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Guard Triple Crown Contender 24/7

Written by PETA | May 31, 2012

Update: PETA has learned that the New York State Racing and Wagering Board has just announced a plan that it had previously formulated similar to what PETA proposed this morning, which will help ensure the safety of horses during the Belmont Stakes. PETA congratulates Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the board for taking these precautions. We urge the board to add the following critical measure: While currently New York Racing Association (NYRA) veterinarians are required for the administration of Lasix, we urge the board to require that only NYRA veterinarians supply and administer any medication, supplements, and vitamins as well as any other substances given to horses during the entire stakes barn-detention period in order to guarantee the safety of the horses.

I’ll Have Another, the thoroughbred who recently won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, would seem to be in an exalted position as the Belmont Stakes approaches—but even horses at the top of the racing world are at constant risk. I’ll Have Another’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, has been in hot water for drugging violations for more than a decade, and there’s no reason to trust him now. That’s why PETA is asking New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take special measures to see that I’ll Have Another is protected in the days leading up to the final Triple Crown race on June 9.

Time to Step Up Against Shady Training

O’Neill has been cited more than a dozen times for violating numerous drug rules in multiple states, culminating in his suspension last week by the California Horse Racing Board. According to a recent New York Times report, O’Neill’s horses also break down or show signs of injury at more than twice the national rate.

Gov. Cuomo cares about thoroughbreds—he recently took control of horse racing in his state, suspending the badly managed New York Racing Association and forming a government board charged with reforming drug use and protecting the health and safety of horses and jockeys. So PETA is urging Gov. Cuomo to follow through on this goal by putting I’ll Have Another on round-the-clock surveillance in the five days before the Belmont to make sure that he won’t be doped up on any of the dangerous substances that O’Neill has used in the past.


Jeff Kubina
|cc by 2.0

How You Can Help Horses

If the governor acts, it will be another in a series of significant measures that PETA has helped put in place for horses used in racing, so let’s keep the momentum going—speak up for horses today!

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  • sherrie says:

    I don’t like seeing an animal forced to endure something I wouldn’t like done on myself or my kid (the gum chain, that is). I have an OTTB and I love riding him. I am not even a fan of bits. He responds better in his bit less bridle.

  • Martee says:

    Looks Like The Horse is in pain ,I Think of how Would I Feel With a Chain on My Gum ,and I Cannot Accept This As Anything Other Then Cruelty, Horses Will Respond With Kindness if Treated and Trained ,Seems These Horses Are Too Young For What They are Asking Them To Do

  • Caroline says:

    Alicia, I’m just curious are you a PETA supporter and/or vegan? Just wondering because I’m huge horse racing fan and I’m wondering if it’d be hypocritical to go vegan or support PETA.

  • Caroline says:

    Susan, I don’t think the chain over the lip is cruel. A lot of race horses are really, really extremely high strung before a race and it helps distract them. The goal is not to cause pain. The grooms will sometimes toggle it around a little bit to just to get their attention. And it’s there for added control in a worse case scenario such as if a horse is rearing, trying to bolt, ect.

  • rose says:

    What is that around his lower jaw…looks like a rubber band…holding his tongue?

  • Alicia says:

    At Susan, I am not not a fan of the chain in the mouth at all… HOWEVER a chain over the nose is a nessasary thing to have on racehorses. The amount of energy and strenth they have it is safer for horse and human this way. As for weanlings and yearlings, some do need it but most dont. I own a yearling Thoroughbred colt, bred to race. We have a chain over the nose with a lead just in case he does somthing dangerous, but we also have a regular lead rope attached that we use 99% of the time. We NEVER use the chain unless like I said he is doing somthing dangerous, like rearing, striking or biting. I also agree that there are alot of other things that need to be changed about racing, especialy medications on race day should banned alltogether.

  • susan says:

    Talk about cruelty–placing a chain over the upper gum of the horse to achieve “better control” is so painful and repugnant but, I guess that when the chain portion of the lead is placed over the nose of a weanling /yearling there just isn’t any other way?????

  • Alicia says:

    They already have. Starting June 6th ALL Belmont Stakes horses will be under very close guard to make sure nothing happens to any of them.

  • memnoch says:

    even if he did “dope” IHA, the horse would be tested and disqualified. he has waaaaayyy too much to lose to try something like that.

  • Research says:

    I don’t think peta understands how the drug testing works etc. What is round the clock survaliance going to do?

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