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.