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:


  • 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.


  • 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:

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.

2nd horse shot in same Lexington area where another horse was killed

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) — Lexington police are trying to find who’s responsible for the shooting of a horse near the Fayette-Jessamine County line off Tates Creek Road.

A surgeon taking care of the horse tells WKYT the shooting happened in the very early morning hours of Monday. That’s when she was called for a horse with blood around his face.

The bullet nearly shattered the horse’s jaw bone.

“If the bullet had been, say, four inches higher she would not be alive at this time,” Dr. Liz Barrett said. “So it basically entered through the front of her nose and came out the back just behind her jaw.”

The horse is now being cared for at the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute by Barrett and her team.

The shooting is the second like it to happen in this area. Another horse was shot and killed at Springhouse Farm in 2018.

Officers are now trying to find out who is responsible, why this happened and whether or not it’s connected to the one at Springhouse Farm.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Lexington police.

The main number for the Lexington Police Department is (859) 258-3600.

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Why do Kentucky lawmakers appear to despise horses?

Horse in profile silhouetted against a night sky. Unattributed Google search image.

LOUISVILLE, KY — Why do Kentucky lawmakers appear to despise horses? It’s not simply having little to no regard for horses. These people seem to out and out despise them and want nothing to do with helping them in any way. How can this be?

Kentucky Lawmakers in Washington D.C.

The first politician’s name that springs to mind when it comes to horse hating lawmakers from Kentucky is of course U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who is also Senate Majority Leader and a huge power broker in the nation’s capital.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images via
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images via

From where we stand McConnell is top of the list in terms of intensity of destructiveness concerning our nation’s horses and their wellbeing.

Whether it’s interfering with legislation and other federal measures that would virtually eliminate horse soring and Big Lick animal cruelty, or his reported holds on bills session after session that would protect horses from slaughter at home and abroad, McConnell has proven to be a vicious enemy to horses.

Cruelty, horse soring and horse slaughter are intrinsically linked. The scale of the pain and torment meted out to horses by  sorers and slaughterers is extensive and horrific. It is truly unconscionable. McConnell not only supports but also uses his power to maintain both the soring and slaughter of horses.

Why? It may be as simple as this — McConnell loves the money he gets for working on behalf of those who spitefully use and perpetrate cruelty against horses, and peddle their flesh for profit. McConnell probably doesn’t give a thought to the horses at all.

What about the rest of the legislators representing Kentuckians in Washington?

Since legislation addressing horse soring and horse slaughter are pending in the U.S. House alone at the moment, so we will focus on the Kentucky lawmakers there.

Plus, we do not think it any mystery how Kentucky Senators McConnell and Paul will act when the companion bills are introduced in the U.S. Senate.

U.S. House Members for Kentucky

• Rep. James Comer (R-KY-1), 202-225-3115
Committees: Agriculture; Oversight and Government; Small Business

• Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY-2), 202-225-3501
Committees: Education and the Workforce; Energy and Commerce

• Rep. John A. Yarmuth (D-KY-3), 202-225-5401
Committees: The Budget

• Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY-4), 202-225-3465
Committees: Oversight and Government; Science, Space, and Technology; Transportation

• Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY-5), 202-225-4601
Committees: Appropriations

• Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY-6) , 202-225-4706
Committees: Financial Services


Let’s do a little exercise. Let’s see if any House members representing the good folks of Kentucky have co-sponsored either H.R. 113 (the SAFE Act) introduced on January 3, 2017 or H.R. 1847 (the PAST Act) introduced on March 30, 2017.

H.R. 113 — H.R. 113 (the SAFE Act) currently has 86 co-sponsors. Not a single co-sponsor from Kentucky as of yet banning horse slaughter.

H.R. 1847 — H.R. 1847 (the PAST Act) currently has 220 co-sponsors. We see a glimmer of hope. Rep. John Yarmuth is an originating co-sponsor of the anti soring bill called the PAST Act. Other than Yarmuth, no one from Kentucky has co-sponsored H.R. 1847.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) representing the 3rd District home to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. Image: KET.
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) representing the 3rd District, home to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. Image: KET.

Rep. Yarmuth and Rep. Ed Whitfield were the only two Kentucky members in the U.S. House who co-sponsored the SAFE Act’s previous incarnation, H.R. 1942, in the previous or 114th Congress. So we expect Rep. Yarmuth will do the same for H.R. 113 this time around in the 115th.

What can we say about Rep. Hal Rogers?

In July 2015, Rep. Hal Rogers, did not use his powerful position to protect horses from slaughter.

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee failed to adopt an amendment to prevent the slaughter of horses for human consumption on U.S. soil. The amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill, offered by Rep. Sam Farr, D – Calif., resulted in a tie vote, with the Chair of the Committee, Hal Rogers, ultimately failing to adopt the provision.

(Source: HSUS)

At the end of the day Rogers’ betrayal did not matter.

In December 2015, H.R. 2029, the U.S. Omnibus Bill for FYE 2016 budget, became Public Law No. 114-113 effectively preventing the return of horse slaughter on U.S. soil until September 30, 2016.

Note: A subsequent spending bill for FYE 2017 became Public Law No. 114-259 continuing the defunding of horse meat inspections necessary to slaughter horses in the U.S. until September 30, 2017.

H.R. 1338

In the meantime, the following four U.S. House members of Kentucky, together with Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and five others (four also from Tennessee; the other from Mississippi), are originating co-sponsors of H.R. 1338, filed March 2, 2017:

Rep. Andy Barr
Rep. James Comer
Rep. Brett Guthrie
Rep. Harold Rogers

H.R. 1338 is another horse soring bill, however this one intends to help horse sorers, not eradicate them.

H.R. 1338 seeks a new inspection system set up by the USDA by establishing a single horse industry organization (HIO). “The Commissioners of Agriculture for Tennessee and Kentucky must appoint individuals to the HIO. Those individuals must appoint individuals” representing the Tennessee Walking Horse industry”.

This is a horrible piece of horse related legislation for Kentucky lawmakers to be involved with.

We oppose H.R. 1338. This is nothing more than a renewed legislative attempt at getting a “fox guarding the hen house” inspection system into place where anything goes for the continued horrific abuse of these gentle horses.

No horsing around for Rep. Massie

This leaves Rep. Thomas Massie who Politico named “Mr. No”.  Massie voted “no” at least 324 times in the 113th Congress – opposing one of every three measures that came to the House floor. This year he co-sponsored a bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. He doesn’t seem to be for or against bills good or bad for horses. That’s something I guess.

Kentucky Lawmakers at Home

What about politicians at the State level in Kentucky? In our view, they have taken total lack of care concerning Kentucky’s horses to a baser level.

In March, a Kentucky State bill (SB 139) reclassifying horses as livestock instead of as a domestic animal was introduced and pushed through by a lawmaker with a documented history of horse cruelty.

Sen. Robin Webb. Source: The Paulick Report.
Sen. Robin Webb. Source: The Paulick Report.

This lawmaker whom the USDA slapped horse soring violations on is none other that Robin Webb (above), a member of the Kentucky State Senate.

Webb’s horse trainer Donald Stamper was also ticketed for multiple violations.

If that’s not enough here’s more.

The gaited horse industry came under scrutiny after undercover video of Jackie McConnell hit the national airwaves showing him soring, beating, and shocking horses with a cattle prod. McConnell pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of conspiring to violate the HPA. His first violation was in 1979.

Webb told the Herald-Leader that the Tennessee walking horse industry has been “demonized,” in light of that video. “You don’t know what happened five minutes before or five minutes after. … These are animals that are very dangerous,” Webb said.

In other words Ms. Webb views horses trying to evade or protect themselves from abuse as dangerous and deserving of being cornered and mercilessly beaten into submission.

This individual’s bill no doubt calculatingly conceived, reduced their status to livestock, putting Kentucky horses further in harm’s way by removing what few protections they had, and they weren’t much to start with.

At the same time Webb’s bill opens the door to horse slaughter in Kentucky whether intentional or not.

Sadly, despite protests from Kentuckians not a single Kentucky legislator cast a vote against Webb’s bill. SB 139 had unanimous support throughout the entire process.

Governor Matt Bevin then signed it into law.

What does this say about Kentucky lawmakers?

Sen. Robin Webb’s horse soring violations made big headlines. How could any Kentucky State lawmaker fail to be suspicious of a bill concerning horses pushed through the way it was by someone like Webb?

See also

Kentucky Livestock Derby

It won’t be long now until the eyes of millions will be on Louisville, Kentucky and millions of dollars will be wagered on what is called the “Two Most Exciting Minutes in Sports”, a sport by the way where they think it’s funny to name racehorses Gourmet Dinner and Prime Cut.

Here’s a joke for those folks.

Perhaps they should name it the Kentucky Livestock Derby. After all, they are not racing anything special — just a bunch of livestock, usable, replaceable, dispensable. And anyway, what’s in a name?

Gourmet Dinner earned more than $1 million before retiring to New Vocations Racehorse Adoption this week. The gelding will be given a big rest before training for a second career. Image: Off Track Thoroughbreds.
Gourmet Dinner earned more than $1 million before retiring to New Vocations Racehorse Adoption this week. The gelding will be given a big rest before training for a second career. Image: Off Track Thoroughbreds.

As of 2014 Prime Cut seems to have been taken care of following his retirement too. We hope so. See OTTB Spotlight: Prime Cut. We are trying to get an update on both.


Support federal bills H.R. 113 and H.R. 1847. Guarantee your voice is counted at »

See also Take action against horse slaughter in the Nation’s Capital with HR 113 »

Tip: Don’t bother with pre-prepared, automated messages. They have very little if any impact at all and often not counted.


• Supporters of Kentucky SB 139 respond to their critics in Blood-Horse article »

So happy together — Supporters of Kentucky State bill SB139 reducing horses to livestock status »

• Off the Menu: Gourmet Dinner and Prime Cut survive Thoroughbred racing »

• Despite a Triple Crown all that glitters is not gold in American horse racing (Part 3) »

Horse in silhouette. Unattributed Google search result.



Sale of Tennessee Walking Horses at Kentucky Horse Park proceeds quietly


Cross-posted from The Lexington Herald-Leader at

Tennessee Walking horse watches worriedly during horse soring inspections. Photo: HSUS.
Tennessee Walking horse watches worriedly from his stall during horse soring inspections following an undercover operation by HSUS that exposed some of the gross cruelties perpetuated on these gentle animals for the sake of human greed and ego. Photo: HSUS.
After online drama and official angst, the Kentucky After Christmas Sale of Tennessee walking horses opened quietly at the Kentucky Horse Park on Friday.

Jerrold Pedigo, president of the sale, said the crowd was a little lighter and the early prices were a little lower than had been anticipated.

Some sellers were unable to get their horses to the sale because of winter weather. Would-be buyers also said they had difficulty driving into Lexington. That might have affected prices, which seemed to mostly be under $1,000. About 220 horses were cataloged to be sold.

After a delay due to the weather, dozens of horses began to make their way into the Alltech Arena to go before a crowd of a few hundred potential buyers looking mostly for trail horses.

Tennessee walking horses are Kentucky’s third-most-populous breed, behind Thoroughbreds and quarter horses.

Anti-soring advocates had expressed concerns before the sale that sore horses might be part of the sale, but that appeared not to be the case. USDA veterinary medical officers were on hand to inspect horses before the sale, alongside paid inspectors from the International Walking Horse Association.

By late afternoon, all the horses going to auction had passed inspection.

There appeared to be no padded horses at the auction. Pads have become controversial; the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the American Veterinary Medical Association have called for them to be banned because vets say they facilitate soring. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville, has filed legislation to beef up the Horse Protection Act and ban pads.

Almost all of the horses offered for the sale appeared to be flat-shod, but “performance” or padded horse enthusiasts point out that they can be sored as well.

In the world of Tennessee walking horses, padded horses wear thick front horseshoes used to help create an exaggerated, high-stepping gait known as “the big lick.” The big lick is often associated with soring, the deliberate injuring of walking horses’ front legs. Painful treatments that trainers sometimes use to encourage the big lick include painting caustic chemicals on the horse’s front legs, piling on heavy chains that bounce on tender spots, applying huge padded shoes, or inserting objects (including nails, tacks or golf balls) under the pads to create sore feet, a practice known as “pressure shoeing.”

An analysis of the sale catalog by the Humane Society of the U.S. found that about half of the horses were entered by owners previously cited for Horse Protection Act violations; a third of the owners had multiple violations. Two horses in the sale were previously cited as being sore at horse shows, including one cited twice in 2012.

Read full report >>

Thank you Ms Patton for your unbridled coverage of this issue. — Ed.