Racehorse in blinkers. Sarah K. Andrew.

All the pretty racehorses full of all the ugly drugs

Racehorse in Blinkers
The racing industry is running with blinkers on if they think they can continue as they are much longer. First and foremost, the unnecessary and inhumane drugging must go.

The Chemical Horse

Jane Allin, research analyst for the Int’l Fund for Horses, wrote an in-depth report on drugs in US horse racing, called The Chemical Horse, published in April 2011 as part of her ongoing series on horse racing in America.

We highly appreciate the New York Times report released today, Big Purses, Sore Horses and Death. What we would like to point out is this:

Injury-masking drugs have been a significant contributor to racehorse breakdowns and fatalities for many years. The types and amounts of drugs given to racehorses overall escalate as the industry allows it to continue unpunished and unabated. Larger purses for claiming races due to increased gambling opportunities at tracks has only notched it up higher, with more deaths the inevitable outcome.

Allin states:

This exposé by the New York Times shockingly brings to light the abhorrent plight of horses in North America and the ever downward spiral of a sport that once prided itself on greatness and the captivating exhilaration it offered its fans.

Today, it seems, the racing industry subsists as an ill-fated drug culture mired in deceit, lies and without resolve. What is most disturbing is the shameless disregard for the welfare of these magnificent creatures; drug abuse, gruesome breakdowns and ultimately the slaughter house.

How many more will needlessly perish at the hands of this ruthless and greed-driven enterprise? It is nothing less than chilling to dwell on it.

The Chemical Horse

Part 1. Introduction
Part 2. Historical Aspects
Part 3. The Inception of Drug Testing
Part 4. Drugs and Their Actions
Part 5. Policies and Tactics
Part 6. Class 3 Drugs – Performance Enhancing or Not?
Albuterol, Clenbuterol, Boldenone, Stanozolol, Viagra
Part 7. Class 4 Drugs — Harmless Therapeutics?
i.e., Phenylbutazone (aka Bute), Fluxinin, Xyalzine Detomidine, Methylprednisolan, Cortisone, Methocarbamol, Naproxen, Dexamethazone
Part 8. The Unclassifieds
i.e., Lasix / Salix, Estrone, Hyaluronic acid, Adequan, Vitamins A, D, E, K, B and C, Sulphonamides, Trimethoprin, Calcium
Part 9. The Call for Reform
Part 10. Who Rules?

7 thoughts on “All the pretty racehorses full of all the ugly drugs”

  1. I have posted this before, and will again. I had the wonderful opportunity to learn about this from one of the vets who worked at Pimleco and other major tracks for 6 years. She was there to care for the magnificent TB that she loved. Instead she experienced owners, trainers, and others insisting on the administration of drug “cocktails” to almost all the horses hurting or not. She finally left with a depression that led to her death 2 years later. She was 30 years old. It broke my heart, just as the treatment of the TB had broken hers. I hope that the tide is turning, and drugs are banned from racing. As long as any are allowed, according to my friend, there will be a way that those that are allowed are engineered to cover up the administration of deadly and/or dangerous drugs that are not allowed. It is happening now, to hide the banned drugs. We have to push for this change along with the absolute ban on any USA horse being slaughtered, here or abroad. thanks to all who have the audience to present these facts to the public.. this is the attention that we need to the problem.


    1. My goodness, polopaula, I am glad you posted this moving story. I missed it somehow. Another related tragedy to this whole drug mess which is avoidable if not 100% then very darn close. Thank you for this.


  2. This all made me cry with rage. Well-said, Jane: “What is most disturbing is the shameless disregard for the welfare of these magnificent creatures; drug abuse, gruesome breakdowns and ultimately the slaughter house.” And, as a commentator wrote on the NY Times site: “if we cannot make horse racing humane and transparent, then it may have outlived its social usefulness. We must either regulate it or terminate it.” As relieved as I was to read of Star Plus’ happy ending (retirement), I couldn’t help but think of the millions of horses who suddenly become “nobody’s horse” once they are sold to slaughter, tagged with numbers like ‘7/8’ like toe-tags on a John Doe corpse. Those are our babies, those we will continue to champion…forever. There is no such thing as “nobody’s horse”!! Thank you for this wonderful reporting.


    1. I have heard that the “Star Plus” story is riddled with lies and that he is not going to “Old Friends”. I ask why anyone would create such a story only to let people down. Is it the shame in what North American racing has become? Trying to cover the evil deeds and appease the public through false pretense? How sick and lame if that is the case.

      And if so, why aren’t the people at the core of it trying to make change happen? If the response is that only a “few bad seeds” are at the inevitable demise of racing what is wrong with the majority of racing constituents here??? I for one do not believe that a minority is responsible for the atrocities that occur here. There is far too much bloodshed whether that be via the slaughter pipeline or the more insidious practice of drug induced racing that sees them perish on the tracks on their last legs trying to appease those that claim to “provide” for them. Hardly….these individuals are providing for themselves in an attempt to avoid monetary loss.

      For the scant few 0.05% or less that actually make it “big” that seems to be short lived and they are relegated to the breeding shed where they spend the rest of their lifetime in cyclic drudgery at the whim of the “human” monsters that “own’ them and have more money than brains.

      How callous has this society become?The NA Thoroughbred today is weak and at the mercy of those who seemingly have turned this once glorious sport into a national tragedy. I fear it is beyond repair and why so different from other horse racing nations? While I understand the global economy has added hardship to the plight of the horse racing industry in other nations and horses are subject to the ugly reality of slaughter, I still question why NA leads the way in it’s deplorable and egotistical self-absorbed dictatorship over the meek and innocent. A sure sign of insecurity, immaturity and outright misunderstanding of the meaning of being.


      1. I heard that too about Star Plus not really being retired at Old Friends.

        Someone called about two weeks or so after the Ray Paulick Report post to see if Star Plus had arrived at Old Friends. She wanted to see Star Plus and take him some treats. The woman answering the phone at Old Friends said no he wasn’t there; she had never even heard the horse’s name. I shrugged it off as a misunderstanding.

        Then I read — was it the recent NYT article — that said Star Plus was retired “in Kentucky”. That somehow sounded odd to me, so vague. Surely if Star Plus were there at Old Friends the Times could have confirmed it! I hoped “retired in Kentucky” doesn’t mean at some up-the-river training camp or giving pony rides at Mammoth Cave.

        I find it very difficult to believe Ray Paulick would make up such a story. Perhaps Paulick was totally bamboozled. It has happened to better than he.


        1. Agreed. I don’t think Ray Paulick intentionally duped anyone. Probably just misinformation of sorts.

          I am hoping Star Plus is in a good forever home somewhere “in Kentucky”.


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