Former Thoroughbred jockey Gary Stevens

Former jockey Stevens takes zero-tolerance stand on raceday medication

Former Thoroughbred jockey Gary Stevens

“I did whatever I had to do to show up, whether is was injections in my knees or whatever,” Stevens said. “My career ended much earlier than it should have had I given myself the proper amount of time to heal up every time I was hurt. I didn’t know how bad I was hurting myself sometimes, and racehorses for damn sure don’t know. I would still be riding today, and a lot of good horses would still be running today, if medications weren’t used the way they are.”

— Gary Stevens, retired jockey

This quote comes from an article by Jay Hovdey writing for the Daily Racing Form covering former jockey Gary Stevens invitation to testify on Monday in Pennsylvania, where the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health will convene for a hearing on the subject of “A Review of Efforts to Protect the Health of Jockeys and Horses in Horseracing.”

Stevens adds:

“We are not a bloodthirsty sport,” he continued. “And we do care very much. But time is running out. I see the writing on the wall, and it’s not very encouraging. Until we do what every other racing jurisdiction in the world has done, we’re in real trouble – and that’s zero tolerance when it comes to medication.”

By that, Stevens will testify, he means eliminating the use of medication as a means to maintain Thoroughbreds as active racing assets. He’s spent enough time in the trenches – including brief stints as a trainer and assistant trainer – to know that horses need modern veterinary attention to go along with down-time and tender loving care if they are going to be viable in competition. But the line, he notes, between husbandry and abuse has been tragically crossed. Continue reading >>

The Hearing starts at 9:30 am, Monday, April 30th.

:: Listen to Hearing >>

:: Full Witness List here >>

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