Of Dougs and Drugs

Of Dougs and Drugs

Racing is injured – and needs immediate care.

When will the powers that be in horse racing come to the realization that they ought to just get drugs out of the game?  – Period!  Now, in a year we might see a triple Crown winner after nearly half a century (which would do the game so much good in the public’s eye) . . . it has again been tarnished by the accusations of drug use by the trainer, Doug O’Neil.  He is the trainer of the fine (and possibly great) horse, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, I’ll Have Another.  It really is a laughable tragedy that horse racing shoots itself in the foot time after time . . . and the game continues its inexorable demise.

Without going into the “guilty” or “not guilty” part of the stink (O’Neil has been hit with 4 of the same violations)  – the trainer has been given a a $15K fine, and a 45 day suspension (to begin after the Belmont Stakes) for “milkshaking” one of his runners (not, of course, I’ll Have Another) many months back.  A “milkshake” is a mixture of bicarbonate of soda, sugar, electrolytes, and other stuff that helps prevent a horse from tiring as quickly.

But then – there are scores of legal and illegal substances given to horses by trainers trying to get that little extra performance edge. It’s a constant coming up with new substances and ways to avoid detection.  The “game-within-the-game” – has become a circus.

Why not simply say – no drugs?  It’s a money thing (isn’t it always?!). Breeders and owners that have committed to speed-oriented breeding (as opposed to stamina oriented) have turned a blind eye to the fact that this is weakening the breed. This then contributes to the use of drugs that can mask the aches and pains and lack of stamina – to band-aid the animals up and send ’em out when they shouldn’t be running – and to get a performance edge where one wouldn’t otherwise exist. Again – all about the money.

The thing these short-sighted, “money-first” breeders, owners, trainers, and race-track muckety mucks don’t seem to realize is that: In the long run, the loss of interest and confidence by the average fan will end up killing the game, or reducing it to a few elite tracks – thus eliminating most of their jobs and positions anyway.

There are no drugs in European racing. Why not bring a new honesty and integrity to U.S. racing? Why not give the game back to those who make it possible – the fans and bettors? Why not have a bit of forward thinking, and act in the best interests of the game? Why not get rid of drugs permanently – as well as those who then choose to break these rules once they have been instigated?


– Gary / Horse Racing Gold


  1. Hi there, You have done a great job. I’ll certainly digg it and in my view suggest to my friends. I’m confident they’ll be benefited from this site.

  2. maurice

    thank you for saying this I agree 100% the greatest game on the planted has been destroyed by these people who think they are true masters of thier craft…what happened to the real horseman and horsewomen???

    • Thanks for the comment Maurice – I’m with you. There are still a few . . . trainer Graham Motion – who is one of the best around – has never been sited for any sort of drug related infraction, and as far as I know all his horses are drug-free (even the “legal” ones). He proves you can be competitive without ’em and as top echelon owners backing him up by sending their business. Need more like him

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