PROMOTING SUBSTANCE INTEGRITY IN RACING
Speedhorse compares two states’ protocols for keeping racehorses clear of prohibited medications.
Article by Diane Rice – Radio. Television. The internet. Pretty much anything that’s invented with the intention to do good can also be used for less benevolent, self-serving purposes. Such is the case with medical innovation. Drugs that can save lives — clenbuterol, for instance — can also be used to enhance performance — aka, cheat.
“I think I feel the same frustration that many other owners do,” says Jim Bailey DVM of Royal Vista Southwest in Purcell, Oklahoma.
“For years, we have watched people being found using illegal drugs and either remaining unadjudicated for a year or two, or given a slap on the wrist, or they give the horse to a ‘paper trainer,’ take a 30-day vacation and come back and get right back after it again.
“I think it’s well proven that [Oklahoma’s] current system of monitoring illegal substances is not working,” adds Dr. Bailey, who says he and his wife race at Los Alamitos to give their horses a fair shot at winning. “I think there has been a little bit of encouragement with some of the latest federal indictments for race fixing — and that’s what it is, an attempt to fix a parimutuel outcome. But the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission [OHRC] is a state agency. They’re backed by the state and they need to do the job without fear of lawsuits. They need to adjudicate these violations quickly and provide supportive arguments when cases go to court.”
Kole Kennemer, executive director of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association (OQHRA) says, “People have gotten to the point where they feel they can circumvent the regulations. We, as a horsemen’s organization, are looking at all the processes to identify potential inefficiencies so our members are able to compete on a level playing field. We have conversations and are working with the regulatory agencies so we can figure out how to move forward.”
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