

  • Aggrieved bettor gets $20,000 in unique horse-doping lawsuit
    The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) -- An aggrieved harness-racing bettor received $20,000 in the settlement of a first-of-its-kind lawsuit in which he claimed he was cheated out of his winnings when a doped horse won a race in New Jersey in 2016.

    After the lawsuit was filed in March 2018, leading figures in harness racing said they had never before heard of such a lawsuit, which accused the trainer of fraud and racketeering. The general practice has been to reallocate the purse to other owners in the event a winning horse is later proven to have been doped, but not to pay back bettors.

  • Drug testing report in US horse racing

    Like the testing results in human and Olympic sport, these numbers should not lessen the resolve of the sport and its regulators to pursue substances that the labs are unable to test for. This is an ongoing challenge for the anti-doping programs in all professional sport and underscores the need for intelligence based efforts in this regard as well as intelligence based out of competition testing.

  • Congress is Running Out of Time to End Doping in American Horseracing

    That’s why Animal Wellness Action is backing the Horseracing Integrity Act, H.R. 1754/S. 1820, that would protect American racehorses, by banning the use of drugs on race-day and establishing a national, uniform standard for drugs and medication in U.S. horseracing. It would also grant drug rulemaking, testing and enforcement oversight to a private, non-profit, self-regulatory independent organization managed by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) — the governing body that runs the Olympic anti-doping program — all at no cost to the taxpayer. The bill’s led by Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Andy Barr, R-Ky. — who represent two of the largest districts impacted by the legislation: Saratoga Springs, New York, and Lexington, Kentucky — in the U.S. House, and Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Martha McSally, R-Ariz., in the U.S. Senate.

  • Bob Baffert Grins and Bears Another Horse Racing Scandal
    Sports Illustrated

    Horse racing has always been a game of tingling highs and jarring lows. Bob Baffert has experienced plenty of both, with longer sustained runs of success than just about anybody, ever. But after being pummeled by injuries and positive drug tests, he’s careened from being the sport’s leading ambassador to its cautionary tale.

  • Horse Racing's FBI: A Look Back At The Old Days Of The Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau
    Paulick Report

    When more than two dozen people, including top trainers Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis were indicted in connection with doping racehorses earlier this year, many people saw it as proof that racing was just as dirty as they'd feared. If only racing had a central organization responsible for investigating malfeasance on the backstretch, they sighed. Perhaps if the sport could have its own Thoroughbred-centric version of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    The thing is, it once did.

  • Charlatan, a Belmont Stakes Contender, Tests Positive for a Banned Substance
    The New York Times

    Lidocaine can be used legitimately for suturing wounds or as a diagnostic tool to determine whether horses are sound enough to compete. The drug may also be present in ointments or creams used on cuts or abrasions. It is regulated because of its potential to mask lameness in an unsound horse.

  • Bob Baffert: Horse racing is in crisis. We need immediate, drastic federal action to fix it.
    Washington Post

    Horse racing is experiencing the most profound crisis in the long history of the sport. To emerge stronger, we must act decisively to protect the horses who are the stars of the show; nothing else will restore the confidence of fans, gamblers and the general public. And that means federal action.

    Our horses and jockeys deserve an unbiased, independent national anti-doping authority. Fortunately, the Horseracing Integrity Act (HIA) is moving through Congress. This legislation would create the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority, a private, nonprofit body with the expertise to set national drug policies, procedures and penalties. For the first time, we would be racing under a uniform, nationwide set of drug rules.

  • U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson and Scott Perry Join in Supporting Horseracing Integrity Act to End Doping & Rampant Deaths

    38 More Cosponsors will Trigger New House Rule to Move Legislation

    We applaud Reps. Collin Peterson and Scott Perry for joining our cause and cosponsoring the Horseracing Integrity Act. — Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action

    WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, April 22, 2020 / EINPresswire.com / -- U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN-07), Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, and Scott Perry (R-PA-10) – who represents the district where Penn National Race Course is located in Grantsville, Pennsylvania – are the latest to join in cosponsoring the Horseracing Integrity Act, H.R. 1754 this week, bringing the total number of cosponsors to 252.

  • Additional Harness Trainer Named In Federal Doping Indictment
    Paulick Report

    Harness trainer Richard Banca has become the 28th person to be indicted on federal charges related to doping in horse racing. Bill Finley of the Thoroughbred Daily News reported on the indictment late Wednesday, which charges Banca with misbranding drugs.

    Banca owns Mount Hope Training Center, which shares an address with a property raided by the FBI in late February. That search yielded bottles of substances labeled “Bleeder,” “Tastee BlenD,” and “epinephrine” with instructions to deliver the products by injection or nasogastric tube.

  • With Racing's Doping Scandal, Time to Drain the Swamp

    Seven trainers, including two of the biggest names in the sport in Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro, are among 27 individuals indicted for doping horses. The scheme involves Eclipse Award winner Maximum Security (New Year’s Day), G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen winner X Y Jet (Kantharos), exotic drugs you’ve never heard of and the killing of horses to hide the evidence. It does not get any uglier.

    With this, coming on top of the breakdowns and fatalities at Santa Anita, many were left to wonder if the sport can survive another devastating scandal. That’s a reasonable fear. But I choose to believe this will prove to be the moment that horse racing came together and finally got serious about cheating and put an end to it. I am not alone.

  • Owner Donoghue: 'Disgust' With Cheating Pushing Me to Race Overseas

    Surely, there are hundreds if not thousands of people who have been turned off at one point or another by the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs in American racing and, owners in particular, have the leverage to affect change if they threaten en masse to leave or reduce their involvement in a game that is already hemorrhaging participants.

    Enter Daniel Donoghue. Not a household name, to be sure. But he is a new owner who was steadily increasing his investment in American racing until he soured after being victimized by cheating rivals. Now, the American-born investment banker is sending his horses overseas and beginning to race in the vastly more strictly regulated European market instead.

  • Drug bust shows myth of horse racing 'oversight.' We need Horseracing Integrity Act.
    Lexington Herald Leader

    Compared to other major horse racing nations, our regulation of drugs is weak, fragmented, and ineffective. Horse racing is an international sport that operates coast-to-coast in the United States. Just look at the Kentucky Derby: major prep races for it are run in Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, New York, California, and Kentucky. When a race is run at Keeneland, people bet on it from all over the country. American horses travel to England to run at Ascot every June, and during the Breeders’ Cup, American horses run against competitors from around the world.

    Which brings us to an important set of questions: Shouldn’t every United States race be run under the same rules that are tough enough to prevent cheating? Shouldn’t American regulations be in sync with international rules? And shouldn’t the entire regulatory framework be designed and operated to protect horses and the brave jockeys who ride them? Much of the industry is advocating for drug reform, and we believe that the answer to these questions is, “Yes!”

  • Letter to the Editor: Allen Gutterman

    The problem our industry faces is systemic and warrants a systemic solution. The indictments are a shining example of why we need H.R. 1754, the Horseracing Integrity Act (HIA), and a national, independent, anti-doping program that is the same for every jurisdiction. We can no longer afford to be both the presenter and the regulator of the program. The time has come for everyone involved in the horse racing industry to band together to right the wrongs of those who have tainted the sport. The industry needs to take a stand to show that cheaters and abusers will no longer be tolerated.

  • Harness racing FBI Investigations & Arrests
    Harness Link

    Cranbury, NJ..... On behalf of the Hambletonian Society I would like to applaud the efforts of the FBI and all of the law enforcement agencies that were involved in the historic horse racing investigation and subsequent arrests.

    I would also like to commend Jeff Gural, the Jockey Club, and all the entities and individuals who were responsible for the initial investigation that led to the FBI getting involved.

    Some of the intercepted conversations that have been released are beyond appalling and one can only hope that the people found responsible for these statements and actions will be dealt with severely and no longer be allowed to participate in our industry or have any interaction with horses.

  • Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital Announces Support Of Horse Racing Integrity Act
    Paulick Report

    The Partners of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital unanimously support the Horse Racing Integrity Act.

    It is our belief that passage of this legislation is a much-needed step forward to preserve horse welfare, restore public confidence, improve the economy of our industry and exhibit the integrity we believe represents the vast majority of the racing industry stakeholders.

    Most importantly we believe the development of uniform racing medications and the establishment of the first nationwide platform of cooperation is essential for racing and represents the best way to optimize horse welfare. While we understand the legislation in its current form provides some areas for debate within our industry, we nonetheless recognize it as positive on its merits and encourage others to support this legislation.


  • Report: Servis, Navarro to plead not guilty on doping charges
    Horse Racing Nation

    Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro, the top names in federal indictments unsealed last week tying the trainers into a doping scheme, will plead not guilty on their charges when they appear in a New York court on Monday.

    That's according to an Asbury Park Press investigation published Tuesday by reporter Stephen Edelson, who detailed that 12 deaths of horses in Navarro's care at Monmouth Park since 2010 are the most there of any trainer. Servis had seven horses from his barn die at the track to rank second on that list.

    While Monmouth Park does not appear in the indictments, Navarro and Servis base a large part of their respective stables at the New Jersey track each summer. According to Edelson, the trainers' barns were next to one another.

  • Horse trainers angry, unsettled by cheating scandal
    Times Union

    James Bond has been a thoroughbred horse trainer in New York since 1976. He has had some pretty good horses, won some big races.

    The Travers and Whitney at Saratoga Race Course. The Wood Memorial and Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Racetrack. They are all on his resume.

    Bond prides himself on doing things on the track the right way. He plays by the rules. He doesn't cheat.

    So, when the disturbing news came out last week that more than two dozen people, including trainers and veterinarians, were indicted as part of a federal probe into the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs, it hit a nerve with Bond.

    And it did the same with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, a two-time winner of the Triple Crown and the most recognizable face in the sport, as well as trainer Dale Romans.

    Press Release


    Horseracing Integrity Act Gives Racing Hope and a Future

    By, Marty Irby

    In 1919, Sir Barton became the first horse to claim the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing in America. Back in those days, winning three marquee races back to back really meant something to the American people. It gave people hope after the trauma of World War I.  It gave kids something to dream about.
    A year later, the National Football League was founded.  "Pudge" Heffelfinger got a $500 contract to play in a game for the Allegheny Athletic Association against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club, and from that humble start, professional football was on a trajectory for mass appeal in the nation.
    For decades, both horseracing and football flourished. But today, while tens of millions of Americans enjoy football, a tiny fraction of that number have the same enthusiasm for horseracing...... 

  • Congressman Comer backs bill to end doping in US horseracing

    “Comer’s support is a significant milestone that shows the tide has turned against doping in Kentucky, and the Horseracing Integrity Act has more momentum than ever.”

    It continued: “We anticipate the bill will receive a vote on the US House floor before the end of May, and call on US Reps Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie, Hal Rogers, John Yarmuth, Senator Rand Paul, and US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to join Reps. Barr, Comer, and 267 other members of Congress in supporting the Horseracing Integrity Act.”

    The legislation was first introduced by US Rep Andy Barr who looked to address medication reform in the 114th Congress. However, at the time no other member of the current Kentucky Congressional delegation had joined him in his efforts.

  • Support for US charges in alleged doping scheme
    Thoroughbred News

    “Unscrupulous trainers that drug horses are not only putting animals and jockeys are risk of life and limb, but they are rigging the system and making a mockery of anyone who bets based on their knowledge of the athletes involved,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action based in Washington. 

    “The betting public will no longer tolerate the racing industry’s drug addiction, and we applaud the Department of Justice for stopping doping abuses."

  • Jockeys' Guild Announces Support For Horseracing Integrity Act
    Paulick Report

    Today, after lengthy discussions with the Jockeys' Guild Board of Directors and its management, the Jockeys' Guild announced its support for the Horseracing Integrity Act (HIA). This federal legislation is moving through Congress and would create a national agency run by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the group that runs medication control programs for America's Olympic teams and others.

    “The Horseracing Integrity Act will give the industry the first uniform set of rules, including penalties and investigation standards,” said Terry Meyocks, president and CEO of the Jockeys' Guild. “This bill creates uniformity and is the solution to create a level playing field, eliminating illegal drug abuse and protecting jockeys and horses alike.”



  • Baffert: Racing needs 'immediate and drastic' federal action
    Horse Racing Nation

    "Horse racing is experiencing the most profound crisis in the long history of the sport," Baffert wrote. "To emerge stronger, we must act decisively to protect the horses who are the stars of the show; nothing else will restore the confidence of fans, gamblers and the general public. And that means federal action."

    The Horseracing Integrity Act would create a national, independent horse racing anti-doping authority.

    Baffert wrote that he hadn't supported the HIA until now because he was uncertain whether adding new federal regulations to the industry would create more burdens than benefits.

    "However," he wrote, "these federal indictments have convinced me that horse racing needs immediate and drastic action to fix a broken system."

    Noting that the industry has 38 state racing jurisdictions, and that each has its own regulatory body, he wrote that it's important to develop national policies that align with international standards and rules.

  • Bob Baffert: Horse racing is in crisis. We need immediate, drastic federal action to fix it.
    The Washington Post

    The horse-racing world was stunned this week by the arrest of 27 people on federal horse-doping charges. The indictments describe a “widespread, corrupt" scheme to give racehorses performance-enhancing and other banned drugs that can mask preexisting injuries and directly lead to horse injuries and death.

    Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our equine and human athletes, and nothing impacts their health and safety more than the policies and procedures concerning drugs. These indictments show that the current system of 38 state racing jurisdictions, each with its own regulatory body, laws and regulations, is entirely inadequate.

  • After the Feds Are Gone, Then What?

    The FBI and the Department of Justice have done what the horse racing industry had failed to do for decades. They caught and are prosecuting high-profile trainers for doping infractions as part of an investigation that has finally torn the lid off of what had been the shadowy and secretive world inhabited by racing’s cheaters. The entire industry owes a debt of gratitude to these agencies.

    The problem is, it’s not the FBI’s job to clean up horse racing. It has more important matters to deal with. There may be more arrests, more indictments, more names, but the feds will soon pack their bags and move on. The worry is that when that happens, racing will revert to the status quo, even though the status quo was a miserable failure.

    In the meantime, the sport needs to look at itself in the mirror and seriously contemplate why it has been so ineffective when it comes to catching the bad guys. If we learned one thing from these indictments it is that change is imperative.


  • What's Going On Here: Rocked to the Core

    t wasn't the coronavirus scare—Meydan's "Super Saturday" program March 7 was run without patrons—or the cratering of global financial markets that rocked the world of Thoroughbred racing the morning of March 9. Instead, it was word that trainers Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis were among those listed in a 44-page indictment on doping-related charges in racing.

    Servis is accused of covertly obtaining and administering adulterated and misbranded performance-enhancing drugs, including SGF-1000, to virtually all the racehorses under his control. That includes last year's champion 3-year-old male, Maximum Security, who won the $20 million Saudi Cup Feb. 29 in Riyadh.

    Navarro is accused of using blood builders referred to as "BB3," a similar PED called "ITP Plus" or "ITPP," an adulterated PED referred to as "VO2 Max," and a customized, pain-killing PED called a "Frozen Pain" shot.

  • Latest horse racing scandal shows PEDs are still a thing, and baseball should pay attention, too

    I have long been an advocate and fan of horse racing. My love for the sport goes back decades, and I am still very much involved with racing. So when the news broke on Monday that the FBI had charged 27 people in an elaborate doping scheme designed to enhance the performance of race horses, my reaction was two-fold.

    1) Embarrassment for the sport I have invested so much in over the years.

    2) Happy to see these scumbags caught.

  • 27 Trainers, Vets and Pros Charged in Scheme to Drug Horses to Race Faster
    Bleacher Report

    Charges have been brought against 27 professional horse trainers, veterinarians and others in what is being described as a major international drug scheme designed to make race horses run faster.

    According to ESPN, a total of four indictments include charges like drug adulteration and misbranding conspiracy. Among those charged is Jason Servis, the trainer of Maximum Security, who was disqualified from the Kentucky Derby for interference.

    Servis is alleged to have used performance-enhancing drugs on "virtually all the racehorses under his control," per ESPN. 

  • Will the Industry Summon The Will To Do The Right Thing: Accept Federal Intervention

    On Monday’s Ron Flatter Racing PodVSiN.com/podcasts, I shared this morselWhile reading the Southern District of New York’s 44-page indictment which included high profile “super trainers” Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis, NTRA Pollsters received a notification from Alicia Hughes, Director of NTRA Communications, that read:

    “In the woke of today’s announced federal indictment and allegations… including Jason Servis, trainer of Maximum Security…we are giving voters the opportunity to adjust their [ballots] if they so choose.”

    At first, I was appalled by what initially appeared as an impropriety. But with due consideration, it provided a different prospective: Was Maximum Security worthy of my first-place vote? Is it too late to get my 2019 Eclipse ballot for champion three-year-old rescinded?

    Then I consider Thoroughbred racing’s big picture: Servis is not an isolated case; far from it. There are too many trainers with win percentages comparable to Barry Bonds’ 73 home-run season. And everyone knows how Bonds did it.

  • Federal Indictment Highlights Tangled Web Woven By Illegal Drug Makers
    Paulick Report

    There's a lot to unpack from Monday's bombshell indictment of 27 people connected with alleged equine doping rings, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation may not be done with the case yet. When the charges were announced by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, officials said the investigation was ongoing. Louisville's FBI division confirmed Monday afternoon that it had conducted a raid along with the Food and Drug Administration at Tailor Made Compounding Pharmacy in Nicholasville, Ky., in connection with the case.

  • Latest doping charges a reminder that horse racing needs fundamental changes
    NBC Sports

    Let’s start here: All but the most cynical among us with a passion for sports – or for a single sport – cling to an illusion of purity. To the idea that college coaches don’t buy recruits. That runners and cyclists and home run hitters don’t inject themselves with performance enhancing drugs. That baseball teams don’t steal the other teams’ signals. That players and referees don’t bet on games. It is a fragile position, a fairy tale where disbelief is suspended in service of escapist pleasure. And we know this. When that illusion is dashed, and it almost always is at some point, we retrench to a lesser position of near-purity: There are always a few bad actors, we reason, but most of my favorite sport is as clean as a whistle. We just have to flush out those bad actors who are giving us a bad name.

    That approach gives us comfort. It’s human nature to seek an outlier when the goodness of our sports devotion is challenged. The problem is this: It’s rarely just outliers. Instead, we get these light-bulb moments that illuminate the broader reality.

  • Fast Horses and Blind Eyes: Tapes Detail How Top Trainers Rigged Racing
    The New York Times


    The schemes revealed in those four indictments were startling, and showed just how deeply a drug culture had taken hold in a sport whose participants claim to love their horses, how complicit horse owners were in pursuit of big purses, and how cowed the trainers were even as they groused about their crooked competitors but were afraid to hold them accountable.

    The indictments also revealed how indifferent regulators and racetrack operators like Churchill Downs were to the stars of the show: the thoroughbreds. Drug rules and strict punishments were in place; they just were not enforced.

  • New York Regulator Suspends Servis, Navarro

    tate racing regulators in New York March 10 summarily suspended the licenses of 11 individuals tied to a doping scandal that has rocked the racing industry, including prominent conditioners Jason Servis, trainer of champion Maximum Security, and multiple grade 1-winning trainer Jorge Navarro.

    The suspensions, which go into effect immediately in New York and in states that offer reciprocity for disciplinary actions by New York, come one day after federal prosecutors secured criminal indictments against the trainers and others for seeking to enhance the performance of horses over multiple years. Typically other racing jurisdictions have offered such reciprocity and will recognize New York's license suspensions.

  • Indicted trainers Servis, Navarro suspended as another domino falls
    Horse Racing Nation

    Setting a precedent for other racing jurisdictions around the country, the New York State Gaming Commission has suspended licenses of trainers and veterinarians indicted Monday on doping charges by the federal government.

    Among those whose licenses are no longer valid include high-profile trainers Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro, who investigators allege administered performance-enhancing drugs that overextended their horses and deceived the betting public.

    It is expected that other racing jurisdictions around the country will reciprocate this ruling, honoring New York officials’ decision as Servis, Navarro and the rest go through legal proceedings. They’re first expected in court in New York on March 23 to enter pleas.

  • ARCI's Martin: 'Nobody Needed A Federal Bill' To Secure Horse Racing Indictments
    Paulick Report

    The indictments and arrests this week of trainers, veterinarians and others on charges of operating a massive, multi-state horse racing doping network deliberately designed to avert detection from racing, veterinary, and pharmacology regulatory agencies as well as federal authorities is not a negative for the racing industry, but testimony to the fact that the system can and does work when all these agencies cooperate.

  • Records: Indicted trainers Servis, Navarro were in on it together
    Horse Racing Nation

    For years, sharp horseplayers speculated that despite their horses passing drug tests, high-percentage trainers Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro were doing something to give runners an edge at the races.

    Then on Monday, part of bombshell federal indictments against the duo for use and concealment of performance-enhancing drugs revealed they were in on it together.

    Multiple calls and texts between Servis and Navarro were intercepted during an investigation by federal agents, including instances of Servis recommending a substance to Navarro and warning his training peer of a racetrack official’s presence close to where drugs were stored.

  • Indictment: Servis covered up Maximum Security's PED use
    Horse Racing Nation

    With the dust still settling from Maximum Security's historic disqualification from the 2019 Kentucky Derby last June, trainer Jason Servis nearly had another controversy on his hands.

    According to an indictment handed down Monday by the U.S. District Attorney’s Office of Southern New York, which includes extensive allegations of Servis doping his horses with an illegal substance, Maximum Security had received a shot of SGF-1000 in the days leading up to his return race. But New Jersey regulators wanted a drug test.

  • More Than Two Dozen Charged in Horse Racing Doping Scheme
    The New York Times

    Federal prosecutors announced charges on Monday against more than two dozen racehorse trainers, veterinarians and drug distributors in a wide-ranging series of indictments that laid out a corrupt scheme to secretly dope horses and cheat the betting public in what has become a $100 billion global industry.

    Among the 27 people charged was Jason Servis, the trainer of Maximum Security, one of the best racehorses in the world. He covertly administered performance-enhancing drugs “to virtually all the racehorses under his control,” the indictment charged, adding that from February 2018 to February 2020 he entered horses in more than 1,000 races.

  • Feds: X Y Jet drugged as part of 'Navarro Doping Program'
    Horse Racing Nation

    From February of 2018 to February of 2020, trainer Jorge Navarro entered horses in approximately 1,480 races. And during that span, it turns out he was doing so under the watchful eyes of federal agents.

    In a bombshell indictment handed down Monday by the U.S. District Attorney’s Office of Southern New York, the leading conditioner, who has saddled Grade 1 winners such as X Y Jet and Sharp Azteca, was said to be the ringleader in a “widespread scheme.”


  • Jason Servis, Jorge Navarro Face Federal Indictment in Doping Scheme

    The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed indictments against Thoroughbred veterinarians and trainers, including Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro Monday in Manhattan.

    According to the indictment posted at the U.S. Attorney’s Office website, the indicated are alleged to have engaged in a “widespread, corrupt scheme by racehorse trainers, veterinarians, PED distributors and others to manufacture, distribute, and receive adulterated and misbranded PEDs and to secretly administer those PEDs to racehorses under scheme participants’ control.”

  • Navarro, Servis Among 27 Indicted On Federal Charges Related To Performance-Enhancing Drugs
    Paulick Report

    Trainers Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis are among 27 people indicted on federal charges in connection with the use of performance-enhancing drugs on racehorses, according to indictments released Monday by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

    Alongside Navarro and Servis, several assistant trainers, veterinarians, pharmacists and drug distributors are also named on a variety of charges related to drugs that were mislabeled or misbranded. According to evidence taken by federal investigators, those products were (or purported to be) blocking agents, masking agents, EPO agents, and products similar to clenbuterol and Viagra.

    This is a developing story, and more information will be added as it becomes available.

  • The Mysterious Deaths That Exposed Horse Racing's Brutal Underbelly
    Daily Beast

    It was sweltering in Saratoga Springs, New York, on the second Sunday of August, when 400 racing executives decided to discuss the dead horse situation. The horsemen had filled a ballroom at the Gideon Putnam, a gargantuan brick resort near the town’s famous racetrack, for the 67th annual “Round Table Conference On Matters Pertaining to Racing.” Specifically, one matter pertained a lot to racing: the possible end of it.

  • Kentucky Congressman James Comer praised for sponsoring the Horseracing Integrity Act

    AWA released a statement expressing gratitude for Comer’s decision.

    “We’re thrilled to see Rep. Comer’s support for the Horseracing Integrity Act and applaud him for stepping up to protect the horses, the sport, and the Commonwealth’s best interests. Comer’s support is a significant milestone that shows the tide has turned against doping in Kentucky, and the Horseracing Integrity Act has more momentum than ever.

    “We anticipate the bill will receive a vote on the U.S. House floor before the end of May, and call on U.S. Reps. Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie, Hal Rogers, John Yarmuth, Senator Rand Paul, and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to join Reps. Barr, Comer, and 267 other members of Congress in supporting the Horseracing Integrity Act.”

  • Let's really focus on the issues that threaten the existence of racing in America
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    The (HIA) is the single most important issue the racing industry needs to get through Congress. Nothing could be more important to the future of the sport. 


  • Editorial: Will horses finally stop dying at Santa Anita in 2020?
    Los Angeles Times

    Meanwhile, in Congress, the proposed federal Horseracing Integrity Act would establish a much-needed independent, private nonprofit authority to set and oversee nationwide rules on medications. The bill has been co-sponsored by more than half the members of the House but faces a more difficult course in the GOP-controlled Senate. 

    It will be interesting to see if the reforms at Santa Anita make a difference in horse fatalities. Racetracks have to restrict the rampant and all-too-frequent administration of drugs to horses and overhaul a culture in which some trainers and owners are willing to run an injured horse.

    If things don’t change for the better, if death from racing cannot be made rare, the question that will loom large is whether the sport should continue at all.

  • Horse racing anti-doping bill attains majority support in U.S. House of Representatives
    Courier Journal

    Distances can be deceiving in politics, but the Horseracing Integrity Act is now, ostensibly, halfway home.

    Though the U.S. House of Representatives was preoccupied with its impeachment vote Wednesday, racing’s reform advocates celebrated a milestone in reaching a majority with the 218th cosponsor for a bill that would create a national anti-doping authority independent of existing industry regulators.


    Horse Race Insider

    HRI Edited Release — A majority of the U.S. House of Representatives has co-sponsored the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019 (HIA). The legislation now exceeds 218 co-sponsors, which is a majority of the 435 voting members of the House. The bill was introduced in the House by Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY).

    “Bi-partisan support from more than 218 members is a critical milestone because it demonstrates to House leadership that the bill will pass on the House floor,” said Shawn Smeallie, executive director of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity. 


  • Horseracing Integrity Act Exceeds 218 Co-Sponsors In House
    Paulick Report

    “Momentum is building to reform the horse racing industry and establish a meaningful and effective drug control program,” continued Smeallie. “This past year highlighted many of the challenges facing the horse racing industry, and the Horseracing Integrity Act will go a long way to improving the health of our equine athletes.”

  • Horseracing Anti-Doping Measure Secures Majority Support in U.S. House

    WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, December 18, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Today, the Horseracing Integrity Act garnered its 218th cosponsor in the U.S. House of Representatives, now a majority of the chamber a key milestone for this landmark legislation that would end the doping of American racehorses in competition.

    The Horseracing Integrity Act (HIA), H.R. 1754, led by U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY), and Andy Barr (R-KY) in the House and S. 1820, led by U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Martha McSally (R-AZ) in the Senate, now with 17 cosponsors, is a horse-first bill that would create a private, independent national horse racing anti-doping authority responsible for developing and administering a strict anti-doping and medication control program.

  • Majority of Reps Co-Sponsor Horseracing Integrity Act

    majority of the U.S. House of Representatives has co-sponsored the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019. The legislation now exceeds 218 co-sponsors, which is a majority of the 435 voting members of the House. The bill was introduced by Reps. Paul Tonko, a New York Democrat, and Andy Barr, a Kentucky Republican.

    "Bipartisan support from more than 218 members is a critical milestone because it demonstrates to House leadership that the bill will pass on the House floor," said Shawn Smeallie, executive director of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity. "Clearly, Congress recognizes that the current patchwork quilt of state regulations that govern the industry is failing, and an effective anti-doping program with a national set of drug standards is needed to bring equine safety and integrity back to the sport."

  • Pegasus World Cup to Run Medication-Free, Purses Drop

    The 2020 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) and Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes (G1T) will be run free of race-day medication for purses of $3 million and $1 million, respectively, The Stronach Group announced Dec. 15. Both races are scheduled for Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park.

    The format is consistent with the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities standards and will go one step further—giving 2% of the purse winnings to Thoroughbred aftercare.

    "We are investing in the future of our sport by creating new opportunities for horsemen and horses to run without medication," said Belinda Stronach, chairman and president of TSG. "The Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series has always been about innovation. The new and exciting medication-free format, along with giving back to horse care, showcases the leadership our industry is taking together to evolve beyond past achievements to create a more modern, sustainable, and safer sport."

  • California Racetrack Veterinarian To Colleagues: Don't Fear Medication Reform
    Paulick Report

    “Change is hard. It's hard for anybody,” he said. “It was hard for us, but having gone through it, being six months down the road on the other side, it's not something to be afraid of.”

    In a recent meeting of the American Association of Equine Practitioners racing committee, one examining veterinarian in California noted a change in the mindset of trainers, grooms and others on the backstretch – they want him to be as cautious as necessary when deciding whether their horse should run that day. Carpenter said he has noticed the same thing. Nobody wants to lose a horse and then have the tragedy compounded by becoming the next headline.


  • Cleaning Up American Horse Racing's Drug Problem
    Horse Racing Business

    The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) “was founded with the aim of bringing consistency to anti-doping policies and regulations within sport organizations and governments… across the world.”  Last week, WADA’s Compliance Review Committee (CRC) recommended that Russia be barred from global sports for four years as punishment for flagrantly violating WADA rules. 

    If the WADA board follows the recommendation at its December meeting, Russia athletes will be banned from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well as from soccer’s World Cup and other sports.

    This is the type of no-nonsense oversight that American horse racing needs if it is to continue as a viable sport.  A Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority (HADA) would have such power under the provisions of the proposed Horseracing Integrity Act, which has been introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate.  HADA would create a set of uniform anti-doping rules and specify lists of allowed and prohibited substances, thereby replacing the existing hodgepodge of rules in 38 different racing jurisdictions.  The U. S. Anti-Doping Agency would hold six of 13 seats on the HADA board and would be in charge of enforcement.

  • Calif. Horse Racing Board Proposes New Regulations On Medications, Transparency
    CBS Los Angeles

    “The days of permissive medication are over,” said Dr. Gregory Ferraro the new chairman of the CHRB, at Thursday’s meeting. “We will gradually eliminate medications and keep them away from racing and training.”

  • Grayson Project: Lasix 24 Hours Out Shows 'Great Promise' To Replace Race-Day Medication
    Paulick Report

    The debate of race-day furosemide has once again taken over the websites and social media accounts of our industry. Trainers tell us how inhumane it would be to not allow a horse that has experienced exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) to receive furosemide (Lasix). The public does not understand why we tell them that horses love to run on their own, yet we give more than 95% of horses a drug on race day that certain groups claim that horses need to be able to run.     

    Earlier this year the second of two projects funded by Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation that examined furosemide administration at 24 hours prior to a race was published in the Journal of Veterinarian Internal Medicine, and Grayson believes we have a way forward.

  • Study Finds Phenylbutazone a Risk Factor in Breakdowns

    Based on the groundbreaking results of a recently published study, the epidemiologist who oversees The Jockey Club Equine Injury Database will add phenylbutazone as a risk factor for catastrophic breakdowns and will call for policies that require the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory to be completely clear from a horse's system before it races.

  • Feinstein to Co-Sponsor Horseracing Integrity Act

    U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) has become a co-sponsor of the Horseracing Integrity Act, a bill introduced in mid-June by her fellow senators Martha McSally (R-Arizona) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York). 

    According to a release from Feinstein, the Horseracing Integrity Act sets out to establish a uniform, national standard to prohibit doping and medication for racehorses; creates a new, independent body to oversee the use of drugs and medication, a body to be overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA); and bans the use of Lasix and other medication ‘dangerous’ to racehorses.

  • "We Have Met the Enemy and It Is Us"
    Past The Wire

    The horse racing industry has unresolved and for the most part escalating issues in many areas. We have drug, both legal and illegal issues. We have rule issues with differing standards in different states and jurisdictions. We have inconsistencies with steward decisions. We have problems with slaughter and aftercare. We have horse shortages reducing fields and prompting racing secretaries to write condition books not conducive to the best wagering opportunities. We have racing offices scrambling to fill races and “hustling” horses into them. We have empty grandstands on most days. We see price gouging on big days essentially locking out the every day player, the bread and butter of the sport.

  • 'Only As Strong As Your Weakest Link': Racing Needs To 'Admit We Have A Problem'
    Paulick Report

    He suggests that the best way to accomplish this is to work together in efforts to self-police the sport and to eliminate those people who abuse the privilege of competing in it.

    “There are those who love and care about horses. There are those who treat horses as commodities or business property. There are also those who abuse and neglect race horses,” Stettin summarized. “You are only as strong as your weakest link. We have weak links. Those other two groups can bring down the we love horses people like a house of cards.”

  • On Lasix:Lasix: the last thing we should do is kick the can down the road one more time
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    Painful lesson

    Finally, most customers, including newcomers, know that the big beside almost every horse in a racetrack program means that all these horses are running on drugs.

    Staying on the subject of Lasix, any veterinarian who does any serious research on medications for horses will tell you that there has been no serious study on the causes of EPIH, or possible new medical solutions. They will also tell you that, other than being a potent diuretic, no one really knows the long-term effect of Lasix on a broodmare or a stallion. 

    The racetracks have learned a painful lesson that they have to work together to solve the increasing demands that their customers are making on transparency and accountability. Race-day Lasix has to go. 

    A number of the horsemen’s representatives have complained that the track operators did not talk to them about the change in the Lasix policy. We all know that there isn’t anything new to talk about. The last thing we should do now is kick the can down the road one more time.


  • Feinstein Renews Call for Racing Suspension at Santa Anita

    Saying that horse racing “failed a critical test” during this past weekend’s Breeders’ Cup meeting at Santa Anita, United States Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) issued a statement late Monday afternoon, renewing her call for the suspension of racing in her state. The statement was precipitated by the catastrophic injury suffered by Mongolian Groom (Hightail) in the closing stages of Saturday’s GI Breeders’ Cup Classic.

  • BLOG: In horse racing, it's not 2007 anymore
    Post Star

    Among other things, the statements called the decision to have the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita — which had a well-publicized problem with equine deaths over its various tracks last winter and spring — ill advised, and both urged passage of the Horseracing Integrity Act (HRI), currently awaiting action in the U.S. Senate and which has a companion bill in the House of Representatives. Animal Wellness Action did note that Santa Anita's owner, the Stronach Group, while perhaps not handling its earlier problem the best way, has been on board with the HRI.


  • Editorial: Horses are still dying at Santa Anita and something has to give
    Los Angeles Times

    Meanwhile, Congress should pass the Horseracing Integrity Act, creating an independent horse-racing authority to set nationwide rules.


  • 'You Blew It': Veterinarian Allday Tells Radio Host Breeders' Cup Made A Mistake With Mongolian Groom
    Paulick Report

    “You blew it, boys and girls. So stand up and take your medicine. Sit down and talk about it. Figure out what you screwed up. You're about to see the demise of this industry because of your mistake.”

    Those were the decisive words of veterinarian Dr. Steven Allday, racetrack practitioner who is known for his ability to diagnose lameness in Thoroughbreds, on the Mongolian Groom situation. Allday appeared on Steve Byk's At The Races radio program on Nov. 12 and provided his opinion on videos of the horse's workouts shot throughout the week before he suffered a fatal injury in his left hind while running in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

  • View From The Eighth Pole: U.S. Horse Racing's Lack Of Organization, Leadership Magnified During Crisis
    Paulick Report

    In short, Thoroughbred racing does not have anyone who can speak on behalf of the entire industry. That flaw is magnified when the industry is in crisis mode, as it is today. 

  • Horses need to be treated better. But scrapping racing entirely isn't the answer
    The Washington Post

    In his Oct. 9 Wednesday Opinion essay, “The staggering toll of horse racing,” Patrick Battuello of Horseracing Wrongs made a flawed case against horse racing, calling it “a cruel pastime,” which demonizes horse racing’s veterinarians, workers, trainers, breeders and owners. This is an example of the group’s agenda to ban any domesticated animals, including food animals and pets.

  • Racing without Lasix: third quarter 2019 update

    Through Labor Day, it appears that top Chicago-based trainer, Larry Rivelli, has a safe but not insurmountable lead amongst all trainers with 13 non-Lasix wins. Mr. Rivelli finish 2018 as the second leading trainer in wins without Lasix with 18.

    His closest rival for year-end honors is Delaware Park-based trainer, Stacy Hendry, with 10 wins. Mr. Hendry has already exceeded his  total of nine wins last year without Lasix when he finished in a three-way tie for fifth place nationally.

  • On Racing: Brace for Re-Entry

    For better or worse—OK, mostly worse—there will be only one story line at the Breeders' Cup this year, and it won't be about Got StormySistercharlieBricks and Mortar, Omaha Beach, CovfefeMitoleMcKinzie, or Midnight Bisou. It will be about a sport without a unified national voice, stumbling from big event to big event wrapped in a patchwork quilt of medication regulations and penalties, and holding its collective breath for two days of intensively policed competition.

  • Activist calls for a nationwide halt to horse racing after another track death
    KUSI News

    ARCADIA (KUSI) – An official with an animal rights group Sunday called for a nationwide suspension of horse racing following the 33rd death of a horse at Santa Anita Park since Dec. 26.

    The call by Kathy Guillermo, the senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, came one day after the 5-year-old gelding Ky. Colonel collapsed and died from an apparent heart attack.

  • The Justify doping scandal points to an unjustifiably broken horse racing industry
    Washington Examiner

    Sadly, there’s little integrity left in the multibillion-dollar horse racing industry, with widespread doping problems and hundreds of American racehorses dying on tracks each year — a fatality rate that far exceeds that of other racing jurisdictions around the world.

    A 2019 survey commissioned by The Jockey Club found that horse fatalities, the use of drugs and overall corruption are the most significant factors influencing public perception of the industry. Only about one-fifth of Americans have a positive view of horse racing.

  • Shockwave Therapy: New Research Suggests Possible Link to Catastrophic Injury

    In California, a proposed new rule would, if passed, prohibit horses at California Horse Racing Board (CHRB)-regulated facilities from racing or working within 30 days of being treated with extracorporeal shockwave therapy. At the moment in California, horses are unable to race or work for 10 days after a shockwave therapy. Should the rule go into effect, it would be by far the toughest of its kind throughout the country. 

    At the same time, the proposed rule change reignites the debate on one of the more controversial veterinary technologies in modern veterinary medicine, raising hard questions about the suitability of such machines on U.S. racetracks and training centers at a time of laser-focused scrutiny on animal welfare.

  • The Man Who Would Kill Horse Racing

    In a garden-variety suburb outside Albany—a recent July morning, but it could have been any morning—Patrick Battuello woke up at five, brewed a cup of coffee, and then sat at his computer to review the previous day’s horse races. He’s done this every day for the last six years. This was a Monday, and so there were a large number to go through: 233 races at 26 racetracks, from Saratoga to the Gillespie County Fairground. He wasn’t looking for winners. He was looking for dead horses.

  • National HBPA: More Than 600 Industry Stakeholders Show Support For Race-Day Lasix
    Paulick Report

    A unified industry group believes banning Lasix will adversely impact the health and welfare of racehorses, as well as the strength of our industry. Today, a letter was released with more than 600 signatures in support of protecting Lasix as a choice for horsemen and veterinarians to administer on race day for the well-being of equine and human athletes. The initial round of signatures from racing stakeholders features individuals from across the industry.

  • America's regulatory and integrity structures are failing us
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    If you are reading this, you already know that Justify tested positive for the drug scopolamine after winning the Santa Anita Derby before going on to win the Triple Crown. The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) never explained to the racing public what had happened. We only learned about this development 15 months after the fact thanks to this article by Joe Drape in the New York Times last week (September 11).

    From my perspective, this was not handled appropriately by the CHRB, but, in my view, Baffert and Justify do not figure in the real story, which does need further explanation.

  • The End Of Race Day Lasix? Two Studies Examine Effectiveness Of Dosing 24 Hours Pre-Race
    Paulick Report

    In 2015, The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation sought research on Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH) and how to control the condition without race-day medication. Two research projects were selected for funding, and now results are in. Both studies, which were recently published in peer-reviewed journals, were designed to test the effect of furosemide (Lasix) under various circumstances.

  • The Friday Show Presented By The MATCH Series: California Conflicts?
    Paulick Report

    The U.S. horse racing industry is dealing with yet another controversy this year after the New York Timesstory about 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify's positive drug test following the Santa Anita Derby.

    In this edition of The Friday Show, Scott Jagow and Ray Paulick discuss the details of the situation, answer questions people likely have and share their thoughts on the important issues this story raises.

    Watch The Friday Show below and share your thoughts:        



  • In Defense of Justify, Bob Baffert Lets Others Do the Talking for a Change
    The New York Times

    In a letter to The Times released on social media, Baffert’s attorney, W. Craig Robertson III, said that Justify’s positive test for the banned substance scopolamine had been the result of “environmental contamination” and commended the California Horse Racing Board’s handling of the case. As reported by The Times, the board apparently did not follow its own procedures and ultimately closed the investigation without ever disclosing the positive test result to the public.

  • Billy Reed: Justify report puts horse racing in 'serious' trouble
    Wave 3 News

    Baffert denies ever giving anything illegal to Justify. But he still could be held responsible under the rules of racing, despite the fact that the illegal medication (scopolamine) also can be ingested from hay and feed. It is illegal for racing purposes because it clears a horse’s airways and optimizes his heart rate, enabling him to run better than normal. 

    However, Baffert really isn’t the big issue. It’s how the California State Racing Board refused to take action on the positive report and, instead, concocted a cover-up that allowed Justify – should he be now call him Justifraud? – to sweep through the Triple Crown.

  • Horse racing under fire after 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify's failed drug test
    FOX Business

    For a horse racing industry contending with declining participation and mounting concerns about its safety standards, evidence that 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify failed a drug test days before his history-making run turned a moment of celebration into another instance of bad publicity.

    Justify, the 13th Triple Crown winner in the sport’s history, tested positive for banned substance scopolamine just days after he qualified for the Kentucky Derby, the New York Times reported. Rather than disqualifying Justify, the California Horse Racing Board allegedly delayed, and ultimately dismissed, its inquiry into the failed test, in a departure from its normal standards.

  • Report on Justify spurs call for national horse racing regulation. Here's what's next.
    Herald Leader

    Horse racing’s latest black eye is likely to increase calls for oversight of the sport as Washington plans a congressional hearing into legislation that would nationalize regulation of racing.

    The sport was shaken by a New York Times report released late Wednesday that Justify, the 2018 Triple Crown winner, tested positive for the chemical scopolamine after winning the Santa Anita Derby. According to the story, Justify could have been disqualified from running in the Kentucky Derby. The California Horse Racing Board eventually dropped the case after a closed-door hearing.


  • Baffert: Justify's positive test came from contaminated food
    Fox Sports

    Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert denied giving 2018 Triple Crown winning horse Justify a banned substance that caused a positive test prior to last year’s Kentucky Derby and blamed the result on contaminated food.

    Baffert said Thursday that he “unequivocally” rejects the implication he’d give Justify or any other horse scopolamine, which the colt tested positive for after winning the Santa Anita Derby in April 2018.

  • The Justify bombshell shows even more the need for national oversight of racing
    The Herald Leader

    What is clear is that Congress should pass the federal Horse Racing Integrity Act, and the sooner the better. The bill is sponsored by Kentucky Republican Rep. Andy Barr and Rep. Paul Tonka, a Democrat from New York, two men who represent the horse hubs of Lexington and Saratoga Springs, two places that depend not just on horse racing, but on breeding, raising and training them too. The bill would create a private agency that would be in charge of anti-doping efforts from every racing state with standard regulations, rather than the hodgepodge of state rules that exist now. Thie agency would be overseen by the Federal Trade Commission. This group would probably have fewer conflicts than current racing commissions, where board members frequently do business with the people they oversee. The bill would also ban race day medications, which would put it in line with racing rules in the rest of the world. Barr said Thursday that the confusion over Justify’s case would bolster the legislation. 

    The proposed bill has gone from pariah status to a movement supported by Keeneland, the Jockey Club, numerous groups and people, most recently, billionaire B. Wayne Hughes, the owner of Spendthrift Farm in Lexington. Holdouts such as Churchill Downs are believed to have kept Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from signing on. The country’s two largest horsemen’s groups, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, are also opposed because of the raceday medication rule.

  • Justify drug test cover-up deals immense blow to US horse racing
    The Guardian

    Having spent the first six months of the year under intense media scrutiny as 30 horses died either racing or training at Santa Anita, US racing suffered another immense blow to its reputation on Wednesday when it emerged that Justify, last year’s Triple Crown winner, tested positive for a banned substance after winning the Santa Anita Derby, the race in which he qualified to run in the Kentucky Derby.

    There are a couple of chapters to this story. The first is that the horse tested positive for a potentially performance-enhancing drug after victory in a vital trial for the first leg of the Triple Crown. Justify was a 12-1 shot for the Kentucky Derby before he ran in the Santa Anita Derby on 7 April. After a three-length success there, he was the favourite for the Run for the Roses. Two months later, he was Bob Baffert’s second Triple Crown winner in four seasons.

  • Connections React to Story on Justify Failing Drug Test

    Some of Justify 's connections reacted Sept. 12 to an explosive New York Times story that revealed the eventual Triple Crown winner failed a post-race drug test after his 2018 Santa Anita Derby (G1) victory, saying contamination caused the positive test.

    story posted to the NYTimes.com website the evening of Sept. 11 reported that after Justify's victory in the Santa Anita Derby, the colt tested positive for scopolamine, a prohibited substance. The story, based on documents obtained by the New York Times, calls into question how the California Horse Racing Board handled the positive, noting that it took more than a month to confirm the results, the regulator failed to file a public complaint, and the regulator conducted meetings behind closed doors in which decisions on the case were made.

  • Justify Failed a Drug Test Before Winning the Triple Crown
    New York Times

    On June 9, 2018, a colt named Justify thundered home to the full-throated cheers of a capacity crowd to win the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes and claim horse racing’s Triple Crown, one of the most storied achievements in sports.

    It was the perfect ending to an improbable journey for a talented horse, his eclectic ownership group, and his Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert.

    Only a few people, however, knew the secret that Baffert carried with him into the winner’s circle that day: Justify had failed a drug test weeks before the first race in the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby. That meant Justify should not have run in the Derby, if the sport’s rules were followed.

  • Lawsuit by owner, trainer targets New Mexico horse racing
    USA Today

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A horse owner and a trainer from Texas filed a lawsuit claiming officials in New Mexico are failing to follow their own policies and regulations in overseeing the state's multimillion-dollar racing industry.

    Debra Gotovac and Brad Bolen filed the case in U.S. District Court, alleging their rights to due process were violated when the executive director of the New Mexico Racing Commission allowed horses belonging to a trainer suspended on suspicion of illegal drugging to compete under other trainers.


    Thoroughbred horseracing’s leaders need to wake up to the fact that the industry isn’t an endangered species and get back to competing with sports betting, which is likely to have a much greater negative effect in the industry than horse deaths.

    In one year, the narrative has changed from how to grow the sport to how to save it. The issues of growth have not changed, nor has the chance horseracing will be banished.

    The time has come to take the reins and drive the sport into the future, not shrink from the actions of animal rights activists.


  • Thoroughbred Owners Of California Seeks Alternative Federal Legislation
    Paulick Report

    Four years ago at the annual membership meeting of Thoroughbred Owners of California, then-president Joe Morris said the TOC's board of directors was “100 percent against the federal government or USADA being involved” with oversight of Thoroughbred racing medication rules. Morris was referring to the Horseracing Integrity Act, federal legislation that would make the United States Anti-Doping Agency the responsible party to regulate medication policy, enforcement and drug testing on a national basis.

    Last Saturday, Aug. 10, at TOC's 2019 membership meeting at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., current president and CEO Greg Avioli indicated the organization's position has evolved, though it still does not embrace the latest version of the Horseracing Integrity Act. Instead, Avioli said, TOC supports federal legislation that would “require other states to adopt California rules” – which were put in place earlier this year in the wake of a highly publicized spike in racing and training fatalities at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., last winter.

  • Commentary: Uniform Rules In Horse Racing Won't Happen Without Compromise
    Paulick Report

    For as long as I've covered horse racing, I've been asking people to define their biggest concern about the sport. For my entire career, the top two, conveniently dovetailed answers have been the same: central regulatory authority and uniform rules. Those who want a commissioner of horse racing usually want one so they will impose and enforce uniform rules............While in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., this month, I heard more than ever about uniformity and the way forward – primarily from proponents of the proposed federal legislation known as the Horseracing Integrity Act. The Jockey Club Round Table featured lots of well-crafted mentions of the benefits of the legislation, including a segment from William Lear Jr., vice chairman of The Jockey Club, who I thought summed up the history of our sport's own attempts at uniform rules better than anyone else I've heard so far:


  • Jockey Club Round Table Focuses on Equine Safety

    Just a few miles away from a festive day of racing at Saratoga Race Course, The Jockey Club's 67th annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing brought several hundred industry leaders together Aug. 11. The informational session put a spotlight on the crisis the sport is facing in the aftermath of a Santa Anita Park meet that ended with 30 equine fatalities.

    As speaker William M. Lear Jr., vice chairman of The Jockey Club, expressed in his talk, Thoroughbred racing is facing a situation that "threatens the very existence of the sport."

    During the course of the two hour and 45 minute session at the Gideon Putnam hotel, a variety of pertinent topics were addressed by speakers, with equine safety issues topping the list as a major push involved support for the Horseracing Integrity Act that has been introduced in the United States House of Representatives and Senate.

    "We are facing an existential threat. If our response to that threat is, or even appears to be, business as usual, we're going to lose," Lear said. "We will have no chance of fending off the same people that did away with the circus, that did away with dog racing in Florida, because they have their sights on us. ... the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

  • Horse Racing Round Table Shows Both Industry Leaders, Humane Society Support Key Safety Reforms

    Horse racing industry leaders gathered at Saratoga, N.Y. on Sunday for the annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing, and as it has for almost all of 2019, safety and animal welfare dominated the discussion.

    The event, organized by The Jockey Club, featured speakers on improving racing surfaces, handling crises, and support for the Horseracing Integrity Act (HIA), federal legislation that calls for the establishment of national standards in the sport.

    The conference comes after 30 horses died at Santa Anita in a six-month span that ended in June. The Southern California track, which will host the Breeders’ Cup championship races in November, suspended racing for several weeks in March to inspect track conditions and determine why the horses died.

    In addition, The Stronach Group, the track’s owner, proposed an ambitious reform package to promote equine safety, including an eventual ban on giving race day injections of drugs, such as Lasix, that can mask injuries. Other major national industry players have since pledged to help implement similar reforms in their states.

    William Lear Jr., vice chairman of The Jockey Club, laid it out succinctly in his remarks in support of the bill sponsored by US Reps. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Andy Barr (R-Ky.).

    “We all know things have to change,” Lear said. “And prominent among them is the way we handle medication regulation in the United States.”

  • US racing national drug policy would be "an economic monster"

    Drug policies were a hot topic in the latest round table conference on horse racing in the US, with calls for the industry to unite on important matters to create a “level playing field”.

    Among the speakers at the Jockey Club’s 67th Annual Round Table Conference was John Messara, the owner and chairman of Arrowfield Stud in Australia, who spoke of the positive impact that uniform drug policies in the United States would have on the Thoroughbred industry.

    “I think that having a national drug policy would unleash an economic monster in America,” Messara said. “It is difficult for us in Australia to judge if we should buy a mare or stallion from the US because we do not know if it received medication. Rather than get bitten by it, we stay away.

    “I would appeal to American horsemen to join together. The [Horseracing Integrity Act] would be a great base for the future if you can get it through. It will create a level playing field and make the sport more international.”

  • 'This Story Is Not Going Away': Round Table Focuses On Action In Times Of Crisis
    Paulick Report

    A statistic presented during the 67th annual Round Table Conference in Saratoga Springs Sunday put the current horse racing crisis into sobering perspective: according to David Fuscus, president and CEO of crisis management company Xenophon Strategies, there have been 20,000 news stories published since January 1 on the racing industry's struggles, brought to light by the Santa Anita equine fatalities. The 27thfatality alone sparked 300 articles in three days, which Fuscus believes appeared in publications accessing 90 percent of the American public.

    “I am the most anti-alarmist person in the room; with that being said, this story is not going away,” said Fuscus. “You can't wait it out, you can't part the waters. This is the most critical time American horse racing has ever experienced.”

  • Los Angeles Board Effort To Oppose California Horse Racing Falls One Vote Short
    Paulick Report

    Efforts by the Los Angeles Board of Animal Services to send a non-binding recommendation to the city council opposing horse racing in California fell one vote short of the required majority during a meeting on Tuesday at the South Los Angeles animal shelter.

    The motion by commissioner Roger Wolfson received two votes, with one opposed, but for passage needed approval from at least three of the five commissioners, two of whom did not attend Tuesday's meeting.

    There are no racetracks in the city of Los Angeles, with Santa Anita – which experienced a highly publicized spike in equine fatalities earlier this year – located in nearby Arcadia. According to MyNewsLA.com, Wolfson had considered proposing support of a ban on off-track wagering in Los Angeles.

  • Horseracing Integrity Act to nix equine enhancing drugs
    ADVISORS Magazine

    When horse fans make a $2 bet at the track, they might be sentencing their chosen thoroughbred to death. 

    A staggering 4,649 racehorses died on the track between 2009 and 2015, according to data published by The Jockey Club. A later 2018 analysis published by the same organization found an aggregate “fatal injury” rate of 1.68 for every 1,000 race starts. Age, surface, and other factors all play a role in “breakdowns,” the euphemism often used when a horse drops dead on the track, but performance enhancing drugs exacerbate matters, according to activists. 

  • Ten horses have died in nine days at New York racetracks
    USA Today

    ALBANY, N.Y — Ten horses died in the recent span of nine days at racetracks across New York, raising concern among animal-rights activists at a time when the sport has come under intense scrutiny following a series of deaths at a California racetrack earlier this year.   

    The deaths, both racing and non-racing incidents, occurred at four tracks between July 9 and July 18 — one at Belmont Park; two at Monticello Raceway; three at Saratoga Race Course; and four at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack.

    Critics said the deaths were indicative of the dangerous industry.

  • Los Angeles to consider banning horse racing

    LOS ANGELES — If one local animal commissioner has his way, Los Angeles will soon become the first major city in the country to ban all activities related to horse racing.

    Commissioner Roger Wolfson, who recently encouraged the Los Angeles Board of Animal Services to pass a motion banning rodeos in the city, has placed an item on the board’s Tuesday agenda described as “Opposition to Horse Racing in the State of California.” Its goal is to have the board recommend that the City Council draw up an ordinance that would prohibit horse racing and off-track betting in the city of Los Angeles.

  • 'Freak' Accident During Del Mar Training Session Results in Two Horse Deaths

    The increased attention to horse safety has helped federal lawmakers in pursuing a bill that would nationalize racing standards. In March, US Reps. Paul Tonko (D-New York) and Andy Barr (R-Kentucky) re-introduced the Horseracing Integrity Act. Last month. US Sens. Kristen Gillibrand (D-New York) and Martha McSally (R-Arizona) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

    Pringle noted that the 2017 version of the House bill ended up getting just 131 cosponsors in 18 months. Four months after Tonko and Barr brought back the bill, it already has 135 cosponsors.

    “The spate of deaths and the media focus on them has helped to drive interest in protecting race horses,” she said. “People are looking for a remedy.”

  • Commentary: Why horse racing needs new rules to survive
    The San Diego Union-Tribune

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has a message for the horse racing industry: If you aren’t going to stop racing, which you should do for the protection of the horses, then at least stop harming them. Stop putting their lives at risk. Take care of the thoroughbreds you bring into this world from the day they’re born through their retirement to the day they die. And don’t let that death be at a track, in a slaughterhouse or at the hands of someone who neglects them.

  • Teetering on the brink: our industry will fail without the passage of the Horseracing Integrity Act
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    An industry that has lost its soul

    In sum, the industry is not full of change agents seeking new challenges and changing the business. However, as I tried to outline above, we are desperate to change in many areas. We need to identify and eliminate the cheaters in the game. We also need to protect the interests of our owners, breeders and employees to assure them that we run an honest business that works in the interests of all participants. 

    If we try to stand still with existing policies and business practices, we are only going to go backwards.

    I wrote what I thought was a very important article back on April 2. It was primarily stimulated by the most powerful case for reform in U.S. Thoroughbred racing and breeding that I have ever read: Vision 2025.

  • Editorial: California horse-racing deaths demand industry reforms
    The Mercury News

    The message to the horse racing industry in California must be clear: Implement tough safety standards at your tracks or risk the state closing them down altogether.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom last week signed legislation giving the California Horse Racing Board greater authority to close tracks that aren’t adequately protecting the health and safety of horses and jockeys. That’s a good first step. But much more is needed.

    This is a national sport and a national problem. The horse-racing industry should step up to set and enforce tough safety standards across the country before Congress or states like California do it for them.


  • Pharmacy owner whose drugs led to doped racehorses admits to peddling unsafe equine drugs
    Dallas News

    Joe Landers turned his lifelong love for horses into a lucrative business, first by breeding them on his Texas ranch and then running a pharmacy catering to their race performance needs. 

    But it was the Weatherford man's love of money, federal authorities say, that made him part of a growing problem in the horse racing industry that is putting profits ahead of horses and their well-being. Landers pleaded guilty last week in federal court to charges related to the production and sale of dangerous drugs for racehorses in Texas and in other states, according to federal court records.

  • Horse racing has become a blood sport
    The Baltimore Sun

    Race horse fatalities of this magnitude are not inevitable. In a May interview on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Gina Rarick, who trains in France, said that "our horses have long careers, run drug-free, and don't die on the track like their American cousins. ...On race day there can be no drug in the horse's system. None." The key phrase is drug-free.

    In his May 17 Sun piece about the "existential crisis" facing the horse racing industry, Childs Walker noted the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2019 introduced in Congress that would bring uniformity to racing regulations across the U.S., set up an organization to oversee a new anti-doping program, and ban all medications for horses within 24 hours of a race (“As it prepares for 144th Preakness, horse racing industry faces larger 'existential' crisis,” May 17). Similar legislation has been before the Congress since at least 2013. Those with financial interest in the status quo have lobbied against passage and continue to do so.

    I love the sport of thoroughbred horse racing. The runners are majestic, the jockeys strong and brave, and the races are thrilling adrenaline rushes. But the sport of kings has become a blood sport in the U.S. If it doesn't reform itself, it could go the way of dog racing, which Florida voted to ban by the end of 2020.

  • Vets selling drugs: A tough nut to crack
    Horse Racing Reform

    What if every time you visited your doctor you paid no fee for service? No office fees. No consultation fees. Your blood pressure, heart rate, and all your vital signs were checked without any charge. Much of the diagnostic work? That’s free, too.

    Wouldn’t that be great! But there is a catch.

    It seems that you can’t leave the doctor’s office without a bag full of medicines — pills, tonics, specially formulated vitamins, etc. Some for ailments, real or imagined, you didn’t even know that you had. Your doctor refers to these as preventive maintenance. He recommends them to all his clients. So what if you don’t have a thyroid issue. Your doctor says that if you take these pills for the rest of your life you will never have to worry about your thyroid.

  • Why So Many Horses Have Died at Santa Anita
    The New York Times


    On a recent Monday, after one of the rare weekends when Santa Anita conducted three days of racing without a horse fatality, Ms. Stronach sat in her empty racetrack and talked about the aggressive, wide-ranging drug and safety protocols she had demanded.

    A review of the medication violations over the past 10 years for the trainers of the 30 horses that died at Santa Anita showed that many had been cited with unusual frequency. Amid growing complaints in March, the Stronach Group made changes to its drug and veterinary policies that would match international standards.



  • Horse trainers and track investigated after Santa Anita deaths

    The Jockey Club, The Stronach Group and others say the excessive medicating of horses could be causing problems and leading to animals dying. 

    On its website, The Jockey Club states: "Improper drug use can directly lead to horse injuries and deaths. Horses aren't human and the only way they can tell us something is wrong is by reacting to a symptom. If that symptom is masked, the results can be devastating."

    Dr. Sue Stover, a professor and veterinarian from UC Davis, says that more than 85% of horses that break down on the track had a pre-existing issue that was exacerbated.

    Vets check every horse before it races at Santa Anita. But if that horse is medicated, the vet might not detect an issue that could later prove fatal.


  • Fans don't like watching horses die. It's time for racing to face this and fix it.
    Lexington Herald Leader

    That’s why attention has returned to federal legislation of Lexington’s own Congressman Andy Barr. The Horse Racing Integrity Act seems like a common sense approach, one that even a casual race fan can understand. First, it creates one central oversight authority that creates and administers the same medication rules, just like just about every other sport in the nation. It would ban race-day medication, which mirrors international racing rules.

    Barr had a similar bill two years ago, which faced opposition from big organizations like Churchill Downs. But Barr thinks the bi-partisan bill, co-sponsored by New York Democrat Paul Tonka can pass this time around. Similar legislation recently appeared in the Senate. Barr hopes his bill will get a hearing this summer.

    “I certainly think it has more momentum because the problems at Santa Anita raised the public’s awareness and lawmakers’ awareness that there’s a problem that needs to be fixed,” Barr said. “What we want to avoid is legislators who are overreaching — we want to prevent them from doing something like ban the sport because they’ve heard from PETA or some other group. It’s so important for the industry to demonstrate a record of integrity and safety and show everyone we’re treating these animals with humane practices.”

    Read more here: https://www.kentucky.com/opinion/article231513783.html#storylink=cpy

  • Horse racing insider calls for national reform targeting animal deaths and cheating

    While there have been no accusations of wrongdoing in the most recent deaths, the entire industry is threatened by drug cheating that heightens the risk of catastrophic breakdowns on the track, according to Joe De Francis, the former owner of the Maryland Jockey Club and the current chairman of the National Horseracing Advisory Council for the Humane Society of the United States.

    The issue is an existential threat to the future of the sport that can only be solved by federal legislation and the intervention of the US Anti-Doping Agency which regulates drug use in human athletes, De Francis said.

    DeFrancis said abuse of medications and treatments that allow horses to run through debilitating pain to the point of breaking down are at the root of many deaths, but there are no national standards that equalize the playing field in the 38 states that allow racing.

  • New York's horse racing industry contends with drug, slaughter scrutiny
    Rockland Westchester Journal

    The horse racing industry is under fire for the use of drugs in the sport and even facing accusations that retired animals end up in meat slaughterhouses. A report in May by The Journal News/lohud revealed the growing concerns about horse deaths in the industry in New York and across the country.

    The sport is having an existential moment across the country, after a series of deaths at a prominent California track sparked a debate about the morality of the industry.


  • Horse Racing, Save Yourself
    LEO Weekly

    Now is time for all of us, especially the horse industry and government, to look closely at horse racing and make it safer. Because the sport has to change, or it may die itself.

    Racetracks and regulators need to enact top-to-bottom reforms to ensure the health, safety and quality of life of the horses. If not, the federal government needs to make the changes for them — or outlaw horse racing entirely.

  • Proposed race horse bill draws criticism, debate
    Furosemide slammed as "performance-enhancing drug," but AAEP disagrees
    Veterinary Practice News

    Proposed legislation that would establish a uniform national standard for drug restrictions, testing, and enforcement at horse racing venues is receiving pushback from veterinarians and national equine associations...

    “The AAEP is committed to funding research into alternative EIPH management strategies, which would eliminate the need to administer furosemide on race day,” said association president Jeff Berk, VMD, MRCVS. “The proposed phase-out of the medication’s use beginning at many thoroughbred racetracks in 2020 emphasizes the urgent need for continued research into new methods for mitigating EIPH.”



  • Feinstein: It's time to take a hard look at horse racing and opportunities for reform
    Los Angeles Daily News

    In my opinion, if a horse needs a drug to treat bleeding into the lungs, it shouldn’t be racing in the first place. And if horses are routinely given such a drug purely for performance reasons, it ought to be banned from the sport.

    Many racing countries like Japan and Australia don’t allow Lasix on race days and some, like Germany, ban its use outright...

    ...Horse racing has a long tradition in this country, but that tradition is on the downswing. Fewer Americans go to the track each year, while at the same time, more and more stress is being placed on horses to make money. The result appears to be dangerous conditions that contribute to dead horses.

    We need to take a long, hard look at the future of horse racing in this country, and we need to do it before more horses needlessly die.


  • 'Completely Wrongheaded': HBPA Opposes Senate Version Of Horseracing Integrity Act
    Paulick Report

    The National Horseman's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) announces its opposition to the Senate version of the Horseracing Integrity Act (S. 1820), introduced last week by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Martha McSally (R-AZ). On behalf of thoroughbred race horse owners, and trainers, the HBPA has been steadfast in its opposition to the House companion measure introduced earlier this year by Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY-20) and Andy Barr (R-KY-06) (H.R. 1754).

    “Senator Gillibrand and Senator McSally have clearly been misguided. Banning race day Lasix will cause more equine deaths, and additional regulations will cause jobs to be lost,” stated Eric Hamelback, CEO of the HBPA.

  • National HBPA Opposes Senate Introduction of the Horseracing Integrity Act (S. 1820)
    HBPA Press Release

    The National Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) announces its opposition to the Senate version of the Horseracing Integrity Act (S. 1820), introduced last week by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Martha McSally (R-AZ). On behalf of Thoroughbred race horse owners and trainers, the HBPA has been steadfast in its opposition to the House companion measure introduced earlier this year by Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY-20) and Andy Barr (R-KY-06) (H.R. 1754).

    “Senator Gillibrand and Senator McSally have clearly been misguided. Banning race day Lasix will cause more equine deaths, and additional regulations will cause jobs to be lost,” stated Eric Hamelback, CEO of the HBPA.

  • Has RCI Gone To The Dogs? California Regulators May Drop Membership
    Paulick Report

    Citing a new formula determining board seats and philosophical differences over medication policy, the California Horse Racing Board will consider withdrawing its membership in the Association of Racing Commissioners International at Thursday's regularly scheduled CHRB meeting in Pleasanton, Calif.

    According to the meeting package prepared for Thursday's meeting, the CHRB has been a member of RCI since 1994 and currently pays $27,500 in annual dues to the non-governmental agency that has no direct regulatory authority. “Its members individually possess regulatory authority within their jurisdictions and each jurisdiction solely determines at its discretion whether to adopt RCI recommendations on policies and rules,” the CHRB meeting package says of RCI.

  • Medication Use in Horse Racing: Yea or Neigh?
    Pharmacy Times

    Medication use in horse racing has become a hot topic across the country. Uniform standards have been established by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) for the United States.  However, not all states are following these guidelines. The National Uniform Medication Program consists of medication rules, penalties, and testing guidelines. Additionally, the policy contains the Controlled Therapeutic Substances list, a policy limiting administration of furosemide to third-party veterinarians, a multiple medication violation penalty system, and a laboratory quality assurance program.

  • Keep tradition of horse racing alive
    The Hill

    Earlier this year, lawmakers in Congress introduced bipartisan legislationbacked by the Jockey Club and others in the industry. The Horseracing Integrity Act would create a uniform national set of drug rules as well as greatly improved standards for drug testing race horses. The industry desperately needs a governing body that will ensure transparency and consistency in the medical treatment and health of race horses. The passage of this legislation would help to restore the faith of our fans.

  • Why horses are dying at U.S. racetracks at an alarming rate
    PBS NewsHour

    The Belmont Stakes marked the end of the Triple Crown on Saturday, but the focus of horse racing this year is centered on a tragic statistic: an average of 10 horses a week died at American racetracks in 2018, a fatality rate that is two-and-a-half to five times greater than in the rest of the horse racing world. New York Times reporter Joe Drape joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss.

  • 27 Racehorses Have Died at This Track Since Dec. 26
    New York Times

    The sport is divided. On one side are horse breeders and owners who back a federal bill to create a uniform national standard for drug testing and medication rules in racehorses that would be overseen by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. On the other are horse trainers and racetrack owners who find the proposed changes too expensive and intrusive.

    In March, after the 22nd fatality at Santa Anita, the Stronach Group announced a ban on the use of whips and medication on racing days. It was applauded by animal rights activists but angered horsemen in California and beyond.

  • Belmont Horsemen Concerned About State of the Game

    One day after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced his support for a bill authorizing the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) to suspend horse racing licenses to protect the health and safety of horses and riders, Senator Diane Feinstein, who has twice called for the suspension of racing, participated in a fact-finding session with Santa Anita officials.

    Meanwhile, three hours and 3,000 miles away, trainer and analyst Tom Amoss, who will saddle Kentucky Oaks winner and Acorn Stakes favorite, Serengeti Empress, on the Belmont Stakes undercard, surprised reporters on an NTRA conference call with his take not only on the California issue but the state of the game as well.

  • Finley: The Week in Review: So, What Would It Take to Appease Animal Rights Activists?

    What is going to happen next? This is a sport that has a U.S. Senator (Feinstein), a U.S. Congresswomen (Judy Chu), the Governor of California (Gavin Newsom) and the entire animal rights community on its back and watching its every move. To ignore them and their demands for serious reform would be foolish, if not suicidal.

    The Santa Anita meet does not end until June 23. The sport would have to be very lucky for there not to be at least one more fatality at that track between now and closing day. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen, but what if it does? What happens if there are three or four?

    Will the “other side” realize that is a sad and unfortunate part of a sport that is steeped in history, is an economic engine that provides tens of thousands of jobs across the country and that the vast majority of racehorses are pampered and beloved by their owners and trainers? Will it accept that if serious efforts to make the sport as safe as possible are undertaken, racing has earned the right to carry on and vow to continue to make the sport as safe as possible? Or will it say no sport in which any animals die for the pleasure and economic benefit of human beings is acceptable? And will the voting public agree?

    That question is inevitably going to be answered. Hold your breath.

  • Despite Changes, Feinstein Wants Santa Anita Halted

    "I believe we need to carefully review what medications horses are given and under what circumstances, as well as take a close look at the issue of overrunning horses, which may be contributing to deaths.

    "Tracks in the United States have significantly higher rates of death than tracks overseas. We need to determine what we're doing wrong in this country and fix it. If we can't, we need to consider whether horse racing has a future here."

  • Horse-doping trainer 'branded with the scarlet letter of a cheat,' prosecutor says
    Windsor Star

    A local trainer who injected a racehorse with performance-enhancing drugs in 2010, then was caught six weeks later intending to do it again, has been fined $3,750 and is “branded with the scarlet letter of a cheat,” the prosecutor in the case said Friday.

    Derek Riesberry’s convictions for fraud over $5,000 and attempted fraud over $5,000 mark the first time in Canada horse doping was prosecuted criminally, instead of having regulatory agencies such as the Ontario Racing Commission hand out fines and suspensions.

    Riesberry, 46, now carries a criminal record, noted assistant Crown attorney Brian Manarin, speaking at the end of a 5½-year legal odyssey that took the case all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

    “He’s been branded with the scarlet letter of a cheat, which is a terrible thing,” he said. “He’s going to have to do a lot of things to make amends for shooting up a horse with a performance-enhancing drug.” 

  • Governor Gavin Newsom Announces Support for Legislation to Suspend Horse Racing Licenses
    Governor's Press Office

    SACRAMENTO – In response to the increasing number of horse racing deaths in California, Governor Gavin Newsom announced today his support for SB 469 by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) which authorizes the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) to suspend horse racing licenses to protect the health and safety of horses and riders. The announcement comes after the 26th horse death at Santa Anita Park.

    “The recent horse fatalities in California are unacceptable,” said Governor Newsom. "We must hold the horse racing industry to account. If we can regulate horse race meets, we should have the authority to suspend licenses when animal or human welfare is at risk.”


  • Racing! The rebuttal to HBO's Real Sports segment
    L A Times

    I’m not sure how many of you watched the HBO Real Sports segment on horse racing last week, but it was met with a lot of disdain from the horse racing side. I can’t exactly say I watched it, but I certainly listened to it. A lot of the first part of the segment were replays of horses going down. And in the second half there were videos from inside the horse slaughterhouse.

    Regardless of your stance on racing as a sport, those are tough to watch. And I guess that’s HBO’s point.

    When, say, the president, regardless of which one, gives a major speech, the networks usually follow it with a rebuttal statement from those of the opposite party. I don’t know if Alex Waldrop, president and chief executive of the National Thoroughbred Racing Assn., was chosen to do it on behalf of the industry or he just felt he needed to it, but this is a slightly edited version of the letter he sent to Joe Perskie, executive producer of HBO Real Sports:

  • Thoroughbred racing needs reforms, and not from lawmakers
    Washington Post

    Thoroughbred racing’s best hope for survival is a moral blockade by these good handlers of horses, a movement from within to ostracize noncooperators in reform. Powerful coalitions of horsemen such as the Jockey Club and the Water Hay Oats Alliance have backed congressional legislation only because they despaired of persuading fiefdoms such as Churchill Downs to submit willingly to a national governing body. But the Santa Anita tragedies may be changing that.

    As the Jockey Club pointed out in a paper, thoroughbred racing is a balkanized sport with tracks in 38 states, from Churchill Downs to Del Mar, operating under different rules, which “denies the industry the ability to affect dynamic and effective change.”

  • California Racing Is In Trouble, So Where Are Our Industry Leaders?
    U S Racing

    For the past five months, like just about everyone else whose life and livelihood is entrenched in horse racing, I have watched horses at Santa Anita in California die in record numbers and the owners of the track, The Stronach Group (TSG), scramble to diffuse what has become a very volatile issue with minimal success. It’s no secret I’m not the biggest fan of TSG these days for various reasons and I’ve been flabbergasted by some of their actions in shifting blame and muddying waters with issues having nothing to do with now 26 dead horses, but I also know that this situation isn’t deliberate and none of the powers that be enjoy seeing injured and dead horses anywhere, let alone on their watch.

  • 'Very Survival Of The Sport At Risk': HBO's 'Real Sports' Examines Racing Fatalities
    Paulick Report

    “With so many racehorses dying every year in America, how long will horse racing itself survive?”

    That's the fundamental question asked by correspondent Bernard Goldberg on HBO's “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel,” which aired a 20-minute segment on equine fatalities in Thoroughbred racing in the U.S. on Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET.

    The feature, entitled “Raced to Death,” was prompted by the spike in racing fatalities this winter at Santa Anita Park and begins with videos of horses sustaining fatal injuries while racing at the Arcadia, Calif., track. “The fallout was fast and furious, the deaths quickly becoming a national story,” Goldberg says. “This much is known: what happened to the horses at Santa Anita is just the tip of an iceberg the public knows virtually nothing about.”

    No effort was made by “Real Sports” to offer a balanced view from the perspective of racing regulators, track operators or horsemen's organizations on measures taken in recent years to address safety and welfare issues, most notably by The Stronach Group, owner of Santa Anita, earlier this year. At least 18 video clips of horses sustaining serious injuries are shown during the segment, taken from different tracks over a number of years.

  • 'Raced To Death': HBO's Real Sports Investigates Deaths In Thoroughbred Racing

    Not even the staunchest defenders of horse racing could deny the brutality of the incidents HBO shows, nor would most even try, but viewers won’t know that. The segment features interviews with a variety of people along a continuum of dissatisfaction with horse racing, from a veterinarian who expresses outrage at the trainers who race sore horses and the veterinarians who able them to do that, to the chairman of The Jockey Club Stuart Janney, who suggests that various industry organizations that resist his organization’s suggestions do so because they want power, to a racing fan-cum-activist who organizes protests at tracks and maintains a list of the horses that die during racing in the United States.

  • Horse deaths underscore urgent need for racing reform
    A Humane World

    The multi-billion-dollar U.S. horseracing industry, once the envy of the world, is facing a global reputation crisis, for failing to keep up with the higher welfare standards established in other countries. And one of the chief reasons for this is the industry’s continued and widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs – a practice banned or well-regulated in every other major sport in the United States.

    The problem began when Congress, in 1980, decided to leave it up to states to come up with their own rules on what drugs to allow in horse racing. This has led to a confusing patchwork of 38 state laws with no uniform national standard, and it’s been a boon for unethical trainers who can move from state to state to avoid penalties while continuing to dope and race horses.

  • Why horse racing is so dangerous
    National Geographic

    Trainers have been accused of making an already risky situation worse by drugging horses with performance-enhancing substances or painkillers,animal welfare advocates say.

    Such drugs allow horses to run faster and power through the pain. For example, the drug furosemide, popularly known under the brand name Lasix, is a “performance-enhancing drug cloaked as a therapeutic medication,” according to a March report by the Jockey Club.

    While it’s prescribed to treat bleeding in the lungs, the medication also causes urination and, consequently, weight loss. Lighter horses run faster, and Lasix has been shown to help horses run three to five lengths faster. The legality of each drug varies by state. (

  • Horse racing industry needs uniform regulation
    Baltimore Sun

    If each of the 32 NFL teams set their own rules for doping, there would be constant confusion and an outcry for reform. But that’s exactly how the horse racing industry operates. Spectators and viewers watching the Preakness Stakes on Saturday will see the spectacle of the crowds and competitive races, but they’ll likely be unaware that, unlike other national sports that have a single regulating body, horse racing has 38 jurisdictions overseeing approximately 100 racetracks in the United States.

  • Horse racing's uncomfortable truth: Horses die
    AP News

    As breakdowns mounted, Santa Anita shut down twice as a national expert probed and studied the dirt surface. Nothing seemed wrong. Deaths continued, although not since early April. The cause or causes remain a mystery.

    But many say the root causes have long been obvious and rampant across horse racing: Drugs to make horses run faster and mask injuries. Whipping them down the stretch. Decades of breeding that have yielded maximum muscle and power, but relatively light bones. A decline in thoroughbred births, forcing horses to race more often.

    Now powerful voices, including the owners of Santa Anita, are backing major change.

    “We are taking a step forward and saying, quite emphatically, that the current system is broken,” said Belinda Stronach of the The Stronach Group, which also owns Pimlico in Baltimore.

  • Fatalities, Drugs, and Integrity: Americans' Top Three Concerns for Horse Racing
    PR Newswire

    National poll shows strong support for horse racing reform

    WASHINGTON, May 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a new, national and Kentucky-based poll commissioned by The Jockey Club, horse fatalities are the single most important factor facing the horse racing industry with nearly seven in 10 likely voters (69 percent) saying that it is a "very important" issue. The misuse of drugs was almost equally significant with 65 percent saying it was "very important." Integrity and corruption also scored highly at 63 percent.

  • The Jockey Club survey: Voters want 'real changes' in racing
    Horse Racing Nation

    The poll also looked at the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019, which would establish a private, independent horse racing anti-doping authority involving the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA); require full transparency into the medical treatment, injuries, and health of all racehorses; and create one, universal system of medication regulation.

    Ninety-one percent of respondents said they would view horse racing “much more” or “somewhat more” favorably if the industry adopted the national regulations and strict anti-doping rules embodied in the HIA.

  • Jockey Club Survey: Drugs, Fatalities Top List Of Public Concerns About Horse Racing
    Paulick Report

    According to a new, national and Kentucky-based poll commissioned by The Jockey Club, horse fatalities are the single most important factor facing the horse racing industry with nearly seven in 10 likely voters (69 percent) saying that it is a “very important” issue. The misuse of drugs was almost equally significant with 65 percent saying it was “very important.” Integrity and corruption also scored highly at 63 percent.

    “This survey is further proof that the horse racing industry has reached a tipping point,” said Jim Gagliano, The Jockey Club president and COO. “The health of horses is of concern to both horse racing fans and the general public, and it's time we make some real changes.”

  • Horse racing's uncomfortable truth: Horses die
    San Francisco Chronicle

    But many say the root causes have long been obvious and rampant across horse racing: Drugs to make horses run faster and mask injuries. Whipping them down the stretch. Decades of breeding that have yielded maximum muscle and power, but relatively light bones. A decline in thoroughbred births, forcing horses to race more often.

    Now powerful voices, including the owners of Santa Anita, are backing major change.

    "We are taking a step forward and saying, quite emphatically, that the current system is broken," said Belinda Stronach of the The Stronach Group, which also owns Pimlico in Baltimore.

    The influential Jockey Club, a 125-year-old organization that works to improve racing and thoroughbred breeding, issued a damning white paper warning the sport must rid itself of drugs or face a public and political backlash that could kill it.

    "This isn't about a single track — horse fatalities are a nationwide problem, one that has shocked fans, the industry, the regulators, and the general public," the Jockey Club wrote.


  • Kentucky Derby: Churchill Downs must help fix horse racing before it's too late
    Louisville Courier Journal

    On Saturday, more than 16 million people will watch the Kentucky Derby. But many will be watching through the lens of recent events that have brought the health of racehorses to the forefront of public consciousness.

    The horse racing industry is under fire, and that scrutiny is largely a situation of its own construction. In California, the Los Angeles district attorney has formed a task force to investigate horse deaths at Santa Anita, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein has called for suspension of racing at Santa Anita until an investigation into the causes of those deaths is completed.

    In a recent California poll by Quinnipiac, only 19% of Californians had a favorable opinion of horse racing, which speaks to the mood in the state and why a ballot initiative to ban racing is a real possibility.


  • AQHA statement on racing industry reform
    AQHA Press Release

    The American Quarter Horse Association has a paramount concern for the welfare of the American Quarter Horse, as well as the integrity of the races in which they compete. 

    Unfortunately, following the March 14 introduction of the proposed bill HR 1754 (commonly referred to as the “Horse Racing Integrity Act”), as well as sweeping actions taken after a series of fatalities at Santa Anita Race Track in California, the racing industry is in the animal welfare spotlight.

  • Heller: Race-day Lasix unnecessary for virtually all horses
    Harness Racing Update

    Every single foreign racing jurisdiction on the globe bans Lasix and all other drugs on race-day. How many years can we believe that Canada and the United States are the only countries correct on this? Other countries haven’t experienced a tidal wave of fatal breakdowns because horses raced without Lasix on race day.

    If racing without Lasix on race-day is so dangerous, why did the trainers of the best thoroughbreds in the U.S. ship them half-way around the world to Dubai to compete in million-dollar races without race-day Lasix last weekend? And the American horses fared very well in Dubai: first and second in the World Cup, first in the Golden Shaheen Sprint and first in the UAE Derby.

  • Jockey Club: Horse racing needs one national set of anti-doping, medication rules
    Lexington Herald Leader

    In advance of the Kentucky Derby, several prominent racetracks announced the formation of a coalition to eliminate Lasix as a race-day medication for 2-year-old and stakes races. Additionally, Churchill Downs announced a set of safety protocols and procedures, including medication reform, limits on crop use, an increased investment into equine medical facilities, and an initial set of limited medication reforms, which are all laudable and will move safety forward. 

    The Jockey Club commends those associations on their commitment to the health and safety of racehorses, and the integrity of the sport on the threshold of another Triple Crown season. But for reform to be truly effective, it would have to be adopted across the 38 separate state and regional regulatory bodies that govern horse racing. This fragmented system means we don’t have national standards that are in line with international standards, which are designed to better protect horses. It means that initiatives, such as those announced last week, are faced with a long and tortuous path that may take years to implement.

  • PETA switching up tactics as it works with Churchill Downs on racing reform
    The Louisville Courier Journal

    Six years after declaring its opposition to horse racing on a mobile billboard circling Churchill Downs during Derby Week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has adopted a subtler strategy.

    Reassured by initiatives the racetrack announced last week and by management’s receptiveness to further discussions, PETA is planning no protests for Kentucky Derby 145. Speaking at the annual shareholders meeting of Churchill Downs Inc. on Tuesday morning in Chicago, PETA vice president Kathy Guillermo commended CDI’s announced intention to phase-out race-day Lasix at the company’s racetracks and challenged management to lead the way toward additional reforms.

  • Churchill Downs and Keeneland join other horse racing tracks with Lasix ban
    The Louisville Courier Journal

    The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby without a race-day dose of Lasix was Grindstone in 1996.

    The end of that streak is now in sight.

    A coalition comprised of most of America’s major racetracks Thursday announced a gradual phase-out of the only medication allowed to be administered on the day of a race. Beginning next year, 2-year-olds would be required to run without Lasix at Churchill Downs, Keeneland and other prominent tracks, with the ban extending to stakes races in 2021.

    “Churchill Downs will advocate in the strongest possible terms with Kentucky regulators and the regulators of other U.S. racing jurisdiction to achieve this result,” the track said in a prepared statement. “It is our intention to run the 2021 Kentucky Derby without. . .Lasix.”

  • 'Old World' Commends Brave New One on Lasix

    The landmark prohibition of raceday Lasix, projected by a coalition of major American racetracks on Thursday, is being received with unsurprising warmth by European horsemen, who have long complained about trans-Atlantic disparities in the regulation of medication. Less predictable, perhaps, is a disposition among the more knowledgeable to give the American industry time and space to overcome what they recognise as perfectly legitimate anxieties about adjusting to a different way of doing things.

  • Are Challenges To Lasix Phase-Out Baked Into Current Regulatory Policies?

    One of the meatiest bones of contention from last week’s Lasix phase-out debate is that representatives from the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA), the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (THA), and the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) all told TDN they were left out of discussions that led to the multi-track proposal to end Lasix usage in juveniles starting in 2020 and in all stakes races by 2021.

    You can easily flip this argument on its head by pointing out that from the perspective of the coalition tracks–those owned/operated by the New York Racing Association (NYRA), The Stronach Group (TSG), and Churchill Downs Inc., plus Oaklawn, Del Mar, Keeneland, Lone Star, Remington, Tampa Bay Downs, and Los Alamitos (Thoroughbreds)–it’s unlikely that this bold first step for United States medication reform would have ever gotten off the ground had horsemen been asked to actively partner in and shape the proposed phase-out.

  • Statement from President Dr. Jeff Berk about the Prohibition of Race-Day Furosemide by U.S. Racing Coalition
    AAEP Press Release


    “As Doctors of Veterinary Medicine, science and evidence-based discovery is our foundation, and as such, the AAEP’s long-standing racehorse medication policy has supported the administration of furosemide on race day to mitigate the adverse effects of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH)."

  • Targeting Lasix gives horse racing a good look, but won't result in meaningful change
    The Louisville Courier Journal

    Galvanized by tragedy and united in bad publicity, horse racing’s major racetracks have teamed up to collectively phase out race-day use of the medicine Lasix.

    Sounds great, right? No one is going to argue against improved safety for horses

  • Under Pressure, Leaders in Horse Racing Industry Move to Limit Medication Use
    The New York Times

    Under pressure from animal-rights groups and a growing public perception that horse racing is cruel, the three tracks that host the Triple Crown races formed a coalition on Thursday and agreed to seek a ban on race-day medication for all of their 2-year-old races beginning next year and to extend that practice for stakes races — the sport’s highest level — in 2021.

    The new policy would move the United States closer to the standards in Europe, Australia and Hong Kong, where strict rules about medication are thought to have helped make horse fatalities far rarer than they are here. The proposed policy is also an attempt to change the conversation — directing it away from the recent 23 horse fatalities at Santa Anita Park — as the Kentucky Derby approaches and casual sports fans turn their attention to horse racing.

  • California adopts new rules that put horse racing under a microscope, before and after deadly injuries
    Pasadena Star-News

    In another major reform growing out of the deaths of 23 horses at Santa Anita Park this season, the chief of the state’s regulatory agency said Thursday it will now assign an investigator and a steward to dig into every death at California racetracks, even if it means having to subpoena records.

    The state already pays for postmortem examinations for every horse, but these simpler investigations were often inconsistent, particularly when it came to analyzing medications in a horse’s system. Toxicology was requested only on a case-by-case basis until about a year ago and veterinarians were not required to provide medication histories to the laboratory conducting the exams.

    “Now, every necropsy is going to be part of a more thorough investigation,” said Rick Baedeker, executive director of the California Horse Racing Board.


  • Lasix: Treating the symptom and not the disease
    A Yankee in Paris

    The Lasix debate has reached its fever pitch, and I have avoided it thus far. Backed off by accusations that I am merely a scientist and not a race trainer, I have remained fairly quiet.

    But. I am a horsemen. I am a scientist. And maybe those two things needs combined for an opinion.

    An opinion based on fact. Not anecdote. Not legend. And more importantly, not propaganda.

    Furosemide (Lasix) is a drug used to prevent or at least minimize outward bleeding of horses in strenuous work. This bleeding is called epistaxis, and mostly occurs when a horse suffers from grade 4 Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH). There are three lower grades (1-3) which can be detected by endoscopy, but are not outwardly noted as a horse who bleeds.

    While 55% of thoroughbred racehorses experience that grade 1-3 EIPH, it is known that a mere 4% of actually experience epistaxis or outwardly bleed (Preston et al (2015)).

  • Quinnipiac University Poll: More Than Half Of California Voters Want Independent Review Of Santa Anita Deaths
    Paulick Report

    More than half of California voters want the state's governor to create an independent review panel to study the highly-publicized equine fatalities at Santa Anita Park. A poll from Quinnipiac University's Polling Institute released Thursday and examined a number of political topics on voters' minds, including the death penalty and sanctuary cities. Fifty-five percent of those polled said Gov. Gavin Newsom should appoint a panel to study the deaths; 35 percent did not support the idea.

    Poll results show just 19 percent of voters had a “favorable opinion” of horse racing, while 20 percent had an unfavorable opinion of the sport. Fifty-nine percent had no opinion.

  • University poll: California governor, voters want answers on racing
    Horse Racing Nation

    Amid the ongoing debate over track safety, medication and whips in Southern California, a poll commissioned by Connecticut's Quinnipiac University and published this week found that 19% of California voters have a favorable opinion of horse racing.

    Additionally, 20% find it unfavorable and 59% expressed no opinion on the sport, while Tim Malloy, assistant director of the poll, concluded that "after the deaths of 23 race horses at California's most storied race track, the governor wants answers and so do voters."

  • California considers the unthinkable: Canceling horse racing at Santa Anita Park
    The Washington Post

    Veterinarians and animal rights groups said there is more to the deaths than a prolific rainy season and track maintenance, reasons that are more entwined with long-standing racing practices and culture.

    “Compaction of the surface can make the surface harder, increasing loads to the horses’ limbs,” wrote Stover, the UC Davis professor. “However, it is unlikely that the surface was solely responsible for the rash of catastrophic injuries. Inherently healthy horses may not have had injuries on a racetrack managed to handle the rain.”

    Race-day drugs and the jockey’s whip are horse racing staples receiving new scrutiny. Both are used to drive thoroughbreds — sometimes beyond their physical capabilities — to win.

  • ARCI Proposes To 'Dramatically Increase' Trainer, Owner Penalties For Doping
    Paulick Report

    The Drug Testing Standards and Practices (DTSP) Committee of the Association of Racing Commissions International (ARCI) is considering a major change to the recommended penalties for violations of the association's drug rules to dramatically increase sanctions on those violations that can be considered “doping” or “equine endangerment”.

  • PETA Calls For Changes Amid Horse Racing Controversies

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The future of horse racing is at a crossroads over the controversy surrounding the treatment of Thoroughbreds.

    Animal welfare groups like PETA are calling for medication bans at tracks, and now Keeneland is also facing backlash after a horse was euthanized on the track this past Saturday.

  • Is horse racing 'addicted to drugs,' as critics charge? Necropsies reveal strong clues
    Pasadena Star-News

    Half of the three dozen horses that died at Santa Anita Park in the 12 months prior to the current meet were on at least one anti-inflammatory medication, a major focal point of the investigation into equine deaths at the racetrack.

    In several cases, according to a review of a year’s worth of necropsies, horses were on two different types of the pain reliever.

    Critics argue the overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDs, masks the injuries of horses and increases the chances of a fatal breakdown on the racetrack. The California Horse Racing Board’s research indicates 90% of breaks stem from preexisting injuries. Animal rights organizations say these medications likely contributed to the deaths of 23 horses at Santa Anita since the season began Dec. 26.

  • Just Another Day In Pennsylvania: Sketchy Supplements, Class 1 Substances, And Commission Silence
    Paulick Report

    A series of drug positives issued by the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission in early February raised a few eyebrows, including those on the face of trainer Gerald Lee Jr. Lee, who has been in the Standardbred business some 30 years, has maintained a small stable and stayed on the right side of the Pennsylvania rulebook for most of that time. He had just one ruling against him in the state previously, a $200 fine stemming from a late driver change on one of his horses four years ago. In late 2018, he suddenly found himself the recipient of four positive tests for strychnine, a Class 1 drug in the Association of Racing Commissioners International's uniform classification of foreign substances. Lee said he was as surprised by the news as anyone.

  • After horse death at Keeneland, PETA issues warning to Kentucky
    Herald Leader

    Animal activists have a message for Kentucky horse racing: They are watching.

    “PETA is putting Kentucky on notice,” warned a statement from Kathy Guillermo, senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has been protesting at Santa Anita in the wake of 23 horse deaths related to the track.

    Now, they are turning their attention to the Bluegrass state in the wake of the death of a horse Saturday at Keenelan

  • Kentucky equine medical director concerned for future of horse racing

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission's equine medical director is warning the horse racing industry that its future is in doubt if California's problems make it to the Commonwealth.

    "California racing is having an existential crisis, and I think we all need to look closely and say, 'That could be us,'" Dr. Mary Scollay said. "We need to think very carefully about what we do, why we do it, and what we can do better."

  • Letter: Horseracing Integrity Act a good first step

    In recent years, we've seen multiple protests by animal advocates at Saratoga Race Course who recognize that the industry is not taking care of the majestic horses who are forced to compete within it. One major issue with the industry is that these animals are routinely given medication meant to help them fight through pain to race, resulting in training- and race-related deaths.

    Thankfully, Rep. Paul Tonko and Rep. Andy Barr of Kentucky have co-sponsored the Horseracing Integrity Act (H.R. 1754), aimed at improving conditions for horses by banning all race-day medications and putting the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in charge of drug oversight. While the bill doesn't address all of the animal welfare issues plaguing the horse racing industry, it's definitely a step in the right direction and I applaud Tonko for co-sponsoring it.

    Don Ferlazzo

  • 23 Thoroughbred Deaths Force Santa Anita To Change. Will The Racing Industry Follow?

    In mid-March, U.S. lawmakers introduced a bill aimed at improving horse-racing safety by requiring a uniform anti-doping and medication control program. Medicating thoroughbreds has been a long-running controversy in the U.S. — some medications mask symptoms which critics say can lead to catastrophic horse injuries. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has assigned investigators to work with the California Horse Racing Board to try to figure what's caused the Santa Anita deaths.

  • Arthur To NPR: Racing's Focus Has Become Economics More Than Horses
    Paulick Report

    California Horse Racing Board equine medical director Dr. Rick Arthur had a slightly different view, however. Arthur sees a difference in modern racing from the sport several decades ago — it has become more driven than ever by economics.

    “Frankly, we shouldn't have run on some of the days that we had a bad track,” Arthur said. “And some of the days when the track wasn't as good as it should've been, trainers shouldn't have trained their horses.

    Arthur sees the track's continuation of racing and training on those days as a focus on the bottom line, which extends to a need for horses to fill races, perhaps resulting in more work for them than is healthy.

    “If we don't make racing safer,” he told Goldman, “I don't think the public's going to allow us to continue the sport.”

  • Dianne Feinstein calls for suspension of races at Santa Anita
    Los Angeles Times

    California Sen. Dianne Feinstein called for the suspension of races at Santa Anita until an investigation into what has caused 23 horses to die at the track since late December is complete.

    In a letter sent to California Horse Racing Board chairman Chuck Winner on Tuesday, the Democratic senator wrote she is "appalled that almost two dozen horses have died in just four months."

  • After another horse dies at Santa Anita, racing leaders lobby for reform
    The Courier Journal

    Horse racing is running scared. Fearful of the fallout from a spate of equine fatalities, industry leaders are lobbying for reform with growing urgency and increasing anxiety.

    “In horse racing, we say we have a public perception problem,” Claiborne Farm president Walker Hancock said Monday. “But we kind of bring some changes to the table and it’s ‘You can’t do that.’ I’m worried if we keep going down this road, how far do we have to go before significant changes are made?

    “... If we’re not going to change now, I don’t know what it has to take.”

  • Penn National, Pa.'s congressional delegation need to get behind this horseracing industry reform | Opinion
    Pennsylvania Capital-Star

    In an attempt to prevent any recurrence of this spate of horse deaths, The Stronach Group, owners of Santa Anita Park and other top tracks in America, made a forward-looking announcement to end the use of drugs and whips at the track.

    It’s a move certain to spark a reaction from unscrupulous trainers and veterinarians who profit from widespread doping, but it’s actually an attempt not only to help the horses, but to save the sport.

    The new policy to ban drugs and whipping came on the heels of the introduction of the Horseracing Integrity Act, (H.R. 1754), by U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Andy Barr, R-Ky., who represent two of the meccas of horse racing: Saratoga Springs, New York, and Lexington, Kentucky.

  • Congress should take action so President Trump can protect horses and the save the U.S. horse racing economy
    The Hill

    Hailing from two of the most important Thoroughbred breeding districts in the country, U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Andy Barr (R-Ky.) are again making a push to pass the Horseracing Integrity Act, which, when enacted, would take a tangible stride toward protecting American racehorses through the establishment of a national, uniform standard for drugs and medication in horse racing. It would also grant drug rulemaking, testing, and enforcement oversight to a private, non-profit, self-regulatory independent organization overseen by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) – the governing body that administers the Olympic anti-doping program.

  • Editorial: Return integrity to horse racing


    Horse racing is plagued by drug use and a poor reputation, and casual fans are turning away.


    The Horseracing Integrity Act could rescue a sport that seems unwilling to save itself.

  • Now a racing fan roots for all of the horses
    Los Angeles Daily News

    While people in racing defend their life’s work and animal-rights activists seize the opportunity to campaign calls for its abolition, people like me face a challenge of our own.

    As a horse racing fan — before and since the years I covered racing for my newspaper — I wonder now if supporting the sport can be justified to family, to friends, to myself. If betting on horses, something I’ve done with varying degrees of seriousness all my adult life, is abetting cruelty. If even the usual rate of equine fatalities is acceptable.

  • Churchill Downs is one of the deadliest racetracks in America
    Louisville Courier Journal

    While stressing the causes of this carnage were “multifactorial,” track consultant Mick Peterson said the racing industry should respond with the singular urgency the U.S. space program showed after the Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of the Sputnik satellite.

    “It really is one of those moments where we need to step back and say we’ve got to do this better, and we’ve got to change how we’re doing it,” said Peterson, director of the University of Kentucky’s agriculture equine programs. “Because otherwise the industry is not going to survive. People don’t accept (racing fatalities) the way they did.”

  • PETA Statement re the North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians' Opposition to Santa Anita's Phase Out of the Medication Lasix
    PETA Press Release


  • Horse Racing's Rampant Problem Leaves Sport With More Questions Than Answers
    Sports Illustrated

    But it is fair to argue that the medication ban, as a response to the breakdowns, was at least in some part a misdirection. However, it is also possible that good can come from the ban. Both of these things can be true. Lasix was first made legal for U.S. racing in the 1970s and has been controversial almost from the start. It is the designated hitter of racing. I first wrote at length about Lasix in the mid-’80s—when there was a $5 million bonus for winning the Triple Crown—but New York, home of the Belmont Stakes, did not allow Lasix, creating a thorny inequality. It does now, as does every major racing jurisdiction in America.

    Yet its efficacy remains in question. Ken McKeever, professor of animal sciences at Rutgers, has done, and seen, studies that leave him unconvinced that Lasix effectively controls bleeding. "It’s a drug that really doesn’t work very well," says McKeever. Yet trainers use it in massive numbers. Motion is regarded as one of the cleanest trainers in America, yet he uses Lasix. "I’m not holier than thou when it comes to Lasix," he says. "I don’t want my horses to be at a disadvantage, if they’re running against horses who are using Lasix."

  • Racing experts discuss the future of the sport after rash of horse deaths at Santa Anita
    The San Diego Union-Tribune

    Santa Anita is inching toward its projected March 29 opening after having closed for live racing on March 5 following a dramatic increase in the number of horse fatalities. Since Dec. 26, 22 horses have died either in racing or training. What happened at Santa Anita has been a mystery that remains unsolved. When the track reopens, the stakes are very high and all eyes will be on horse safety.

    The Los Angeles Times gathered a roundtable of three well-known experts with more than a century of knowledge working in the horse racing industry to try and dig down into what went wrong at Santa Anita and where things go from here.

  • Association Of Racetrack Veterinarians, HBPA: Curtailing Lasix Won't Reduce Injury Rates
    Paulick Report

    The following statements were released Tuesday by the North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians (NAARV) and Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), regarding the recent breakdowns at Santa Anita and the issue of Lasix.

  • Santa Anita Racehorse Breakdowns: Thinking Beyond the Track Surface
    The Horse

    Twenty-two Thoroughbred racehorses have died or been euthanized at Santa Anita Park, in Arcadia, California, during its current race meet due to injuries sustained while racing and training. The Stronach Group, which owns the track, has closed the venue to both live racing and training multiple times, most recently on March 14 after the 22nd fatality. The Stronach Group has also established a variety of initiatives for racing and training at the track and plans to reopen on March 29.

    So far investigation has reportedly been largely aimed at the track surface, with repeated checks finding that the footing is consistent. We at The Horse wanted to give the reader a look at this issue through a different lens: epidemiology, which the Centers for Disease Control defines as a “method used to find the causes of health outcomes and disease in populations … (where) the patient is the community and individuals are viewed collectively.”

  • How many horses have to die?
    Indiana Gazette

    It was extremely troubling that 21 horses died in relatively short order at the venerable Santa Anita Park in California before management finally closed its tracks to all racing or training on March 5. But it’s absolutely unconscionable that the park reopened less than a week later for training — only to have a 22nd horse die.

  • After 22 horses die at Santa Anita, Congress wants to ban dangerous doping
    Louisville Courier Journal

    “What’s happened out there at Santa Anita, it scares me,” said breeder Arthur Hancock, owner of Stone Farm in Paris, Kentucky. “It’s a crisis. ... I hope it has softened some of the objections from some people.”

    “It’s not an issue only in California,” Breeders’ Cup President Craig Fravel said. “It’s something that needs to be addressed nationally.”

    Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, says the state’s rate of race-related fatalities was “unprecedented” in 2018 at 2.39 per 1,000 starts. Veterinarians reports show Churchill Downs’ rate was higher still last year, with 16 race-related fatalities translating as 2.73 per 1,000 starts.

  • Pandolfo: Maybe it's time to stop legalizing juice
    Harness Racing Update

    This week, the Stronach Group announced that all race-day medication, including Lasix, would no longer be permitted at two of its thoroughbred race tracks, Golden Gate and Santa Anita.

    So I ask the question: should harness racing ban race-day meds? Harness racing legalized race-day Lasix years ago following the legalization of the drug by the thoroughbred industry. This is in North America alone. Horses don’t race on Lasix in Europe, Asia, or anywhere else, for that matter.

  • Another horse died and it will keep happening until horse racing is banned
    Los Angeles Times

    To the editor: What do you think it feels like to break both your legs being raced or even trained to death? The racehorse Princess Lili B broke her front legs at Santa Anita Park on Thursday. She was overraced and probably overdrugged and overwhipped.

    This happens at racetracks all over the world. These young horses are already injured before they are trained and raced following prior injuries not limited to stress fractures that no one knows about until the “fatal” event happens. This is not an accident. This is neglect and animal abuse.

  • John Campbell: Industry better prepare itself to answer animal rights activists
    Harness Racing Update

    John Campbell said the harness racing industry should be prepared to answer questions about horse safety following the tragedy at thoroughbred racing’s Santa Anita Racetrack in which 22 horses have died since the current meet opened the day after Christmas. 

    Campbell, the president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, said Saturday the Santa Anita issue is not officially on the agenda for today’s society meeting in Florida, but it needs to be.

    He said he doesn’t know what specific questions will be coming the harness racing industry’s way from animal rights activists and mainstream reports, “but there are going to be some and I think we better be prepared as an industry. It’s just a tragic disaster (at Santa Anita) and if you don’t think it affects us, you’re sadly mistaken. I think it’ll be a discussion and the industry has to take notice and see how the thoroughbreds handle it.”

  • Santa Anita To Resume Racing March 29 After Historic Agreement Reached On Medication Reforms
    Paulick Report

    Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields and the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) on Saturday reached an historic agreement to protect the safety and welfare of horses and riders in the state. This collective mandate enacts the most stringent medication policy in North America.

    Belinda Stronach, president and chairman of The Stronach Group (TSG), which owns both Santa Anita in Arcadia and Golden Gate in Albany, outlined these ground-breaking rules earlier this week in an Open Letter. Working with horsemen and internationally renowned veterinarians, TSG and TOC have discussed the best measures to put the horse first and appropriately enact these changes.

  • Santa Anita will reopen March 29 after track reaches deal over medication
    Los Angeles Times

    Initially, all race-day Lasix was to be prohibited, under a proposal by the Stronach Group, which owns and runs Santa Anita. But the compromise position is that it will be applied only to 2018 foals, or horses that won’t race until next year. Horses currently on Lasix will be allowed to continue to receive the medication on race day but in a maximum dosage of 5cc, instead of the 10cc currently allowed.

    “[Race-day Lasix] far and away was the biggest topic of conversation from top to finish,” said Greg Avioli, TOC president and CEO. “But [this compromise] was unanimously approved by the TOC board. And we had a call of 250 TOC members and no one objected to it.”

  • Santa Anita Bans Drugs and Whips After Spate of Horse Deaths
    New York Times

    One of horse racing’s most celebrated tracks, Santa Anita Park in Southern California, said on Thursday that it would ban the use of drugs and whips on racing days after the death of another horse there, the 22nd since Dec. 26, an unusual spate that has puzzled investigators.

    Santa Anita, a few miles east of Pasadena, Calif., would be the first racetrack in the nation to carry out such restrictions, an effort to restore public confidence in a sport that for decades has wrestled with drug and safety issues.

    Track officials did not say they had pinpointed the cause of the deaths, but drugs and whips are among the factors under examination. Track conditions and colder and rainier weather than usual have also been under inspection.

  • Impasse With Horsemen Over Lasix Ban Delays Resumption Of Racing At Santa Anita
    Paulick Report

    Racing at Santa Anita will not resume on March 22 as previously announced after officials with The Stronach Group – owners of the Arcadia, Calif., track – were unable to reach an agreement on a ban of the anti-bleeding medication Lasix with the Thoroughbred Owners of California.

    A ban on race-day Lasix, or furosemide, was one of several medication and welfare reforms put forth as “house rules” by Belinda Stronach, chairman of The Stronach Group, in response to the unusually high number of fatal injuries – 22 since the Dec. 26, 2018, opening day – sustained by horses racing or training at Santa Anita.

  • Los Angeles District Attorney to Investigate Horse Deaths at Santa Anita
    The New York Times

    ARCADIA, Calif. — The free coffee was flowing, the horses were already into their morning workouts, and the sun was not yet up over the San Gabriel Mountains. These mornings at Clocker’s Corner, a breakfast spot for horsemen and other hangers-on at the storied Santa Anita Park, are usually filled with gossip and banter.

    On Friday, though, there was only apprehension. A day earlier, the owners of the track announced strict new rules for their sport — no race-day drugs, no use of whips — in response to a spate of horse deaths, 22 since the end of December.

  • Santa Anita Implements Lasix Ban, Increased Restrictions On Therapeutic Drugs Following 22nd Fatal Breakdown
    Paulick Report

    What has happened at Santa Anita over the last few weeks is beyond heartbreaking. It is unacceptable to the public and, as people who deeply love horses, to everyone at The Stronach Group and Santa Anita.

    The sport of horse racing is the last great sporting legacy platform to be modernized. If we expect our sport to grow for future generations, we must raise our standards.

    Today, I'm announcing The Stronach Group will take the unprecedented step of declaring a zero tolerance for race day medication at Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields. These Thoroughbred racetracks will be the first in North America to follow the strict International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) standards.

  • Santa Anita will reopen March 29 after track reaches deal over medication
    Los Angeles Times

    Santa Anita and the Thoroughbred Owners of California reached an agreement Saturday that will allow the track to reopen racing March 29. Santa Anita has been closed since March 5 after a dramatic rise in horse deaths, which is at 22 since Dec. 26.

    While speculation was that racing could resume as soon as Friday, there was always the issue of getting the deal approved by the California Horse Racing Board. There was a CHRB meeting originally scheduled Thursday, but these medication changes were not listed on the docket and did not meet a 10-day public notification period.

  • Santa Anita Implements Lasix Ban, Increased Restrictions On Therapeutic Drugs Following 22nd Fatal Breakdown
    Paulick Report

    The following statement was distributed to media Thursday afternoon as an “open letter” from Stronach Group chairman and president Belinda Stronach following the track's 22nd fatal breakdown during morning training at Santa Anita. 

    What has happened at Santa Anita over the last few weeks is beyond heartbreaking. It is unacceptable to the public and, as people who deeply love horses, to everyone at The Stronach Group and Santa Anita.

    The sport of horse racing is the last great sporting legacy platform to be modernized. If we expect our sport to grow for future generations, we must raise our standards.

    Today, I'm announcing The Stronach Group will take the unprecedented step of declaring a zero tolerance for race day medication at Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields. These Thoroughbred racetracks will be the first in North America to follow the strict International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) standards.

  • U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko and Andy Barr Introduce Horseracing Integrity Act to End Doping, Curb Horse Deaths
    Animal Wellness Action Press Release

    Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY), and Andy Barr (R-KY), who represent two of the meccas of American thoroughbred racing – Saratoga Springs and Lexington – introduced the Horseracing Integrity Act, H.R. 1754, to end the doping of American race horses and create a uniform national standard for drug testing that would be overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

    “Horse should run on hay, oats, and water, not on a cocktail of performance enhancers and medications,” said Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action. “Our organization has already completed more than 150 meetings with key legislators on this issue in 2019, and we are pleased to join leaders in the horse racing industry and animal protection groups that have come together to end a shameful period where unscrupulous trainers have put horses and jockeys at risk.”

  • Morning Coffee: How horse racing was just forever changed in America
    Louisville Courier Journal

    On Thursday afternoon, horse racing was forever changed.

    Belinda Stronach, chairman and president of The Stronach Group, announced it was banning race-day medication at California tracks Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields.

    Huge step, this one. Let's not view it any other way. It was massive, not just for what was said but when it was said. This was a game-changer at a time that called for one.

    As noted in Stronach's letter, this was unprecedented, and it surely had to do with the run of tragic horse fatalities at Santa Anita and the negative, national light they were casting in this sport.

    "We have arrived at a watershed moment," Stronach said. "The Stronach Group has long been a strong advocate for the abolishment of race-day medication, but we will wait no longer for the industry to come together as one to institute these changes. Nor will we wait for the legislation required to undertake this paradigm shift. We are taking a stand and fully recognize just how disruptive this might be."

  • Part 2: Time for Jockey Club to Take Lead

    To its credit, states that suffered a spate of catastrophic breakdowns in recent years have taken steps to address medication and safety issues. The problem is they are treating the symptom and not the root cause: Raceday medication. 

    Ending race-day medication is the key to cleaning up the Thoroughbred industry. All else is secondary. So, make that happen somehow, Jockey Club, and, while at it, tell the whole world what you’re doing. All of us could use some good PR.

    And then all of racing will see that transparency is not such a bad thing after all. 

    The effect that eliminating raceday medication would have is the ability to see the industry heal itself naturally, organically, giving itself, and the perception of it, a healthy cleanse. And what could be greener than that?

  • Racing at Another Crossroad, Part 1

    Deep in the heart of every racetracker, devoted fan or horseplayer, is the knowledge that the sport, livelihood, and an entire way of life for generations of racetrack families, united by blood or love of the game, is now at peril.

    The time for hand-wringing and shooting messengers has long since passed. Racing’s present goes far beyond politics, far beyond the recent tragic events at Santa Anita Park, which sadly are symptomatic of a much larger problem: 

    Survival, at every level of racing society. 

    Stakeholders who believe that this premise is just more hyperbole, or fear mongering, doomsday preaching or just sensationalism for the sake of commerce, are in denial and far more out of touch with reality than they know.
    Survival, at every level of racing society. 

  • Jane Smiley: The deaths at Santa Anita remind me why I don't miss horse racing
    Los Angeles Times

    I first heard about the unusually high number of horses dying at Santa Anita Park — which led to the temporary closure of the racetrack last week — from a friend at the barn where I keep my horses. She is still interested in horse racing. I am not.

    Like a lot of former fans, I never loved racing for the betting — I loved it for the beauty of the animals. What drew me was their beauty, their individuality, their pleasure in their job, whether it was running, jumping or standing still. But after breeding some, sending them to an honest and caring trainer, and writing a novel about the racetrack — a microcosm of capitalism itself — I backed away.

  • Winning Without Lasix In 2018: McPeek, Rivelli Top All U.S. Trainers
    Paulick Report

    In 2018, according to records maintained by The Jockey Club, 10,146 starts were made by horses without Lasix in the U.S. out of a total of 279,774. That equates to only 3.6%.

    Lasix is the commonly used name for the potent diuretic furosemide (though its trade name was changed to Salix). This medication can mitigate the episodes of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) — otherwise known as “bleeding” — in racehorses. Compared to the majority of major racing centers across the globe, the United States is an outlier in permitting the use of this drug on race day.

    The mindset of Lasix as a necessity among many horsemen in the U.S. has not kept some from successfully racing without it.......

  • What Cheaters Use and How to Avoid Detection

    Part II of Mark Berner's report on how betting and cheating issues threaten the future of Thoroughbred racing

    JAN. 16, 2019--According to research found at the website procon.org, here are some of the known methods that cheaters use, and the ways they can game the system...........     read the details


  • Japan's racing chief: uniform medication rules are needed worldwide

    As President and CEO of the Japan Racing Association, Masayuki Goto is one of the most influential racing figures in the world, and a man whose views should carry significant weight for everyone in the industry.

    When asked by TRC: "What do you see as the biggest problem racing faces today?"   Mr. Goto replied:

    “Particularly, we need to introduce unified medication rules throughout the world. I personally feel the biggest challenge we are currently facing is the standardization of the rules of racing across the globe.”


  • Gorajec: Minnesota Racing Commission Has Some Explaining To Do
    Paulick Report

    Trainer Judd Becker recently received a 90-day suspension after Bushrod tested positive for cardarine following a victory in the $100,000 Mystic Lake Turf Express Stakes Aug. 25 at Canterbury Park in Minnesota.

    Writing in his InsideRacing Regs blog, former longtime regulator Joe Gorajec wonders why the trainer got such a light penalty for what he called a “serious drug that has no business in a racehorse.”

  • The new Democratic Congress has an opportunity to move legislation to help horses
    The Hill

    There is also the Horseracing Integrity Act, led by U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko(D-N.Y.), and Andy Barr (R-Ky.), which would end the doping of American race horses by creating a uniform national standard for drug testing overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, a private entity that oversees testing at the Olympics, and many other sporting events. With dozens of horses dying on racetracks each year, the need for this legislation that’s supported by a vast array of industry groups and racetracks is great, and the future of horse racing hangs in the balance of its enactment.

  • Racing's Present and Future Danger, Part I
    Horserace Insider

    Horseracing’s reputation is on a collision course with Animal Welfare organizations. Animal welfare is the most popular cause for Americans, according to a Ketchum study released on April 19, 2018.

    Ketchum is a global public relations firm headquartered in New York City, and animal welfare has been a top-three concern in each of the three years that Ketchum has conducted its Purpose’s Causes Americans Care About survey. It is again on track to hit the top three on the list for 2019.

    Meanwhile, the collective blown mind of all things racing on Twitter last month shattered violently when the three contestants on Jeopardy could not name the 2018 Triple Crown winner.

    Newsflash, racing fans, horseracing is not close to being one of the most popular sports in the U.S. In fact, it is not in the top ten. But tennis and golf are.

  • The Week in Review: Retooled Version of Integrity Act in Works for 2019

    “As the representative of the horse capital of the world, this legislation has been and will continue to be a priority for me,” Barr said in an emailed statement. “I continue to believe the future prosperity of Kentucky’s signature horse racing industry depends on national uniform medication standards and testing procedures. My colleague, Congressman Paul Tonko, and I plan to re-introduce this legislation early in the 116th Congress with the objective of holding another hearing and mark-up in the committee of jurisdiction. Last Congress, we secured over 100 cosponsors and I look forward to continue to build upon this bipartisan work to ensure the safety and integrity of this great American sport.”


  • Time to get tough on cheaters: Woodbine CEO Lawson
    Toronto Sun

    “We really have to go back to a grassroots culture where it’s not okay to cheat,” Lawson said. “When we talk about attracting that new generation of the public, we definitely have to put it as one of the top things on our agenda as an industry to eliminate the integrity concerns.”

  • Five crucial issues to keep an eye on in 2019
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    The New Year dawns with a host of initiatives underway full of important opportunities for the future of the Thoroughbred racing industry. Here are five that I will be focusing on particularly.

    1. Progress of the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act

    The movement of this hugely important legislation through the two houses of Congress represents the most significant opportunity for the future of Thoroughbred racing and breeding in the U.S. in 2019. I encourage everyone to support it.

  • U.S. anti-doping agency eyes sports betting role

    The agency that spearheaded the takedown of Lance Armstrong has a new potential target: sports betting integrity.

    The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is interested in monitoring the expanding sports betting market in the U.S., potentially broadening its role to help pinpoint unusual betting activity with the same type of statistical detection methods it already uses to flag markers suggestive of doping.

    The possibility of a broader role for USADA -- which could be delegated the authority to serve as a central 'hub' for sports wagering integrity efforts -- took on a new level of importance after the formal introduction of comprehensive federal sports betting legislation earlier this week.

    "If legalized sports gambling and potentially match-fixing situations continue to come to light, it would be important to have a regulatory body to put rules in place and hand down any sanctions necessary," said Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of USADA in Colorado Springs. "USADA would consider expanding our scope.

  • Seven Months Later, No Consequences For Oklahoma Horsemen Violating 24-Hour Medication Rule
    Paulick Report

    There's an old saying in politics, originating I think in the Watergate scandal, that the cover-up is always worse than the crime. It's a phrase that may as well have evolved in horse racing. 

    When I recently reviewed 2018's top stories on the Paulick Report, I was reminded of Joe Gorajec's dogged investigation into post-race drug test detections in Pennsylvania that didn't result in positives or regulatory action.  But Pennsylvania isn't the only place where regulators have been presented with evidence of rule violations (or potential rule violations) and appeared to ignore it.

    More than six months ago, we brought you the story of Quarter Horse trainer Clinton Crawford, who entered ten horses on the June 2 card at Remington Park. On the evening of June 1, members of the independent AQHA Integrity Team observed a veterinarian in Crawford's stalls, treating horses inside the 24-hour pre-race window for the June 2 races.


  • Symposium on Racing: Assurance of integrity key to sports betting success

    He also stressed that sports and racing need to develop the architecture and policies that will make whistle-blowers comfortable when coming forward. He said surveys that he has conducted among professional athletes show that most sports participants are highly reluctant to come forward with specific, credible information on fellow competitors. That recommendation has also been made countless times to U.S. racing interests by Travis Tygart, the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, a non-profit company that runs drug-testing and integrity programs for the U.S. Olympic team.

  • Symposium on Racing: Three tools to fight cheating on the racetrack

    TUCSON, Ariz. - What do a dog, a ratio, and a randomly generated test have in common?

    They are all tools developed recently by racing regulators to address integrity concerns at racetracks, according to panelists appearing on Tuesday afternoon at the annual Symposium on Racing.

    The panelists, which included a New Mexico steward, a New York regulatory veterinarian, and a New Mexico racetrack general manager, described the novel developments in a session called “Tools of the Regulatory Trade: Insuring Integrity in Racing.” Although it was the penultimate session of the day, and therefore was not as well attended as earlier panels, the session itself was well received by the conference audience, which included a large number of regulators and operational racetrack staff.

  • BALCO figures offer how to rid sports of doping 15 years after scandal
    USA Today

    Can the drug cheats be stopped? Is it worth trying anymore?

    The questions are being asked again 15 years after federal agents raided the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) and triggered a steroids scandal that ensnared the likes of Barry Bonds and Marion Jones.

    “Doping will always happen,’’ Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said last month during an interview with CNN Money. “This is one of the wars you cannot win.”

    Yet Travis Tygart, head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), told CNN, "It’s time to double down'' on efforts to ensure fair competition.

    With Monday marking the 15th anniversary of the raid on BALCO, Tygart and other central figures in one of the biggest doping scandals in history provide USA TODAY Sports five steps to crack down harder on cheaters:.......

  • International Authorities to Combat Gene Doping
    BloodHorse Daily

    Two leading world organizations, the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) and the International Stud Book Committee (ISBC), are to work together on ways of combating gene doping in Thoroughbreds, which one expert has said could put the whole integrity of racing and the breed in jeopardy....

    ......The ISBC meeting heard from Kanichi Kusano, chairman of the IFHA gene doping control sub-committee, who in a presentation to the IFHA annual conference in Paris on Monday raised the specter of gene doping as a major threat to racing. "It will endanger the integrity of the sport and wagering, and will risk creating genetically modified Thoroughbreds," he said.

    Dr. Kusano added: "The worst-case scenario of gene doping will happen at the breeding stage, by modifying eggs, sperm, and embryos. If this happens, it could have a major impact on those racing jurisdictions that use Thoroughbreds.

    "The second scenario is if a horse was triggered by genetical medication, it would have possibilities to create genetically modified horses in the next generation."

    Detecting genetically modified thoroughbreds needs more studies, more time and more resources, Dr Kusano said. But, he added: "Gene doping is not a rumor anymore."

  • View From The Eighth Pole: Ingrid Mason Suspension Latest Example Of A Broken System
    Paulick Report

    Here we go again.

    Trainer Ingrid Mason has been suspended for one year and fined $2,500 by stewards at Arlington Park after Nuclear Option, winner of the first race on Aug. 23, tested positive for d-methamphetamine and amphetamine.

    Mason was suspended without having the benefit of a confirmatory split sample or being notified of the level at which the drug was detected by the Illinois Racing Board's official laboratory at the University of Illinois.

    Mason is appealing the suspension – which then gives her the right to have a split sample tested – and she received a stay, allowing her to continue to train while the case is heard.

    Mason contends, and I have absolutely no reason to doubt her, that this drug positive is a result of contamination. She's tested Nuclear Option's groom (the test was negative) but knows that contamination can happen in any number of ways.

  • BHA: 'It Would Be Naive' To Assume Cobalt Never Abused In British Thoroughbreds
    Paulick Report

    Robin Mounsey, head of media for the BHA, told the Racing Post that English racing's rulemaking authority is concerned about the threat to racing integrity there.

    “It would be naive to think this is the only time the substance has or will be used in Britain, and this is why detecting and acting on cobalt has formed an increasing part of our anti-doping strategy and we will continue to be vigilant about it,” he said. “The main outcome from this case from our point of view is that the individual who was responsible for administering prohibited substances on race day has been disqualified from the sport for three years.”

  • ARCI President Martin: Integrity Issues In Horse Racing A 'Red Herring'
    Paulick Report

    ....While you and I and many others are just going to have to disagree on whether H.R. 2651 is an improvement or not, it has no bearing on the cases you have referenced or inquire about. As you know, there is total uniformity that performance enhancing drugs are not allowed to be given horses when they race, and all commissions utilize the ARCI database to determine whether a violator has a pattern of non-compliance that would be considered an aggravating factor worthy of a progressive penalty.

    I concede the point that there are areas of inconsistencies, but they are few and relatively minor in the scheme of things. To telegraph them as an indictment of the integrity of an entire sport in a growing competitive environment (sports betting) is downright reckless, like telling the public that roads are unsafe because the speed limit is slightly different in the next town...

  • Integrity in sport: is it a hopeless ideal?
    Sports Integrity Initiative

    In a world where integrity might have different connotations, we must first ask what is meant by integrity in sport. According to the UK’s Sport and Recreation Alliance, ‘a defining characteristic of competitive sport is that the contest should be unpredictable and decided by the skill of the participants alone. Where sporting outcomes are determined by other, illegitimate means – such as doping or match-fixing- the integrity of the competition is called into question and confidence in sport is undermined.’ 


  • Kavanagh hails 'groundbreaking' lifetime bans for horses who have been doped

    A new anti-doping policy that will trigger lifetime bans for horses who test positive for substances such as anabolic steroids has been hailed as groundbreaking and unprecedented by Horse Racing Ireland chief executive Brian Kavanagh.

    However, the industry-wide agreement, which was rubber-stamped at an HRI board meeting on Monday, includes the contentious provision for a one-day notice period for studs and yards that aren’t licensed by the sport’s regulatory body.

    Kavanagh has suggested that the policy, which will grant Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board vets the authority to access unlicensed premises for the purpose of testing horses not in training by dint of a service level agreement (SLA) with the department of agriculture, will be in place in time for the 2019 foal crop.

    “The policy was unanimously approved by the board,” he said. “It's unprecedented because it's an industry-wide approach to an issue that countries all around the world are tackling.


  • Current Regulatory System 'Not Deterring Cheaters - It Is Enabling Them,' Janney And Fravel Tell Congress
    Paulick Report

    Stuart Janney, chairman of The Jockey Club, and Breeders' Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel have written to the Congressional committee that recently held a hearing on the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R. 2651) in rebuttal to the testimony of several witnesses who spoke against the legislation.

    The Jockey Club and Breeders' Cup are members of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity that supports the bill, co-sponsored by Reps Andy Barr (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY). The Horseracing Integrity Act would create a private, independent regulatory board in association with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to oversee all medication regulations, testing and enforcement on a national basis. The bill would also eliminate the race-day administration of the anti-bleeding diuretic furosemide (Lasix).

  • Belinda Stronach writes Congress supporting Horseracing Integrity Act
    Horse Racing Nation

    With the addition of The Stronach Group’s support of H.R. 2651, track associations and organizations that support the bill now represent 59% of all pari-mutuel handle generated and 63% of all graded races run for Thoroughbreds in North America in 2017. This group includes Breeders’ Cup Ltd., Indiana Grand, Keeneland Association, and the New York Racing Association.

    “Frank and Belinda Stronach have been longtime advocates for uniformity and increased integrity in horse racing, and we thank them for their enthusiastic support of the Horseracing Integrity Act,” said Shawn Smeallie, executive director of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity. “As evidenced by the bill’s growing support among stakeholders in the racing industry and cosponsors in Congress, momentum is building to create a uniform and effective anti-doping program in horse racing in the United States.”

  • Belinda Stronach Writes Congress in Support of the Horseracing Integrity Act

    Belinda Stronach, the president and chairman of The Stronach Group, wrote a letter to congress in support of H.R. 2651, the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017. Frank Stronach, founder and honorary chairman of The Stronach Group, previously expressed his support for the legislation in April 2017.

    H.R. 2651 would require that a uniform anti-doping and medication control program be developed and enforced by a private, non-profit, self-regulatory organization known as the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority.

  • Industry Voices: Lear on Horse Racing Integrity Act

    In testimony filed with the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection for its June 22 hearing on HR 2651—the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2017—opponents of the measure characterized it as an unwarranted intrusion into the regulatory authority of the states. As stated by one witness, HR 2651 "strips the states of their ability to control their state legalized and regulated industries..." 

    This statement is demonstrably false. 

    Although medication matters have occupied a disproportionately large part of racing industry media attention in recent years, they represent a small fraction of the jurisdiction exercised by virtually every state over horse racing. Their powers generally extend to a wide variety of matters including: taxation; the rules of racing; licensing trainers, jockeys, and others; approval of wagers and the associated takeout; conditions of races; location of racetrack facilities; horse ages, weights and equipment; state-bred supplements; simulcasting terms and conditions; rules for advance deposit wagering; the appointment of stewards and other racing officials; and rules related to claiming races. Moreover, for at least two of the three witnesses appearing in opposition to HR 2651, any suggestion that Congressional intervention into matters affecting horse racing is unwarranted is the height of hypocrisy.



  • Mott Reaches Settlement With NY In Medication Case

    Trainer Bill Mott has reached a court settlement with the New York State Gaming Commission after a nearly-four-year legal battle concerning a disputed medication overage from September 2014.

    Mott agreed to take a seven-day suspension, effective July 5-11, and pay a $1,000 fine to end the case, which began when Saratoga Snacks, a horse he trained, was found to have two alleged medication overages in tests conducted after an allowance race at Belmont Park on Sept. 20, 2014. The NYSGC originally imposed a 15-day sanction against Mott for overages of Banamine and Lasix that were for such excessive amounts that they seemed to defy logic.

  • Pennsylvania Racing Commission Responds To Questions Of Cover-Ups, Conflicts Of Interest; Attorney Pincus Calls It 'Hogwash'
    Paulick Report

    The Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission has responded to a June 27 article, written by attorney Alan Pincus and published in the Paulick Report, entitled “Pennsylvania Harness Regulators: Questions Of Cover-Ups And Conflicts of Interest.”  The article raised questions about why the commission failed to pursue disciplinary action after two positive drug tests  were reported to the regulatory board by the Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology and Research Laboratory (PETRL), the state's official test lab.

    The following letter was submitted by Stephanie Pavlik of Pennsylvania's Department of Agriculture on behalf of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission, whose members are Agriculture Secretary Russell  C. Redding, Darryl Breniser, Salvatore M. De Bunda,  Dr. John Egloff, Thomas Jay Ellis, Russell B. Jones, Jr., Robert F. Lark, C. Edward Rogers, Jr., Michele C. Ruddy and Dr. Corinne Sweeney.

    Following the racing commission's letter is a response from Alan Pincus.


  • Condoning the cheats: that's what racing is doing by not supporting out-of-competition testing
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    It’s a subject TRC has returned to time and again. I have written about out-of-competition testing myself, and we have published the views of other industry experts on many occasions. For over a decade, the sports of cycling, baseball, track and field, swimming and others have developed and implemented effective out-of-competition tests. The racing industry will not survive without taking serious action now.

    Unfortunately, the U.S. State and national horseracing regulatory authorities have been very slow in implementing OOCT programs. As a result, the racing industry cannot effectively catch cheaters that are currently using drugs and other substances that cannot be detected by the traditional post race testing practices.

  • 'Races Are Won In Training': Arthur Expresses Frustration After California OOCT Measure Sent Back To Committee
    Paulick Report


    The California Horse Racing Board voted on Thursday to send a proposed rule governing out-of-competition drug testing back to committee. The Blood-Horses Jeremy Balan, tweeting from the meeting, noted last-minute opposition to the measure from the Thoroughbred Owners of California, who voiced concerns about responsibility for OOCT positives, as well as the California Thoroughbred Trainers. The rule language would have brought the state into line with RMTC recommended guidelines, which are already in place in other jurisdictions. Balan wrote the discussion became extremely heated at times as Dr. Rick Arthur, CHRB equine medical director, accused horsemen of voicing objections strictly as a way to avoid implementing testing.

    After the meeting, Arthur released the following statement to the media:  read the complete statement

  • The Friday Show : Conflicts Of Interest?
    Paulick Report

    The Paulick Report published a disturbing commentary this week from Pennsylvania attorney Alan Pincus regarding potential cover-ups of positive drug tests in that state's harness racing business.

    In this edition of The Friday Show, Scott Jagow and Ray Paulick discuss the implications and broader impact of those developments.

  • Pennsylvania Harness Regulators: Questions Of Cover-Ups And Conflicts Of Interest
    Paulick Report

    I first went to work at a racetrack in 1965 as a teenager. I've always loved the game because it truly is the greatest game. People either understand this or they don't. You meet some of the most interesting people at the racetrack and the horses are magnificent animals. But as colorful as racing is, it also has its dark side. For the past 25 years, I have been battling with the Pennsylvania Racing Commission as an attorney. Every day I try to fight the good fight in a system that is fundamentally stacked against the horsemen. In hearings against horsemen, the Commission is the investigator, the prosecutor and the judge. To have any chance at a fair shot, you depend on the integrity of every person working for the Commission.

  • Anti-doping bill would hurt horses and racing
    The Herald Leader

    I was disturbed to see an article in the Herald-Leader about the Barr-Tonko bill, federal legislation dealing with race-day doping of horses.

    The article, written by a Washington reporter, was presented in a lopsided fashion and put out on the national wire as fact. Even worse, the local staff did not see through the false narratives in the article.

    First and foremost, if I told you that over 90 percent of people who work with these horses every day support the use of Lasix for horses diagnosed with exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH), would you feel that this article fairly represented that fact? I doubt it. 

    Would you refer to people who take medication for blood pressure or heart disease, prescribed by a physician, a doper or dope addict? I doubt it.....

  • Does Horseracing Need An Anti-Doping Authority? One Kentucky Lawmaker Thinks So.

    As Justify returns to California after snagging the coveted Triple Crown, a debate lingers in the commonwealth over the rules governing the sport that thrust the chestnut colt into the spotlight.

    In 2017, Sixth District Rep. Andy Barr joined New York Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko in unveiling the bipartisan Horseracing Integrity Act. Supporters believe the measure is necessary to clean up the patchwork of laws that exists across the country and bring the sport under a single regulatory umbrella when it comes to medicating and monitoring Thoroughbreds.

    Under the bill, those matters would come before the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control. That entity would be governed by a board including the chief executive of United States Anti-Doping Agency, which oversees testing in Olympic sports. The measure also puts the U.S. on a similar footing with international standards by banning race-day administration of Lasix, a drug that reduces bleeding in racehorses' lungs.

    "A national, uniform medication program is not about more bureaucracy," Barr told WUKY. "Our bill creates a non-governmental anti-doping authority that actually reduces regulations because it replaces 38 different... state by state conflicting regulatory regimes with a single national, uniform set of standards."

  • Barr: My bill is about the integrity of racing, not banning a drug
    Herald Leader

    In a June 8 opinion piece, Dr. Andy Roberts, a reputable veterinarian for whom I have a lot of respect, asserts that my legislation, the Horse Racing Integrity Act, primarily aims to ban Lasix. 

    This characterization is imprecise and incomplete. In fact, this bipartisan legislation would allow the out-of-competition administration of Lasix and enact reforms to enhance uniformity, safety and integrity in horseracing. 

    The most recent draft of this bill was developed through a highly deliberative, bipartisan process, resulting in support from over 110 members of Congress and all facets of the horseracing industry, including breeders, owners, trainers, racing associations and jockeys. 

    I am honored to represent the Horse Capital of the World and have worked diligently to enact a wide range of polices that will promote growth in this key Kentucky industry. In addition to medication reform, I have worked successfully to broaden financial institutions’ acceptance of advance deposit wagering platforms to increase fan participation in wagering.

  • Kentucky horse trainer says Horse Racing Integrity Act would add bureaucracy and hurt business
    Spectrum News

    U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, is trying to gain traction in Congress to pass legislation which would add new requirements to horse racing across the nation. 

    Bentley Combs, a horse trainer in Kentucky who recently started his own business after years working in the equine industry, said the legislation sponsored by Barr and U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-New York, would hurt his business because of additional fees to pay for added bureaucracy. 

    “This bill affects me as a newer trainer because I don’t have right now what somebody might say are ‘Saturday horses’ like a Justify — my owners, typically, deal in claiming horses — it’s a hobby for them,” Combs said. 


  • The Week in Review: The Sport Goes to Congress

    You only get one chance to make a good first impression. So which side’s message resonated most effectively at last Friday’s Congressional subcommittee hearing on HR 2651, the federal bill that would implement a uniform anti-doping and medication control framework upon horse racing in the United States?

    Neither side scored a landslide victory. But if you momentarily suspend whatever your personal position is on the Horseracing Integrity Act and take in the testimony through the eyes and ears of a newcomer to our complex industry (like the politicians on the Commerce and Consumer Protection subcommittee all are), the talking-point edge went to the side that wants to preserve the status quo.

  • In the ol' muck pit: On the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017
    Horse Racing Nation

    Whether you believe in the concept of only “Hay, Oats, and Water,” and are a resolute disciple of zero tolerance on race day medications (and, I would argue there is no such thing any where in the entire world), or you are a considerate soul that believes that therapeutic medicines allow both human and equine athletes to perform up to their capabilities is the humane thing to do (and, I would argue that it is), there is no argument about four major, over-riding principals and reasons that should condemn the so-called “Horseracing (should be two words, or at the very least, hyphenated) Integrity Act of 2017" to a death on the cutting room floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.


  • Why are they playing hide and seek with important industry information?

    It’s been like pulling teeth.

    I am referring to my quest to obtain information on the number of out-of-competition tests that each state in the U.S. conducts. Specifically, statistics from 2016.

    This is information that should made public on an annual basis by the end of the first quarter each year. In other words, 2016 information should have been available in April 2017. The statistics for 2017 should available to the public now.

    If you are interested in out-of-competition in British horse racing, you can simply go to the British Horseracing Authority website (it’s on page 38 of the 2016 Annual Report and Accounts). If you want to know about human athletics, you can go the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) website...

  • Horse interests spend millions in congressional fight to bar race-day medication
    Lexington Herald Leader



    Bitterly divided over a bid to bar race-day medication for horses, equine interests on both sides have spent close to $3 million lobbying Congress on federal legislation that would end the practice....

    ...The legislation, which would create a federal authority and uniform medicationstandards for horse racing, would replace what its sponsor Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky. says are “inconsistent rules” across 38 racing jurisdictions.

    It would also prohibit trainers from administering furosemide, commonly known as Lasix, which prevents bleeding in racehorses and represents the only race-day medication now allowed at most tracks.


  • Congress Considers Weighing In On Drug Testing For Race Horses

    There are the mint juleps. There are the fancy hats. There's all the money, those big bets people throw down. But behind the glitz of the Kentucky Derby tomorrow, there is actually a debate happening in horse racing. It is all about doping and whether certain drugs should be given to horses on race days. As Erica Peterson from member station WFPL reports, this issue has made it all the way to Congress.

    Listen to the NPR broadcast

  • Protect racehorses: A bipartisan effort in Congress
    Washington Examiner

    Racehorses are incredible athletes, and for centuries, humans have been impressed by their brawn, beauty, and lightning speed. Unfortunately, there’s an important power they cannot exhibit: control over the substances that go into their bodies. 

    Human athletes who take performance enhancing substances do so, in most cases, by making a conscious choice to dope, to cheat, and to win at all costs. Racehorses cannot make that choice. Instead, they are at the mercy of their owners and trainers. The industry should therefore protect these athletes from those who place winning above the lives and wellbeing of both horses and the jockeys who ride them.

  • Letter to the editor: Horseracing Integrity Act deserves support

    Many racetracks and racing organizations support the Horseracing Integrity Act, U.S. House Resolution 2651, which would provide an independent, uniform national doping system for horse racing. Unfortunately, Penn National Gaming, based in Pennsylvania and owner of several racetracks, has not offered its support. Fans would think that doping horses to cheat during races in Pennsylvania is not an issue. But they'd be wrong. 

    Last summer, Penn National trainer Stephanie Beattie admitted to habitually and illegally doping horses she trained, testifying at the trial of another Penn National trainer convicted of doping racehorses that “almost everybody did” and “It was a known practice. We wanted to win and they weren't testing for those drugs at that time.”.............

  • Talking Horses: Timeform demand racing authorities get tough on drugs
    The Guardian

    Sport is losing its battle with drugs.” That statement by Timeform in their latest Racehorses annual* out this week may arguably be levelled at cycling and athletics given the recent lurid headlines but racing cannot afford to be complacent, according to the respected tipping organisation.

    While “efforts are still being made by a vocal minority in North American racing to prohibit the use of raceday medication on that continent,” Timeform point out “[that] drugs that are banned in nearly every other major racing jurisdiction are still being freely injected.”

    The widespread use of drugs in America leads Timeform to ask, in their essay on Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Talismanic, “can racegoers and punters really believe everything they see in North American racing?” The ubiquitous use of lasix prompts another poser: “What difference does its use make?” Their answer, based on the evidence of this year’s running of the Pegasus World Cup, is “that American trainers think it’s worth more than 7lb, seeing that was the allowance in the race conditions for running without lasix. None of the connections took it up!”

  • At the Heart of a Vast Doping Network, an Alias
    The New York Times

    The Swiss authorities notified the organization in the United States that investigates sports doping, the United States Anti-Doping Agency, and shared the return-address sticker. The packages were shipped by someone named Thomas Mann.

    His name drew puzzled shrugs from Usada investigators. That name had never crossed their radar, and they could not find a home listing for someone with that name in their database in Arizona or anywhere else.........

  • The bone disease treatment drugs that may be putting young horses at risk
    Daniel Ross, Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    Like all drugs, bisphosphonates are a proven fillip when administered to treat specific conditions in accordance with official guidelines. But like all drugs, bisphosphonates can be misused and abused.

    And it’s the potential consequences from misuse in racehorses — especially in young racehorses — that’s causing mounting concern among a growing number of respected veterinarians and regulators in the industry.

    “There’s no checks and balances on this,” said Mary Scollay, equine medical director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, about a group of drugs that are currently unregulated.

    “If the risk is as real as we perceive it to be, we can be facing a real problem in terms of racing injuries and racing fractures if we don’t as a community come together to decide how to responsibly manage this,” she added.

  • The country where stallions who have ever had Lasix are disqualified for breeding
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    On the whole, though, these regulations have strengthened the industry in Germany as they mean no “soft” horses will find a place at stud there. Breeders sending their mares to be covered in Germany can be confident the prospective mate will be healthy, have no defects and be drug-free. This is undoubtedly a major factor in the worldwide success of German-breds and helps account for the soundness, longevity, and stamina for which they are admired.

  • Op/Ed Feedback: Shawn Smeallie

    I agree with Eric Hamelback in his Feb. 28 essay in Thoroughbred Daily News that a common thread among horsemen is that they are not cheaters and are dedicated to their horses. I also agree that racing faces problems and our regulation and testing system is broken and inconsistent.

    Unfortunately, I have a difficult time agreeing with much else he wrote.

    I will explain by giving you the facts.........

  • Op/Ed Feedback: Craig Bernick

    I’ve read with interest the reasons that people I know and respect such as Graham Motion, Brad Weisbord, and Terry Finley have joined WHOA since the beginning of this year, and they all make very solid points. In my opinion there is no question the current system is broken and needs an overhaul. We must have uniform rules across all states with agreed-upon banned substances, limits and penalties. Our current system has different rules everywhere; it tests in picograms and makes obscenely strict rulings against honest horsemen while it’s almost certain that widespread cheaters use performance-enhancing drugs where the science outpaces regulation. The horsemen must be involved in the process of finding a solution instead of only using their platform to poke holes in the current proposed bill. And the WHOA group must understand that without horsemen getting on board, it’s unlikely that any meaningful change will be enacted.

  • Op/Ed: Horsemen Helping Horsemen Solves Industry Issues

    I know and respect Craig Bandoroff, who penned an Op/Ed for the Thoroughbred Daily News on Feb. 21, and I join him in his congratulatory sentiment for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and Marc Guilfoil. Bravo, well done, after a year of being in limbo, the innocent are exonerated and can return to their lives.

    The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association acknowledges racing faces problems, as does every other sport, business and industry. Similarly, I agree some of our regulation and testing system is broken and inconsistent, but my concerns diverge from Craig in this important respect: HR 2651 is not the answer. This bill does not seek to place our industry into the hands of anti-doping experts with the ability to make common-sense distinctions between performance-enhancing drugs and those that aren’t.....

  • Kentucky Stewards to Rescind 2016 Ractopamine Positives

    Based on an updated opinion from its testing lab on its findings, Kentucky stewards will rescind three ractopamine positives initially called at the 2016 Kentucky Downs meeting.

    Trainer George "Rusty" Arnold planned to appeal his two class 2 positives to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, but that move became unnecessary after the KHRC lab, LGC Science Lexington, reversed its initial findings. The lab also rescinded its positive found against trainer Joe Sharp.

  • Rusty Arnold On Pending Suspension: 'The System Has Failed Me'
    Paulick Report

    George R. “Rusty” Arnold II is a proud man. A third-generation Kentucky horseman, he's trained Thoroughbreds for more than 40 years, saddled 16 Grade 1 winners and ranks 38th on the Equibase list of all-time leading trainers by money won, with over $64 million in total earnings.

    Arnold, 62, is the first to admit he doesn't have the numbers or the “big horse” of a Hall of Famer, calling himself a journeyman who's been fortunate to train for some of the best people in the game. What he does have, he said, is “the respect of my peers. That's my greatest accomplishment.”

    That respect is based in part on running a clean operation and always putting the horse first. After 41 years and more than 11,000 starts, he's had two minor therapeutic medication overages – one a veterinarian's mistake in 2010 and an earlier violation in 2000 that was the result of an error in his barn. He's never been suspended.

    Until now.

  • Common Sense Takes A Back Seat?
    Paulick Report

    A Kentucky stewards' ruling nearly a year and a half in the making could have a profound impact on the career of highly respected trainer Rusty Arnold. Horses in Arnold's care in 2016 tested positive for ractopamine, a feed additive listed as a Class 2 drug by the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

    But given Arnold's almost pristine training record over several decades, what questions should be asked concerning this situation? In this edition of The Friday Show, Scott Jagow and Ray Paulick discuss what happened, how officials have responded and what this might mean in the bigger picture.

  • Former Pennsylvania Testing Director Out At USEF After Testing Issue
    Paulick Report

    Less than two years after he started as Laboratory Director for the United States Equestrian Federation, a former official responsible for drug testing Pennsylvania Thoroughbreds is no longer employed by the Federation. Dr. Cornelius Uboh, former Bureau Director at the Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology and Research Laboratory, took over the USEF Equine Research and Testing Laboratory in September 2016.

  • Penn National needs to support the Horseracing Integrity Act
    PennLive letters


    I am not a fan of government overreach. However, when government regulations have the potential to save an industry and the countless jobs that support it, I change my tune. The horseracing industry in Pennsylvania supports many jobs that include hay farmers, feed stores, breeders, trainers, transporters, jockeys, and backstretch workers.

    These Pennsylvanians, as well as fans of racing, expect the racing industry to maintain and grow the fan base by ensuring that the sport is not rife with cheaters.

    Penn National Gaming, which profits from horseracing, has an obligation to this industry, but refuses to support the Horseracing Integrity Act, a federal bill that would establish a uniform set of rules, testing procedures, and penalties, created by the non-profit U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to rid racing of unethical drugging and doping of horses.....

    Pamela Murray


  • It's time to clean up abuses in horse racing
    Indiana Gazette

    I used to be a fan of horse racing, but I am no longer a fan of a sport that refuses to address the issue of doping race horses.

    As much as I enjoy watching these equine athletes run, I am fearful of witnessing another breakdown on the track, as are many other former fans. Too many horses pay with their lives so that trainers and owners can win at the track. The sport has lost its soul because it refuses to adopt common-sense change to protect the integrity of the sport and the human and equine athletes who are too often seen as disposable.

    The Horseracing Integrity Act is a federal bill that will ensure equine welfare and protect the integrity of the sport by granting independent control over rule-making, testing and enforcement oversight regarding drugs and medication to a new authority created by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.




  • Gural, WEG Implement New Drug Regulations Aimed At Owner Responsibility
    Paulick Report

    “I think it's going to shake things up,” Gural said. “I can't imagine any sane person, who owns stakes horses using anyone that is considered a drug trainer or someone who has had violations in the past because the consequences are so Draconian.”

  • Owners the focus of tough new WEG and Big M rule
    Horse Racing Update

    Owners and trainers take heed: one positive test in 2018 could result in all of your horses being banned from all stakes races at the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) tracks and the Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs.

    The new rule called the Standardbred Racing Integrity and Accountability Initiative (SRIAI) is a partnership between WEG-operated Mohawk and Woodbine and the three Jeff Gural-owned tracks and is already in effect for 2018.

    WEG chairman Clay Horner, a long-time proponent of enhanced owner responsibility, said he hopes the tough new integrity rule, announced Friday (Jan. 5), will force horse owners to make better trainer choices.

    “The objective here is for owners to be very vigilant and very careful,” Horner said Friday of the SRIAI that bans any owner, trainer or horse from participating in stakes races at the five racetracks in 2018 if they have been found by a racing regulatory agency to have tested positive for prohibited substances as defined within the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification for Foreign Substances of Class I, II, TCO2 or steroids after Jan. 1, 2018.

  • 'Different Mindset': British Vets Question Volume Of Therapeutic Drugs Used In American Racing
    Paulick Report

    “I know the big debate in the States is can we run horses without medication. We seem to be doing quite well over here,” Barrelet said. “We don't run them without drugs, just without raceday medications. They're clean on race day within protection limits. Those times within forensic value are pretty well defined and from a pharmacological value are pretty well defined.

  • Hovdey: Black and white consequences for medication rules in shades of gray

    Graham Motion does not consider himself a hero or a martyr. He is not taking a victory lap. Neither is he confident that the whole thing might not happen again, with another legal medication in another jurisdiction where hypersensitive testing and the absolute-insurer rule of Thoroughbred racing reign, and law-abiding trainers are caught up in the same flawed net intended to catch those who choose to cheat their way to success.

    “Ultimately, when it’s all said, the only conclusion is that we are crying out for a governing body in racing, so that we all know where we stand. If anything good comes from all this, I hope it would be to push us in that direction.”

  • 'Juice' Cleanse Needed to Remedy Doping Comments

    This is one of those “guy walks into a bar…” jokes. Except the punch line isn’t even remotely funny.

    Imagine a baseball player walking into a sports bar located inside his team’s home stadium after he’s finished playing for the day. The player has a history of producing suspiciously off-the-charts home run numbers, has already served a suspension related to the prohibited use of pain killers, and has a separate drug abuse case currently under appeal.

  • Racing Integrity's Newest Threat: Human Designer Drugs?
    Paulick Report

    It's no secret the challenge of post-race drug testing has always been keeping regulators one step ahead of those who use illegal drugs or illegally manipulate medication. But with the advent of Internet sales and bitcoin, one laboratory director fears his job, and that of racing commissions everywhere, is about to get a lot more difficult.

  • ASPCA Throws Support Behind The Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017
    Paulick Report

    The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has announced its strong support for the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017...

    ...The ASPCA's support of the legislation was conveyed in a recent letter from Richard Patch, vice president of federal affairs for the ASPCA, to Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY), who introduced the legislation on May 25, 2017.

    The letter read, in part, “By establishing a national, independent authority to govern medications administered to racehorses, this legislation will promote the safety of our equine athletes and encourage consistent enforcement of doping regulations across state lines.”

  • Commentary: USTA Lacks Understanding Of Federal Bill
    Paulick Report

    In short, the USTA opposes the provision in the bill requiring the elimination of race-day medications and it wants separate regulations regarding therapeutic medications for different horse breeds. The organization also took issue with the makeup of the board that would oversee the new anti-doping authority.

    While the members of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity respect the USTA's yearning for breed-specific, uniform medication rules for horse racing, the reasons for their opposition to H.R. 2651 are based on faulty arguments and a clear lack of understanding of what the bill would actually do.

  • How serious is racing about cleaning out cheaters?

    The Jorge Navarro video scandal offers racing a golden opportunity to come down hard and demonstrate that it will not tolerate cheaters. Yet the reaction has been far less than decisive. Some jurisdictions have banned Navarro but others, including industry leader NYRA, have taken no meaningful action. This raises the question of whether the sport really wants to clean up its act or is just posturing when it says it does. 

  • WHOA, Nelly! Part 2: What's it About? Who's in, Who's out?
    Talk of the Track

    So this second installation of, “WHOA, Nelly!” is about WHOA,, itself:   those who are involved; and a curious sadness, as we take note of those who are conspicuous by their absence.

  • USTA announces opposition to HORSE RACING INTEGRITY ACT
    THA Press Release

    The United States Trotting Association Sept. 5 announced its opposition to the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2017 for multiple reasons, including a proposed ban on race-day Lasix and the makeup of the authority that would oversee equine medication policy and a financing scheme for increased testing.

  • More Than Ever, Integrity Needed in Every State
    The BloodHorse

    As money generated by added-gaming has boosted purses and breeder funds throughout the country, it has become more important than ever for racing to maintain integrity.

    Jockey Club chairman Stuart Janney III made that point during his closing remarks at the Round Table on Matters Pertaining to Racing Aug. 13 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He noted that a scandal anywhere in the country can impact how racing is viewed and threaten the significant commitment state governments have made to the sport.

  • Always Dreaming Owners Support Horseracing Integrity
    The BloodHorse Daily

    "To help ensure the safety of the horses and the jockeys and to enable racing fans to take comfort in the integrity of the sport, it is vital that the industry adopt a uniform set of rules across the 38 jurisdictions regarding testing and penalties administered by an independent body," Viola said in a written statement. "We have an opportunity now to improve significantly the safety and fairness of this beautiful and proud sport that has brought joy to millions of fans. It is important that all of us act on it with a sense of urgency."

  • WHOA, Nelly! Horse Racing's Perceived Need for Speed at All Costs to Horse = Absolutely, Positively Unacceptable
    Talk of the Track

    WHOA (Water Hay Oats Alliance) is a brilliant organization of kind-hearted people who are focused on one thing:  the health and well-being of horses.   Period.   They love horses, and they know that healthy horses who aren’t doped are the only hope if horse racing is to flourish, and to grow.   Indeed, the health of the equine economy depends on WHOA’s campaign to wake up the industry, and get unnecessary medications off the table in the life of race horses.

    No horse ever should be given medications for reasons other than healing a situation, or stabilizing the horse during convalescence.  One of the meds that’s part of the dialogue is Lasix.

  • Why this is the only chance for America's broken regulatory system
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    The Jockey Club Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing is arguably the most important meeting on the annual Thoroughbred racing calendar in America. That has arguably never been more the case than at this year’s conference on Sunday, when powerful representations were made by some of the most respected people in the business in favour of the proposed Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2017.

  • Banke: 'Craft Our Narrative And Rebuild The Foundation Of Integrity' Through Federal Legislation
    Paulick Report

    Barbara Banke, owner of Stonestreet Farm and chairman and proprietor of Jackson Family Wines, delivered the following remarks in support of the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 at Sunday's Jockey Club Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

  • Janney On 'Disgraceful And Sad' Pennsylvania Events: 'It Gives All Of Racing A Black Eye'
    Paulick Report

    Following are closing remarks by Stuart S. Janney III, chairman of The Jockey Club, at Sunday's Jockey Club Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

    My sense is that we are at a crossroads. There are many signs of hope, progress and accomplishment...........But now let's look at a darker side. Sadly, the list is just as long and the issues no less important. We have talked about many of these issues, either today or in previous conferences. The scope of some of these problems can be daunting and their persistence is disheartening.

  • Jockey Club renews push for federal legislation to regulate medication, drug testing
    Daily Racing Form

    SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The Jockey Club is doubling down on its support for legislation that would put in place a federal framework for the sport’s regulation of medication and drug testing, and it will do so without the support of large horsemen’s associations, according to comments made during the organization’s Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing on Sunday in Saratoga Springs.

    A succession of speakers to close out the conference focused on the legislation, which would appoint the United States Anti-Doping Association, a private, non-profit company, as the overseer of the sport’s medication and drug-testing policies. The speakers included Barbara Banke, the prominent horse owner and breeder; Shawn Smeallie, executive director of the Coalition for Horseracing Integrity, a group supported by the Jockey Club and founded to push for the adoption of the bill; and Stuart Janney III, the chairman of the Jockey Club.

  • View From The Eighth Pole: In Rojas Trial, HBPA Plays The Part Of Enabler
    Paulick Report


    It must be disheartening at times to be an honest Thoroughbred owner or trainer, especially one that happens to race in Pennsylvania.

    It's bad enough, as we learned last week in the federal trial of trainer Murray Rojas, that widespread and systematic cheating has been going on at Penn National racecourse in Grantville, Pa. for more than a decade.

    Making matters worse is the financial support provided to Rojas by the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association through a legal defense fund the horsemen's organization established last year. The Pennsylvania HBPA, the representative horseman's organization at Penn National, also helped pay her legal fees.

    This adds insult to injury.

  • Letter to the Editor: Where's the Swamp?

    The flip side of all this is we do have a problem here. Being a racehorse trainer is a tough gig these days. Most of your employees are undocumented, you barely break even on the day money–that’s if you get paid on time–and the pressure to win is overwhelming. Trainers take an edge, often too much of one. In the Paulick Report Friday Show, Editor-in-Chief Scott Jagow glibly referred to “the cesspool of PA racing.” If Jagow or anyone else thinks this is just a PA problem, then I’ve got some nifty dockage in the Mojave to sell them. The trouble with the view from the eighth pole is the angle stinks. The Rojas trial testimony was just a window in to a national issue because in every track in the land the motto exists: “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.”


    The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission July 26 approved a new regulation that will make racehorses that test positive for a prohibited substance ineligible to compete for a period of time.

    The regulation, which is expected to take effect Sept. 1, calls for such horses to be placed on the stewards’ list for Thoroughbred racing and the judges’ list for Standardbred racing. The PHRC, which falls under the state Department of Agriculture, at its monthly meeting approved the measure with little discussion.

    Horse Racing Business

    A trainer at Penn National Race Course testified under oath that 95 to 98 percent of the trainers at the racetrack used illegal drugs on their horses within 24 hours of races in which the animals ran.  The trainer said it was well known that laboratory testing was not done for the drugs.

    Assume that the trainer was testifying truthfully.  That means that virtually every trainer at Penn National Race Course was flagrantly violating rules and regulations.....

    Horse Racing Business

    Start with the working premise that most people are honest, depending, of course, on the rigidity of one’s concept of honesty.  Implicit in the premise is that if most people are honest some are not.

    Proof is readily available on a weekly and daily basis.  One hears and reads of insider-trading convictions, wealth managers defrauding their clients, lawyers making off with escrow money, doctors overbilling Medicare, school teachers cheating to elevate their students’ scores on standardized tests, world-class athletes using performance-enhancing drugs, accusations of footballs being deflated in the NFL, possible fixed matches at Wimbledon, pump-and-dump stock schemes, and so on ad infinitum.

  • Federal Legislation Still Best Route to True Uniformity
    The BloodHorse

    I found it more than a bit ironic that a slew of damaging headlines preceded and followed the May 25 announcement of the reintroduction of Reps. Barr and Tonko’s sponsored federal bill, the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017.

    If anyone needed further convincing that the medication regulation system in the United States is broken beyond repair, the stories behind those headlines reiterated one message loudly and clearly: The status quo is unacceptable.

  • Op/Ed: Yes, the AAEP is Protecting the Horse

    The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP)’s recent decision to oppose the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 has been met with both support and criticism, depending on one’s perspective within the industry. As chair of the AAEP Racing Committee, I’d like to address why we believe our position best represents the health and welfare of the racehorse.

  • Racing vets oppose Barr's bill to ban equine anti-bleeder drug
    Lexington Herald Leader

    The veterinarians who treat racehorses are not backing U.S. Rep. Andy Barr’s bill to ban all race-day medications. 

    The American Association of Equine Practitioners on Tuesday released a statement opposing Barr’s “Horseracing Integrity Act,” which would place the regulation of horse racing’s drug rules under federal jurisdiction. The vets oppose it because it would include a ban on furosemide, known as Lasix or Salix.

    The group supports the uniformity of medication rules in U.S. horse racing but its current policy endorses the use of the anti-bleeder medication “to help mitigate the occurrence of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage in the racehorse,” according to the statement. “This policy is based on the overwhelming body of international scientific and clinical evidence.”


  • Barr strives to bring integrity, transparency to horse racing
    Ripon Advance News Service

    U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) introduced legislation on Thursday to pave the way for the creation of a national uniform medication program that would govern various horse racing organizations.

    Currently, different medication policies and practices are used across dozens of horse racing jurisdictions in different states. In addition to eroding competition and public confidence in horseracing, inconsistent and contradictory rules have hampered interstate commerce under current rules. 

    The Horseracing Integrity Act, H.R. 2651, which Barr introduced with U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), would authorize the establishment and implementation of a national uniform medication program that would be developed with input from industry stakeholders.

  • U.S. Trotting Association: 'No Official Position' On Horse Racing Integrity Act
    Paulick Report

    The HRI has had firm support from The Jockey Club since it was first introduced. However, as Bill Finley points out in his column for Harness Racing Update, the United States Trotting Association “is not ready to commit one way or the other” on the legislation.

    “Since the proposed legislation was introduced just last week and there hasn't been an opportunity to convene the USTA Board or even its executive committee, we have no official position on the bill at this time,” Mike Tanner, the USTA's executive vice president said.

  • Barr, Tonko To Reintroduce Updated Horseracing Integrity Act
    Paulick Report

    “With growing momentum and support, the time has come for uniform medication rules in American horse racing,” said Congressman Barr.  “Uniform rules will ensure the integrity and competitiveness of American horse racing and lay the groundwork for the future success of this great American sport.  I am grateful for Congressman Tonko and our coalition for their work over the last two years to improve this legislation which has broadened our base of support and will help us to pass this bill into law.”

  • New Version of Federal Oversight Legislation Introduced

    The legislation, an updated version of the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 that never came up for a federal vote, would establish an authority to create and implement a national uniform medication program with input from the horse industry.

    The authority would be governed by a board composed of the chief executive officer of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), six individuals from the USADA board, and six individuals selected by USADA who have demonstrated expertise in a variety of horse racing areas.

  • Tonko pushes updated Horseracing Integrity Act
    Times Union

    Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, is again pushing federal legislation that would create a national uniform anti-doping program for the horse racing industry.....

    “A single, national approach to medication testing with strong independent oversight and enforcement is long overdue,” Tonko said in a statement. “This will help ensure the long-term viability of horseracing by bringing greater integrity to the sport and enhancing the care and welfare of the horses. Much is at stake here, especially in regions like ours with long historic ties to an industry that contributes $4 billion to the New York economy each year, much of it at and around the Saratoga Race Course.”

  • CHRI announces strong support for Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017

    The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity (CHRI) today announced its strong support for the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017, introduced by U.S. Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) earlier today.

    The bill, designated H.R. 2651, would require that a uniform, anti-doping and medication control program be developed and enforced by a private, non-profit, self-regulatory organization known as the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority.


  • Barr-Tonko bill gets overhaul
    Daily Racing Form

    A bill that would create a federal authority responsible for racing’s drug and medication policies and their enforcement has been amended to include an explicit ban on the administration of any medication within 24 hours of a race, a provision that likely will perpetuate opposition from major U.S. horsemen’s organizations.

  • No race-day meds, more feds in horse racing under new bill backed by Barr
    Lexington Herald Leader

    “With growing momentum and support, the time has come for uniform medication rules in American horse racing,” Barr said. “Uniform rules will ensure the integrity and competitiveness of American horse racing and lay the groundwork for the future success of this great American sport.”


  • Ahead of Kentucky Derby, Udall Demands an End to Doping of Race Horses
    Udall Press Release

    WASHINGTON – Ahead of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, U.S. Senator Tom Udall released the following statement reiterating his persistent calls for the horse racing industry to end its widespread abuse of performance-enhancing drugs and painkillers used on horses. Udall called for reform or the repeal of the federal law that makes horse racing the only sport specially permitted to offer online gambling and interstate betting:

  • Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity Welcomes The Stronach Group's Support of Impending Bill
    CHRI Press Release

    The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity (CHRI) applauds the decision of Frank Stronach, the founder and honorary chairman of The Stronach Group, to strongly support the Horseracing Integrity Act, legislation that will create a uniform, nationwide, conflict-free drug testing enforcement program for horse racing. 

  • ARCI's Martin: Let USADA Bid To Do Equine Drug Testing
    Paulick Report

    Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, closed out the racing regulators' equine welfare and integrity conference Thursday by urging his member organizations to extend an invitation to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to bid on their equine drug-testing contracts.

    USADA is the national anti-doping organization in the United States for Olympic, Paralympic and Pan-American sport. Some prominent people in horse racing believe USADA has a contribution to make in regards to drug testing.

  • How would U.S. racing work in a brave new drug-restricted world?
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    Arguably the most significant changes look like this:

    • Elimination of furosemide on race-days and in training (as in Hong Kong),

    • No anabolic steroid use both in and out of competition,

    • Tighter restrictions surrounding corticosteroid joint injections (I get into the particulars further down)

    • Elimination of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in racing.

    This is, of course, a hypothetical reality. The legislative, bureaucratic, financial, logistical and political hoops that would need to be jumped through to reach such a point are, to say the least, considerable.

    But, with no inconsiderable weight behind the call for uniform medication rules, and with the likes of the Water Hay Oats Alliance pushing to eliminate the use of performance-enhancing drugs in horse racing, this idea alone raises all sorts of questions, including a vital one:

    How would the tightened medication regulations outlined above affect the way U.S. racehorses are trained, raced and managed?

  • Recap of Friday's medication panel at the National HBPA Convention
    Horse Racing Nation

    Dr. Andy Roberts, a long-time racetrack veterinarian in Kentucky, believes testing horses for illegal drugs outside of a race can be an important step in getting rule-breakers out of the game. However, he does not want to see horsemen asked for a muscle biopsy, hoof trimming or even a semen sample from a young colt in training.......



  • Pennsylvania: The FBI Agent And The Trainer
    Paulick Report

    Bruce Doupe is a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who has spent the last five of his 13 years at the FBI's Harrisburg, Pa., office investigating what he calls ”allegations of criminal wrongdoing in the conduct of Thoroughbred racing at Penn National Race Course.”

  • 'Beaten Down By The PR Machine': Bramlage On The Best Prescription For Racing
    Paulick Report

    Firstly, Bramlage said the sport needs to eliminate race-day furosemide – not because it doesn't work or he has serious concerns about its use but because the ship has sailed on convincing the public it is safe and necessary ...
    Secondly, Bramlage encouraged attendees to support the Barr-Tonko bill creating uniform oversight for the sport ...
    Lastly, Bramlage said veterinarians and the racing industry need to get better at communicating with the public about improvements in welfare policy ...


  • ARCI's Martin: Cheating Not 'Ubiquitous' In Racing
    Paulick Report

    Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, submitted the following as a rebuttal to a recent two-part series in the Paulick Report, written by former Indiana Horse Racing Commission executive director Joe Gorajec. Those articles, dealing with what Gorajec referred to as a “culture of cheating,” can be read in WHOA press.

  • Inside the Desperate Battle against Sports Doping

    USADA headquarters is located in an office complex in the town of Colorado Springs at the edge of the Rocky Mountains. The men and women who work here are considered the most tenacious doping investigators in the world. In recent years, the agency has uncovered the doping practices of some of the biggest names in sports, including cyclist Lance Armstrong and the world-class sprinters Tyson Gay and Marion Jones.

  • Gagliano: a system change we can't afford to pass up
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    Polling of  U.S. horse racing bettors has repeatedly demonstrated that drugs and integrity issues are two of the top three issues facing the sport, and 92 percent of them say they want to see uniform medication policies implemented faster than they are being adopted now.

    We all know the problem. But what is the best solution?

    The members of the Coalition for Horseracing Integrity believe we need a systematic change in the way Thoroughbred racing is regulated.

    • We need better and more uniform rules.

    • We need harsher penalties for integrity-related violations.

    • And we need improved drug testing, including much more out-of-competition testing and more robust investigations.


  • Tonko proposes anti-doping rules for horse racing
    Times Union

    U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko wants to ban doping of race horses.

    The congressman is proposing an anti-doping bill that penalizes breeders, owners and trainers who feed or inject their horses with performance- enhancing drugs. Co-sponsored with Republican Rep. Andy Barr of Kentucky, the bill would also standardize rules, which currently vary state-to-state.

    "There is concern that the equine athlete is not abused," said Tonko, D-Amsterdam. "Doping is disturbing. We want to make sure it doesn't happen."

    Tonko went onto say that unlike human athletes, equine athletes don't have a choice or an opportunity to say no.

  • The Friday Show Presented By Woodbine: A Gaping Hole In Drug Testing?
    Paulick Report

    There are several areas in which the Thoroughbred racing industry has made progress in recent years. Random, out-of-competition drug testing isn't one of them.

    In this edition of The Friday Show, Scott Jagow and Ray Paulick discuss why out-of-competition testing is vital to racing and why it's been such a struggle to put it in place in many jurisdictions.

  • Renewed Calls for Strict Federal Oversight of Thoroughbred Horse Racing
    NBC Washington

    Animal welfare groups, industry officials and political leaders are renewing their calls for stricter federal oversight of thoroughbred horse racing, after a series of reports by the News4 I-Team.

    Supporters of two different pieces of legislation have cited the I-Team’s findings in championing their proposals for change.

    The I-Team investigation in August revealed at least 160 horse deaths at the Charles Town Races track in West Virginia since 2014. Though the rate of horse deaths at Charles Town is nearly average the rate of thoroughbred breakdowns nationwide, the investigation also detailed dozens of positive drug tests by horses at Charles Town and an ongoing dispute over the positioning of race stewards at the track by the West Virginia Racing Commission.


  • Coalition For Horse Racing Integrity: In Wake of Vitali Case, 'We Need Better Regulation'
    Paulick Report

    The Paulick Received the following Letter to the Editor from the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity, whose members include national and local organizations representing breeders, owners, sale consignors, racetracks and veterinarians 

    As a group that shares the common belief that the Thoroughbred racing industry is in serious need of medication reform, we would like to commend the Paulick Report for its insightful, ongoing coverage of a saga involving a Florida-based trainer with numerous medication violations (“Vitali License Reinstated, Despite Record That Includes Complaint Of Cruelty.”

  • Stronach Ban is News to Suspended Trainer Vitali

    An investigative piece by the Paulick Report Monday detailed Vitali’s voluntary relinquishing of his Florida training license earlier this year to avoid sanctions for multiple medication violations, an aborted attempt to relocate his racing operation to Maryland, and a complaint about alleged animal cruelty involving a claimed Thoroughbred that was closed by Florida authorities because of “insufficient proof.”

    According to that article, dating to 2011, Vitali has had 23 equine medication violations in Florida alone. The piece also reported that under the terms of a July 1 “settlement agreement,” Vitali is currently sitting out a 120-day license suspension from the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering and has been assessed a $7,000 fine.

  • Ritvo: Stronach Tracks Bar Vitali, Hunter From Entry Box
    Paulick Report

    Trainer Marcus Vitali, currently serving a 120-day suspension for multiple medication violations in Florida, has been told by officials with The Stronach Group – owners of Gulfstream Park in Florida, Laurel Park and Pimlico in Maryland and Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields in California – that they will not take entries from him in the future and asked Vitali to leave the Gulfstream Park property.

    Trainer Allan Hunter, in whose name Vitali's horses have been running over the last two months, has also been told his entries will not be accepted by Stronach Group tracks. Hunter has been given 10 days to remove all of the horses currently under his care from Gulfstream Park. Hunter has one former Vitali horse entered on Friday's Gulfstream Park program that will be allowed to run, according to Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of The Stronach Group's racing division.

  • 'The Optics Are Horrible': March Of Out-Of-Competition Testing Is A Slow One
    Paulick Report

    One of the familiar themes at the Jockey Club's 64th annual Round Table Conference held Aug. 14 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. was the usefulness of an out-of-competition drug testing program (OOCT) in horse racing. Jeff Novitzky, vice president of athlete health and performance for Ultimate Fighting Championship, pointed out the importance of OOCT to anti-doping efforts at the UFC and for Olympic athletes. One thing that wasn't presented was a comparison of how horse racing is doing with OOCT.

    Out-of-competition testing was once heralded as the future of horse racing regulation — and critical to making and keeping the sport cleaner. Ten years in, it isn't catching on with much urgency.

  • UFC's Novitzky gets in the ring at Round Table
    Daily Racing Form

    Horse racing may not appear to have much, if anything, in common with mixed martial arts. Still, an official with that sport’s most prominent league will attempt to lay out its common ground with racing on Sunday as a guest of The Jockey Club at its Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing in Saratoga Springs.

    Jeff Novitzky, the vice president of athlete health and performance for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is scheduled to speak just prior to the Round Table’s keynote speaker, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the chief executive of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Novitzky’s placement near the end of the program telegraphs The Jockey Club’s estimation of his message, which will focus on the UFC’s recent hiring of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to design and enforce the sport’s drug-testing program.

  • Call Issued for Consensus on Medication Plan
    The BloodHorse

    The need for consensus among major stakeholders in horse racing in regard to drug testing and enforcement of penalties again was a major theme during The Jockey Club Round Table Conference held Aug. 14 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

    There were, as expected, endorsements for the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015, which would grant the United States Anti-Doping Agency authority over a uniform equine medication and testing program. But there also were subtle suggestions the industry could, if it bridges a rather large divide, accomplish its objective perhaps without help from Congress.

  • Jockey Club Round Table Encourages Reform, Exchange Of Ideas
    Paulick Report

    The exchange of ideas was a central theme at The Jockey Club's 64th annual Round Table Conference, which took place at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. on Sunday morning. Two of the speakers on the schedule brought inspiration for improvement to American racing from other businesses: Jeff Novitzky, vice president of athlete health and performance for Ultimate Fighting Championship (better known as UFC, the leading mixed martial arts organization), spoke about anti-doping, while Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, spoke about customer service and integrity.

  • Medication Reform Heads Jockey Club Roundtable

    Though many other issues were discussed Sunday morning, the principal theme of The Jockey Club’s 64th annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing was medication reform in the United States.

  • The Real Problem With Drugs In Horse Racing

    Last week, this space discussed and theorised about the potential impact of drugs that seek to enhance the peak performance levels of racehorses. Unsurprisingly, the piece generated quite a bit of comment given just how hot a topic performance-enhancing drugs in sport is right now. However, while drugs such as anabolic steroids and cobalt chloride that bid to enhance peak performance levels are the ones that many people fear the most, horse racing arguably has far bigger problems with another medication-related issue, that of an over-reliance on and abuse of therapeutic medications.

  • Let's Talk About Drugs In Racing

    The issue of drugs in sport has never been bigger than it is now. There have been so many performance-enhancing drug scandals in recent years that it has bred a culture of scepticism of sporting success amongst the public. Brilliant performances are immediately questioned as being too good to be true, with the trainers/coaches that oversee the success of athletes often coming under as much suspicion as the athletes themselves.

    Horse racing has not escaped such scrutiny, with both legal and illegal drugs being a constant subject of controversy and debate. Around the major racing nations of the world there have been steroid scandals and cobalt controversies, not to mention ongoing entrenched debates about what the medication rules should allow on a day-to-day basis. This, combined with the omnipresence of drug scandals in the wider world of sport, has led many to have a heightened scepticism about just how level the playing field is in the high-stakes world of horse racing.

  • Hundreds of racehorses die at the track each year. Their deaths may be preventable
    The Washington Post

    “In the rest of the world, horse racing is more of a sport. In the U.S., it’s got a little bit of a business aspect to it,” said Rick Arthur, the equine medical director at the California Racing Board. “Horse racing needs to become drug-free, and when I talk about drug-free, I’m talking about international standard. I think we need to do that to be able to convince the public that the horse is our primary interest. I think that’s absolutely imperative for horse racing to succeed in a very changing environment.”

  • Q&A with Wayne Pacelle and Joe De Francis
    The BloodHorse

    On June 22, 2016, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) chief executive officer Wayne Pacelle announced the formation of its HSUS National Horse Racing Advisory Council. The chairman of the council is Joe De Francis, the former CEO and controlling shareholder of the Maryland Jockey Club.

    Pacelle and De Francis recently answered some questions from Blood-Horse about HSUS and the new council. 

  • What we know about cobalt - and, worryingly, what we don't
    Daniel Ross, Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    One reason for the enduring interest in cobalt lies in the public’s voracious appetite for drug, and drug-related, storylines – especially in horseracing. Another reason, however, belongs to a dearth of empirical data into exactly what effect cobalt has on the physiology of a racehorse, and why.

    A number of studies launched in the wake of the scandal have taught us much. But can cobalt make horses run faster? 

    Known since the middle of last century, cobalt does stimulate the production of Erythropoietin (EPO) in mammals. But, as a paper recently published in the Veterinary Journal, points out: “Currently there is no evidence to suggest that cobalt chloride can enhance human or equine performance.”


  • Travis T. Tygart: Come Clean, Russia, or No Rio
    The New York Times

    Colorado Springs — FOR those who love clean sport, discovering the extent of Russia’s state-supported doping program has been a nightmare realized. Russian whistle-blowers have come forward with evidence of shadow laboratories, tampering by state intelligence officers andswapped samples at the Olympics. This is a violation of the very essence of sport and — only months from the Summer Games in Rio — an assault on the fundamental values of the Olympic movement.

  • A Push to Improve Welfare of Horse Racing's Involuntary Heroes
    The New York Times

    The powerful Jockey Club is working with the Humane Society to eliminate the scourge of doping and, in the process, get the fragmented racing industry to play by a single set of rules.

    The two groups are supporting federal legislation, the Thoroughbred Horse Racing Anti-Doping Act of 2015, that would put the United States Anti-Doping Agency in charge of monitoring the administration of race-day medication at the track. The organizations hope to put USADA, an independent agency, in a position to police the sport’s deeply rooted doping culture.

    Race-day doping is particularly troublesome. It can give horses an advantage, but it can also put already injured horses, who should not be racing, at risk of greater, even catastrophic, injury.

  • Gary Contessa Op/Ed: Patchwork System Needs to Change

    When it comes to achieving true uniformity of medication and drug rules in our sport, we can’t continue to have a patchwork system of regulation. It is time for a change and to me the Barr-Tonko bill is the best option for our sport.

  • Drug use may threaten horse racing's future
    The Baltimore Sun

    Former Maryland Jockey Club CEO Joseph A. De Francis watches the Triple Crown races with growing anxiety, worried that an overmedicated horse will collapse in front of millions of viewers, sending the industry's already tenuous fortunes tumbling along with it.

    Questions about drugs in the sport have "the potential to explode on the industry like a nuclear bomb," said De Francis, 61, who spent 35 years in the business and once was a partner in Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, which will host the Preakness on Saturday.

  • A year after American Pharoah, U.S. horse racing faces uneasy future

    A year after American Pharoah became the first horse since 1978 to win the Triple Crown, U.S. thoroughbred racing officials have struggled to build on that excitement or agree on whether the sport needs a commissioner to rein in its disparate players.

    Saturday's running of the 142nd Kentucky Derby, the most famous race in America and the first in the Triple Crown series of three races, puts horse racing at the center of attention for many sports fans, a place it only rarely occupies.

    Some who see dark clouds for the industry advocate placing it under the control of a single person, at least as it comes to drug testing for the horses to crack down on cheating. Others question the need to horse around with a formula that has worked for decades in a $25 billion industry.


  • Supporters of legislation to reform horse racing regulations speak out
    Daily Racing Form

    Members of the Congressional Horse Caucus held a hearing-style discussion of a bill seeking to restructure the regulation of U.S. racing on Thursday afternoon in Washington, D.C., with supporters vowing to continue to press for adoption of the legislation.

    The meeting was put together by Reps. Paul Tonko of New York and Andy Barr of Kentucky, the co-chairs of the Congressional Horse Caucus and the sponsors of the legislation. Five panelists were invited to provide comments about the legislation, with four of the panelists clearly in support of the bill. The fifth, a representative of a national horsemen’s organization, urged legislators to keep the current state-by-state approach to regulation in place.

  • Horse Caucus Takes Testimony on Drug Bill

    Members of the Congressional Horse Caucus April 28 discussed the pros and cons of legislation that would grant the United States Anti-Doping Agency oversight of equine medication policy, testing, and enforcement during the first hearing on a bill introduced in the United States House of Representatives last spring.

  • DeFrancis Emerges as Powerful Voice for Reform

    WASHINGTON–A new day, another hearing, a familiar story. That’s often been the case over these many years as reform-minded politicians have held several hearings to discuss efforts to bring reform to horse racing, particularly in the area of drugs. Thursday’s hearing of the Congressional Horse Caucus, which has been pushing for passage of the Horse Racing Integrity Act of 2015, didn’t exactly crack the mold as it failed to accomplish much in the area of breaking new ground.

    But it did feature a relatively new player in the debate over federal intervention and drugs and one who came with a powerful message. Joe DeFrancis, the former chief executive of Pimlico and Laurel who is currently advising the Humane Society of the United States, brought his A game to the nation’s capital Thursday. DeFrancis was unwavering and unapologetic when he warned the racing industry that if major changes are not made, the sport could suffer dire consequences.

  • Fravel: Barr-Tonko Bill 'Creates A System That Makes Sense'
    Paulick Report

    In his statement, Fravel said, “We should not confuse progress with success and we who profess our commitment to integrity, uniformity and transparency should not be content with any system so long as there is room for major improvement.” He continued, “The system contemplated by H.R. 3084 shrinks 38 rulemaking and enforcement bodies to one. … It creates a system that makes sense, and I want to thank Congressman Barr and Congressman Tonko for their concern for our industry and their support for an effort to make a great sport as good as it can be.”

  • Former Jockey Club chief says racing has reached 'critical state' over drug policies
    The Baltimore Sun

    The public's dwindling confidence in American horse racing's medication policies "has reached a critical state" bordering on an industry "crisis," former Maryland Jockey Club chief executive Joseph A. De Francis told members of Congress Thursday.

    Speaking before the Congressional Horse Caucus, De Francis said that the industry has failed "to address on a national level" the issue of abuse and misuse of racehorse medications.

  • Vitali Case Gives Congressional Horse Caucus Real-Life Example Of Broken System
    Paulick Report

    It's time for the Congressional Horse Caucus members to go on a field trip. May I suggest they take a break today from their hard work at the U.S. Capitol and make the short drive up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to spend an afternoon at Laurel Park in Maryland? They can see first-hand how badly the current structure for regulating medication policies in horse racing is broken.

  • Horse racing industry divided on need for federal oversight
    The Hill

    The Thoroughbred racing industry is divided over whether Congress should create a national regulatory body to monitor the use of drugs in racehorses competing in races all the way up to the Kentucky Derby.

    “I’d be willing to publicly debate anyone who has the nerve to stand up and take the stance that racing is better with drugs,” racehorse owner and celebrity chef Bobby Flay told lawmakers on Thursday.

  • Medication Reform Best Way To Honor Memory Of Dinny Phipps
    Paulick Report

    Cleaning up racing has been a life-long mission that, ultimately and unfortunately, Dinny Phipps was not able to complete.

    His death on Wednesday at the age of 75 is a profound personal loss for his family, friends and associates. His passing is also enormously significant to those of us who want horse racing to overcome the stigma of a game where cheating is often perceived to be as important to winning as superior bloodlines and good training. Though others will carry the torch forward, it is difficult to see how anyone will be as committed to the cause of clean sport as Dinny Phipps has been for decades, both as one of the game's leading owners and breeders and as a fearless industry leader.

  • Letter to the Editor: Russell S. Cohen, DVM

    Thoroughbred racing has a drug problem and, collectively, we hold the blame, yet we can fix it. I personally do not care about semantics, misinformation, mischaracterizations and hurt feelings. Let me restate: I do not care one bit. I care about horses, horse racing, and the owners who have skin in the game, who put up their money, their hopes, their desires, their time and their dreams.

    Jockey Club Executive Vice President and Executive Director Matt Iuliano had the guts to speak out in a recent letter to the editor to the TDN [click here], arguing that those opposed to medication reform base their position on “the bedrock assumption that everything is totally fine in the realm of Thoroughbred medication regulation.” I agree with Iuliano. That assumption is totally false.

  • Letter to the Editor: Eric Hamelback

    The Thoroughbred Racing Integrity Act of 2015, or HR 3084, has recently been brought back into the Turf Media among certain proponents...

  • Ray Paulick: What Good Is A Model Rule In Horse Racing If No One Follows It?
    Paulick Report

    Imagine, for a minute, that the rules governing the National Football League were developed the same way as horse racing regulations.

    During an annual meeting, personnel from the NFL league office would discuss and approve “model rules” for the game, then team owners around the league would be encouraged – but not required – to adopt them. We might have instant replay to help officiate games in Chicago but not in Green Bay. The Houston Texans may decide they don't want to follow protocol for concussions. The Seattle Seahawks could develop their own definition of pass interference. And the New England Patriots might thumb their nose at the league's “model rule” for inflating footballs.

  • Iuliano: H.R. 3084 Best Opportunity For Meaningful Reform
    Thoroughbred Daily News

    I read with great interest the comments expressed by the chairman of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission and Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) stalwart, W. Duncan Patterson, at the annual meeting of the Organization of Racing Investigators held recently at Delaware Park (Delaware Regulator Argues USADA in Racing a Mistake, TDN, March 15, 2016). 

    Mr. Patterson’s comments fall in line with the campaign of misinformation waged against H.R. 3084, the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015, by opponents of the bill over the past several months.

  • Press Release: Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act Earns 25 House Cosponsors

    “I’m grateful for the members of Congress from both parties who have stepped forward to support the goals of the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act,” said Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY). “Achieving this milestone is evidence of the growing support for uniform medication standards which will enhance the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred horseracing in America.” 

    “I am energized to see this critical, bipartisan legislation approach 25 cosponsors,” said Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), “and I look forward to working with Congressman Barr to push this closer to the finish line.

  • NYRA joins push for USADA oversight
    Daily Racing Form

    NYRA, which operates Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga under a lease from the state, is the most prominent racetrack operator to join the effort to support the legislation, which is opposed by most racetracks, horsemen’s groups, and state racing commissions. Last year, the Keeneland Association, which runs two prestigious three-week race meets and conducts North America’s largest Thoroughbred auctions, also endorsed the legislation. Several harness tracks and other minor tracks have announced support for the bill.

  • Judge: CHRB can't enforce Los Alamitos Hair-Testing House Rule
    Paulick Report

    On March 10, 2016, in Department 85 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the Honorable James C. Chalfant, Judge presiding, granted Quarter Horse Owner Gustavo De La Torre's petition for a writ of mandate directing the California Horse Racing Board to set aside its approval of the Los Alamitos Race Course “house rule” providing for disqualification of horses resulting from hair testing for albuterol and clenbuterol, both authorized medications in California. Additionally, the court ruled that De La Torre is entitled to declaratory and injunctive relief against both the California Horse Racing Board and Los Alamitos regarding enforcement of the illegal “house rule.”

  • What We Know About Cobalt - And, Worryingly, What We Don't
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    The start of the New Year didn’t precipitate an end to the long conversation surrounding cobalt, the little trace element that just won’t go away.

  • Irish Clamp Down on Cheats
    Sporting Post

    Horses found to have been administered prohibitive substances, including anabolic steroids, are set to be handed lifetime bans in Ireland.

  • HBPA Convention Rolls On

    The Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives appears stalled, without a sponsor and companion bill in the Senate to date, faces constitutionality issues raised by the Congressional Research Service and lacks co-sponsors on the committee with jurisdiction, the lobbyist for the largest coalition of owners and trainers said Saturday.

  • HBPA Told To Fight Back Against 'Elitists' In 'Environment Of Poison'
    Paulick Report

    Eric Hamelback likes to focus on the positive in horse racing. Running his first winter convention as chief executive officer of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, the former general manager of Frank Stronach's Adena Springs in Kentucky put together several panels on Thursday's opening day designed to give HBPA members reassurance that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't an oncoming train.

  • Ireland: Lifetime Ban For Horses Administered Prohibited Substances
    Paulick Report

    Horses found to have been administered prohibited substances, including anabolic steroids, will be banned for life in Ireland.

  • Beshear: Challenges Remain for Horse Industry

    Steve Beshear, the former two-term governor of Kentucky whose run ended in December 2014, said the recent winter storm that dumped about 10 inches of snow in Lexington and twice that much in eastern parts of the state drove home the point he didn't have the same responsibilities.

  • Kiaran McLaughlin: The Day I Realized Horses Don't Need to Run on Medication
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    In the first part of his recent Q&A with Karen M. Johnson, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin talked about his exciting prospects for 2016, especially his Kentucky Derby hope Mohaymen and his star older horse, the Dubai World Cup-bound Frosted. Here, in part two, he looks back on his days training for the Maktoums in Dubai and what he learned there, and he talks about his views on Lasix, coping with multiple sclerosis, and the best horse he has trained - so far.

  • McLaughlin on Lasix: 'We Should Be Able To Be Without It In America'
    Paulick Report

    Kiaran McLaughlin spent 10 years training racehorses for the Maktoum family in Dubai, where horses cannot be given any medications within seven days of a race. The trainer referred to the ability to run horses without Lasix or other race-day medications as “eye-opening” in an interview at thoroughbredracing.com.

  • Trainer, Vet Relationships Discussed at ARC

    The relationship between trainer and veterinarian was among the topics of conversation during a panel yesterday at the 36th Asian Racing Conference that included Australian owner Terry Henderson, who pulled no punches when criticizing what he viewed as his country’s over-reliance on vets. “It concerns me that in Australia, vets seem to have a free hand to treat horses in the stable without daily reference to the trainer,” said Henderson.

  • Putting More Bite Into Drug Enforcement Rules
    Horse Racing Business

    Minutes before the kickoff of the 2016 National Football League playoff game between the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers, an announcer casually reported that Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who had a separated shoulder, had been injected with a painkiller so he could play.  Imagine the outcry if such an announcement were made during a Kentucky Derby telecast about one of the entries.

  • New Research Could Put Regulators on Trail of Horsemen Using Synthetic Steroids
    Paulick Report

    The fight against illegal drugs in horse racing may have gotten another boost on Monday, when the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council voted to approve funding for a new kind of drug test. The Council approved a proposal to spend a total of $195,474 over two years (if the first year's research proves successful) to develop an biochemical test for the equine sex-hormone binding globulin. This blood protein attaches itself to androgen and estrogen to help them move through the body of horses, people, and other vertebrates.

  • Hong Kong: Lab Chief Sees Need for 'Game-changing' Approach to Testing
    Paulick Report

    Sunday's Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin race course will, from a drug control standpoint, be among the cleanest anywhere in the world.

  • Medication: Is America Actually Asking Too Much of the NUMP Initiative?
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    Recently, I spoke at a continuing education conference for racing officials. The focus of the presentation was whether our expectations of what the National Uniform Medication Program (NUMP) can do to “fix racing” are realistic.

    From my perspective, the progress made towards writing and adopting uniform rules and recommended penalties in the last five years far exceeds that made during the last five decades combined.

  • Commentary: Results of Uniform Medication Rules 'Appear Confusing at Best and Disingenuous at Worst'
    Paulick Report

    Dr. Jennifer Durenberger wonders if Americans are “asking too much” of the National Uniform Medication Program in an editorial on Thoroughbred Racing Commentary.

  • Oaklawn to Continue With Lasix-free Bonuses

    Even though a 10% purse bonus for winning races while not running on Lasix failed to yield an increase in the actual number of Lasix-free winners at last year’s meet, Oaklawn Park will continue the program in 2016, the track’s director of racing, David Longinotti, confirmed Wednesday.

  • Op/Ed: Lasix: Why the Effinex Team Just Said Yes

    The 2014 GI Wood Memorial was approaching and Dr. Russell Cohen not only wanted to win the race with Effinex (Mineshaft)–he wanted to make a statement. Cohen is a veterinarian who practices at the NYRA tracks, is a breeder and manages Tri-Bone Stables for his mother, Bernice, and he’s an outspoken hay, oats and water advocate. He was determined to succeed without any drugs, particularly Lasix, and prove that it could be done.

  • Is The Barr-Tonko Bill Doomed to Never Get Off The Ground?
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    On the eve of this year’s Breeders’ Cup, Representative Joe Pitts (R-Pa) posted on his website a report put together by the Congressional Research Service — an organization that provides policy and legal analysis to committees and members of both the House and Senate — into the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 (H.R. 3084), which is currently working its way through Washington.

  • Letter to the Editor: Lloyd Wickboldt, MD

    In reading the charges and fines against trainer Steve Asmussen in the Nov. 24 issue of TDN, I was upset to read that the administration of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine, T4, (a thyroid hormone molecule with 4 attached iodine atoms), was being referred to as a thyroid “supplement”. A supplement, in the truthful sense of the word, is/are the building blocks, which when administered to an animal/human allows the body to make its own natural chemicals and structures.

  • Mark Casse: The Reasons Race-day Lasix is Essential in America
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    In the second part of Karen M. Johnson’s interview with Mark Casse, the trainer, winner of two Breeders’ Cup races and nearly $13 million in prize money this season, gives his views on one of the most controversial subjects in North American racing today.

  • Crist: A Lasix Argument That Doesn't Hold Water
    Daily Racing Form

    The results of a Daily Racing Form survey on medication last month attracted scant attention when published Oct. 26, understandable since entries had just been taken for the Breeders’ Cup races later that week. They are worth another look, however, as they contained a key finding that contradicts a theory that many in the industry have been promoting for years.

  • Time For A Change? Veterinarian's List No Safe Harbor For Racehorses
    Paulick Report

    On Jan. 27, 2015, six Thoroughbreds went to the post for the second race at Turf Paradise, but only five came back. Four-year-old Time for a J fractured the sesamoids in his left front leg and was euthanized on the track.

  • Coalition For Horse Racing Integrity: Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association Now On Board

    The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association announced today that it will become a member of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity and support HR 3084.

  • Commentary: Lasix Industry an Out-of-Control Juggernaut
    Paulick Report

    Now that the dust of American Pharoah's Classic victory has finally settled, it is time to take a look at the underlying story at this year's Breeders' Cup: the Lasix issue. The seemingly endless debate over the pros and cons of race-day medication was brought into sharp relief at Keeneland with the decision landing decidedly in the cons corner.

  • McGaughey Talks Lasix, USADA Oversight
    Paulick Report

    “I think a lot of us use Lasix as a crutch."

  • Commentary: Horse Racing Regulators Should Not Be Promoters
    Paulick Report

    Should horse racing regulators be promoters? Not according to former Indiana Congresswoman Jill Long Thompson, who wrote in the Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, Ind., that “promoting and regulating are two different functions that at times can be at complete odds with one another.”

  • Irwin: Indiana Commission Actions Don't Pass Smell Test
    Paulick Report

    Absent a smoking gun that would lead to evidence of unethical behavior on the part of Joe Gorajec, the dismissal of the former executive director of the Indiana Racing Commission sends the wrong message to regional and national participants in horse racing.

  • Racing Board Out of Bounds With Firing
    The Journal Gazette

    Recently, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission unanimously voted to remove its executive director, Joe Gorajec, who had held the position since the commission’s inception. Thomas Weatherwax, the commission’s chairman, told the Indianapolis Business Journal that Gorajec was fired because he was too focused on enforcing regulations and he was not focused enough on marketing and promoting horse racing.  In other words, Gorajec was fired for doing his job.

  • Gorajec: Barr-Tonko Bill Only Path Toward Uniformity
    Paulick Report

    The following commentary was written by Joe Gorajec, who on Saturday was relieved of his job as executive director of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission (IHRC), a position he held for nearly 25 years... Gorajec was advised, in no uncertain terms, that he was not to have the article published.

  • Barr Thanks Keeneland for Support of Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act
    Barr Press Release

    “The support of Keeneland, my home racetrack and home of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, is a significant sign of momentum for our legislation and further evidence of the broad and growing coalition on our efforts,” said Congressman Barr.  “I thank the Keeneland Association and all those who are fighting with us for the future success, integrity, and competitiveness of the thoroughbred industry.”

  • Beshear Should OK Lasix-Free Races
    Lexington Herald-Leader

    There's no way to know how many Thoroughbreds would go to the post free of a controversial, but popular, drug until more tracks offer some Lasix-free races. That's why Gov. Steve Beshear should open the door to such races in Kentucky, even though a legislative committee recently turned thumbs down on the proposal from the Racing Commission.


  • New York Adopts Rule to Limit Use of NSAIDs

    The New York State Gaming Commission Sept. 24 passed several rule amendments related to equine medication, including further restrictions on the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and a total ban on stanozolol, an anabolic steroid.

  • New York Commission Approves Cobalt Threshold, Additional Drug Rules
    Paulick Report

    The New York State Gaming Commission unanimously proposed a series of updates to the state’s codes for post-race drug testing Thursday, including adding a threshold for cobalt.

  • Arapahoe Park Joins Groups Supporting USADA

    The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity announced Sep. 24 that Arapahoe Park has joined as a member. The addition of the Arapahoe County, Colo. track is the sixth to join the coalition.

  • Horseplayer Thoughts on USADA Oversight
    Horseplayer Monthly

    You Said Yes to US Anti-Doping Agency Oversight in Horse Racing – But Tentatively So... In July, the Horseplayers Association of North America commissioned a survey of its membership, with regards to the Tonko-Barr Bill. 

  • Kavanagh Hit With Nine-Year Ban

    Australian trainer Sam Kavanagh has been banned from the racing industry for nine years and three months for his involvement in 23 offences related to cobalt and race-day medication, according to Racing and Sports.

  • OP/ED: Mary Scollay

    As someone with longstanding personal and professional commitments to equine health and safety, I found the recent “Where’s the Positive” commentary by Eric Hamelback, the chief executive officer of the National HBPA, in the August 20, 2015, edition of the Thoroughbred Daily News to be disappointingly misleading.

  • The Furosemide Debate: Why It's Not Such a Big Issue in Europe
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    With debates currently raging on the pros and cons of the use of furosemide (commonly called Lasix or Salix), and both camps putting up compelling arguments, the fact that the drug is banned on race days in all racing countries other than the United States and Canada gives rise to the question, how do those trainers cope without it?

  • Integrity Coalition Continues To Grow
    Standardbred Canada

    The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity recently announced that Centaur Gaming – which owns and operates Indiana-based Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, Indiana Grand Racing & Casino and several off-track betting facilities – has joined as a member.

  • Standard Issue: Drug Testing Far From Uniform In American Horse Racing
    The Guardian

    After American Phaorah’s colors were lowered in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga, the sense of shock and awe still bristling the packed grandstand, the Triple Crown winner was led over to the post-race test barn where samples of his blood and urine were taken. These samples were then numbered before being sent to the New York’s Equine Drug Testing Program at Morrisville State College for analysis to ensure that no medications in his system exceeded threshold levels.

  • Grayson Jockey Club Announces Funding For Two EIPH Studies
    Paulick Report

    Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation today announced that it has launched the funding of two projects aimed at in-depth investigation of the pathophysiology of Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH) and the effect of the medication furosemide on that condition. The American Association of Equine Practitioners’ AAEP Foundation is playing a prominent role in funding the projects, and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation has reached out to racetracks to complete the funding.

  • Racing Commentary with Bob Barry: Fear Of An Unknown Planet

    Throwing a Hail Mary. Pulling the goalie. Desperate measures are all right, if they are taken in desperate times. Thoroughbred racing has lately added a new one. Taking an intractable problem to Washington so that Congress might fix it.

    If House Resolution 3084—the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015—can complete the steeplechase from "bill" into "law," New Year's Day 2017 will ring in a new era for American racing. Whether race-day Lasix will be a part of that brave new world is anybody's guess, and that is putting the knickers of more than a few trainers into an awful twist. Nothing strikes fear into people quite like the unknown. 

  • Restoring Integrity to Horse Racing
    Gagliano in The Hill

    Beyond the Triple Crown races each spring, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships each fall and the occasional feature film profiling legendary horses like Secretariat or Seabiscuit, the American public has limited mainstream exposure to thoroughbred horse racing.

    In fact, recent polling found that while the vast majority of adults in the U.S. called horse racing both exciting and fun to watch, only 14% had a very favorable view of the industry.

  • Anti-doping Agency Just What Horse Racing Needs
    Lexington Herald Leader

    This commentary is signed by Craig Fravel, president and CEO of Breeders' Cup Ltd.; Arthur and Staci Hancock, owners of Stone Farm and Water Hay Oats Alliance supporting members; Bill Lear, vice chairman of The Jockey Club; and Chauncey Morris, executive director of Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders.

    The opinion piece published Aug. 31, "Barr's drug-testing bill unnecessary for racing," perpetuates various myths about the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act. 

    It's not the first time that Ed Martin of the Association of Racing Commissioners has stretched the facts rather than constructively engage on the goals of the legislation or the proposed role of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in improving existing regulation of medication use and testing

  • USADA Contributes to Steroid Crackdown

    The United States Anti-Doping Agency assisted the Drug Enforcement Agency in a nationwide series of enforcement actions targeting the global underground trade of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, the DEA said Sept. 1.

  • New York Horsemen Commit $450,000 To Purchase New Drug Testing Equipment
    Paulick Report

    The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) today announced its commitment to acquire state-of-the-art testing equipment for the New York Equine Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College.

  • California Trainers Pledge $150k To Race-Day Surveillance
    Paulick Report

    The leadership of California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT) has voted unanimously to pledge $150,000 from its reserves to initiate and assist in leading a comprehensive race‐day camera surveillance and security program in stable areas at Thoroughbred tracks in California.

  • Taking My Money Elsewhere: California Gets It Wrong On Lasix
    Paulic Report

    I’m sure my money won’t be missed, but I can’t in good conscience place any more bets on races in California – not after what happened at the California Horse Racing Board meeting last week.

  • Use of Lasix on Horses Raises Issues at New York Racing Commission Forum
    Times Union

    Banned for use during race days in most other countries, horsemen, veterinarians and others are starting to ask if the drug, should be disallowed in the U.S. due to questions about its efficacy and long-term safety.

  • Louisiana Adopts Therapeutic Drug Schedule
    Blood Horse

    The Louisiana State Racing Commission Aug. 24 adopted the Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule of 26 commonly used substances. Under the schedule only the anti-bleeding drug furosemide, also called Lasix or Salix, is permitted on race day.

  • Stating The Case For Medication Reform
    Paulick Report

    In major industry forums supporters of the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 (THIA) methodically laid out our case. In response, detractors are now throwing far-fetched arguments against the wall to see what sticks.

  • Hayward: Anti-Doping Agency Would Be 'Single Most Important Development' In Racing In Over A Decade
    Paulick Report

    In a recent column for the Thoroughbred Racing Commentary, former New York Racing Association president Charles Hayward voices his support for U.S. racing to have an independent agency in charge of handling medication policies and enforcement.

  • Report: CHRB Delays Decision on Third-Party Lasix Administration

    At its meeting held Thursday at Del Mar, the California Horse Racing Board postponed making any decision on third-party administration of Lasix, or furosemide, instead deciding to send the proposal back to committe for further review.

  • How Cheats Cheat: Why Dopers Have the Edge on Athletics' War on Drugs

    From micro-dosing to the latest drug that circumvents WADA testing the athletes are in the ascendancy according to the experts in the field, who concede: ‘Drug testing has a public reputation that far exceeds its capabilities’

  • Arthuer: CHRB Delay on Third-Party Lasix an 'Embarrassment'

    A rule to require third-party administration of furosemide (Lasix), which has been debated and tweaked in various forms by the California Horse Racing Board since 2012, was picked apart and batted back and forth for 90 minutes Thursday at the board’s monthly meeting before finally being remanded back to the Medication and Track Safety Committee for further clarification.

  • Where's the Positive?

    Recently, I reconnected with a good friend over lunch. He too works in the Thoroughbred racing industry and has been a very high-profile executive. During our meeting we spoke openly about issues challenging our industry and asked ourselves, what areas are our positives? I am very happy to say the positives were plentiful and, while there are negatives, none of them seemed insurmountable.

  • RCI Chairman Takes Hypocritical Stance on Federal Racing Bills
    Paulick Report

    Mark Lamberth, a member of the Arkansas Racing Commission and chairman of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, turned the dial on the BS Meter all the way up on Tuesday in a press release on RCI letterhead stating: “Entire Arkansas Horse Racing Industry Opposes Federal Bills.”

  • National Anti-Doping Agency Would Be The Most Important Development In U.S. Racing In Over A Decade
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary
    Charles Hayward, former President of NYRA

    Every racetrack executive, owner, bettor, trainer, breeder, jockey and industry participant should inform themselves and support this important federal legislation giving USADA the control of the U.S. equine medication rules, drug testing, research and enforcement policies.

  • Federal Horse Racing Bill Applauded
    Brereton C. Jones Commentary
    Courier Journal

    Legislation proposed by U.S. Reps. Andy Barr of Kentucky and Paul Tonko of New York is appealing to me. The main thrust of the new bill is to appoint the United States Anti-Doping Association (USADA) to oversee drug policy in American Thoroughbred horse racing.

  • Horse Racing Needs an Independant Anti-Doping Agency
    Times Union

    Horse racing has been wrestling with the question of how to handle anti-doping regulation for what seems like ages.  That's why today, many of us at the forefront of the sport have come to the conclusion that in order to settle (and end) the question of doping, we must actually take it out of horse racing's hands.

  • Andy Barr: Legislation Helps Ensure Integrity, Economic Future of Thoroughbred Racing
    Rep. Andy Barr in the Lexington Herald Leader

    With renewed public interest following American Pharoah's amazing run to the Triple Crown, now is the time to build on the progress made by the consortium and finally achieve uniformity in the rules of racing. That is why I, along with my co-chair of the Horse Caucus, Rep. Paul Tonko, D.-N.Y., have introduced the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act, legislation that would establish an independent, nongovernmental anti-doping authority charged with implementing a national uniform medication program with input from the industry.

  • Debate Over Drugs in Horse Racing Persists
    Post Star

    If there is one issue that won’t go away in horse racing, it’s the use of drugs for the equine athletes. People have argued — and will continue to — over which drugs should be used, if they should be used, how much of each drug should be used and when they should be used.

  • Debate Over Federal Bill Begins in Earnest

    A co-sponsor of federal legislation that would authorize oversight of equine medication and drug-testing said he believes members of Congress could schedule a committee hearing on the bill this fall.

  • Gloves Off at Institute on Equine Racing & Gaming
    Thoroughbred Daily News

    There was another Battle of Saratoga Tuesday in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. It involved verbal salvos from both sides over proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress to form a national authority to develop, regulate and enforce uniform medication policy for Thoroughbred racing in America.

  • We Have a Trust Issue in Horse Racing
    Courier Journal

    Gov. Steve Beshear, having presented the Kentucky Derby and eighth and final time this past May, on Sunday reiterated his desire Sunday for uniform medication standards in horse racing across the nation.

  • Federal Legislation to Reform Medication Rules Discussed
    The Horse

    Thoroughbred racing should continue its pursuit of federal legislation for the purpose of reforming the industry’s medication rules...

  • Round Table Conference Recap
    Thoroughbred Daily News

    There was no mistaking the theme to the The Jockey Club’s 63rd annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing Sunday morning: support for federal legislation to put in place uniform national medication rules with oversight by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

  • USADA Under the Microscope
    Daily Racing Form

    Under the bill, USADA would control a federally created governing board that would set medication policies for the entire U.S. In turn, USADA would ensure that those policies are enforced by monitoring the drug-control programs of state racing commissions while also directing a national Thoroughbred racing drug-testing program.

  • Round Table Aftermath: ARCI's Martin Calls Jockey Club Direction 'Unfortunate'
    Paulick Report

    Following Sunday’s Jockey Club Round Table on Matters Pertaining to Racing, held in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., the following statements were issued by Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. 

  • Jockey Club Round Table: Glass Half Full Or Half Empty?
    Paulick Report

    The sixty-third annual Jockey Club Round Table conference took place on Sunday at the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Depending upon your perspective, it was either a marker of tremendous positive change for the racing industry, or a reminder of just how slowly things progress in the sport.

  • Independance Day?

    Believing his organization would benefit horsemen if allowed to guide a new approach to medication oversight in racing, United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief executive officer Travis Tygart is asking trainers to evaluate what an independent agency would mean for them and the sport.

  • TRA Board Has Newfound 'Sense Of Urgency' on Medication Policies
    Paulick Report

    At their meeting on Friday, August 7, in Saratoga Springs, the Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA) Board of Directors reiterated their firm commitment to the implementation of uniform medication policies with a sense of urgency throughout the United States.

  • USADA Chairman Edwin Moses, Governor Beshear to be Featured Speakers at 63rd Round Table Conference
    Jockey Club Press Release

    Edwin Moses, Olympic great and chairman of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), and Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky will be the featured speakers when The Jockey Club holds its 63rd annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing Sunday, August 9, at the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

  • Equine Vets In Push to Develop Raceday Alternatives to Lasix
    Horse Talk

    The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) says it is committed to identifying non-raceday treatment alternatives to Lasix to reduce the chances of racehorses bleeding into their lungs.

  • Next Up For Antidoping Regulators: Horse Racing
    Associations Now

    Organizations in the sport of horse racing appear to be mostly ready to embrace a new antidoping bill that would replace a patchwork of rules governing what drugs horses may be given on race day. While a broad coalition is starting to form around the measure, not everyone’s convinced.

  • Federal Lawmakers at Odds on USADA Bills
    Blood Horse

    Federal lawmakers who support the United States Anti-Doping Agency providing oversight of drug testing in all forms of horse racing have blasted federal lawmakers who support the United States Anti-Doping Agency providing oversight of drug testing just in Thoroughbred racing. Welcome to Washington.

  • Salix-Free Race Proves Popular

    A race-day medication-free race proved so popular at the entry box July 15 that the over-subscribed field of 2-year-old fillies was split into two divisions for the July 18 program at Gulfstream Park.

  • Gulfstream's First Lasix-Free 2yo Race Splits
    Thoroughbred Daily News

    Gulfstream Park’s first foray into writing Lasix-free races for juveniles drew enough interest from horsemen Wednesday that a 4 1/2-furlong $65,000 maiden special weight for fillies–to be run Saturday–was split into two divisions of 11 and 12 runners.

  • Congressmen Proposing Uniform Drug Rules in Horse Racing
    FOX News

    Two congressmen are introducing a bill that would establish uniform drug and medication standards in thoroughbred racing in 2017.

  • Handicapping the D.C. Medication Push
    The Courier Journal

    The effort to put horse racing's drug testing under the agency that coordinates testing for Olympic athletes is sure to draw objections from usual sources; but what will be most interesting is where a Louisville-based industry behemoth stands. And that, of course, refers to Churchill Downs Inc.

  • Progress Made in Adoption of Uniform Medication Program
    Horse Racing Nation

    In the last six months, the horse racing industry made significant progress toward the uniform adoption of a national medication program, as regulators in a number of additional jurisdictions adopted reforms developed by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) and enacted as model rules by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI). 

  • Thyroid Medication Could Be Banned in Sports
    Wall Street Journal

    Amid suspicion of abuse, members of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and U.K. Anti-Doping ask the World Anti-Doping Agency to ban synthetic thyroid medication.

  • KHRC Delays Action on Medication Rules
    The Blood Horse

    The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on June 29 delayed taking a vote on proposed rules on medication testing, withdrawal guidelines, and disciplinary measures and penalties that included rules on the mineral cobalt. 

  • An Unlikely Ally? Getting to Know the Humane Society of the United States
    Paulick Report

    The announcement last month that the Jockey Club and Breeders’ Cup would join forces with the Humane Society of the United States to back a federal anti-doping bill was a surprise to some in the Thoroughbred world.

  • Florida: Race-Day Medication Limited To Lasix Starting July 1
    Paulick Report

    Beginning July 1, the anti-bleeding medication furosemide – commonly known as Salix or Lasix – will be the only therapeutic agent that can be administered on race days at Florida Thoroughbred tracks, including Tampa Bay Downs.

  • Horse Deaths At Race Tracks Should Be As Rare As Triple Crown Winners
    Bradenton Herald

    Seeing the video of the fourth race held the day of the Belmont Stakes, when a horse named Helwan broke his leg and was euthanized, reminded me of the very first time I saw a horse break down during a race. It was many years ago, and I thought it would be the only time. I thought that a death on the track was as rare as a Triple Crown winner.

  • Maryland Steroid Positives Raise Questions For Veterinarians
    Paulick Report

    In a recent commentary for DVM 360, Dr. Ed Kane wrote that the anabolic steroid positives detected in Maryland at the end of 2014 and 2015 raise a number of questions about the responsibilities of veterinarians on the backstretch. Although experts agree that there are appropriate applications of anabolic steroids in the treatment of certain ailments, the hormones should not be used as performance enhancers.

  • Proposed Bill Calls for Federal Anti-Doping Racing Rules
    The Horse

    Administering race-day medications to racehorses would be banned a under proposed bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this week. The legislation would also put an independent anti-doping agency in charge of enforcing rules and penalties for violators.

  • Counterpoint: Clearing Up Thoroughbred Racing Misconceptions
    Star Tribune

    Article missed the mark on horses, drugs and abuse. 

  • American Pharoah: Triple Crown Win Rewrites Racing History
    The Wall Street Journal

    With the historic win, horse racing has the opportunity to capitalize on the sport’s increased spotlight

  • NBA'S Stern, WADA Chief Howman, Stronach Highlight Pan American Conference
    Paulick Report

    The two-day Pan American Conference, co-hosted by The Jockey Club, the breed registry for Thoroughbreds in North America, and the Latin American Racing Channel (LARC), concluded Friday afternoon at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City with presentations from prominent individuals from inside and outside the Thoroughbred racing industry focusing on anti-doping, globalization and marketing.


  • Medication Reform Focus at Pan Am Conference

    The second day of the inaugural Pan American Conference in New York City June 5 was heavy with presentations regarding medication regulation and reform in horse racing.

  • New Federal Medication Bill Introduced
    Thoroughbred Daily news

    A week after New York congressman Paul Tonko introduced federal legislation to establish uniform drug and medication standards in Thoroughbred racing, three other representatives introduced similar legislation Thursday.

  • Horse Sense Needed to End Doping in Horse Racing
    Humane Society

    In the run-up to the Belmont Stakes tomorrow, I participated in a discussion yesterday on public radio about the rampant doping of racehorses and the need for reform within an industry that has failed to take responsibility for its problems and runs through its athletes as if they are expendable commodities. 

  • International Racing Body Aims for Drug-Free Sport

    A global anti-doping policy is at the forefront of plans by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, after its chairman and vice-chairmen were voted in for a further three-year term.

  • Thoroughbred Race Horse Trainer William White Leads Florida Horsemen In Heralding Race-Day Medication Reform Law HB 239

    Florida Governor Rick Scott signed HB 239 relating to Medication and Testing of Racing Animals today, June 2, 2015.  Effective July 1, 2015, the bill will dramatically change Chapter 550.2415, Florida Statutes, which has governed the use of Florida Thoroughbred race-day medication for more than 25 years.

  • I Love Animals, How Can I Love Horse Racing? It Requires Denial
    The Guardian

    Sometimes, the answer is that by being part of it, I can hope to be a small part of improving conditions for horses.

  • Ontario Testing for Cobalt Effective August 1, 2015
    Ontario Racing Commission

    At its meeting on May 28, 2015, the Board of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) approved a General Directive ordering that all horses that have been selected to provide an Official Sample (blood) as defined by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) will also be tested for cobalt. Once the CPMA has completed the official testing, the ORC will subject the samples to enhanced testing for the presence of cobalt.

  • Florida Governor Signs Race-Day Medication Legislation
    Paulick Report

    Florida Governor Rick Scott signed HB 239 relating to Medication and Testing of Racing Animals today, June 2, 2015. Effective July 1, 2015, the bill will dramatically change Chapter 550.2415, Florida Statutes, which has governed the use of Florida Thoroughbred race-day medication for more than 25 years.

  • Hundreds of Delegates from More than Two Dozen Countries Descend on NYC for Pan American Conference
    The Jockey Club

    More than 300 representatives from over 27 countries will converge on New York City this week for the two days of business presentations focusing on the sport of Thoroughbred racing as part of the Pan American Conference.

  • WV Racing to Have Role in Legislative Review
    Blood Horse

    The West Virginia Racing Commission June 2 authorized creation of a committee that will be charged with providing information to a legislative select committee that will undertake a comprehensive study of the state's racing and gaming industries.

  • Breeders' Cup Announces Safety, Security Initiatives
    The Horse

    The Breeders' Cup announced a series of safety and security initiatives extending through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series on June 1.

  • 2015 Breeders' Cup Safety & Security Standards Extend to Challenge Series
    Breeders Cup Press Release

    The Breeders' Cup announced today a series of safety and security initiatives extending through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. A prominent element of the program, developed in consultation with tracks participating in the Challenge Series, will focus on extending the Breeders’ Cup out-of-competition testing program throughout the Series.

  • Change Needed In New York's Drug Testing Policy
    Paulick Report

    The New York State Gaming Commission was none too happy with a Natalie Voss article published in the Paulick Report earlier this year calling into question the state’s drug testing program under Dr. George Maylin.

  • Khalifa Issues Law on Horse Racing
    Emirates 247 News

    The President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued Federal Law No. 7 of 2015 to combat the trade or use of banned substances in horse racing and equestrian sports events in the UAE. The Cabinet has also issued the Implementing Regulations of the new law.

  • Tonko Seeks Anti-Doping Regulations For Horse Racing Industry
    WAMC Radio

    Capital District Congressman Paul Tonko is introducing legislation to crack down on illegal doping in thoroughbred horse racing. 

  • Drug Research Council Advances Cobalt, GABA Guidelines For Kentucky Racing
    Paulick Report

    At a meeting on Tuesday, the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council voted to advance threshold recommendations for cobalt and GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid, also known as Carolina Gold) for consideration by the state’s racing commission. 

  • KEDRC Agrees on Cobalt Thresholds

    The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s Equine Drug Research Council (KEDRC) yesterday approved threshold levels for cobalt and sent the measure on to the KHRC board for full consideration.

  • CHRB: $1.2 Million Added To UC Davis Drug Testing, Research Budget
    Paulick Report

    It was announced at the monthly meeting of the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Thursday that $1.2 million had been added to the budget for drug testing and research at the U.C. Davis Maddy Laboratory.

  • WADA Op-Ed: "Media - the 4th Estate in Anti-Doping"
    World Anti Doping Agency Op-Ed

    WADA Op-Ed piece by Ben Nichols, WADA Senior Manager, Media Relations and Communications

  • Indiana Ousts Widely-Used Drug Testing Lab For 'Continued Failure to Detect Substances'
    The Paulick Report

    Officials at Truesdail Laboratories in Irvine, Calif., said they plan to contest a May 12 decision by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission to terminate the company’s equine drug testing contract after Truesdail failed to detect high levels of commonly used corticosteroids in three samples taken from harness horses competing at Hoosier Park in late March and early April.

  • Arapahoe Park Gearing Up For Start of 2015 Racing Season
    The Paulick Report

    Horse racing in Colorado is in the midst of a renaissance.  With Colorado’s live horse racing season in 2015 scheduled to begin on May 22, Arapahoe Park is launching the theme of “Where Horses Come First” to reflect the growth of the Aurora, Colorado track.

  • Los Alamitos Owner Urges AQHA To Adopt Hair Testing 'To Save The Sport We All Love'
    The Paulick Report

    Dr. Edward Allred, owner of Los Alamitos, has written an open letter to Quarter horse owners, trainers and nominators to races at his Orange County, Calif., racetrack about the hair follicle testing program he has implemented for some high-profile races to stop abuse of performance enhancing drugs like clenbuterol, albuterol and zilpaterol, including off-label varieties.

  • Horse Fails Drug Tests in Consecutive Starts
    The Blood-Horse

    F and F Stable's Best Play failed drug tests in back-to-back starts for trainer Luis Miranda in late 2014 and early 2015 at Aqueduct Racetrack, a circumstance New York's state steward said he can't recall ever previously happening.

  • ARCI Rule Would Put Trainers, Vets, On the Hook For "Excessive" Overages
    The TDN

    The most egregious abusers of performance-enhancing equine drugs and those who load up on supposedly therapeutic medication regimens might soon face more intense scrutiny and the threat of drastic penalization based on a new rule modeled on whole-horse health that is being drafted by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI).

  • Australian Equipment To Test Racehorses For 8,000 Drugs
    The Paulick Report

    Australian racehorses will soon be screened for more than 8,000 drugs from a single drug test.

  • Racing's Staring Down the Barrell of Politics and Public Perception
    Horse Race Insider

    Question: When does a “shameless publicity stunt,” a proposed piece of legislation that would shut down the Internet to horse racing, stop becoming the sucker-punch by which it was delivered?

    Answer: When, in the long term, the end result compels the Thoroughbred racing industry to finally get its entire act together, once and for all.

  • RCI Officially Adopts Cobalt Policy

    The Association of Racing Commissioners International Board of Directors, which voted last week to make it illegal to administer cobalt to a racehorse, is now formally notifying regulators and their testing labs of its new policy, according to a release from the organization.

  • Cobalt Policy Adopted by Regulators
    Horse Racing Nation

    The RCI Board of Directors last week voted to sanction trainers of horses that were found to have a cobalt level of 50 parts per billion (ppb) or greater of blood plasma or serum with a “B” penalty, which calls for a minimum 15-day suspension, a minimum $500 fine, and 4 points on the trainers Multiple Medication Violation record. 

  • Kentucky Derby Runner a 'Clean' Crusader

    And what will make his presence so special - particularly to the members of the emerging anti-medication group WHOA (Water Hay Oats Alliance) - is that Mubtaahij will run clean of any raceday treatment but, specifically, the anti-bleeding medication furosemide. It is legally permitted across the US but banned in every other jurisdiction on the planet.

  • Tarnishing American Racehorses

    The American public has been hoping for a Triple Crown winner for thirty-seven years now. According to some, it hasn’t been won in a long time because it is simply harder to win. These knowledgeable people say that with bigger and fresher fields, it’s harder to win all three races, and that the limited amount of time between the races (five weeks) is not enough. However, it has been enough time for eleven horses, and nearly enough time for forty-seven more. The reason we haven’t seen a Triple Crown in decades? No one knows for sure, but two leading reasons may be the use of drugs on race day and the breeding of American racehorses.

  • Mubtaahij to Race Medication Free in Kentucky Derby

    Mubtaahij has never raced on the anti-bleeding medication furosemide (Salix, commonly called Lasix) and the U.A.E. Derby winner will run without it in the May 2 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, the first horse in 10 years to do so.  "He's never run on it, he doesn't bleed, and I'm not prepared to take my chances running him on a substance he's never run on before," de Kock said. "He's good enough without it."

  • Testing, Testing: How Strong Are Racing's Drug Testing Programs?
    The Paulick Report

    When the state of Maryland released a call for proposals from laboratories interested in taking on the state’s post-race testing, Dr. Rick Sams, director of the HFL Sport Science Lab in central Kentucky, read over the rules carefully. The request had a number of requirements regarding the ideal candidate’s certifications but left the actual description of the testing to be done fairly open.

  • Field Looks Strong Going into Kentucky Derby

    I don’t know if it has to begin with breeders or trainers or a national racing board or what. But it has to start somewhere or the breed will just continue passing on the genes of less durable horses that have their performances based on the right medication rather than talent.

  • American Racing's Slow-Moving War On Cobalt
    Paulick Report

    The majority of regulatory agencies that govern the sport are the tortoise: conservative, slow moving, carrying too much of a burden to be nimble, ambling along while seemingly oblivious to the world around them.  The cheaters in horse racing, those willing to bend or break the rules to win, represent the hare: amoral and arrogant risk-takers but quick on their feet.

  • The Country Where Stallions Who Have Ever Had Lasix Are Disqualified For Breeding
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    It’s one of the great anomalies of modern racing - the bare figures tell you the German breeding industry is in decline, yet the horses being produced year-in, year-out tell a story of a flourishing and increasingly influential system envied more and more around the world.

  • Four Veterinarians Hit With Criminal Charges Over Pre-Race Drug Administrations
    Paulick Report

    Each defendant is charged with allegedly administering drugs to thoroughbred race horses within 24 hours of when the horse was entered to race. This conduct was in violation of the state criminal law prohibiting the rigging of publicly exhibited contests. The alleged activity took place at various times beginning as early as 1986 and continuing up to August 2014.

  • Kentucky Committee Approves Rule Allowing Lasix Free Races
    Daily Racing Form

    The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Monday approved a rule that will allow Kentucky tracks to offer races in which horses will not be allowed to be administered the anti-bleeding medication furosemide on race day.

  • KY Commission OKs Drug-Free Horse-Race Plan
    The Courier Journal

    A controversial proposal to allow Kentucky racetracks to schedule races where horses can't receive race-day injections of an anti-bleeding drug received approval Monday from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

  • The Friday Show: A Surprising Derby Trend, And Some Weight With That Lasix?
    The Paulick Report

    In this edition of The Friday Show, Scott Jagow and Ray Paulick discuss a new proposal in Kentucky regarding Lasix.

  • Kentucky Committee Considers Rule Allowing Lasix-Free Races
    Daily Racing Form

    A committee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is scheduled to consider a rule next week that would allow tracks to write races that prohibit the use of the anti-bleeding medication furosemide within 24 hours of post time, according to material distributed by Kentucky horsemen’s groups.

  • Where Are We Now: Amanda Simmons Luby Op/Ed

    It has been a year since the New York Times published its article and the PETA video which painted then-Hall of Fame nominee Steve Asmussen and his assistant, Scott Blasi, as allegedly abusive operatives in the seedy world of horse racing. ...

    In response to the Times article, many people wrote heart-felt, impassioned pleas to the industry's "leadership" (whoever they are) to effectuate serious change for the long-term benefit of the sport. I jumped on Barry Weisbord's platform in response to his call to arms, as did Bill Casner and all of the other well- known, and not-so-well-known, members of the Water Hay Oats Alliance, calling for federal legislation requiring independent drug testing and a total ban on raceday medications. 

  • Jockey Club Offers Grants for Out-of-Competition Testing
    The Horse

    The funding is designed to encourage more out-of-competition testing for the presence of blood doping agents as well as Association of Racing Commissioners International Class 1 substances.

  • Kentucky Racing Commission Makes New Medication Push
    The Courier Journal

    The controversial question of whether horses should not receive medication on days they race — as is the rule in most of the world except North America — is about to be a battle again for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

  • British Horseracing Authority Issues New Anti-Doping Rules
    The Guardian

    New British Horseracing Authority anti-doping rules, which include a zero-tolerance approach to anabolic steroids, will come into force from Monday.

  • Trainer Sent to Prison in Penn National Racehorse Doping Case
    Penn Live: Patriot News

    The United States Attorney’s Office has charged three thoroughbred horse trainers and an employee of Penn National Racetrack in Grantville with fraud in connection with horse races at the track and doping.

  • Florida Senate Approves Bill for Uniform Drug Rules
    Daily Racing Form

    A Florida Senate committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would require the state’s racing commission to adopt a suite of new medication regulations that is being pushed nationally by groups seeking uniform rules among racing states.

  • Moss: Get Rid of People Who Cheat and Hurt Horses

    I can’t say that anything we're trying to do to clean up the sport is bad. But the National Uniform Medication Program is an ever-changing landscape that will not resolve the problems of drug cheating or public perception of the sport, which are what I still see as the most serious problems when it comes to drug regulation.

  • FL Senate Committee Passes Medication Bill

    Legislation governing racehorse medication policy unanimously passed the Florida Senate Regulated Industries Committee Feb. 18 and was reported favorably to the full Senate.

  • Two And A Half Years Later, Still No Action Against Vets in Louisiana Dermorphin Cases
    Paulick Report

    The culture of cheating that exists in some areas of American horse racing certainly includes trainers. But it does not begin and end with them.

  • Anabolic Steroids Still Issue in U.S. Racing

    Through the first 10 months of 2014, U.S. horse racing appeared on pace to register its fewest positive drug tests for anabolic steroids since the industry moved to outlaw the drugs from racing in 2008-09.  But six positives for the anabolic steroid stanozolol from Nov. 19 to Dec. 19 at Laurel Park ended all that, revealing that at least some trainers are still willing to chance administering the substances to horses in training.

  • First Do No Harm

    The role veterinarians play in drug positives is one important issue raised by the Maryland case.

    While trainers can be suspended and fined, what sanctions does the veterinarian prescribing and administering the drugs face? Under our current penalty system, none, because racetrack veterinarians are outside the jurisdiction of state racing commissions.

  • Maryland Trainers Cited for Compounded Drug

    Three trainers have received suspensions and fines in Maryland in conjunction with positive tests for stanozolol, a synthetic steroid formerly known as Winstrol that is now available only through drug compounders.

  • Cobalt: How Big a Problem in U.S.?
    Thoroughbred Daily News

    Barely two weeks into 2015, horse racing already has a candidate for scandal of the year: cobalt.

  • Scandal Can Make Horse Racing Stronger
    Herald Sun

    This week’s horse racing claims speak to an age-old paradox. Sporting cheats trace back to the Romans and the pre-race drugging of chariot horses. Cheats will always wriggle into elite sports. The more horse racing reveals and examines any evidence of wrongdoing, the stronger horse racing will be. Other sports should bow to its lead.

  • Australia: Two More Trainers Have Horses Test Positive for Cobalt
    Paulick Report

    Just a day after it was announced that top Australian trainer Peter Moody was the subject of an investigation after one of his horses tested positive for the prohibited drug Cobalt, came the news that two additional trainers are also being investigated for the same thing.

  • Black Caviar Trainer Moody Facing Three-Year Ban

    The trainer of retired sprint star Black Caviar has vowed to “do everything possible” to clear his name after one of his horses failed a drugs test.

  • Ethics Probes Keep Asmussen off HOF Ballot
    Thoroughbred Daily News

    The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame notified members of its voting panel on Tuesday that trainer Steve Asmussen will not be allowed to appear on 2015 Hall of Fame ballots… “Our executive committee felt it didn’t send the right message for somebody who’s being investigated for animal cruelty and drug abuse violations to be eligible for the sport’s highest honor,” HOF communications coordinator Brien Bouyea told TDN.

  • No Hall Of Fame For Asmussen This Year

    Citing unresolved investigations in New York and Kentucky of Steve Asmussen following a video last year from an animal rights group alleging horse abuse and other violations, the trainer will not be allowed to be considered in 2015 for the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame.

  • New York Proposes Points System for Medication Violations
    Daily Racing Form

    The New York State Gaming Commission on Monday proposed a rule that would require specific minimum penalties for horsemen who commit multiple medication violations.

  • RMTC Plans Change but No Merger with RCI

    The racing industry’s Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) plans to reorganize its own Scientific Advisory Committee but does not plan to merge with the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI).

  • Churchill Could Spark Change

    Imagine a run-up to the Triple Crown that didn’t include the Florida Derby or the Fountain of Youth or the Louisiana Derby. Such an upheaval to so traditional a road is unlikely, of course, but if it did happen, if an imperative forced the highway to take a dramatic detour, then after a few shocking moments and a few more aftershocks it would probably be good for racing. 

  • RCI Appoints Five to New Medication Board

    The Association of Racing Commissioners International board has selected five initial members for its new Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee, a group that could eliminate or significantly reduce the current role of the industry’s Racing Medication and Testing Consortium in shaping medication and testing policies.

  • Do Racetrack Incentives Lead to a Drug-Free Future?
    Trainer Magazine

    While some horsemen’s groups, including the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, have drawn their swords in the fight against a race-day drug ban, Arapahoe Park in Aurora, Co., is sweetening the pot to entice trainers to race medication-free horses.

  • Racing Commissioners' Group Asks Medication Group For Merger
    Daily Racing Form

    The Association of Racing Commissioners International, an umbrella group for state racing commissions, has voted to ask an embattled independent medication research and advisory group to merge with it, the organization announced Tuesday.

  • Trainer Cannizzo Suspended 45 Days
    Daily Racing Form

    Trainer David Cannizzo will begin 2015 by serving a 45-day suspension after three of his horses tested positive for the illegal substance Propoxyphene, a painkiller also known as Darvon.

  • RMTC: 'Significant Progress' Made in Medication Reforms
    Paulick Report

    Read more from the Paulick Report, including this comment:

    “I just can’t take the RMTC seriously. Any organization that promulgates or suggests permissible drug use and then allows its Vice Chairman to act as counsel for horsemen that violate the rules/thresholds advocated by the RMTC is not the appropriate organization to be at the forefront of the raceday meds discussion. I can only hope that the WHOA folks and USADA supporters document this and other seeming conflicts of interest when promoting their agenda.

  • A Stumble Out of the Gate

    The sport of kings can’t seem to get things right when it comes to serious issues. … [The sport is] having yet another rife-with-acrimony-and-innuendo discussion about furosemide, the bleeding medication that’s allowed, while regulated, on race-day. But should it be allowed? Whether you think it’s important or not, and if only because some people won’t let it go, that’s the question that has knocked the sport into a morass of misunderstanding and negativity.

  • Sweeping New Drug Rules Approved in New York

    New York regulators on Nov. 24 enacted the most sweeping set of equine drug rules in more than 30 years in the state, providing a more certain threshold for allowable amounts of medication from two dozen different drugs in Thoroughbreds prior to running in a race.

  • Federal Legislation Banning Medication in Racing Introduced
    Horse Council

    Today Representatives Joe Pitts (R-PA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2015 to regulate/prohibit substances, drugs, medications, and treatments that may be used in racing.  The legislation is basically the same as the bill they introduced in the last Congress.

  • Gina Rarick: Lasix debate in the U.S. and Europe
    Paulick Report

    One comment that keeps appearing in the debate is that Europeans do use the same drugs just not on race day, writes Rarick.

    “This is completely, 100 percent false,” said Christiane “Criquette” Head, president of the European Trainers Association and a top name in French racing for years. “I don't use Lasix in training and no one I know uses Lasix in training.”

    Head continued: “Racing is about natural selection. In the United States, there are stallions that shouldn't be stallions, but you never know because the performance was achieved with medication. It is seriously affecting the breed.”

  • Irwin: Why The Bob Baffert Case Is So Important To Horse Racings Future
    Paulick Report

    The Bob Baffert “case” — the collection of errors committed or allowed to happen under the trainer's watch — is extremely important to the survival of horse racing in the United States. Why? Because for the first time in memory, a well-connected actor in the Turf Sport found himself unable to manipulate a get-out-of-jail-free card to exploit the system.

    Historically any number of high-profile individuals over the years have used their friends in high places to wriggle off the hook and avoid major penalties, suspensions or fines as a result of having broken the rules...

    Getting back to the original question, why is the Baffert thing so important, especially at this time? Because racing is going through an unofficial trial, if you will, and the jury is the American sporting public, supported strongly by animal lovers and admirers of fair play in athletic contests.

  • American Horse Racing: Has Bob Baffert Jumped the Shark?
    The Patch

    American Pharoah would go on to win the Belmont Stakes before a record-breaking crowd in Queens and fulfill Baffert's lifelong dream of claiming all three legs of the Triple Crown in Thoroughbred horse racing – the first since Affirmed in 1978, a 37-year drought. Soon after, I began to hear rumblings of drug abuse, doping, and other egregious practices in horse racing as I was a staff member in Congress for U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., who had been working in concert with the founders of the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) for several years on horse racing issues.

    It wasn't long before I was recruited to head up the equine protection department at a national animal group in early 2016. One of the main reasons I decided to make the move was to launch a campaign to end doping and other abuses in the sport. Reps. Andy Barr, R-Ky., and Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., had just introduced the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act, which had only 20 House cosponsors when I turned my attention to it. A Senate companion measure hadn't even been introduced. It wasn't a perfect bill, and didn't ban Lasix, but it was a good start, something we felt we could get behind, and my gut told me it was something we could get done.

  • Will Doping Controversy Send U.S. Horse Racing to its Grave?
    The Patch

    The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (Act), signed into law in December of 2020, was a serious-minded attempt to deal with rampant doping in the industry and to rehabilitate the image of the sport in the eyes of the public. It was an uphill battle to enact the legislation, and if we hadn't seen The Jockey Club and key industry players step up and work to expose the corruption in their own sport, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would probably not have intervened and joined together with Sens. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif.Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Andy Barr, R-Ky., to enact the legislation.

    No matter the Member, the party, or the chamber, there was only one constant in nearly a thousand meetings on Capitol Hill: everyone agreed that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) was the only independent-mind, expert authority to oversee doping rules. It was widely referred to as the gold standard, with its engagement in the U.S. Olympic Trials, Pan-American Games, and other high-profile sports...

    ...At the end of the day, time and time again, Congress has made it very clear its intent was for USADA to run the anti-doping program. If the HISA board fails to secure an agreement with USADA to do the testing, then they're going to keep the doping controversy alive and likely send American horse racing to its grave.

  • Change the culture or risk going the way of the circus and dog racing
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    In his regular column, Charles Hayward says a deal between the racing industry and USADA is crucial to the sport's future – and he is by no means alone in that viewpoint.......

    USADA is the best answer: Strawbridge, Motion, Cauthen, Hancock

    And here’s what some well-known racing figures had to say on the subject:

    “In late December, negotiations between HISA and USADA stalled. The legislative compromise that WHOA supported – to put USADA in their rightful place with a five-year contract – has been aborted. HISA is looking for other options and interviewing other entities to fill USADA’s place. What a shame. What a travesty. What are the insurmountable issues that would preclude a five-year contract between USADA and HISA?” George Strawbridge

    “I was so disappointed to see the breakdown of talks between HISA and USADA. There is no other agency that will handle testing as thoroughly as USADA, we need to get them back to the table so they can clean up our sport.” Graham Motion

    “We need USADA now. Time is of the essence to put an end to doping in racing.” Steve Cauthen

    “I don’t think the horse industry realizes the plight it is in, and it desperately needs the integrity of USADA to help shore up its sad reputation. Cheaters are still cheating, horses are still dying, and public perception is still worsening.” Arthur Hancock

  • Broken Systems And Cronyism: WHOA Advisory Board Says Horseracing Integrity And Safety Authority Will Flounder Without USADA
    Paulick Report

    WHOA will continue to endorse the independent turn-key program USADA brings to the table. Their scientists are respected at the highest levels. USADA's drug testing capabilities exceed that of any other agency in the field. They have been involved in drug testing, results management, and adjudication longer and at a higher level than any other organization. USADA utilizes advancing sciences to look for new performance-enhancing drugs to stay ahead of the cheater and uses data analysis to catch them and provide a fair process. USADA is a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), giving it access to the best global anti-doping practices and science.

  • U.S. Horse Racing Should Remember Washington Post Editorial: Horse Racing Has Outlived Its Time
    Horse Nation

    Animal Wellness Action’s Marty Irby has been following the progress of American horse racing closely. Given the developments of the past weeks, he offers this follow-up to his article from two weeks ago and further calls for change in the anti-doping regulations.                             

    There’s been great controversy over the new Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s (HISA) failure to secure a contract with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to oversee all of the drug testing and enforcement required by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (Act). It’s concerning that there’s been an audible called so quickly after the Congressional action so clearly pointed to USADA as the drug-testing authority.  

  • Irwin: USADA Essential To A Successful Horseracing Integrity And Safety Authority
    Paulick Report

    It was not by happenstance that in a 2004 Op/Ed I wrote in The Blood-Horse and eight years later the Water Hay Oats Alliance in its mission statement both singled out the United States Anti-Doping Agency as the one entity that could rein in the rampant use of drugs both legal and illegal in horse racing.

    Through several iterations of proposed congressional legislations in different political administrations, WHOA forged ahead, convincing The Jockey Club, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders' Association, Breeders' Cup and other leading organizations to join its efforts. But WHOA never lost sight of its goal as stated in its original mission statement: USADA needed to be named by congress to oversee drugs in racing.

    When Mitch McConnell finally saw the light and agreed to help his state's signature industry by embracing the idea of the federal legislation, he joined the effort for a final push that resulted in the idea of naming an entity, named the Authority, to deal with the Federal Trade Commission in setting up drug controls. The idea from the very get-to and through the rewritten federal law was to bring USADA on board to do their thing.

  • As 2021 showed us, the road to integrity in horse racing is full of potholes
    OpEd by Marty Irby, Lexington Herald

    When the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (Act) was signed into law in December of 2020, after six years of hard lobbying, I honestly thought that American horseracing was finally on the right track in protecting the horses and stamping out doping for good. We knew enforcement would be essential to good outcomes for horses, but recent developments on that front have made me skeptical.

    We’d been through dozens of draft versions of the bill and at least a half a dozen different bills introduced in the House and Senate over the past decade. Some covered certain breeds, some banned Lasix and some didn’t, and typically the Senate bills differed from the House measures even when the bills’ leaders were on the same page. There was only one constant in every bill: having the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) oversee the execution and enforcement of the law and conduct all of the drug testing in the sport. In nearly a thousand Congressional meetings we conveyed that essential point, and at every turn USADA’s involvement was critical – in fact, USADA is the very bedrock and foundation of the new law.

    The Act provided for delayed implementation to allow a new drug-testing entity to be put in place by mid-2022. To satisfy constitutional concerns, the Act provided for the new entity to execute a five-year contract with USADA: the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA). 

  • Sullivan: Racing's drug reforms encounter roadblock in front of finish line
    Louisville Courier Journal

    Where reform-minded horsemen generally agree is that to regain the public trust racing has lost to recurring scandal, interminable investigations, Kentucky Derby controversies and dead horses, HISA should reengage with USADA or quickly find a credible alternative — one that enables the sport to establish consistent nationwide standards, objective oversight and escape the uneven efficiency of state commissions too often compromised by conflicts of interest and overmatched against expensive attorneys.

    “The good of the industry is at stake,” Arthur Hancock said Monday. “Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail.”

    Hancock, owner of Stone Farm in Paris, Kentucky, also owns one of thoroughbred racing’s most distinguished pedigrees. Both his grandfather and his father are enshrined in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame for their roles in the founding and growth of fabled Claiborne Farm. Hancock has made his own mark on the sport through 30 years of lobbying to rid racing of the influence of “drugs and thugs," — first in a landmark 1991 address at a University of Arizona racing symposium and later through formation of the Water, Hay, Oats Alliance (WHOA).

    After three decades of clearing obstacles undermining racing’s integrity, Hancock said he is optimistic the HISA/USADA impasse is not the end.

  • Irwin: Robust Investigative Force Critical For HISA To Effectively Combat Cheating
    Paulick Report

    But unless the industry as a whole is ready to tackle cheating with drugs head on, the specter of altering the results of racing will never cease.

    So this is my pitch to members of the Authority, no matter what side of the fence you are on, no matter how you managed to get your seat on the boards and committees and no matter what your agenda: please do all in your power to make sure that Travis Tygart is given adequate funding to carry on investigations that will yield the type of results those of us who have committed our lives to cleaning up the game can feel that all of our work has been worthwhile.

    This message is not directed at USADA. It is not directed at Travis Tygart. It is directed at those individuals who may seek to over-fund their own aspects of the legislation.

    Without a robust investigative force that is fully funded this entire initiative will fail and HISA will go the way of all other alphabet soup groups in racing. This is our one last chance to get horse racing right, correct the wrongs on the racetrack and clean up the game enough to present it as a viable sport to fans and horseplayers. We owe them that much.

  • New anti-doping, medication rules for horse racing unveiled
    Associated Press

    "Up to 48 hours before a race, horses could be given only water, hay and oats."

  • How these proposed rules would deter horse racing's drug cheats if adopted
    Tim Sullivan, Courier Journal

    Thoroughbred racing’s drug cheats would face stiffer sanctions, stronger deterrents and surprise testing if a set of proposed rules announced Thursday are adopted...

    ....“There’s an existential threat,” Tygart said. “Many have said through the course of this process that but for good change now and needed change now, this industry may not exist in 10 or 15 years.”  Similar warnings have been sounded since at least 1991, when third-generation horseman Arthur Hancock proposed legislation at an Arizona racing symposium to address the influence of “drugs and thugs.”

    It took 30 years for Hancock’s lobbying efforts to produce a law. Resistance remains. Revisions continue.

    "The Declaration of Independence went through many changes before finalization," Hancock said Wednesday evening. "As they say in the music business, 'Good songs are written; great songs are rewritten.' Hopes are high for a hit."

  • Multiple Groups Back HISA Support With Court Filings

    Congressional leaders, former board members of state regulatory commissions, and 50 owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys, and other Thoroughbred racing professionals have reinforced their commitment to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in court filings Aug. 23.

    These groups all filed amicus briefs offering Judge Joseph Hood with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky "timely, useful, and otherwise necessary information" is support of a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging as unconstitutional the new effort to create federal oversight for drug testing and enforcement.

    The HISA was passed in December as part of an omnibus appropriations bill and signed into law by President Donald Trump Dec. 27. The legislation was then challenged as unconstitutional in April by a lawsuit led by the United States Trotting Association, state regulators in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, as well as tracks Fair Meadows, Remington Park, and Will Rogers Downs.

    A motion to dismiss the suit was filed Aug. 16 on behalf of the HISA board members and other defendants.

  • Irwin: What Satisfaction Is There For Owners Who Employ Cheating Trainers?
    Paulick Report

    To achieve complete satisfaction in winning an important race is very, very difficult. I will never stop thanking my lucky stars it happened in the race we all want to win the most. For me it was a miracle, a blessing and a moment of sheer satisfaction.

    In today's environment I wonder where the satisfaction comes from for those owners who have chosen to be involved with trainers that cheat. It seems obvious to me that certain owners gravitate to certain trainers because they share the same “win at all costs” attitude. They share the same disdain for the rules. And they look at themselves as “sharps” in a world of “chumps.”

    In this regard, I am a true chump. A chump is a poor bastard that follows the rules, even knowing that if you take an edge your chances of success will increase dramatically.

    Today's “enlightened” owner, as a now deceased ex-trainer referred to trainers who cheat using modern methods that include Performance Enhancing Drugs, either knows that the trainer he chooses is a cheater, strongly suspects he is a cheater or is an outright enabler of the cheating trainer.

  • Brothers: Don't Let 'Perfect' Get In The Way Of 'Good' National Leadership By HISA
    Paulick Report

    Horse racing cannot survive without leadership and cohesiveness either. The Horseracing Safety and Integrity Authority may not be the perfect answer but right now is not the time to let the unrealistic ideal of “perfect” get in the way of good. If we, the sport of horse racing and all of its participants, cannot cooperate we will fall the way of the wolves and the chimpanzees. Individually, we will survive. But our sport will not.

  • Brothers: Time To Face What's Right And What's Wrong With Racing
    Paulick Report

    The formation of the Horse Racing and Safety Authority (HISA) is another step in this positive direction. There are pros and cons, supporters and detractors, and there are sure to be ups and downs. But horse racing obviously needed a hand in getting its act together and the HISA has the potential to offer much more good than bad........

    Recommendation #1: The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority may be our only hope—if they are willing to take up the challenge. Of course, we're already tasking them with the formation of uniform medication rules, uniform riding crop rules and infallible drug testing.

    Recommendation #2: Reporting all test results—as in all test results. As things are now, aside from the general assumption that the winner will report to the detention barn for a post race test, we have no idea which horses have been tested—pre or post race. Here's the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation's recommendation:

    “Every pre-race, post-race or out-of-competition sample should be reported publicly, soon after it is processed. The results should be reported regardless of the finding – most will be negative.”

    I like it.

  • WHAS 11 Segment on Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act

    U.S. Representative Andy Barr (KY-06) appears on WHAS-11 Louisville to discuss the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) that he championed in Congress to passage and enactment at the end of December, 2020.

  • Joe Gorajec Speaks Out on Bob Baffert and Medina Spirit Drug Test

    Former head of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission explains the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner's blood test, protocols, and medication controls. by Marty Irby

    Over the six years we spent working to pass the HISA, I made a great new friend, a hero in my eyes: Joe Gorajec, the former head of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. A man who went against the grain as a very early supporter of the HISA, Gorajec has spent his entire adult life in the horse racing industry and been a true reformer for decades.

    "I truly believe that the welfare of our horses should be the priority of all racing industry participants," Gorajec said in 2016, not long after we met. "As their guardians we need to put their interest above the commercial interest of their owners, trainers and the tracks where they race." Gorajec has tremendous insight into the issue and has remained a steadfast supporter of equine welfare and we are fortunate to have him join us on the Animal Wellness Podcast.


  • Op-Ed: Is American Horseracing Going to Allow the Ship to Sink?
    Horse Nation

    There is hope that doping may soon be brought to an end. Congress passed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act to establish a national, uniform standard for drugs and medication in horse racing. It grants drug rule-making, testing, and enforcement oversight to a private, nonprofit self-regulatory organization overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The legislation also banned the use of all race-day medication and was backed by Animal Wellness Action, The Jockey Club; The Breeders’ Cup; the Water, Hay, Oats Alliance; and all three legs of the Triple Crown. Following the indictment of 27 trainers, veterinarians, and other racing interests in 2020, Baffert himself announced his endorsement of the legislation on the same day the Washington Post’s editorial board called for the end of horse racing.

  • Winning Always Wins. Will Integrity Place, or Even Show?
    The New York Times

    “I would like to be optimistic about our sport but today we are an embarrassment,” tweeted Graham Motion, who trained the 2011 Derby winner, Animal Kingdom. “Perhaps we have to hit rock bottom before things get better but we only have ourselves and the leaders of our sport to blame. For anyone that loves the sport as much as I do it’s a sad day.”...

    “Look at the damage this has done to our sport,” said Arthur Hancock III, a fourth-generation horse breeder. “It’s hung a dark cloud over horse racing and a dark cloud over Kentucky.”

    For more than 30 years, the Hancock family was among a core of breeders and owners who pushed the sport to crack down on a culture of doping that was enabled by lax regulation. One bill after another failed to get out of Congress, thanks to reliably consistent opposition — from horse trainers, whom the bills targeted, and from racetracks that did not want the headache of federal regulation.

    Last year, finally, Congress passed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which calls for a board overseen by the Federal Trade Commission to write rules and penalties to be enforced by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. The agency, which regulates Olympians and other elite athletes in the United States, revealed the cyclist Lance Armstrong’s cheating and issued him a lifetime suspension in 2012. The law will take effect July 1, 2022.

    If the antidoping program were in place now, this whole circus may have been avoided...

    On the morning after Medina Spirit won the Derby, well before the positive test was revealed, Amanda Simmons Luby composed a tweet thread that was as prescient as the suspicions that inspired it are heartbreaking.

  • Can Horse Racing Survive?
    The New Yorker

    In a time of changing sensitivities, an ancient sport struggles to justify itself.  

    A backlash against drugs led to the founding, in 2012, of the Water Hay Oats Alliance, a group of industry insiders that advocated for a single national regulatory body and a ban on performance-enhancing drugs. The alliance, known as whoa, grew to eighteen hundred members, and the legislation it supported slowly gathered sponsors in Congress. The era of permissive medication seemed to be waning.

  • Irby: Horse racing's drug scandals cheat public and kill horses. Is industry ready to stop?
    Lexington Herald Leader

    There is hope that doping may soon be brought to an end. Congress passed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act to establish a national, uniform standard for drugs and medication in horse racing. It grants drug rule-making, testing, and enforcement oversight to a private, nonprofit self-regulatory organization overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The legislation also banned the use of all race-day medication and was backed by Animal Wellness Action, The Jockey Club; The Breeders’ Cup; the Water, Hay, Oats Alliance; and all three legs of the Triple Crown. Following the indictment of 27 trainers, veterinarians, and other racing interests in 2020, Baffert himself announced his endorsement of the legislation on the same day the Washington Post’s editorial board called for the end of horse racing.

    But the new law doesn’t take effect until mid-2022.

  • Sullivan: Derby winner Medina Spirit's failed drug test adds to horse racing's woes
    Courier Journal

    Arthur Hancock says he may have to consider adding cattle to his horse farm.

    “Sickened” and “disgusted” by the positive drug test of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, the owner of Paris’ Stone Farm fears the fallout from thoroughbred racing’s latest scandal.

    Hancock’s contingency plan to add cattle was facetious. His concern for his family business, however, is real.

    “It casts a terribly bad light on the whole industry,” Hancock said Monday. “The Kentucky Derby is our greatest race, famous all over the world, and for this to happen is sickening. I hate it. It’s awful."...

    ...“We’ve been working for years, trying to get this thing changed to where we’ll have a good system and bring back integrity to a great sport,” said Hancock, co-founder of the Water Hay Oats Alliance. “We’ve got to get a system in place that creates an atmosphere and an aura of integrity and complete honesty for the sake of the horses and the sake of the public.”

  • No, failed Derby drug test is not 'cancel culture.' But racing needs culture change.
    Lexington Herald Leader

    But Staci Hancock, one of the founders of Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) to end drugs in racing, said HISA would have prevented the scenario we see today.

    “It just shows the need for uniform national rules and uniform national penalties,” she said. “The next time this kind of thing won’t happen because we’ll be protected with robust national rules and penalties.”

    Baffert himself supports HISA, along with most of the big tracks and trainers who have finally realized that over-medication may be part of why so many horses break down, which is what we call a “bad look” for an industry that is supposed to celebrate the majesty of Thoroughbreds. It’s always been a dirty business, and HISA is one belated attempt to clean it up. But if thanks to people like Baffert, cleaning it up becomes “cancel culture,” instead, then the industry will be right back where it started.

  • Irwin: Medina Spirit Positive Test A Shot Heard 'Round The World
    Paulick Report

    What's the deal with Bob Baffert and his rash of positives over the past year or so, during which time he has run afoul of the rules on five occasions?

    Is Bob just unlucky? Is he running a sloppy shop? Are his vets dropping the ball on his behalf? Are the racetracks, racing regulators or racing associations somehow out to get him? Is he a victim of some sort of foul play?

    Or, as the subject himself said after he announced over the weekend that his Kentucky Derby winner has tested positive for betamethasone (now where have we heard the name of that drug before, hmmm?), “…there's definitely something wrong. Why is it happening to me?”

  • American Horse Racing Still at a Crossroads on Derby Day

    By WHOA member Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action in Washington, D.C. who was named one of The Hill’s Top Lobbyists for 2020, and honored by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, II for his work to protect horses.

    Saturday evening’s call to post marks the running the 147th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, and for the first time in decades all of the horses will be running without Lasix, a diuretic that’s been rampantly misused as a performance-enhancing drug in racing since the 1980’s. Reformers in the industry successfully achieved the ban on Lasix at the Derby through the adoption of Kentucky state regulations that came just prior to Congressional enactment of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). Animal Wellness Action’s (AWA) leaders worked on that legislation for six years and when AWA formed, we made it a top priority.

  • With private eyes and political muscle, horse racing's elite pushed to punish dopers
    The Washington Post

    ‘Drugs and Thugs’

    Starting with Jockey Club lifer Arthur B. Hancock III’s poorly received “Drugs and Thugs” speech at a 1991 industry symposium, the exclusive 130-member society has made itself an annoyance in racing by focusing on synthetic cheaters.....

    ...The chaos they perceive these days is in the patchwork regulation of the sport, the purview of 38 state agencies. Those bodies are “their own fiefdoms,” Hancock said in a recent interview, with racing commissions stocked by the horsemen “who gave the most money to the governor.”

    ...For years, the Jockey Club failed to get the rest of the industry, and Congress, on board to overhaul horseracing’s regulatory system. In 2012, it invited Travis Tygart, chief of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), to speak at its annual roundtable. The agency was in the midst of levying doping charges against cyclist Lance Armstrong that would strip him of seven Tour de France titles. The Jockey Club pitched Tygart as the sheriff who could clean up horse racing.

    ...As it set out to root out cheaters, the Jockey Club found two kindred spirits across the Hudson River, at the Meadowlands racetrack in New Jersey. Jeffrey Gural, a second-generation New York City developer, runs the track, which hosts thoroughbred and harness racing. Brice Cote, a former minor league relief pitcher and police detective, is its security chief. Together, they seemed to consider antagonizing suspected dopers to be as much of a sport as racing itself.



  • 'It's so easy to cheat': Is horse racing finally getting serious about drug misuse?
    Courier Journal

    Third-generation horseman Arthur Hancock, owner of Stone Farm in Paris, Kentucky, first proposed legislation along these lines at a University of Arizona racing symposium in 1991, decrying the influence of “drugs and thugs” on horse racing.

    Hancock and his wife, Staci, later formed the Water, Hay, Oats Alliance (WHOA) to lobby for the elimination of drugs in racing. Theirs has been a long, contentious struggle — even now, the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association is suing to stop HISA from being enacted — but reformers can finally see the finish line after decades of frustration.

    “If I didn’t do anything else in my life, I’m glad I did this,” Hancock said. “Hopefully, we’ve got a chance now to clean up this industry.”

    Still at issue, though, is the scale of the cleanup........

    Can Kentucky Derby and horse racing stop cheating with drug crackdown? (courier-journal.com)

  • Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act: Why some horsemen's groups have got it so wrong
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    As regular readers will know, I have been a strong advocate and supporter of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) from the time that it was first introduced in the House of Representatives as the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 until it was signed into law by the President on December 28.

    I believe it is perhaps more important than the only other federal legislation regulating horseracing, the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978, which in effect created national simulcasting by permitting states to initiate and accept wagers across state lines.

    In this column, I will be exploring a July 10, 2018, letter from the Coalition for Horseracing  Integrity, written by Stuart Janney and Craig Fravel in response to a Congressional hearing where two horsemen’s representatives and a regulatory executive overstated the current state of the regulatory oversight of racing in the U.S.

    I will also feature recent articles that have been optimistic about HISA, which will be operating no later than July 1, 2022.

  • HISA to lead the Thoroughbred community down a path to a safer and more transparent sport
    Thoroughbred Safety Coalition Press Release

    To all of the hard-working individuals who make up the Thoroughbred community and the fans who share in our love for the horses that set our sport apart from all others:

    As one of our nation’s oldest and most celebrated pastimes, racing’s traditions run deep. However, the most durable traditions are the ones that evolve and improve with time. Amid the pageantry and beauty, we’ve faced challenges around equine safety and racing integrity throughout our history, which is why leaders across the Thoroughbred industry came together to make the changes necessary to bring our sport into the 21st century and secure its future for generations to come. Leaders in Thoroughbred racing agree with those who have argued for greater transparency and more rigorous safety standards, and are united in choosing to prioritize, above all else, the safety and well-being of our equine athletes.


  • Betting on horses' lives
    The Philadelphia Inquirer

    Racehorses are dying in staggering numbers at Pennsylvania tracks.

    Since 2010, state racing officials have tallied more than 1,400 thoroughbred deaths. Half — 704 — died at Parx Racing, the Bensalem track that is part of Pennsylvania’s largest casino.

    Most of those horses were put down following catastrophic injuries that happened during a race or in training. Others dropped dead in their stalls.

    In 2019, 59 horses died at Parx, nearly twice the death count the year before.

    Last year, when there were a third fewer races there due to the pandemic, the toll was still 39 dead horses.

    “For some horsemen that’s the cost of doing business,” said Kathryn Papp, an equine veterinarian based near Harrisburg. “They still see horses as livestock, as commodities. But these are intelligent animals. They bond with their caretakers. People don’t realize how aware they are.”....

    ...Strawbridge, the veteran owner and breeder, agreed:

    “You can’t persist in a sport if most of the world regards it as cruel.”

  • Our Voices: Motion on Why HISA Matters

    one we are a rudderless ship. To me, while probably not perfect, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act appears to be by far the best solution that anyone has come up with to our problems. 

    Racing from Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, it is not unusual for us to run horses in multiple states on any given weekend. In doing this we are beholden to multiple states rules, not unlike visiting other countries. I frequently depend on my veterinarians to update me on rules that are constantly changing. While change is a good thing, we lack consistency in our industry and my hope for HISA is that we will have national guidelines to follow, trainers will be held to national standards, and the safety and welfare of the horses will be paramount across the board. I also hope that the various boards attached to HISA will be made up of knowledgeable and fair-minded judges, as there will be no third and fourth chances. 

  • Letter to the Editor: Jeff Bowen

    I read with complete bewilderment and disgust about the new HBPA suit against the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. I've been involved as a breeder and owner for the last 20+ years.

    Over this time, I've watched our sport get black eye after black eye, while many with an authoritative voice (like the National and state HBPA's) continue to  argue amongst themselves and bury their heads in the sand. Cheating has become a matter of routine with negligible consequences to those who get caught.  Horse safety is scrutinized on a daily basis at a national level and needs constant improvement efforts. Horseracing is a national sport that needs to act like one to survive.

    What exactly have these groups done to address and improve the situation? Whatever it's been, the facts confirm abject failure.


  • The man who took down Lance Armstrong set to take over drug testing in US racing
    Racing Post

    Travis Tygart, the man responsible for exposing some of the biggest doping scandals this century in his role as US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief executive, says his organisation is ready to embrace the “huge responsibility” of taking over anti-doping and medication enforcement in US racing.

    USADA has been behind bans for dopers such as cyclist Lance Armstrong, athletics coach Alberto Salazar and athletes linked to Balco labs scandal, such as Marion Jones, since coming into existence in 2000.

    From next summer USADA will assume control of drug testing, anti-doping and medication violations as part of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act [HISA], which was passed by US lawmakers at the end of last year, centralising the process for the first time.

    While USADA has primarily focused on doping perpetrated by human athletes, Tygart believes there are no differences in the underlying principles of breaking the rules to win and is seeking to introduce a “gold standard” for racing.

  • Horsemen's Groups File Federal Lawsuit Over HISA

    The news of the lawsuit brought an immediate and strong response from those who have been working behind the scenes for the passage of HISA, which some believe is a necessary step in order for the sport to clean itself up and prevent cheating and the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

    “If they are successful and they stop this, you can kiss the horse industry goodbye,” said breeder and owner Arthur Hancock. “Look at what has happened in the past. That so many have come together to try to clean up the sport is a wonderful thing. Everyone wants a level playing field and this will give it to them. I don't know why anyone would object to that.”

    “This is ridiculous,” said Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse. “I read this and thought, 'you've got to be kidding me.' All we are trying to do is clean up our sport. Looking at the states where they are backing this, those are some of the states that most need cleaning up.

  • Gural; Allard horses will be barred

    East Rutherford, NJ - Meadowlands management has become aware that Rene Allard is training a stable of horses in South Florida. As a result, The Meadowlands, Tioga & Vernon Downs will exclude any horse being trained or that has been trained in that stable in any stake and is actively investigating who owns the horses that are or have been in his stable this winter....

    "This news is particularly disturbing after the indictments of March and a later superseding charge in December of last year," said Meadowlands President Jeff Gural. "We, along with the Thoroughbred Jockey Club, spent much time and money employing the Five Stones investigators to prepare a case to get the Feds interested which led to all of those indictments. We will continue to partner with the Jockey Club to fund the continuing investigation by Five Stones. We could use support in this initiative and welcome anyone who would like to aid in the funding of this necessary and important endeavor.

  • Writers' Room Exclusive: USADA CEO Travis Tygart Explains How His Anti-Doping Team Will Clean Up Racing

    Not too long ago, Lance Armstrong was revered as an American hero. The winner of seven straight Tour de France titles, Armstrong brought the sport of cycling into the mainstream and the story of his unprecedented success after recovering from testicular cancer inspired athletes everywhere. But, as the public later found out, it was all built on a lie.

    Armstrong was a cheater, and his extensive involvement in an explosive doping scandal tarnished his legacy forever, stripping him of nearly all of his fraudulently-gained athletic accomplishments. The revelations from that scandal rocked the sports world and marked one of the most staggering falls from grace in recent memory. And it likely wouldn't have happened without the United States Anti-Doping Agency and its CEO, Travis Tygart.


  • Gilligan: Some Trainers Cheat, Some Are Horse Whisperers
    Paulick Report

    There's an old saying that if you're not cheating, you're not trying.

    It is a statistical certainty that some racehorse trainers are dishonest cheats, because in any given population there are a certain number of people who will cheat to win and since cheating can confer an edge, you are more likely to find cheats amongst the more successful members of a group — until, if or when they get caught. Lance Armstrong is a very famous example.

  • Deep Within Relief Bill, Horse Racing Gets New Tools to Clean Up
    The New York Times

    “This is a watershed moment for our sport,” said James L. Gagliano, chief operating officer of the Jockey Club, one of horse racing’s oldest and most influential organizations. “We have a chance to regulate our sports at high standards. If you don’t have safe and clean sport, you don’t have anything.”

    Horse racing arrived at this moment because, in 2012, Hancock and his wife, Staci, founded the Water Hay Oats Alliance with the mission of getting drugs out of racing. They grew it to more than 1,800 industry members who shamed horsemen, veterinarians, politicians and regulators into treating thoroughbreds like athletes rather than commodities.

  • Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act Signed Into Law
    Paulick Report

    Passage of the legislation, originally supported by the grassroots Water Hay Oats Alliance and sponsored in the House of Representatives by Democrat Paul Tonko of New York and Republican Andy Barr of Kentucky, was years in the making. It got fast-tracked earlier this year when Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threw his support behind it after Churchill Downs came on board and joined with other major racing organizations. It passed the House in September on a voice vote and was part of the omnibus bill passed overwhelmingly by the Senate Dec. 21.

    Travis Tygart, the CEO of USADA, issued the following statement on Monday: “The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act passed the US Congress last week and was signed by the President Sunday night.  This passage signifies the beginning of a new era in the storied history of the horse racing industry. The landmark legislation will establish a uniform approach to better protect horses and jockeys, and to bolster the strength and fairness of the sport.

  • Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Championed by Congressman Barr, Senator McConnell Signed into Law
    Barr Press Release

    “This is a great day for the future of Kentucky’s signature industry. Congressman Andy Barr’s constituents should be proud of his leadership and hard work over the last six years promoting the reforms so desperately needed in our great sport of horse racing,” said Staci Hancock, Managing Member of the Water Hay Oats Alliance. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s support was essential in getting the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act across the finish line. The members of the Water Hay Oats Alliance are honored to have worked alongside Congressman Barr, Congressman Paul Tonko and Senator McConnell to reach this wonderful milestone. These three leaders were the champions for our cause.”

  • Irwin: Independent Overseer Will Ensure Integrity
    Paulick Report

    What's the big deal about the new racing legislation?

    When I called for horseracing to find a way to install the United States Anti-Doping Agency as the overseer of drugs in an Op/Ed for The Blood-Horse back in 2004, I did so with some specific goals in mind. My overriding reason, however, was to have an agency that was independent.

    Now that USADA will be given the job, nobody knows whether the hopes and dreams of those who worked so tirelessly to make USADA's presence a reality will be fully accomplished. One thing that everybody in the sport can be sure of is that special interests will no longer be able to tilt the playing fields or the halls of justice.

  • Industry, Animal Welfare Groups Applaud Passage of HISA

    WHOA managing member Staci Hancock noted the prolonged effort to pass the legislation.

    "This is the day that the members of the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) have long been waiting for," Hancock said. "Since 2012 our grassroots movement has supported the passage of federal legislation to prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in horseracing. The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act brings much needed drug and medication reform, as well as national track safety standards, to our sport. It is with great pride and complete satisfaction that WHOA celebrates the bill's passage. We thank Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Sponsors, Congressmen Andy Barr and Paul Tonko, for getting it across the finish line." 

  • U.S. Senate needs to get horse racing safety bill over the finish line
    Lexington Herald Leader


    For nearly six years U.S. Reps. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, along with partners in the Coalition for Horseracing Integrity, have been pushing to end doping in American horseracing and bring meaningful reform to the multi-billion-dollar industry that Kentucky thrives on.

    When we first started working to pass federal anti-doping legislation in the 114th Congress, as co-chair of the Congressional Horse Caucus, Barr led a hearing that brought light to the issue, and some progress was made with notable figures including Bobby Flay speaking in support of the measure. By the close of 2016 the bill had made progress, and the major players in American horseracing were starting to pay attention to legislation gathering momentum with 21 House cosponsors.

    In the 115th Congress, modifications to the bill expanded on eliminating doping and brought more equine groups into the fold. A full Congressional hearing was held before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on H.R. 2651, the Horseracing Integrity Act that ultimately garnered 131 cosponsors. But the hearing didn’t play out as planned, and without a Senate companion measure, the bill died at the end of 2018......               

    ........The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is the best shot that animal protection has in the remainder of the 116th Congress, and we applaud McConnell and the rest of the Kentucky delegation who’ve stepped up in support of the bill. It’s time for the rest of the Senate to step up and help get this one over the finish line.



  • Letters to the Editor: Jeff Gural and David Siegel Opine on HISA
    Harness Racing Update

    Gural: We need to sit down with the thoroughbreds over HISA

    I don’t think there is any question that the thoroughbreds have taken control of the HISA (Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act) legislation. However, in my opinion the decision by the USTA not to participate with them and instead oppose the legislation is why we are in this unfortunate position. Having said that, I am 100 per cent certain that we could get the changes we require if we agree to sit down at the table after the legislation passes. There are few things that I know for certain that are not debatable........

  • Marty Irby: Monty Roberts Joins Up to Help Pass Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act Today

    In today’s podcast Monty Roberts joins me, host Joseph Grove, and Wayne Pacelle in discussing the legislation in detail as well as our thoughts on eliminating whipping on a global scale – it’s a fascinating tale that digs deep into Monty’s work in 41 countries around the globe. Please tune in and listen here today and contact your House Members by clicking here and asking them to VOTE YES tonight in support of H.R. 1754.


  • Hancock: Proposed law will bring desperately needed oversight on safety, medication to horseracing
    Lexington Herald Leader

    Over the last eight years, WHOA has advocated for federal legislation to bring about crucial drug and medication reform. Working hand-in-hand with Kentucky Congressman Andy Barr and New York Congressman Paul Tonko, WHOA has endorsed legislation that would appoint the experienced and independent United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to create and manage a gold standard anti-doping program for United States horse racing. Now, with the support of Senator McConnell, the HISA is moving in both houses of Congress and racing finally has a chance to get this legislation across the finish line.

  • Janet Elliot Backs Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act

    "It is high time that America joins with the rest of the racing world, and develops uniform international rules and standards. It is absurd that each state in the country has its own set of rules. In order to have top class racing we must work together to abolish all race day medication.

    The elimination of performance--nhancing drugs is imperative for the health and safety of our equine and human athletes, and the long-term health of the breeding industry. I support the efforts made by WHOA and wish to see the progression of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act."

  • Irwin: With Horseracing Integrity And Safety Authority, Will The Culture Change?
    Paulick Report

    Once the landscape has been cleared, racing in my fantasy world would take place on a level playing field for the first time in an entire human generation and those folks who really like the horses will produce a product that can be embraced by all of those horseplayers, fans, owners and trainers who love the greatest game played outdoors.

    It could happen.


  • The Horse Racing Integrity Act: Will It Cross the Finish Line?
    The National Law Review

    With a schedule upended like other professional sports this year, the Kentucky Derby, usually run on the first Saturday of May, is now the second leg of racing’s Triple Crown and will not take place until Saturday, Sept. 5. Simultaneously with the top three-year-old horses in the country “Running for the Roses,” federal legislation seeking to establish a new organization charged with establishing a uniform national medication program for the industry will be racing toward passage prior to the end of this year’s legislative session.

  • If you really care about racing's future, this is one event you won't want to miss
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    In 2011, the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) introduced the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act – a bill that aimed to create a private, independent horseracing anti-doping authority. 

    Certainly, one of the very most important initiatives of the Jockey Club has been leadership on the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act. This bill was presented by the two House sponsors, Representatives Andy Barr of Kentucky and Paul Tonko of New York, at the 2016 Round Table. 

    There were follow-ups in the 2017 Round Table and in a brilliant presentation at the 2019 event by Bill Lear, Vice Chairman of the Jockey Club and trustee at Keeneland. 

    Tremendous progress has been made on the bill and I am looking forward to the update at the 2020 Round Table on Sunday.

  • Gary Barber Joins WHOA: 'We Need To Be United In Our Quest For Uniformity'
    Paulick Report

    Gary Barber and other members of WHOA back efforts for clean sport in U.S. racing. Since its founding in 2012, the grassroots organization has continued to grow support for federal legislation to bring uniformity in drug and medication rules across state lines and in sync with international standards. The Horseracing Integrity Act (HR1754/S1820) is now moving forward in the 116th Congress.

    In a statement to WHOA, Barber commented: “This is a critical time in our industry where we need to be united in our quest for uniformity and ensure a level playing field for all. I stand in solidarity with the Water Hay Oats Alliance in leading the charge for the passage of the Horseracing Integrity Act. It is vitally important for the health and safety of the horses and jockeys that we vocally show our collective support toward this urgent effort.”

  • 'Our Only Chance To Bring A Level Playing Field To Racing': Hall Of Famer Mark Casse Joins WHOA
    Paulick Report

    Mr. Casse remarked in his statement to WHOA, “After much thought, I have decided to join the WHOA. I continue to be frustrated by the lack of uniformity in our industry, and I know that WHOA is a big supporter of the Horseracing Integrity Act, as am I. It is my belief that it is our only chance to bring a level playing field to racing.”

    Even in these uncertain times, WHOA continues to lobby for the Horseracing Integrity Act (HR1754/S1820). Support is growing with 253 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and 25 cosponsors in the Senate. The racing industry needs to band together and get behind passage of the bill in the 116th Congress. Support from racing leaders like Mark Casse is imperative to the effort.

  • Doping charges for top trainers leave US racing desperate to clean up sport
    The Guardian

    In terms of its wealth and influence, the American Jockey Club resembles its British counterpart in name only. Instead, power resides with the tracks and racing commissions in individual states. This is the root of US racing’s long-standing integrity issues according to Barry Irwin, a leading owner for many years and one of the founders of the Water Hay Oats Alliance, which campaigns for an end to legal raceday medication.

    “None of them are motivated or have the will to go out and look for people who are breaking the rules,” Irwin says. “The reason is that most of the racetracks don’t want these people to get caught, because these trainers bring a lot of horses and each track needs horses, they need full fields so they can generate more betting handle, which is where their profits come from.”

    Irwin and the American Jockey Club are also keen supporters of the Horseracing Integrity Act, which is inching its way through Congress and would subject racing to the same anti-doping regime as other American sports under the procedures of the US Anti-Doping Agency. Hopes are high that the indictments against Servis, Navarro and any other big names that may be added to the list as the investigation continues could give the HIA a final push through the legislature.

  • Park Equine Hospital Announces Support of the Horse Racing Integrity Act
    WHOA Press Release

    The Partners of Park Equine Hospital announced today that it is in full support of the Horseracing Integrity Act (HIA) currently working its way through Congress. "It is our belief that the passage of this legislation is essential in ensuring the health and well-being of the Thoroughbred." said Dr. John Park.

    Dr. Gary Priest agreed, "The legislation would create a uniform standard across state lines to protect the horse and restore integrity and confidence in our industry. A key component of the bill is the installment of an independent body in USADA to oversee drug use. We see this as a positive step for the future of horse racing and encourage others to join us in support of the bill."

  • Third Times a Charm by John Wendt
    Entertainment and Sports Lawyer

    The HIA would create the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority (the Authority) as an “independent, private non-profit corporation with responsibility for developing and administering an anti-doping and medication control program.” Among other duties, the Authority would create a uniform set of anti-doping and medication control rules, and develop a list of permitted and prohibited substances. In effect, horse racing would then have one set of anti-doping and medication rules across all U.S. racing jurisdictions for the first time.

    This is similar to the work done by the World AntiDoping Agency (WADA) and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). WADA was established in 1999 under an initiative of the International Olympic Committee to promote and coordinate the fight against doping in sports internationally. To harmonize anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries in the Olympic Movement, WADA developed the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code). The Code is the document that harmonizes anti-doping policies, rules, and regulations within sport organizations and public authorities around the world. On the national level, USADA is recognized as the official anti-doping organization for all US Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan sports in the United States. USADA is a signatory to the Code.

  • WHOA Supporter Jeff Gural lends insights into harness racing indictments
    Harness Racing Update

    For the Meadowlands boss, the indictments that came this week will “only be good if everybody embraces having the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) come in and take over all the testing… The legislation (Horse Racing Integrity Act) that’s pending in Washington would allow the federal government to get involved and they would then hire the USADA to do the drug testing rather than have 35 different states do the testing. I think it’s critical that we do that. I would think that there’s going to be a lot of pressure from the animal rights groups to shut down racing, period. If the industry doesn’t agree to change the method of regulating and how it’s done, then we’re going to be back over time in trouble. So, I think it’s critical that not only do we take this as a wake-up call, but we agree to send a message to the public that we care about these horses.”

    In the short term, the news has been extremely bad for racing, but with it may come an opportunity for long term positive change. That is, if the industry is ready to finally do right by the ones who support it.

  • WHOA statement on Federal indictments

    On Monday the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) and its 1,900 industry members experienced a shift in direction in its battle to rein in drugs, both legal and illegal, in horse racing for the well-being of the animal.

    Monday morning the Justice Department's Southern District of New York, acting on a year-long Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into the abuse of drugs by trainers Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro, indicted 27 individuals involved in a widespread scheme to break Federal laws.

    For years those horsemen, regulators and racetrack owners who asked WHOA where the proof existed in its claims of rampant cheating have now had their nay-saying voices silenced.

    While many outside of horse racing will decry today's news as another black mark against the sport, WHOA members look upon this revelation as a step in the right direction to root out those in the sport who would take advantage of horses for their own selfish gain, as well as cheating their fellow trainers, owners and the wagering public.


  • Irwin: States, Nearly All Horse Racing Institutions Lack Will To Clean Up Sport
    Paulick Report

    Monday's initiative to go after cheaters in horse racing starkly portrays the dilemma our industry faces. The initiative taken by the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation was a victory for jurisprudence and a failure of every state in America, its regulators, racing boards, investigators, Thoroughbred racetracks and rank-and-file members of racing who stood idly by and allowed cheating on a mass scale at the very highest level of the sport to go unchecked.

    Racing's institutions, save one, all failed in their mandates to ensure the integrity of our product because of a lack of will and skill.

    The alphabet groups and Thoroughbred racetracks that support the status quo allowed this nonsense to be fostered, nurtured and come into fruition. The horsemen's groups that protected their worst elements under the misguided notion that one bad egg would tarnish them all, should be hanging their heads in shame today.

  • An inside job helped lead the FBI to indictments in the horse racing drug scandal
    Louisville Courier Journal

    Integrity Act supporters view Monday’s indictments as a sharp prod to reluctant politicians – “The biggest beneficiary of the FBI investigation is undoubtedly the proposed federal legislation,” Hancock said – and a healthy return on The Jockey Club’s investment in investigations.

    “By uncovering this ‘widespread, corrupt scheme,’ the FBI and the Justice Department has exposed to the world what we have been saying has plagued our industry for too long — an accepted culture of doping in racing, and the complete inability of the current anti-doping system to stop it,” said Shawn Smeallie, CHRI’s executive director. “We need to pass national legislation now to replace our ineffective patchwork system with a much more uniform and independent anti-doping program. Our opponents have simply run out of arguments.”

  • FBI, Justice Dept launch major US racehorse doping investigation

    “Doping destroys public confidence in racing, defrauds the betting fan, weakens the genetic pool and, most importantly, puts the life and limb of our equine athletes and their jockeys at risk,” a statement from WHOA said.

    Staci Hancock of WHOA said: “The biggest beneficiary of the FBI investigation is undoubtedly the proposed Federal legislation, The Horseracing Integrity Act, currently making its way through Congress and strongly backed by WHOA.

    “Nothing could more dramatically highlight what is wrong with drugs in racing and nothing but the legislation can correct these deficiencies.”

  • Horse Racing Integrity with Marty Irby

    On January 26th, I was fortunate to join a panel of witnesses testifying in Congress in support of the bill, and the momentum continues to build. But if Congress fails to act on the Horseracing Integrity Act, then the public debate will soon shift away from eliminating doping in horseracing to eliminating horseracing itself. The outliers in horseracing should get behind the Horseracing Integrity Act and support the reform before it’s too late.​

  • Ferraro Expects California to Be Medication-Free in 12 to 18 Months

    Having already declared that the “days of permissive medication are over in California,” California Horse Racing Board Chairman Dr. Gregory Ferraro told the TDN that the movement away from medications in the state will be a swift one. Appearing on the TDN Writers’ Room podcast, Ferraro set the timeline for California racing to ban all race-day medications at 12 to 18 months.

    “I think you will see major changes in the next 12 to 18 months,” he said. “We have a mandate from the governor to make these changes and we are determined to carry them out. California racing has gone through a crisis recently and out of crisis comes change. That change is we are going to become a no-medication state in the end.”

  • Study Finds Statistical Relationship Between Pre-Race Bute And Injury In South American Runners
    Paulick Report

    A study that will be published in an upcoming issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) has found a statistical relationship between pre-race phenylbutazone administration and the risk of injury or breakdown in South American racehorses. 

    Research conducted by Dr. Teresita Zambruno at the University of Glasgow examined 500,000 starts in Latin America, comparing a range of variables with the runners' risk of injury or fatality. Researchers believe Zambruno's work is the first study to show a connection between medication regulation and injury risk. 

  • Hall of Fame Jockey Gary Stevens Supports WHOA's Efforts
    WHOA Press Release

    "It's time for a revolution to save our sport.  And it has to happen ASAP! 

    I believe good things can happen when mistakes are made. I was taught it's okay to make mistakes but don't make the same mistake twice. We have been making the same mistakes for decades in our industry. It's time to correct that and take responsibility for our mistakes and right the ship we are sailing. 


    The Horseracing Integrity Act can put us on the right course by turning the issue of drugs and medication in U.S. horse racing over to an independent expert on the subject.  The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) functions under the international WADA code and practices under the highest rules of independence and integrity."

  • Ron Gurfein joins WHOA group

    "There aren't many that love horse racing more than I do. For me it started with Kelso and Beau Purple, Une de Mai and Nevele Pride. I was an equal opportunity fan. As a trainer for nearly sixty years, I have learned that the elimination of performance enhancing drugs is not just important, it is a necessity.......

    Donna Brothers Website

    I can no longer remain silent about my love for horses and for horse racing for fear of backlash from PETA and other extremist organizations that claim to be looking out for our horses’ welfare. PETA’s modus operandi is to scream louder than the people and industries they attack, but unfortunately, while they promote themselves as a savior of horses, a closer look into their practices suggests otherwise. I have read through numerous lawsuits against them, I’ve looked up their kill-rates, and I’ve read about their revenue allocations. PETA is pro-PETA, not pro-animals, and they are behaving like a bully.

  • Unlikely allies push horse racing reform
    The Hill

    Progress has been made as the industry works to understand the situation at Santa Anita and other tracks by improving racing conditions, including improved racetrack surfaces, better pre-race veterinary inspections, changes in race-day medication, and enhanced training protocols.

    But much more needs to be done.

    A key problem affecting the health of horses remains the abuse and misuse of drugs. Nationwide, racing is plagued by the overuse of therapeutic drugs, which can serve as performance enhancers by enabling horses to push through pain and compete, contributing to the cause of many injuries and deaths.

  • Head and Gosden Call for Universal Drug-Free Racing
    Blood Horse

    Two of Europe's most successful trainers with international reputations, Criquette Head and John Gosden, have urged every jurisdiction to adopt drug-free racing.

    Speaking to delegates at the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities conference in Paris, Head, whose group 1 successes stretched from North America to Singapore before she retired in 2018, said: "The situation in the U.S. is terrible. We have to be drug-free. A trainer should be a trainer, not a chemist."

    She added: "We have to work hard to be drug-free. We have shown that you can win races without drugs."

    In a pre-recorded interview, Gosden, who Oct. 6 joined Head as the trainer of a dual Qatar Prix de l'Arc Triomphe (G1)-winning mare foiled at the third attempt, tackled the question of clean competition by saying: "There should be a level playing field, and I am strongly in favor of pre-race testing. The integrity of the sport is everything."

  • Louis Romanet: racing should have one body to ensure we have the same rules worldwide
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    We would like to stop medication worldwide in racing. It is fact that we currently have different rules in different countries. We need one body responsible globally, and, if we could appoint and recognise that one body, it would be a big change. Racing needs the same whip rules, the same rules on interference, the same rules on medication. Ideally, we would have total harmonisation in all countries.


  • Casner: Studies Show Some Therapeutic Medications Do More Harm Than Good
    Paulick Report

    Arthur Hancock's powerful Op-Ed challenge “If Not Drugs, Then What is Causing Fatal Injuries?” spurred me to share some science that in my opinion makes the answer blatantly obvious.

    Recently, in preparation for a meeting, I gathered studies and data off of PubMed (National Public Medical Library) that pertained to  “therapeutic meds” that we routinely administer to our racehorses...

    The survival of our industry is precarious. The world has changed and unless we are willing to make the health and welfare of our horses paramount, then we are doomed to a continual decline and possible extinction. Today's world has no tolerance for what is perceived as abuse to animals and medicating our racehorses to run, certainly contributes to that negative perception. The cold hard fact is that racing medications can be abusive. The science and data is unequivocal in showing that these meds individually, and when stacked on each other, significantly weaken bone causing INCREASED FRACTURES.


  • 'We Need To Unite As An Industry': Christophe Clement Joins WHOA
    Paulick Report

    “In my opinion, we are long overdue for one nationwide medication policy. Unfortunately, the sport has been enduring a lot of negative publicity lately, and now is a pivotal moment to ensure the sustainability of horse racing. We need to unite as an industry and should all be working together towards a cohesive policy dedicated to ensuring the safety of our horses, the ethics of the sport, and also a clear system with outlined rules and regulations that fans can understand and respect. Many outside of our industry question the ethics of the sport, and we need to make sure we provide no reason for this to continue and remind people why we are 'the Sport of Kings'. As a trainer, I feel morally responsible to ensure that my team always operates with the highest ethics, consistently putting the horses first, and working daily to ensure we follow the rules outlined for us. I'm very proud of our team that has been able to avoid any medication suspension for the entirety of my career......

  • Gorajec Calls HBPA 'Public Letter' On Lasix 'Tone Deaf,' Says Race-Day Ban Inevitable
    Paulick Report

    “I believe that it is inevitable that the U.S. will ban the use of Lasix on race day.,” Gorajec writes. “That ban will either be imposed top down and universally at the same time (if the Horseracing Integrity Act becomes law), or it will happen organically one state at a time on a patchwork basis.”

    Read more at InsideRacingRegs.

  • Hancock: If Not The Drugs, Then What Is Causing Fatal Injuries?
    Paulick Report

    Where is the transparency?

    We should all be asking the question for the sake of the future of our industry … what the hell is going on? Only by understanding the past can we deal with the future.

    As regards the causes of this terrible crisis, the question we should all be asking is this: If not the drugs, then what?

    There should be an accident report on each fatality with the following information available:

    1. The medications the horse had been given
    2 .The attending veterinarian
    3. The trainer
    4. The circumstances of the fatality

    Whatever the cause, we had better start making wholesale changes everywhere instead of debating the cause and effect of our situation or it won't be long until we are all out of business. This is a nightmare that won't go away. Remember, the definition of insanity is to continue doing the same thing, over and over again, expecting different results.

  • Joseph Allen Joins WHOA In Support Of Horseracing Integrity Act
    Paulick Report

    “I have been involved in Thoroughbred Racing as an owner and breeder for over 45 years. I am very much in support of the efforts of WHOA.

    “All other professional sports in the United States have a zero drug policy. Each sport operates under a uniform set of rules governed by a single body which provides oversight and enforcement. I believe Thoroughbred Racing in the United States should do the same. When I began racing in New York in the early 1970's, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) had a zero tolerance drug policy. Racing in New York was regarded as the best in the nation and admired internationally. Horses were hardier, raced more often, and had longer careers.....

  • What Would You Fix? Carrie Brogden

    I truly believe that the whole industry needs to be streamlined. We are governed by 38 state governments. I’m no longer naïve in thinking that we can just mandate change. I think the biggest issue is that we need a federally appointed racing commission, with one set of rules regarding medication, whatever those may be. One set of rules regarding licensing.

    Bill Shanklin, Horseracing Business

    The American racing industry, with exceptions, most notably the Jockey Club, has a tin ear and a “circle the wagons” mentality, and these failings are imperiling its future. Actions have consequences and optics count.

  • Gorajec: Open Letter To The Good People In Quarter Horse Racing Industry
    Paulick Report

    Do you remember the 2012 TheNew York Times(NYT) exposé on horse racing titled, “BREAKDOWN, Death and disarray at America's racetracks?”

    The lead photo accompanying the story was the dead carcass of a racehorse. The text beneath photo read as follows: “A 2-year-old quarter horse named Teller All Gone broke a front leg in a race on Sept. 3 at Ruidoso Downs Race Track in New Mexico and was euthanized. His body was then dumped in a junkyard next to an old toilet at Ruidoso, a short walk from where he had been sold at auction the previous year.”

    No group was taken to the woodshed with more fervor in the NYT series than the Quarter Horse racing industry, in general, and New Mexico racing, in particular. It was simply an embarrassment of international proportions.

  • Letter to the Editor: David Powell

    I am continually bemused by the way our racing authorities everwhere are barking up the wrong tree, or should I say aiming at the wrong targets.

    In the United States, they seem to be looking for any way they can find to avoid discussing bute and banamine, the only two drugs sufficiently pain-masking to provoke catastrophic breakdowns when the horse cannot respond to the pain barrier. In Britain, they are focusing on tildren, a beneficial treatment initially developed for humans with bone cancer, when there are much more serious issues to face.

  • Gorajec: A Way Forward On Regulators And Possible Conflicts Of Interest
    Paulick Report

    Yet questions remain, said Gorajec, who  suggests the office of California Gov. Gavin Newsome look further into the matter. Gorajec also asks whether racing regulators should divest themselves of any bloodstock ownership when they agree to serve on racing commissions.

    He then points out that the Horseracing Integrity Act, a federal bill that would create national oversight for horse racing medication rules, testing and enforcement and is supported by The Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (which publishes the InsideRacingRegs blog), has strict conflict of interest rules for anyone who would serve on its board.

    Read more at InsideRacingRegs

  • Winds of Change: Tonko-Barr act aims to end doping In horse racing
    The Saratogian

    “This is about a sport that, again, is very engaging; there’s history here. It’s part of our culture and our economy in Saratoga and in New York State. So I want to make sure we everything we can to strengthen the sport and I would suggest that this Horseracing Integrity Act ushers the sport into the twenty-first century, which I think is very important."

  • 'The sport is at a tipping point': Inside US horse racing's deadly crisis
    The Guardian

    “I’m scared to death,” says Arthur Hancock, owner of Stone Farm in Kentucky. Hancock is part of the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA), a group of industry leaders pushing for a federal medication governing body, overseen by the US Anti-Doping Agency (more on this later). But Hancock says that his fears for the long-term health of the racing industry in the US are shared by some, but not all. “I think there’s sort of a general apathy, and I don’t know where it comes from,” he says.

    Medication reform is a prime example. Organizations like the Jockey Club and WHOA have thrown their weight behind the Horseracing Integrity Act, a federal bill that will centralize drug reform. Others, like the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), take the piecemeal approach though the National Uniform Medication Program (NUMP).




  • Racing without Lasix: Mid-year leaders and Del Mar v. Saratoga

    Mr. Colebrook is the only trainer in the first half of 2019 with a non-Lasix graded stakes winner to his credit.

    He saddled 3-year-old filly Fancy Dress Party in the $150,000 Beaumont Stakes (G3) during Keeneland’s spring race meet. It was the filly’s fourth consecutive win in as many attempts — all without Lasix. Throughout her four-race win streak Fancy Dress Party never faced a rival that had not received Lasix.

    Following the Beaumont Stakes, her next race was a last place finish in the Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on June 8, 2019. Freshened up since her disappointing Acorn finish, Mr. Colebrook says that the $250,000 Prioress Stakes (G2) at Saratoga will likely be Fancy Dress Party’s next start and that she might possibly race with Lasix for the first time.

    “I feel like I might be at a disadvantage without it (Lasix),” said Mr. Colebrook.

    Mr. Colebrook races the majority of his 2-year-olds without the aid of Lasix.

    “It depends on the horse. It also depends on the owner. Some have a strong feeling on both sides of the issue. It’s a very divisive issue,” said Mr. Colebrook.

  • National horseracing doping regulation bill faces hurdles

    WASHINGTON – A bill that would set up national protocol for the doping of racehorses is working its way through Congress.

    The Horseracing Integrity Act, co-sponsored in the House by U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam) and led in the Senate by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), would hand oversight of administering drugs to racehorses to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the governing body that runs the U.S. Olympic anti-doping efforts.

    The act will eliminate the current patchwork of state-by-state rules and align the nation's tracks with the much of rest of the world, said Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action, which has pushed the legislation for more than three years.

    New York Racing Association, which manages the Saratoga Race Course as well as Aqueduct Racetrack and Belmont Park, supports the measure.

    "NYRA has expressed its support for the Horseracing Integrity Act since its original introduction and we continue to support the legislation today," said NYRA spokesman Patrick McKenna.

  • Horseracing Integrity Act Backers Meet With Lawmakers

    Individual CHRI members are meeting with senators to educate them on the legislation, which recently was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat; and Martha McSally, an Arizona Republican. The Senate bill is the companion legislation to the House bill, which was introduced earlier this year by Reps. Andy Barr, a Kentucky Republican; and Paul Tonko, a New York Democrat.

    "The Horseracing Integrity Act is gaining momentum with the introduction of the Senate bill, and prominent members of the horse racing industry have flown in from all over the country to help educate senators and members about the need for reform," said Shawn Smeallie, executive director of CHRI. "We've already had 127 members of the House co-sponsor the bill, and we're confident that a majority of senators will get on board as well."

  • Let's revisit the U.S. medication penalty structure

    Regulators in the U.S. have a poor record in dealing with multiple violations for therapeutic medications. I use the term therapeutic medications to differentiate these drugs from those that possess a greater ability to enhance performance. I believe the reluctance to suspend trainers who repeatedly violate therapeutic medication rules enables a mindset that leads to the overmedication of horses.

    Simply stated, stiff suspensions for repeated violations would instantly change trainers’ behavior. Paying a fine for a positive test has become a routine cost of doing business for many trainers.

    Nothing screams leniency louder than the RCI model rule that purports to crack down on trainers with multiple medication infractions. Let’s take a closer look at the rule.

  • Gorajec: RCI Medication Penalty Structure Needs Overhaul
    Paulick Report

    In his latest blog post at horseracingreform.com, Joe Gorajec takes on the penalty structure from the Association Racing Commissioners International (RCI). Gorajec, the former executive director of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, points out that common medication overages are placed in the RCI penalty classification C. Those “points” accrued by trainer violations are erased every year, so technically a trainer could have eight or nine annual medication violations and not face any additional punishment.

    “Most often these class 4 drugs positives carry a half point on a trainer's record,” Gorajec writes. “Additional penalties begin when a trainer reaches five points. So, a trainer could have nine positive tests in a year for these common drugs (4.5 points) and serve no additional time…

    “A trainer accumulates eight or nine positive tests a year. The penalty points then expire. So, he or she can repeat the same behavior year after year.”

    Equine Advocates Press Release

    Equine Advocates will throw its biggest party and fundraiser of the year on Thursday, August 1 at the Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs, NY. Kentucky is this year’s theme as Staci Hancock and Carol & Tracy Farmer will be Equine Advocates 2019 award recipients. Terry Finley, CEO of West Point Thoroughbreds and a supporter of WHOA, was last year’s Safe Home Equine Protection Award honoree. He is chairing this year’s gala:

    Staci Hancock and the Farmers epitomize the best and most honorable aspects of our industry which include their immense compassion for horses,” said Finley. “It takes courage and tenacity to speak out and do the right thing, especially when some people consider ‘the right thing’ to be controversial. It’s not! Staci, Carol and Tracy have been steadfast in their views of what is needed to help improve the lives of Thoroughbreds. They are determined to do all they can to effect positive change for the horses and for those of us who work within the industry by elevating fairness and creating a level playing field. These aspects are essential for the survival of our sport and also includes public confidence that we are operating in an honest and ethical fashion.”

  • Dr. Ferraro New Member of California Horse Racing Board

    California Governor Gavin Newsom announced June 26 the appointment of WHOA Supporter Dr. Gregory Ferraro to the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB). Ferraro was the director of the University of California, Davis, Center for Equine Health from 1997 to 2011 and associate director of the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital from 2011 to 2014. A well-known surgeon and Thoroughbred racehorse specialist who earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, Ferraro was among the first to adapt human arthroscopic surgical techniques in horses.

  • Gorajec: RCI Kicked To The Curb By California Horse Racing Board; Who's Next?
    Paulick Report

    Now we are zeroing in on the crux of the matter.

    Then Rick Baedeker said this, “The ARCI board has been pretty vocal in its support of the current use of Lasix throughout the industry. That also is at odds with the direction this board has gone recently and has talked about going further.”

    Yep. Right there. That's it. Bull's-eye.

    I can take a very educated guess on what Mr. Baedeker was referring to when he used the phrase “pretty vocal.”

    I wrote about it last month in a column published by the Paulick ReportI called, “RCI's scare tactic press releases on Lasix ban: disingenuous, ill-informed and just plain shameful.”

  • Sen. Martha McSally bill aimed at race horse deaths prompts debate over race horse 'doping'
    Arizona Republic

    A bill co-sponsored by Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., to ban the "doping" of race horses nationwide is drawing support from animal welfare activists and industry groups, but faces criticism from veterinarians and a national association for horse trainers and owners.

    The Horse Racing Integrity Act would create a uniform national standard for drug restrictions, testing and enforcement at horse racing venues that now operate under varied and conflicting state regulations. A U.S. Anti-Doping Agency would be created to establish and enforce drug bans and rules.

    The bipartisan measure, co-sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, was introduced this week after a spike in race horse deaths at multiple tracks elicited outrage from animal rights groups.

  • New York's U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand moves to clamp down on horse race doping
    Rockland/Westchester Journal News

    U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is pushing for a law that would set up an independent anti-doping agency to oversee drug use in the horseracing industry.

    New York’s junior senator and 2020 presidential candidate is the lead sponsor of the Horseracing Integrity Act, which was introduced in the Senate Wednesday.

    If made law, the act would set up national laws for drugs used on racehorses. Today, there are 38 different state racing jurisdictions in the country, each with its own policies.

  • Gillibrand, McSally Introduce Horseracing Integrity Act In U.S. Senate
    Paulick Report

    “We applaud Senators Gillibrand and McSally for their leadership. The introduction of a companion bill in the Senate shows tremendous momentum on this issue,” said Shawn Smeallie, executive director of CHRI. “A significant part of the racing industry, as well as all of the major animal welfare organizations, support the Horseracing Integrity Act. We call on the rest of the industry to come together and support this common sense legislation and be on the right side of history.”

    The Senate bill is nearly identical to the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019 (H.R. 1754), introduced by Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY), but the Senate version includes the requirement that horse sellers notify buyers if a horse being sold has ever been treated with bisphosphonates, a medication that may be harmful to bone development in young horses.

  • Senate hearing looks at good, bad of horse racing

    WHOA Supporter Sheila Lyons, founder and director of The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation — and an expert on racehorse health and safety — testified that veterinarians in the sport are allowing trainers to dictate the drugs the animals are administered with little or no medical examinations, and that other states have criminally prosecuted veterinarians who do it.

    "There is no exception under the law for veterinarians who practice with racehorses allowing them to deliver drugs upon trainer request, and yet this practice is prevalent at New York racetracks today," Lyons testified. "The abuse of drugs has been directly linked to racehorses becoming permanently injured and dying on racetracks in New York."

    She suggested the Legislature consider enacting reforms that include having independent monitoring of veterinary practices to ensure that medications are being administered "solely to improve or protect the health of the horse."

    Lyons also called for a reporting system that would monitor the medication and veterinary treatment of racehorses "at all times."

  • Should Racehorses Be Medicated?

    John Ed Anthony has owned racehorses for nearly 50 years. He's been one of the few to resist using Lasix with his younger horses.

    "That puts us at a distinct disadvantage, no doubt," says Anthony.

    It didn't used to. Anthony's Arkansas stables have produced some great horses. Including Triple Crown race winners. In 1980, his thoroughbred Temperence Hill won the Belmont Stakes; in 1992 and 1993, Anthony won back-to-back Preakness Stakes with Pine Bluff and Prairie Bayou. All three won without Lasix. Even though he says he's at a disadvantage now, competing against horses on Lasix, Anthony continues the policy of keeping his 2-year-old thoroughbreds and most of his 3-year-olds, off the race day medication.

    "For the long term benefit of the horse," he says, "we're better off with a healthy developed horse without having his fluids drained, consistently, than we are otherwise."


  • The Shelf Life of the National Uniform Medication Program has Expired
    Gorajec,Horse Racing Reform

    I always have been, and now remain, a strong advocate of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC). For all the fine work that the organization has accomplished, there remains a chasm of needed reforms that the RMTC has not and never will be able to accomplish.

  • Racing's new normal - "just one damn thing after another"
    Gorajec, Horse Racing Reform

    Many in the racing industry thought the respite of fatalities at Santa Anita was a turning point on this issue. Only now do we realize that around every corner lurks another equine fatality and another media storm.

    Welcome to racing’s new normal.

    What should the racing industry do about it?


    What I mean by everything is to leave no stone unturned to place the horse racing industry in the best possible light. That means no more whack a mole. It means that we put ourselves in the shoes of the American public and conduct our business in a way that is consistent with THEIR sensibilities and expectations.

  • John Ed Anthony Joins WHOA
    Paulick Report

    John Ed Anthony:

    “It's clear to me that since the era of limited race day meds to today's overuse of the same, much has changed and none of it is good for owners, horses or racing,” Anthony concluded. “You'll have to show me how the abundant use of medication has improved either racing or its public image.”


  • Gorajec: RCI's Scare Tactics On Lasix Ban Disingenuous, Ill-Informed And Just Plain Shameful
    Paulick Report

    I was incredulous.

    I couldn't believe what I was reading.

    The Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) had just issued a press release warning its member commissions that any attempt to ban the administration of race-day Lasix could lead to the inhumane practices of administering formaldehyde as a Lasix substitute and have horses denied feed and water for up to 24 to 36 hours prior to post time.

    The release, issued on May 6, 2019, is titled “Commissions Put on Alert for Animal Cruelty Resulting from Furosemide Ban.”

  • 'Finn' Green Joins Water Hay Oats Alliance
    Paulick Report

    Our critical difficulty is the result of having no clear plan on how to deal with unintended consequences of multiple short-sighted decisions made over the past half of a century. We must have a uniform plan on dealing with unintended consequences moving forward. We cannot realistically go back to where we failed and make different decisions; however, we must look back over several eras and epochs to understand where we have failed as stewards to better the Thoroughbred in the United States of America.

    The United States of America's Thoroughbred Industry has perpetrated our own paradox. On the one hand many organizations in our industry don't want anyone to tell them, or us collectively, what our industry should do or not do. While similar to HPBA's Eric Hamelback, in certain instances, 'I like to think that we're acting in the horses' best interest and acting alongside with the veterinarian leadership community on this issue.' I disagree with his proposed solution of remaining status quo. We must learn internally from our long-standing short sighted mistakes or continue our slow death. I'm from the school of those willing to learn from our mistakes. We are begging for a change of direction, uniformity within our industry, and yes even intervention if it is needed to save the very soul of our industry – the American Thoroughbred.

  • Barr: New bill focuses on horse racing
    Winchester Sun

    I am honored to represent the Horse Capital of the World, and throughout my time in Congress I have worked diligently to enact polices that will promote economic growth and investment in this key Kentucky industry. I continue to believe the future prosperity of the sport depends in part on implementation of national uniform medication standards and testing procedures.

    For these reasons, last month, I reintroduced the Horseracing Integrity Act with my colleague and co-chair of the Congressional Horse Caucus, Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY). This legislation would lay the foundation for the future growth and competitiveness of racing by enacting reforms to achieve uniformity, safety and integrity.

  • Barry Irwin: Letters to the Editor

    As a keen observer as well as a participant, I feel confident in saying that the ongoing contraction of the game is a direct result of cheating by the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs that tilt the playing field in favor of crooked trainers and owners interested in dominating over their rivals by illegal methods.

    All of the enterprises in which folks are involved within the industry: breeding, pinhooking, sales companies, racetracks, training, writing, advertising, acting as agents–all of it–is dependent on one simple thing: the integrity of the race. Horseplayers have to feel good about the honesty of a contest to want to bet on the outcome.

  • Letters to the Editor: Barry Irwin

    The owners have been held ransom long enough by the HBPA, NYTHA and the TOC. Please–for the sake of the game–back the hell off and give the game a chance to right itself. Unless, of course, you would rather have animal rights organizations put measures on the ballot of every state where racing exists to end the whole shebang-a-bang once and for all.

  • Following South America's Lead On Lasix

    There are fears from some camps that the removal of Lasix from American horses would result in higher incidences of serious bleeding attacks, and thus depleted fields, plummeting handle and the demise of the sport. It is worth looking as a point of reference, however, at South America which, within the last six years, has phased out Lasix in black-type races-and in some cases even beyond–in its Part I countries.

    And the general consensus? It’s been business as usual.....

    ....John Fulton, an American-born horseman and former trainer who has conducted international business from his base in Argentina for 35 years, said that South America’s medication-free races actually tend to draw larger fields than those where medication is still permitted.

    “What I’ve seen down here is that the field sizes haven’t decreased. Here in Argentina, 2- and 3-year-olds can’t run on medication and in no black-type races can you run on medication, yet we have full fields.


  • How to Save the American Racehorse
    The New York Times

    By WHOA member, Gina Rarick

    If racing in America can’t take these steps and end strings of fatalities like the one at Santa Anita, the animal-rights activists will shut the sport down, ultimately condemning the horses they want to protect to, at best, a forced retirement. What they don’t realize is that without a job to do, the racehorse will become nothing more than a fantasy character in children’s books.

  • Letter to the Editor: David Powell

    I can understand that the incessant rains may have loosened the track surface and increased the resonance from the hard base, and therefore contribute to the number and gravity of injuries. 

    However, there is a factor which everybody in the U.S. seems to ignore: that these injuries become fatalities could possibly be due to the fact that horses are training on bute. Pain is nature’s warning signal, and if you blunt or mute that voice, you are looking for trouble.

  • Congressman Andy Barr: Horseracing Integrity Act Needed

    The Horseracing Integrity Act is backed by the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity, a diverse group of 18 members that includes racing organizations, racetracks, owner and breeder associations, and animal welfare groups that support adoption of a national uniform standard for drug and medication rules in horse racing. CHRI counts among its members BloodHorse owners The Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. 

    Five days after the bill was introduced, Barr expressed optimism because he said there is more understanding that horse racing has become an industry that is national in scope. He said the current state-by-state regulatory framework has fallen short on uniformity and noted that the current legislation would be funded within the industry—not by horseplayers through added takeout.              interview follows


  • Barr reintroduces bipartisan bill to drug test racehorses
    Ripon Advance

    If enacted, H.R. 1754 also would require full and fair information disclosure to breeding stock purchasers and the wagering public; would ban the use of all medications within 24 hours of a race; and would increase the safety and welfare of horses, jockeys and drivers, according to the lawmaker’s statement.....H.R. 1754 is supported by The Jockey Club, the Water Hay Oats Alliance, the Keeneland Association Inc., and Breeders’ Cup Ltd.




    Horse Canada


    ......A similar proposal was launched by a group of prominent trainers back in 2014. The group included D. Wayne Lukas, Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher, Roger Attfield and 22 others who released a statement in support of a similar phase out of Lasix, but the initiative was ultimately not supported by the industry.

    In a letter to the Thoroughbred Daily News on Saturday, Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, one of Canada’s all-time leading conditioners of racehorses, applauded the coming rules on eventual ban of Lasix by The Stronach Group:

    It’s about time!!!

    Congratulations to The Stronach Group for doing something about a subject that many of us have been talking about for a very long time. Hopefully all other jurisdictions will come on board to enable our industry to gain the respect that it deserves. I believe that the horse and the sport much loved by all connected will again be embraced and loved by many. We must have uniformity and integrity.

    This is why l joined WHOA (Water Hay Oats Alliance) many years ago..........

    Another successful US trainer, Graham Motion, also a member of WHOA wrote a letter calling for uniform rules across North America.

    This has been a strange week..........


  • Letter to the Editor: Roger Attfield

    It’s about time!!!

    Congratulations to The Stronach Group for doing something about a subject that many of us have been talking about for a very long time. Hopefully all other jurisdictions will come on board to enable our industry to gain the respect that it deserves. I believe that the horse and the sport much loved by all connected will again be embraced and loved by many. We must have uniformity and integrity.

    This is why l joined WHOA (Water Hay Oats Alliance) many years ago.


  • Letter to the Editor from Graham Motion

    This has been a strange week.

    What started as enthusiasm when I heard that California was considering taking a more aggressive approach against medication ended with a chaotic situation where nobody really knew what was going on. While I admire the efforts to limit medicating race horses in California, the way it is being handled is quite disturbing, including investigations by the state attorney’s office into the trainers who had horses fatally injured on the track. The affiliation with PETA, an organization who have clearly stated that their ultimate goal is to eliminate horse racing, is equally as troubling. California’s problems are our problems and we all should be extremely concerned.

  • Tonko, Barr Off to the Races with Horseracing Integrity Bill
    Tonko Press Release

    WASHINGTON—Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Horse Caucus, reintroduced H.R. 1754: the Horseracing Integrity Act today to establish a uniform national medication program, bringing the United States in line with international standards. 

    “Horseracing thrives when we put the majestic equine athlete front and center” Tonko said. “Our legislation creates a set of nationwide rules that are clear, consistent, and conflict-free. This will make horseracing safer for our equine athletes and jockeys while increasing confidence in the sport among the trainers, owners, horseplayers, and horseracing fans alike. This sport of kings has long supported good jobs and delivers billions of dollars in economic impact every year in my home state of New York and throughout the country. I am grateful to Congressman Barr for partnering with me on this common-sense legislation and look forward to advancing our measure through the House.”

  • CHRI Applauds Introduction of Bipartisan "Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019"
    CHRI Press Release

    The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity (CHRI) today announced its strong support for the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019, introduced by U.S. Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY) earlier today.

    The bill, designated as H.R. 1754, would create a private, independent horse racing anti-doping authority, the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority, responsible for developing and administering a nationwide anti-doping and medication control program for horse racing. HADA would be governed by a board composed of six individuals who have demonstrated expertise in a variety of horse-racing areas, six individuals from the United States Anti-Doping Agency, and its chief executive officer. USADA is recognized by Congress as the official anti-doping agency for the U.S. Olympic, Pan American, and Paralympic sports.

  • Barr, Tonko Reintroduce Horseracing Integrity Act
    Barr Press Release

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) today reintroduced the Horseracing Integrity Act (H.R. 1754), which establishes an authority to create and implement a national uniform medication program with input from the horse industry.

    “As the Representative for the Horse Capital of the World, I have the distinct honor of fighting for the future of this great American sport,” said Congressman Barr.  “I continue to believe the prosperity of Kentucky’s signature horseracing industry depends on national uniform medication standards and testing procedures. I am proud to reintroduce this legislation with my friend and colleague, Congressman Tonko, and I look forward to building upon the great bipartisan work we secured last Congress, including more than 100 cosponsors, to ensure the safety and integrity of this sport is preserved for years to come.”

  • Whicker: Santa Anita desperately hopes Lasix ban can stop its own bleeding
    The Orange County Register

    In Houston, Jim McIngvale is known, very well known, as Mattress Mack.....

    ......Make no mistake. This is a metastasizing crisis that endangers every track where horses run. McIngvale points you toward track and field, a sport severely disabled by drugs.

    Banning Lasix might be like throwing a water bucket at Mt. St. Helens. It also might be a start.

    “If your horses keep bleeding, maybe you turn them out,” Jim McIngvale said. “Not everyone can play in the NBA. Maybe some horses shouldn’t race.”

  • Hancock: Put Hubris Aside, Rethink Position On Medication In Horse Racing
    Paulick Report

    I wonder just how long our wonderful sport can survive with our racehorses continuing to break down, causing them to be euthanized?

    The debate about the connection of these breakdowns on the tracks and the use of powerful drugs such as Bute and Lasix is irrelevant. Perception is reality, and it is quite clear what the perception of our sport will be if we don't clean up our act immediately.

    If you don't believe me, just ask the once-beloved and iconic Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the popular SeaWorld or, better yet, Greyhound racing. The perception was that animals were being mistreated … and the rest is history.

  • Letter to the Editor: David Powell

    I can understand that the incessant rains may have loosened the track surface and increased the resonance from the hard base, and therefore contribute to the number and gravity of injuries. 

    However, there is a factor which everybody in the U.S. seems to ignore: that these injuries become fatalities could possibly be due to the fact that horses are training on bute. Pain is nature’s warning signal, and if you blunt or mute that voice, you are looking for trouble.

  • 'We Need To Be A Leader In Clean Sport And Uniformity': McPeek Joins Water Hay Oats Alliance
    Paulick Report

    “As a horseman who has been fortunate to participate in racing in many countries, I firmly believe we need to bring uniformity to American racing which will meet international standards. The world is getting smaller and we need to be a leader in clean sport and uniformity, not a follower........

  • Former NYRA Chairman Barry Schwartz, Wife Sheryl, Join Water Hay Oats Alliance
    Paulick Report

    “Sheryl and I would like very much to join WHOA. We have been in racing for more than 40 years now and never in that time has the need been greater for a regulatory bill to be put into effect. The general public is as skeptical as ever about drugs being used in racing and in many cases they are correct.

    “When I was Chairman of New York Racing Association (NYRA), I tried very hard to take back the penalty phase of dealing with violators. I was continually rebuffed by the state legislators. I believe if violations and penalties come under federal jurisdiction, we will take a major step in driving that element out of our industry. This is too great a game to be tarnished by a few bad apples.”

  • First in a Series: Spotlight on Pennsylvania's Drug testing Program - Playing Favorites?
    InsideRacing Regs

    It’s late 2016 and the track is the Meadows, a harness track outside Pittsburg.

    The Pennsylvania Equine Research Laboratory (PETRL) returns drug findings for a pair of trainers running horses at that track. Both of those reports are forwarded to the track from the commission’s headquarters in Harrisburg as violations of its equine drug testing program. Both findings are for betamethasone and the concentration for each is between 10 picrograms and 100 picograms. According to the commission, both individuals are penalized.

    Shortly thereafter, a drug finding for the same drug with a similar concentration is reported to the commission. This time things are handled differently. No violation. No ruling. No penalty. The trainer with this finding is Ron Burke, the all-time leading trainer in the U.S. in harness racing history.


  • Gorajec Unearths Six More Corticosteroid Tests In Pennsylvania; No Fines Or Suspensions Issued
    Paulick Report

    In his second installment in a blog series for Horse Racing Reform, longtime horse racing regulator Joe Gorajec writes his records search in Pennsylvania has revealed six more cases of positive corticosteroid tests which never resulted in sanctions.

    Earlier this year, Gorajec highlighted an incident from 2017 in which a harness horse tested for a 95.4 pg/ml concentration of flumethasone, which was inexplicably rescinded by the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission because it was below 100 pg/ml.

    Flumethasone is not recognized as a therapeutic substance by the Association of Racing Commissioners International's National Uniform Medication Program, or indeed, by most other racing jurisdictions (including Pennsylvania), according to Gorajec. Typically, any concentration of a substance not specifically permitted by therapeutic drug guidelines in a state is considered a positive.

  • Gorajec: Rules Enforcement, Public Disclosure Lacking In Pennsylvania Betamethasone Cases
    Paulick Report

    A series of betamethasone tests from 2016 raise questions about drug rules enforcement in Pennsylvania — that's one of the takeaways from the latest commentary by former Indiana Horse Racing Commission executive director Joe Gorajec.

    Gorajec outlined three positives for the corticosteroid which resulted from races in 2016; the first two were between 10 and 100 picograms. A third test in the same range, from the top Standardbred trainer in the country, resulted in no violations or suspensions and soon after, the positives from the first two tests were rescinded.

  • Australian Racing Executive Amanda Elliott: 'What Is The U.S. Missing?' On Medication Policy
    Paulick Report

    Upon the eve of the internationally acclaimed Melbourne Cup Carnival, Mrs Elliott shared the following statement with the Water Hay Oats Alliance:

    “When I visited Kentucky for the first time in May this year, I was absolutely amazed at the fact that there was debate and resistance to supporting the Horseracing Integrity Act to ban race day medications.

    “There is no world-class sport anywhere that allows doping or performance enhancing drugs – it is absolutely fundamental.

    “What is the U.S. missing, that the rest of the world has fully understood for quite some time?

    “This world stage of racing with uniform international standards should have America at the forefront, not isolated at a time when global relevance is so important....."

  • Global Racing Leaders Weigh In On Drug Rules, Integrity Of Competition
    Paulick Report

    Delegates who attended the 52nd International Conference of Horseracing Authorities in Paris, France, Oct. 8 heard presentations relating to the health, welfare, and safety of jockeys, the harmonization of rules, and the stimulation of betting handle.

    In the days leading up to the conference, several of them took the opportunity to share their respective thoughts on Article 6 of the IFHA International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering.

  • The Horseracing Integrity Act Would Provide Racing with a More Independent and Experienced Governing Body
    Horseracing Reform

    Those who back the status quo are critical of the legislation on the grounds that the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) lacks the necessary experience to participate in the regulation of medication in horse racing. Maybe they haven’t read the legislation, because under the HIA, all levels of regulating anti-doping would be filled from among the most qualified individuals in the racing industry.

    Simply stated, the HIA will have greater experience than any individual state racing commission, and without the baggage of conflicts of interest that now permeate the regulation of the sport in several jurisdictions.

  • Bringing True Independence to Racing's Anti-Doping Program
    Horseracing Reform

    Those of you who watched or read press accounts of the hearing on the Horseracing Integrity Act (HIA) on June 22, 2018, in Washington, D.C., know that the top three topics discussed were Lasix, Lasix, and Lasix. Lost in the fog of Lasix was a promise of the legislation to bring true independence to the regulation of all aspects of an anti-doping program.

    An argument was made in prefiled testimony by Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) President Ed Martin. This testimony is worth reviewing because it articulates a position that has been embraced by many of those who are championing the status quo.

  • Uniformity In Penalties And Drug Thresholds? RCI And Pennsylvania Regulators Have Some Explaining To Do
    by Joe Gorajec, Paulick Report

    To: Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI):

    I read with great interest your testimony before Congress last month in the hearing regarding the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017. In your remarks, you defended our current system of medication regulation in the United States and stated there is “total uniformity in the use of progressive penalties and substantial uniformity in adoption of testing thresholds for 30 appropriate medications deemed normal and appropriate for equine care.”

    You also stated, “horseracing does as good a job or as bad a job as the Olympics or any other sport.”

    Given your faith in the effectiveness of our model and your standing as the president of RCI, I would like you to review the following series of cases in Pennsylvania. Please let me know if the actions taken (or not taken) in these cases constitute the high praise that you believe our regulatory system deserves.

  • American Thoroughbred Racing, A Lone Wolf
    by Arthur Hancock, Paulick Report

    The pillars of commerce have always of necessity rested on integrity coupled with government oversight. Without honesty in dealing, commerce will begin to falter. Horseracing is not exempt from this principle. Today America stands alone at a crossroads in Thoroughbred racing and it must decide if it will choose to restore its image and integrity by legislatively banning the indiscriminate use of performance-enhancing drugs, including Lasix.

    Any such effort will require federal assistance. There is now a bill before Congress that will give the racing industry the respect it deserves by enabling racing to achieve national uniformity for drug and medication rules. This bill is called the Horseracing Integrity Act.


  • Class 1 Drug Found In Pennsylvania Stakes Race - No Action Taken
    by Joe Gorajec, Paulick Report

    This is a story of a positive test for a Class 1 drug that was lost for eight months, then ignored for a year, only to resurface now.

    Here's the short version.

    On September 11, 2016, a field of eight Standardbreds competed in the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship at Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester, Pa.

    Ten days later, the Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology and Research Laboratory (PETRL), the official racing laboratory, issued a report to Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission (PHRC) headquarters in Harrisburg with a finding of oxycodone in the blood and urine of a horse that won part of the purse money.

    What happens next is – nothing......

  • Hall of Fame Trainer Nick Zito Joins WHOA

    On April 25, Travis Tygart, the CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, was invited by the Coalition of Horse Racing Integrity to Keeneland in Lexington, to speak to a group of trainers interested in learning about USADA and its prospective involvement with anti-doping efforts in Thoroughbred racing.

    During the meeting, there was an open exchange of questions and answers centered around the Horseracing Integrity Act. Some of the trainers in attendance were members of the Water Hay Oats Alliance, some were not.  All of them were there to gain a better understanding of the proposed legislation and learn more about the ways it would affect their respective stables and their sport.

    Among those in attendance was Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito.....

  • Horsewoman, Broadcast Pioneer Charlsie Cantey Joins Water Hay Oats Alliance
    Paulick Report

    Charlsie Cantey has been actively involved in several aspects of Thoroughbred racing for more than 35 years and is best known as a racing personality for her on-air television commentary, including the Triple Crown and the Breeders' Cup.

    She has a valuable perspective on the sport by virtue of that wide-ranging experience, having seen our sport over the years from a variety of perspectives.

    In a statement to WHOA, she said:

    “My career in Thoroughbred racing began in 1968, the year Dancer's Image was disqualified in the Kentucky Derby for Butazolidin. After four decades of breaking yearlings, galloping horses, training a small string and covering national racing broadcasts from coast-to-coast, I retired in 2005 from active involvement in an industry, by then governed by a patchwork of permissive medication rules I no longer recognized.

    “Today, I feel that it is imperative that the U.S. cease race-day medication and that we do so now; hence I fully support WHOA's efforts. Our decades of dangerously loose regulations are inexplicable to the rest of the world, and totally unforgivable for the safety of our horses.”

  • Tracy and Carol Farmer Join WHOA

    Thoroughbred industry leader Tracy W. Farmer and his wife Carol have joined the Water Hay Oats Alliance.

    A member of the Jockey Club and former member and trustee of the Breeders' Cup Board of Directors, Tracy Farmer has long been active in the reform movement as a regulator serving as Vice Chairman of the Kentucky Racing Commission and head of its special committee on drug regulation and enforcement.

    "After many years as breeders and owners and now after my service on the commission, Carol and I are convinced that nothing short of strong, centralized and diversified leadership, made possible by federal law, will enable racing to survive and prosper as a sport and a business," Farmer said in announcing his support of the grassroots reform movement.

    "Our lack of consistent rules, and erratic enforcement of existing ones, has soiled our public image with fans and bettors and turned a beautiful and exciting endeavor into an endangered species.  The leaders of WHOA have done a marvelous job over the last 10 years uniting the industry to focus on our greatest weaknesses.  Now that we are out of regulating and back into racing, we are pleased to add our support to this cause.  WHOA is horseracing's most powerful supporter of uniform regulations and drug free racing."


  • Bid to ban race-day doping divides horse-rich Kentucky

    The three races showcasing the nation's best 3-year-old thoroughbreds are the crown jewels of the racing industry. A push to bar race-day doping has the backing of the owners of Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course, which hosts the Preakness May 19, and New York's Belmont Park, where the Belmont Stakes will be run June 9.

    But Kentucky's Churchill Downs, which holds the first leg of the race, the Run for the Roses, on May 5, is withholding support. So is most of the state's congressional delegation, though one of the state’s own, Rep. Andy Barr, has twice introduced the legislation.

    Barr, a Kentucky Republican, and his Democratic co-sponsor, Rep. Paul Tonko of New York, who together co-chair the Congressional Horse Caucus, have more than 100 co-sponsors for the legislation.

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article208060164.html#storylink=cpy


  • WHOA's Gorajec: Why every day is Groundhog Day in U.S. racing's rulemaking process

    You remember the movie ‘Groundhog Day’? Of course, you do! The one where Bill Murray is stuck in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He is living the same day over and over and over again. Every morning he wakes up, desperate to leave Punxsutawney.

    For every newly proposed model rule, U.S. racing experiences its own Groundhog Day. We wake up each morning only to confront the same ineffective rulemaking process over and over again, in 30+ different states........

  • WHOA's Irwin Op/Ed: What's It Gonna Be: Big Tent or Elite Circuit?

    Legislation to install USADA to oversee drug policy and enforcement in American racing very well may come to a head by year’s end.

    If a bill can be enacted into law, the entire sport has a wonderful opportunity to succeed. If not, the game as we have come to know it will likely split into two distinct factions.

    Consequently, all of us involved in every aspect of our mini-world of racing and breeding must answer the key question: Do we want a big tent or an elite circuit going forward?

  • Dr. Gary Lavin Joins Water Hay Oats Alliance

    "After years of indecision, I have joined WHOA. The recent affairs of Rusty Arnold, Graham Motion, and earlier, Bill Mott, are the straws that have broken this camel's back.

    "All major league sports have a governing body responsible for oversight, administration, and enforcement. Not horse racing...we have 38 separate bodies (states) that have the same responsibilities, creating nothing short of chaos. When was common sense abandoned? Would anyone think that those three trainers would purposefully violate the rules? Something is needed to unite this industry or we will surely see it go the way of boxing, bull fighting, and dog racing."

  • Standardbred Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter Joins WHOA

    "In order for horse racing to thrive, we need uniform rules/laws and uniform enforcement of these rules/laws in The United States. The Horseracing Integrity Act can give us that.

    I am very proud to be joining the efforts of WHOA.”

  • "WHOA," WHOA
    Horse Racing Business

    ....Whatever the reasons, the important point is that there is a glaring division within the North American racing enterprise pertaining to medication policy and regulation.  One or more provisions of the Horseracing Integrity Act is deeply troubling to virtually every leading trainer.

    It is unlikely that the U. S. Congress can be persuaded to enact a bill into law when the industry sponsoring the legislation does not present a united front.  The absence of the names of 98% of North America’s foremost trainers on a document supporting the bill is an overwhelming negative.....

  • Hovdey: Lasix issue keeps WHOA from moving ahead

    The opening salvo of the recent letter crafted by the Water Hay Oats Alliance and signed by 64 trainers read like this:

    “As trainers of horses we love, in a sport to which we have devoted our lives, we have taken a stand for clean racing by joining the Water Hay Oats Alliance.”

    Hard to quibble with the sentiment. The alliance, better known as WHOA, has been working toward passage of federal legislation called the Horse Racing Integrity Act which would, among other things, ban all race-day medications and place racehorse drug testing under the jurisdiction of the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

    The letter, released last week, was intended as a show of growing commitment to the WHOA movement, as well as an attempt to prime the pump for more trainers to join the alliance. Owner and breeder Staci Hancock, speaking for WHOA, said that in the wake of the letter at least a half-dozen trainers have been added to the voices advocating for the legislation.

    “The membership of WHOA is across the board, for anyone who has a stake in the game,” Hancock said. “But with some 75 trainers in the membership, we thought there was a critical mass to give them a chance to make a statement of support.”

  • Letter to the Editor: Arthur Hancock


    It is quite a wonderful feeling to watch the Winter Olympics, confident that every athlete in every event is competing without cheating. It is indeed moving and inspirational watching the win, place, and show recipients proudly and happily receive their medals, knowing that each Olympian competed without the use of performance-enhancing drugs. 

    We all owe a debt of gratitude to the governing body of the United States Olympic Committee for placing the rules, testing standards, and oversight in the capable hands of Travis Tygart and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to guarantee compliance. Would that the horse racing industry possessed such vision, integrity, and courage.

  • Craig Bandoroff Op/Ed: The Tipping Point?

    Perhaps you are familiar with Malcolm Gladwell and his writings. They are pretty complicated and certainly not light reading. One of his most interesting books is The Tipping Point. Gladwell contends that there can be an event that results in action taken or behavior changed that is extraordinary and unexpected. To describe it in his words:

    “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”

    “If you want to bring a fundamental change in people’s belief and behavior…you need to create a community around them, where those new beliefs can be practiced and expressed and nurtured.”

    “There are exceptional people out there who are capable of starting epidemics. All you have to do is find them.”

    I’d love to think Rusty’s situation could be our Tipping Point.

  • Hovdey: Motion gets in rhythm with WHOA movement

    The movement toward passage of the ambitiously named Horse Racing Integrity Act picked up a gust of steam this week with the announcement by trainer Graham Motion, trainer of Derby winner Animal Kingdom and champion Main Sequence, that he was signing on as a supporter of the Water Hay Oats Alliance.

    Better known as WHOA, the organization has been working hand in glove with the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity in its two-pronged effort to gain support for the legislation in both the U.S. Congress and the Thoroughbred racing industry at large.

    The federal act would enable the industry to bring all racing jurisdictions under a uniform set of rules, testing, and penalties for the use of illegal substances in racehorses as well as standards for the administration of allowed medications, with procedures established by a Horse Racing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority. The authority, designed as a non-profit corporation, would be made up of board members of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), a private entity, and racing industry representatives selected by the USADA board.

  • Trainer Graham Motion Joins WHOA for a Cause

    There were numerous times over the last few years when trainer Graham Motion considered joining the Water Hay Oats Alliance.

    Motion, who saddled Animal Kingdom to victory in the 2011 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), found much to like in the grassroots organization's mission, which advocates on behalf of the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 and backs the federal law that would create national standards for medications through the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

    Yet he remained on the sidelines, even after his own legal battle over a finding of Methocarbamol in one of his horses that was ultimately overturned last August by a Kentucky court.



  • Graham Motion Joins Water Hay Oats Alliance
    The Horse

    Kentucky Derby winning Thoroughbred trainer H. Graham Motion has joined the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA), the latest member in a growing list of trainers who support efforts for passage of The Horseracing Integrity Act.

    To date, WHOA's roster includes 65 trainers, including Hall of Famers Roger Attfield, Janet Elliot, Michael Dickinson, Neil Drysdale, and Jonathan Sheppard, as well as leading international trainers Ian Balding, John Gosden, Alec Head, Criquette Head-Maarek, and Gai Waterhouse.

  • Hovdey: Motion gets in rhythm with WHOA movement

    The movement toward passage of the ambitiously named Horse Racing Integrity Act picked up a gust of steam this week with the announcement by trainer Graham Motion, trainer of Derby winner Animal Kingdom and champion Main Sequence, that he was signing on as a supporter of the Water Hay Oats Alliance.

    Better known as WHOA, the organization has been working hand in glove with the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity in its two-pronged effort to gain support for the legislation in both the U.S. Congress and the Thoroughbred racing industry at large.

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of U.S. regulation in 2017 by Joe Gorajec
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    It’s that time of year - to look back on the last 12 months, on the substantial progress and the serious missteps - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly - of the U.S. regulatory world. 

  • Farishes Join Water Hay Oats Alliance, Support Horseracing Integrity Act Of 2017
    Paulick Report

    Will and Bill Farish of the famed Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Ky., have joined the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) as supporting members.  The father and son shared their perspective in the following statement:

    “We are joining WHOA to hopefully add some momentum to the effort in Washington to pass legislation that would mandate uniform testing for all racing jurisdictions in the United States.

    “It should be obvious to all that true uniform testing and doping control will never come about in our country unless it is federally mandated.  Those who stand in the way of the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 are becoming increasingly isolated and their opposition to the bill harder to justify.

    “We would like to ask all owners and breeders to encourage your representatives in Washington to support this important effort and  once and for all, to achieve true uniform testing standards for our sport.” – Will and Bill Farish, Lane's End Farm.

  • The Horseracing Integrity Act has the Support of 100 Members of Congress and Growing
    Press Release

    Washington, D.C. – H.R. 2651, the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017, introduced by Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) now has the support of 100 members of the House of Representatives. In addition to Congressmen Barr and Tonko who co-chair the Congressional Horse Caucus, the bill has been co-sponsored by 98 other members representing both political parties and districts across the country. 

  • Why Horse Racing Wins With a Gold-Standard Anti-Doping Program: Travis Tygart

    As the organization charged with administering testing, results management and education for U.S. Olympic sports, USADA was formed as a non-profit, non-governmental body in 2000 to stand for the rights of clean athletes. Over a 17-year history since our founding, our programs have brought uniformity and independence to a sporting landscape that previously fostered distrust among athletes, lacking both structure and integrity.

    Today, our programs, which now include developing and administering the Anti-Doping Policy for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the leading professional mixed martial arts sport around the globe, have revolutionized the reputation of anti-doping efforts worldwide.

    We work tirelessly to push for justice and reform wherever, and whenever, we are called, in order to preserve the integrity of sport. Policing and promoting sport are two functions that must have clear lines of independence.

  • Q & A on Horse Racing Integrity Act 2017
    Horseracing Insider

    WHOA has raised the bar and encouraged industry groups to take a stand against the status quo. WHOA has given members a platform to share their common belief in clean sport and drug-free racing. WHOA has given members a voice by standing together for the common good.
    If WHOA can continue to push the boundaries, raise awareness and demand that U.S. racing eventually joins other international horseracing jurisdictions and IFHA rules of racing, our grassroots efforts will have paid off. 
    Horse racing will always be with us. But it will never be as popular or widespread as in the past, like many other forms of entertainment and gambling. Racing has encountered a number of things that have diminished its footprint.

  • Letters to the Editor: James Delahooke


    I have resisted previous temptations to ally myself with WHOA (the Water, Hay, Oats Alliance) on the basis that, as a Brit, I have no business pontificating about U.S. drug policies.

    Two recent events have decided me to strap on my guns and head into town to join the battle.

  • Letters to the Editor: Barry Irwin

    Regarding T. D. Thornton’s Op-Ed Sept. 19: in a sport that sees weekly (if not daily) flaunting of current rules in which arrogant trainers appear to be using the known illegal drug EPO to gain an edge, I for one find it nothing short of comical that we are all up in arms over this silly video that served only to highlight the type of arrogance on display at America’s major racing venues.

    If those who play our game really gave a hoot, they would get deadly serious about cleaning it up, instead of paying lip service to the notion of clean sport and getting their knickers in a wad over this little sideshow. If cheaters are using EPO as many suspect, the best and perhaps only way to catch them is to have cops or surveillance. Hong Kong is able to thwart cheaters because they are on lockdown. Lockdown upset too many horsemen so it was abandoned in New York.

  • Commentary: In Wake Of Rojas Case, Racing Should Follow Lead Of USOC
    Paulick Report

    For anyone who might have missed it, Rojas, 51, of Grantville, Pennsylvania, was convicted last week by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania of 14 felony counts of misbranding prescription drugs on race day and conspiracy......For supporters of uniform and independent anti-doping testing, this is yet another sad confirmation of all that we have been contending for several years. Lax control at the state racing commission level, the ability for trainers and equine practitioners to flaunt and game the system for years on end without penalty or at least meaningful punishment, and the blind eye turned by regulatory officials, veterinarians, track owners and horsemen's associations all made this episode inevitable.

  • Beck: Is AAEP Protecting Horses ... Or Its Own Interests?
    Paulick Report

    Various members of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity, the group of industry organizations promoting passage of federal legislation that would bring uniform standards to our sport under the direction of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, have spent a good deal of time with representatives of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) over the course of the past year, listening to their concerns and sharing insights about the revised legislation.

    So it was disappointing to see, on June 6, the AAEP Racing Committee stating its opposition to the legislation.

    The new bill includes a ban on the race-day medication furosemide (Lasix), and the AAEP's current policy on race-day medication administration endorses the use of furosemide to help mitigate the occurrence of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage in the racehorse.

  • Gorajec: What you need to know about the landmark Horse Racing Integrity Act
    Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

    Ask a horse owner or trainer in the United States about racing’s anti-doping program and you’re likely to receive a quizzical look or a blank stare. That’s because ‘anti-doping’ is not a term most of us associate with horse racing.

    If you get any response at all, it’s likely to be, “We have a drug-testing program.” And indeed, racing does have such a program.

    Protecting the integrity of the sport, however, involves much more than just drug testing.

  • Longtime Owner-Breeder Brady Joins WHOA
    The BloodHorse

    In joining the Water Hay Oats Alliance, former U.S. Senator and active Thoroughbred owner and breeder Nicholas F. Brady called on the industry to come together.

    For Brady, the message was a familiar one.

    "It is becoming increasingly obvious that we are at war on the issue of medication, ... at war among ourselves. We will lose that war by default if every organization in racing continues to forge its own consensus on medication. The time has come for us to end our internal disputes and come together to find an equitable solution to this program. I recognize that it is a complicated program and that feelings are strong and polarized. But if our industry wants to control its own destiny, ... we must develop support for an industry-wide medication policy and then take effective actions to restore public confidence in racing."
    "I said this 37 years ago and it is even more important today," Brady noted.

  • Former U.S. Senator, Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady Joins WHOA
    Paulick Report

    Nicholas F. Brady, who served as a United States Senator from New Jersey and later as the Secretary of Treasury (1988-1993), has also been a prominent and active Thoroughbred owner and breeder for more than five decades.

    Mr. Brady became a member of The Jockey Club in 1966 and has been one e