Sales ring. Keeneland. Lexington, Kentucky. Image: 2012 ©Wendy Wooley.

Keenland and Fasig-Tipton change medication policies for horse sales

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — Officials from Keeneland Association and Fasig-Tipton Company Inc. Thursday announced restrictions on the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids and bronchodilators, including Clenbuterol, for all horses sold at sales conducted by these two major Thoroughbred auction houses effective immediately.

These latest reforms are in addition to restrictions put in place earlier this year for 2-year-sales held at Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton, and follow action in 2009 to ban the use of anabolic steroids in sales horses and last year’s ban on the off-label use of bisphosphonates in horses younger than four years old.

Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason and Fasig-Tipton President Boyd T. Browning Jr. said in a joint statement: “We remain united in our advocacy to serve the best interest of the horse. The use of medication is the most critical issue facing the Thoroughbred industry, and one that threatens the confidence of both the marketplace and the public. These reforms continue to promote transparency and integrity, and in doing so, strengthen the entire auction process.”

Medication Reforms

The following changes in the medication rules will govern all future sales at Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton:

NSAIDs

  • All horses except 2-year-olds and horses in training – No more than one NSAID administered within 24 hours prior to sale.
  • 2-year-olds and horses in training – No NSAIDs administered within 24 hours prior to sale.

Corticosteroids

  • All horses except 2-year-olds and horses in training – No more than one corticosteroid administered within 14 days prior to sale.
  • 2-year-olds and horses in training – No corticosteroid administered within 14 days prior to sale.

Bronchodilators (including Clenbuterol)

All horses with exception of broodmares, broodmare prospects, stallions and stallion prospects – Bronchodilators (including Clenbuterol) prohibited within 90 days of sale. The administration of a bronchodilator for valid, on-label purposes prior to July 1 of a horse’s yearling year is permitted, but must be disclosed in the Repository with a note of explanation from the treating veterinarian.

Buyers may now elect to have post-sale testing for anabolic steroids, bisphosphonates, bronchodilators and the use of NSAIDs and corticosteroids in violation of the Conditions of Sale.

Source: Tom Kenny reporting for WTVQ.

We say — horse manure

Worried Thoroughbred stands in the Sales Ring at Keeneland, Lexington, Kentucky. Photographer: Unknown.
An anxious Thoroughbred yearling stands in the Sales Ring at Keeneland, Lexington, Kentucky. Credit: Keeneland.com.

JANE ALLIN, author of the widely heralded series of Special Reports on Thoroughbred horse racing, including The Chemical Horse, responds:

Open quote

“We remain united in our advocacy to serve the best interest of the horse … blah, blah, blah… These reforms continue to promote transparency and integrity…blah, blah, blah…and in doing so, strengthen the entire auction process.”

I read this and just shook my head. Reform? More like some magnanimous PR stunt.

Drugs, drugs, and more drugs, minus a few hours (NSAIDs) or a few days (corticosteroids). But no worries, as long as the horse isn’t a 2-year old or in training – go right ahead and administer “a dose” right up until the sale without any restrictions as to when it is administered. And prior to this? Go for broke.

And what about the yearlings? Hell, dose them up as much as you want, no real restrictions there. Even Clenbuterol is permitted prior to July 1 of their yearling year. Why in God’s name are they even administering this drug to literally babies? Oh yeah, gotta’ plump them up and make them all sleek and muscular to move them out of that sales ring like hot cakes.

Then there is this:

“Buyers may now elect to have post-sale testing for anabolic steroids, bisphosphonates, bronchodilators and the use of NSAIDs and corticosteroids in violation of the Conditions of Sale.”

This is “new”? Seriously? You mean to say this wasn’t in place before?

Disappointing isn’t a strong enough word to describe this feeble attempt to provide “so-called” transparency and integrity to horse training. It’s pathetic.

This is NOT reform. No, not in the least.

The day of reckoning will come for this sordid “sport” – do or die. That day inches closer each time another horse is sacrificed on the track and the drugs continue to flow.

And they have no one but themselves to blame. They should have learned to say no years ago, but greed is a powerful drug – the ultimate addiction.


Well and truly said.


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Featured Image: Empty Keeneland Sales Pavilion, Lexington, Ky |© 2012 Wendy Wooley | EquiSport Photos.

4 thoughts on “Keenland and Fasig-Tipton change medication policies for horse sales”

  1. Well said, Jane.
    These medication rules are laughable. A pathetic attempt to appear to be doing something about the
    repugnant practice of abusing these horses with drugs.

    And yes, the yearlings who have all sorts of things done to them purely for appearance at the auctions. The drugging, the corrective surgeries, the feeding, etc. They mess with these babies big time.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Agree Carolyn, with Jane and you. Look at the 2-yo (please gawd that’s not a yearling) pictured above Jane’s part of the post. Have you ever seen a 2-yo in nature look like that, racehorse or not. That poor nervous horse looks like an awful cartoon horse gone wrong. Unbelievable. And then they wonder why these horses get stress fractures and break down on the track during training and racing. Their legs are neither designed nor developed to hustle that kind of bulk.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. As I read their PR stunt, all I could think
    of was the only way “to serve the best interest of the horse” is to end this brutal, unnecessary gambling industry that uses and abuses these magnificent beings.

    Jane, you nailed it! Thank you truly having “the best interest of the horse” as your only motivation.

    Liked by 1 person

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