Written by Michelle Kretzer
the heels of trainer Doug
O'Neill's win at the Kentucky
Derby with I'll Have Another, The New
York Times reported that in the past 14 years, O'Neill has had nearly that
many violations for giving horses illegal performance-enhancing drugs. That O'Neill could be forcing
horses to run when they shouldn't may account for the fact that the horses he
trains sustain breakdowns or injuries more than twice as often, on average, as
other thoroughbreds. Yet even with multiple drug violations, O'Neill is still sought
after. Little oversight and lenient penalties make it too easy for him and
other trainers to drug horses and get away with it.
banamine|cc by 2.0The U.S. is the only country that still allows routine and extensive use of drugs in horse racing, despite the overwhelming evidence that drugs are deadly for horses.
Long-Standing History of Drug Abuse
fact, of the top 20 U.S. trainers in 2011, only two
were never cited for a drug violation, according to Racing Commissioners
trainer Todd Pletcher, who trained 2010 Kentucky
Derby winner Super Saver, has been suspended several times for drug charges, fellow
top trainer D. Wayne Lukas was caught running horses with cocaine in their systems, and
Darrel Delahoussaye and Patrick Biancone have both had numerous drug violations, including citations
for using snake venom. Rick Dutrow Jr., who trained 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, racked
up so many drug violations that he was banned from all New York racetracks for
What You Can Do
Last year, after a congressional
hearing on the use of drugs
in horseracing for which PETA supplied information, the Interstate Horseracing Improvement
Act of 2011 was introduced, which
would ban the use of performance-enhancing drugs and require that the winner and
one other randomly chosen horse be tested for drugs at all races.
take a moment to ask your representatives to vote in favor of this much-needed
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