Keenland and Fasig-Tipton change medication policies for horse sales

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

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.

Virtual Ky Derby 2020

Finish line, Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky. Image WDRB.

We think this is marketing genius on the part of Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), and perhaps, virtually, the future of horse racing in the US.

Think about it. Virtual horse racing would mean zero overbreeding, racing two year olds, those horrific claiming races, cheating, doping, cruelty and traumatic breakdowns; no more racehorses killed on the racetrack, no more killed in the slaughterhouse. Gamblers could gamble to their heart’s content and hurt nothing more than the content of their wallets. CDI et al would still make their millions with none of the hugely damaging mess that goes with live horse racing as it is run today in America. What a concept.

The virtual horse race they put on Saturday among all the Triple Crown winners in our view was CDI testing the waters on a big stage. We have been trying to find how much the handle (or amount bet) was* because profits are king; profits are everything, and the only way virtual racing will become a reality. So, what do you think? Is this the future of horse racing? Watch the replay.


Insofar as the horses themselves, we do not believe it will be, nor do we wish it to be, the demise of the Thoroughbred.

*There was no legalized gambling on this race.


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Featured Image: WDRB, Fox Ch.41, Louisville, Kentucky.

In wake of doping scandal, Kentucky may fund national testing lab

By Ryan Dickey | Horse Racing Nation

Kentucky legislators have passed a one-year budget for the upcoming fiscal year with three initiatives intended to bolster the integrity of horse racing in the state and on a national level. 

An $11.3 billion general fund budget is awaiting approval by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. Three horse racing-specific items represent $2.1 million of that total for the new fiscal year beginning July 1. 

If the budget is approved and the horse racing initiatives survive the governor’s line-item veto power, the state will add a safety steward and additional investigators to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, help fund a national medication testing laboratory and pay for a research project to study jockey injury and concussion protocols.

“There’s been a goal for a couple of years for Kentucky to have a national testing lab, not only for racing in Kentucky but for other states,” said Damon Thayer, the Senate Majority Floor Leader. “The timing was right with the news of the indictments last month to try to tackle the problem of illegal medications in racing on the front end and the back end.”

The medication testing lab would work with the bolstered investigative arm of the KHRC. Another item in the budget was to add a position in the KHRC as well as additional investigators tasked with making sure all Kentucky medication rules are adhered to on the backside of the state’s race tracks. Read full report »

We Say

Horse racing is running scared. Perhaps not fast enough. You should have gotten your hurry on when Justify (pictured above) knowingly failed a dope test which tarnished the Triple Crown. Where were you then Kentucky? Instead, it takes a huge, highly embarrassing bunch of drug busts — which you had nothing to do with by the way — for you to act. Had this on your mind for a couple of years? If it weren’t for those drugs busts you would still be sitting on your hands.

In the meantime, none of this has anything to do with the safety of the horses themselves. At the end of the day, medications not considered performance enhancing but destructive to the health and viability of the racehorse, will still be allowed, right? That means horses will continue to break down and die. So, at the end of the day, what this appears to really be about is an attempt to regain the public trust in order to protect your gambling revenues.

Then there is this. It puts the drug testing of racehorses into racing’s hands and not into the hands of an independent body — independent of racing — such as the USADA (U.S. Anti Doping Agency) which the Horseracing Integrity Act would accomplish, for a while anyway.

Gambling revenues

According to the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, prize money for races worldwide reach almost $3.5 billion a year, while the global betting industry for horse racing generates over $116 billion in revenue each year. (Dec. 2017)


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Featured Image: Triple-Crown Winner Justify gallops at Churchill Downs. Andy Lyons / Getty Images.

Second Image: Triple Crown winner Justify, in 2018. Pinterest.

Ky Thoroughbred industry refers to breeding as assembly line production

Protective Thoroughbred mare and young foal huddle together in pasture.

Check out this tweet. How do you feel about comparing the production of horses to the assembly line production of automobiles?


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