Stop Doping Horses for Fame and Greed

Target: Alexander M. Waldrop, Director of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association

Goal: Reform testing system to better protect racehorses from illegal drugs.

The presumed winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby has tested positive for an illegal substance. Since this prize race-horse, Medina Spirit, cannot inject himself with potentially damaging drugs, the suspicion falls on his handlers…or his renowned trainer, Bob Baffert. Such controversy is hardly new ground for this man, who just in the year prior to this incident watched five of the horses he trained face failed drug tests while blaming everything from contamination to cancel culture. This time, he has been suspended from the track where he earned so much of his fame and notoriety. Baffert and his alleged wrongdoing are symptoms of a much more prevalent problem for this fading sport that exploits animals for profit.

Many of the steroids and drugs, including the banned substance betamethasone cited in this case, are used to help horses “push through the pain.” Animals experiencing tender legs and other ailments can be numbed for a period to the point where they race with these conditions not treated but only suppressed. In the long-term, the drugs could do irreparable damage to the horses’ well-being. Injuries are exacerbated and may become crippling, not to mention the dangers the drugs themselves can do to the animal’s body systems.

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which would create more stringent rules and enforced penalties regarding doping in horse racing, was passed by Congress, but will not take effect until 2022. In the meantime, opportunistic individuals acting in bad faith can continue to game the system and put animals at risk. Prior to the latest scandal, Baffert had managed to maneuver his way out of any substantial penalties for the disqualifications of his horses.

This corrupt testing system must be overhauled now. Sign the petition below to demand horse racing’s highest authority for once protect and ensure the welfare of its most prized commodities.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Waldrop,

A lack of quality control, a confusing mess of different rules and regulations, lack of transparency, and now one of the biggest scandals to ever hit the sport: these are the realities of American horse racing’s much-maligned and never-changed drug testing system. The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act may finally bring some measure of responsibility. The time for meaningful action, however, is now.

You have a horse under a cloud of suspicion competing in the second leg of the Triple Crown. You have angry fans who want answers. You have a trainer who has escaped responsibility but never suspicion time and again. Most of all, you have a tragic legacy of animals potentially hobbled and sickened in the prime of their lives.  As the chief governing body of horse racing in America, this organization has the leverage and influence to make the needed changes with more expedience.

Help overhaul the dangerous and outdated drug testing system, truly enforce suspensions and penalties, and safeguard the living beings that have sustained your enterprise for decades.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Kybluegrass

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