Stop Drugging and Racing Horses to Death for Sport

Target: Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senate Minority Leader

Goal: Stop horses from dying in the Kentucky Derby races.

The racehorse at the center of a recent Kentucky Derby controversy, Medina Spirit, met a tragic fate when he collapsed and suddenly died during a track workout. The champion horse’s trainer came under scrutiny after Medina Spirit failed a drug test in the wake of the Derby. Preliminary theories suggest the three-year-old succumbed to a heart attack. Unfortunately, this fallen animal taken in his prime is only one in a long line of troubling tragedies.

Recent studies indicate a mere ten horse trainers (including Medina Spirit trainer Bob Baffert) have overseen over 160 horse deaths in recent years. Many of these animals, upon autopsy, were found with illegal substances in their systems. Worse yet, the track where this horse died has been the subject of much controversy itself. In the course of one year, 30-plus horses died at Santa Anita Park in circumstances very similar to the death of Medina Spirit. Critics have argued that chronic over-exercising at the track contributed to the fatalities.

Congress has taken on this controversial so-called sport before, but more action clearly needs to be taken. Sign the petition below to urge a comprehensive review on the future of this fading and increasingly deadly pastime.


Dear Senator McConnell,

The Racing Integrity and Safety Act is supposed to bring long-overdue reform to horse racing. The recent tragic death of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit reinforces that these proposed actions do not go far enough. Each year, over 15 percent of racehorses meet a fate similar to Medina Spirit. These animals are struck down in their prime, often the victims of a toxic cocktail of drugs and unforgiving exercise regimens.

The agency proposed by the recently passed law should not be self-regulatory, as we have witnessed time and again how a lack of accountability and enforcement enables a toxic culture. To date, only three states even have rules banning the type of substance that likely contributed to Medina Spirit’s death, and even these states only prohibit the substance on a race day. You must consider the possibility that horse racing, a sport already on a rapid downward slide in popularity, may be too far gone and not worth reforming or saving.

Please undertake a more comprehensive review of the legislation you helped introduce and take the necessary action, up to and including wholesale bans on this blood sport.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Absolute Charm


  1. Linda Hughes says:

    No damn different than DOGFIGHTING DRUGGING animals for and dangerously pitting them against one another for GAMBLING purpose that leads to death… HORSE and DOG racing is the WHITE VERSION of DOGFIGHTING… make it ILLEGAL AS DOGFIGHTING which is for drugs and GAMBLING..

    • Actually most dog fighting is done by YT people too. But other people are involved as well. All should be locked up for a long time.

  2. Using animals for human greed and entertainment is wrong! Stop abusing these magnificent creatures!

  3. Kathy .Hanigan says:

    This is HORRIBLE, CRUEL and INHUMANE. This needs to stop IMMEDIATELY.

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