Drug Scandal Prompts PETA Preakness Ad: ‘Hold Your Tickets!’

For Immediate Release:
May 14, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Baltimore – With Medina Spirit—the horse who tested positive for a prohibited drug after “winning” the Kentucky Derby—scheduled to race in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, PETA is running an ad in tomorrow’s Baltimore Sun reminding bettors to hold all tickets, because trainers who swindle bettors by doping horses may have to pay up.

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.

Trainer Bob Baffert, who is running Medina Spirit and another horse in the Preakness, has accrued 30 verified drug violations over his career, with five incidents in just the last year. His previous excuses for positive drug tests include arguing that poppy seed bagels were responsible for the morphine in a horse’s system. Pending a second drug test and an investigation, Medina Spirit may be disqualified from the Kentucky Derby.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind