Racehorse tied in stall.

U.S. Senator Tom Udall calls for the end of doping in horse racing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) issued the following press release yesterday. It is of course important to demand it. It is another to actually introduce a bill, push it through and get it done. Udall is plucky and has the determination necessary to succeed.

Sen. Udall is of course keenly aware of racehorse doping as some of the most egregious abuses happen at New Mexico tracks, both in Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing.

Let’s not spare today’s dopers doing business as usual at Churchill Downs.

As a colleague just stated about today’s Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming:

Pletcher had 3 horses in including Patch, the one-eyed horse. And if you look at the list, it’s always the same trainers. Most of whom are drug lords.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM). (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM). (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

MAY 05, 2017
Ahead of Kentucky Derby, Udall Demands an End to Doping of Race Horses
Special gambling laws and subsidies support horse racing, even as egregious doping abuse plagues the sport

WASHINGTON – Ahead of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, U.S. Senator Tom Udall released the following statement reiterating his persistent calls for the horse racing industry to end its widespread abuse of performance-enhancing drugs and painkillers used on horses. Udall called for reform or the repeal of the federal law that makes horse racing the only sport specially permitted to offer online gambling and interstate betting:

“As long as we continue to reward the horse racing industry for its inhumane doping violations with sweetheart gambling privileges and millions in casino slots subsidies, these shameful abuses will continue. It is long past time for Congress to act to reform or repeal horse racing’s unique federal gambling law, to force the industry to look out for the safety of horses and jockeys, and to restore integrity to this once-dignified sport.

“This weekend, outside of the view of fans in the grandstand, horses competing in the Kentucky Derby will be injected before being loaded into the starting gate. As deaths and injuries pile up, it has become abundantly clear that there is no doping or corruption scandal outrageous enough to shame the horse racing industry into rooting out abuse.

“One harness trainer racked up more than 1,700 medication violations. Four track veterinarians — tasked with ensuring the health and safety of these animals – pled guilty to unlawfully and repeatedly administering performance enhancing drugs in Pennsylvania. No one caught giving racehorses dermorphin, a painkiller 40 times more powerful than morphine, has been permanently kicked out of the sport.

“New Mexico racetracks have some of the highest rates of horse fatalities and injuries in the country, yet the state has paid $682 million into horse racing purse prizes since 1999. Our state should not be subsidizing an industry that remains so shockingly indifferent to egregious doping abuses.

“A horse that needs to be injected to race should not be forced to compete. Unless we take meaningful action to insist upon real reform, Congress and the states that subsidize the horse racing industry will continue to be willful accomplices to the abuse of these iconic animals.”

Chronic abuse of performance-enhancing drugs is commonplace in horseracing. Almost every horse is given race-day medication — banned in other countries — and no uniform medication rules or doping penalties exist across the states.

As the New York Times reported in 2012, doping undermines the safety and viability of the sport, and 24 horses die each week from racing injuries — an alarming fatality rate likely caused by the misuse of permitted medication and abuse of illegal drugs.

Udall has fought for years to reform the horse racing industry. In 2015, Udall and former Representative Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) introduced legislation to eliminate most wagering on horse racing to encourage the sport to end doping and crack down on cheaters.



Yes, horse racing must rid itself of performance-enhancing drugs. More importantly, it must rid itself of injury masking drugs, the most hideous of all of racing’s doping evils.

Injury masking drugs are what destroys racehorses resulting in their death at racetracks and their health and soundness overall to the point owners and trainers dump them making them vulnerable to the meat man.

Sen. Udall sums it up this way:  “A horse that needs to be injected to race should not be forced to compete.”


See We Three Kings of Race Cheating Are by Jane Allin »

See also all posts on Horse Racing »

Racehorse tied in stall. Unattributed source.

Last Updated: 8:18 pm

3 thoughts on “U.S. Senator Tom Udall calls for the end of doping in horse racing”

  1. I grew up in this business.
    I was indoctrinated as a kid, given the proverbial well-rehearsed dialogue: “bad steps happen,” “they are treated royally before they are shipped-off to slaughter,” “we can’t control what happens to them once they leave.”
    As an adult, I owned and trained racehorses for 10 years at a “B” track while I also ran at the “premier” tracks.
    While I never had a racehorse die under my training methods, nor did I turn them into a pin cushion, it took me time to realize that this business is legitimized animal cruelty.
    I directly witnessed racehorses being abused every single day behind the security gates of ALL racetracks.
    In retrospect, I was rationalizing what was going on around me as the excuses begun to fade.
    Then I reached a fork in the road.
    It was either continue participating, and upholding this macabre cruelty circus, or leave.
    It was time to stop rationalizing.
    We hear from people still in this business saying such things as: “there are good people.”
    I respectfully disagree.
    Those good people were once like me – they are rationalizing, and they are delusional.
    You can’t possibly “love” and “care” for a racehorse plus continue to support this animal cruelty.
    It would be equivalent to watching your friend be a recipient of spousal abuse, and not report it.
    In fact, you would stand there and watch the abuse continue, and even turn a blind eye to it.
    That’s not being a good, responsible person – that’s ENABLING the abuse.
    There’s always time to shed your delusion, and actually be a loving and caring person by taking your horse, and getting it out of the hell hole called a racetrack.
    I will never forget the day that I did.
    I loaded my last horse up, we took a look around, and I never returned again nor will I.
    I knew I was doing the right thing. It felt so good to stop rationalizing, to stop watching this legitimized animal cruelty on a daily basis.
    Another thing, you can’t be a “good” person in this business because you will be unable to make a living.
    You can’t possibly compete, win, and make money up against the cowboys who have a rap sheet of drug violations (with little or no repercussions), who have multiple racehorses die under their care, and who continue to garner owners from all corners of the country.
    Furthermore, I allege they have many entities financially gaining from their doping, dying, cheating ways from the vets to the stable staff to the sales houses.
    After all, when you have a racehorse die, that means you must go out and buy another one to replace that one.
    So in order for you to financially survive in this business, you would have to turn your horse into a pin cushion, administer a plethora of doping cocktails, and be willing to try just about anything to get that horse to win.
    You are continually risking that life, and limb for the racehorse you claim to “love.”
    During this process, you become an abuser yourself.
    The entire industry has enshrined the 3 trainers mentioned in this article.
    They are not horse trainers, they are horse abusers, they are multiple drug violating drug pushers, they are killers who have multiple racehorses die under their direct training methods.
    I applaud Senator Tom Udall, and I implore the politicians to STOP funding this business.
    They receive BILLIONS in subsidies, corporate welfare while making BILLIONS in wagering profits, and dumping their discarded racehorses anywhere they can.
    States would literally WIPE OUT their deficits if they stopped supporting this abuse.
    The Interstate Horse Wagering Act (IHWA) is the ONLY act afforded to this gambling business which results in BILLIONS of dollars into their coiffures while double dipping with taxpayers funding.
    It was only supposed to be temporary, but has continued under the radar for years.
    The IHWA permits racetracks to bet BILLIONS of gambling dollars across state lines with no oversight or competition whatsoever.
    Even gambling casinos in Las Vegas are not permitted to do this under such an act.
    In fact, many casinos are forced to give profits to racetracks under the coupling act.
    This business is not only getting away with egregious acts of animal cruelty, but also wastage of precious taxpayers money, and special treatment under the IHWA.
    We must start a petition for people to sign, and show our support for Senator Udall.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on The Sports Model Jackass and commented:
    We all-as concerned human beings about the way these horses are being treated-need to support Sen. Udall as a non-partisan thing. This has nothing to do with which side of the voting spectrum you happen to be on. This is about being HUMANE to animals.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes agree, it is the so-called therapeutics that mask injuries and pain that contribute, by far, the most to catastrophic injuries and death in this out-of-control sport here in NA. And it is not just relegated to the claimers and low-end racing. Anyone pretending that these elite trainers that run horses in Grade 1 Stakes are above board is seriously deluded. It’s all about return on investment and has nothing to do with the welfare of the horse. Spare me the insincere dialogue put forth by these despicable shysters claiming that their horses are like family. Their horses are merely a ticket to padding their bank accounts.

    Liked by 1 person

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