The Feds and Horse Racing

The Feds and Horse Racing

So now our illustrious congress has stuck its nose into horse racing’s drug problem, and is suggesting that organized horse racing (after 347 years in this country) needs “federal oversight.”

Oh boy – here we go!

Sure, let’s take control of horse racing away from the simply incompetent, and turn it over to the criminally incompetent!

If this goes through, it’s the death knell for horse racing as we know it. Let the feds get a hold of anything and it’s on an immediate path to ruination. These are same guys and gals that sell themselves to the highest bidder (er – lobbyist). The same ones that vote to take more and more away from the middle class citizen of this country – while never failing to vote themselves regular raises.  The same ones that increase our taxes via a steady stream of pork barrel projects, endless bailouts, and never-ceasing world-wide meddling – while voting themselves special ‘perks’ and cushy ‘packages’ on our tax dime.

I mean – look at their great success in the “war on drugs.” Untold billions have been spent since 1971 – any progress? (Only in the wrong direction!)

The drug problem exists in horse racing – granted. It needs to be solved – granted. But, my gosh, turning horse racing over to the federal government?! I can’t think of a lousier approach.

If you want to read more about this story – continue below – as excerpted from – taken off the AP wire . . .

WASHINGTON – Top horse racing industry figures took different sides before Congress on Thursday over whether the sport needs federal oversight to ban doping.

“We need a new and tougher federal law,” said Barry Irwin, whose Team Valor ownership group won last year’s Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom. He said at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing that states don’t do an adequate job regulating horse racing and that a national law is needed so that “all states will be on a level playing field.”

But Kent Stirling, chairman of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association’s medication committee, said in prepared remarks submitted for the record that uniform rules should be implemented by a national compact of states, rather than “imposed by the federal government, which has no experience or expertise in horse racing.” Stirling’s group represents thoroughbred horse owners and trainers.

Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat who chaired the Senate Commerce Committee hearing, has proposed legislation to ban race-day medication in horse racing.

“The chronic abuse of horses with painkillers and other drugs is just plain wrong,” Udall said.

Udall said Congress considered legislation regulating the sport in the 1980s.

“And industry groups insisted that congressional action was not needed,” he said. “Well, it was needed then. And over 30 years later, the need has only increased.”

Ed Martin, president and CEO of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, criticized the legislation.

“It doesn’t address the problem or the need,” he said.

Jim Gagliano, president of the Jockey Club, the breed registry for thoroughbreds, said that his group could support federal legislation to oversee horse racing, but he criticized several aspects of Udall’s proposal. He said that the bill’s definition for performance-enhancing drugs was too vague, that the ban on “knowingly” providing such drugs to horses set too high a bar for prosecution, and that the penalties might not go far enough.

Udall’s bill would ban substances such as Lasix, a diuretic that can enhance performance. Race-day use of Lasix is banned in most other countries.

Stirling, of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, defended the use of Lasix during his actual testimony. The medication is used commonly to stop bleeding in the throat and lungs of racehorses. He said it was necessary to keep horses healthy and it would be inhumane to withhold it.

“Lasix is not performance-enhancing,” he argued.

Sheila Lyons, founder and director of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation had the opposite conclusion: “Lasix is performance-enhancing.”



  1. This is the last thing horse racing needs, government involvement. All they will accomplish is screwing up a very good thing. Sure something has to be done about the drug problems, but the Federal Goverment is not the answer, just look at what they are involved in and the out come.

  2. Bob Kriebel

    Another thought: Drugs may be useful to the health of the horse. There’s a fine line between simple good health and the issue of allowing the horse to run beyond his/her limits. Who makes those judgments? Veterinarians, who are also part of the game. How do they figure into the issue. Maybe a total ban on drugs is the only workable solution.

  3. Bob Kriebel

    It does seem that SOMETHING should be done, but I don’t think Congress should do it. Right now, Congress only engages in stupid fights based almost exclusively on party lines. Just look at Mitch McConnell’s quote from 2010: “The single most important task for the Republican party is to see that Barak Obama is a one-term president. Well, Mitch, you just threw three years of potentially good work for the country out the window. That approach doesn’t do anybody any good.

    Something at the federal level might “level the playing field”. Perhaps one of the government agencies would be appropriate. The chaos is partly a response to different rules in each state. Maybe general federal rules with some “wiggle room” for each state.

    Another thought: Does this issue tie in at all to the crushing take-outs the tracks take? If so, how?

    I’m like a lot of people in this discussion: SOMETHING should be done…I just don’t know what.

    • Bob –

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments. If the government gets involved, expect the take-out percentages to climb. Unseen ‘kickbacks’ and mutuel back-rubbing will start taking place that, of course, will need to be financed somehow.

      Who do they always fleece? The average Joe.

      For starters, the government agencies and individuals that will become involved will in all likelyhood not give a flying hoot about horse racing or whether it survives or not. The fed is now on a grand and frantic hunt to find every possible source of income (avenue of theft) in order just to keep themselves afloat. If they get involved, horse racing will simply become another teat on the milk-cow. – Gary

      • Bob Kriebel

        Hi, Gary!

        I understand what you’re saying. However, the alternative to some sort of government involvement (try to keep it minimal) is to “self-regulate”, which is what we have now, which is causing the current mess. As with all things in life, there are (at least) two sides to every coin…”pick your poison”.


  4. Thomas R. Bell

    Let the government work on getting people back to work and
    let horse racing take care of itself.

  5. What goes on in Washington, D.C. makes the racing industry look like Disneyland. Maybe our government needs a commission to regulate it.

  6. I feel the racing industry is doing a good job in policing the
    problem. The real problem I see is if the Federal Government is involved in the controlling of drugs that it may not just stop there. Will they control the purses, the percentages of the winners share, the jockeys and trainers percentages of the purses? They are controlling what you can earn in the Mortgage industry so what is stopping them from totally controlling racing.

    • Rich – The key phrase from you comment is, “may not just stop there.” How right you are. When big guv gets involved in something it is as surething a bet as you’ll ever make that it won’t stop there. I can’t agree with your first sentence – that “the racing industry is doing a good job policing the problem.” They are not.

  7. Dave Henry

    I have mixed feelings about it. A lot of the bluster about “big government” has been pushed by corporate think tanks, seeking to remove any regulation that might protect the public safety and environment from out-of-control greed. And at the same time they’ve been busy infiltrating government agencies at every level, resulting in foxes guarding the hen houses. We have Wall Street banksters running the Treasury, polluters controling the EPA; and poison chemical manufacturers in charge of the FDA. That being said, who or what would influence congressional action in the matter of horseracing problems? If current practice means anything, clearly, legislation would be corrupted from the get-go. It would turn into a cash cow for the buddies of a few Congressmen, and, at best, do nothing. At worst, it could put undo financial stress on honest horsemen, driving many of them out of the business, creating the conditions for making the problems worse. What’s the solution? I don’t know if there’s a need for intrastate regs or guidelines, but without them, we still have every State doing whatever it wants (is that a good thing?). It certainly seems reasonable that a representative non-governmental group should convene to standardize acceptable nutrition and supplemental practices for equine athletes, and establish a panel of peers, legitimate horsemen, to have the authority to review drug violations and weed out offenders on a two strikes and you’re out basis. But is that possible? Probably not.

    • Dave – Thoughtful response – thanks. On your first point . . . when I use the term “big government” it is inclusive of those entities that create the “outside influences.” Our government officials are supposed to have been elected by popular vote. None of those other infiltrators were elected, so how did they get in there to exert such a strong influence? They bought their way in. And that is precisely one of the biggest problems. Those elected to represent us end up prostituting themselves in exchange for money/power trades with such entities as you mention. As I said in my post – giving it over to big guv is giving it over to the “criminally incompetent.”

      • Dave Henry

        Have absolutely no disagreement with that, Gary. In fact, I’ve become so disgusted with both big money parties, that lately I’m wondering whether a Green Party type of movement might actually become viable. But at 63 years of age, maybe I’d better leave that to the next generation to ponder and come up with a solution. Interesting how playing the ponies has lead us all into a political debate. It’s fun to speculate, though.

  8. Here is one thing I know for certain and everybody who reads this should if not already will find out very soon if the Government takes over any part of Horse Racing and Control of Drugging…This is the “verse” that will be historically repeated – “IF IT IS NOT BROKEN, FIX IT UNTIL IT IS”…If you think I’m kidding wait till the Gov’t takes over and you will see just how right I unfortunately am…Beg your states local Rep’s to VOTE against this or APPLY to Vote them out of Office for doing so.

  9. Gary,

    I am sorry that the goverment is trying to mess with horse racing.
    In Canada our goverment is saying they will take away, the money they give the race tracks for help with purses etc.

    It sounds like it is the end of Fort Erie race track.

  10. Leonard Davis

    The government is trying to be the ultimate authority and regulate everything in the country. Hence this cuts back our individual liberties.I am a paid tax preparer as well as a horse player.The government is already forcing us to pay $160 to take their test so we can work 3 1/2 months out of the year. Multiply that by 1.5 million paid tax prepare rs and you can see the win fall for the government.I am bringing this up because if they take over horse racing it would be over regulated more fees and taxes will be added.Persons working in the industry will have to prepare, pay for classes,take expensive exam on a regular basis in-order to keep their jobs.

    • Leonard – Thanks – good observation. And where will the industry make up for all those neww expenses? Right – track take. IF 15-20% seems confiscatory now, wait until they bump it on up to 40% in order to cover all the new fees and “kickbacks” they’ll need to cover big brother’s new rake.

  11. dave Kocak

    While the federal government has it’s place in many aspects of life, horse medication probably isn’t one of them and for precisely the reasons you mention ie. lobbying and special interests. After watching the construction of Presque Isle Downs for millions so that 500 people can watch the races and the rest can p;ay the slots I know the states are no better. I don’t know the solution.

    • Dave – Thanks for the comments. Precisely right – given the state of things, it’s difficult to come up with answers. The real problem is that when a thing gets too big, it seems to need regulating. Then with regulation the problems multiply. Who do we get to regulate the regulators? Who can we trust to oversee the oversight committees?

      To tell you the truth, after reading all the comments that have come in on this subject – I’d much sooner trust a committee drawn from the contributors to this thread than any government appointed one!

  12. I would like to propose a slight diversion to the Fed’s attempt. That would be to eliminate the various excuses for drugging horses by opening up the breeding process. It is my belief that many if not all of the current problems are the result of inbreeding/linebreeding of thoroughbreds over a long period of time. A considerable expansion of the gene pool would certainly not hurt the industry and over time would relieve many of these problems.

  13. We need government in certain areas of our lives but we do not need government in every area of our lives. The US Ferderal government has enough to govern at the moment and is doing a shoddy job in almost every area that they control/govern. We need a strong, solid & small government in the USA. The Feds need to go on a diet not put more on their plate.

  14. Christel Nicholson

    The Federal Government can’t even come up with a uniform voting ballot for all the states. How can they possibly come up with any uniform regulations for something they know nothing about. I agree that something has to be done to control the drugs for these beautiful animals, but the feds are not the right group to do this. Christel

    • Cristel – Thanks for your comments. I especially appreciate your reference to the “beautiful animals.” It seems the game has its priorities reversed. For me, the order of importance in this greatest of all games is;
      – First, the “beautiful animals” – without them – no game at all.
      – Second, the bettors – again, without them no game as we know it (possibly a few private tracks for the ultra rich to run against each other as a hobby).
      – Third, the breeders (who though are part of the problem)
      – Fourth, the jockeys
      – Fifth the owners and trainers.
      – Lastly, the beauracracy that organizes and regulates the activity.

  15. Gary,

    You are soooo correct. The LAST thing we need is the Federal
    Government involved. They have their hands in everything and they want more….IMHO …we have ONE last chance to change the direction,…and thats it..ONE CHANCE folks and its coming
    fast (4 months)…and of course Im not just talking about horse racing but a way of life. WAKE UP people..
    Thats my rant ….:)

    Be safe

    • Joe –

      Thanks for the comments – all rants accepted! I have little faith that a change in parties will affect anything – unless an independent candidate with the proper qualities slips into the fray at the last moment – and even if he/she did – chances of winning are equivalent to the chances of a snowball in hell. It needs to be a groundswell from the roots. It needs to be sweeping in its scope. It needs to be housecleaning on a grand scale. There need to be indictments of fraudulent banksters and politicians across the board. There needs to be true transparency, not just some new smiling face lying to us about how he will change everything.

      I just don’t think it will happen in any kind of smooth transition way. There are far too mnay Americans on the dole in this new “just gimme my goverment handouts, and leave me be” world that to hope ignorant voters will vote for any kind of radical (read necessary) change is a dream.

      • sigh …I feel (sadly) that you are correct…
        nearly 50% on the dole already …..and people seem to
        be ASLEEP!! The main stream media keeps saying “everything is ok” …and the sheep seem to like the sound of that. I think it will take (dare I say)
        a spirtual revolution …nothing less will do.
        Everythings upside down ….the good is bad …etc

        Well anyway ….keep the feds OUT of horse racing and thanks for making such great products over the years…

  16. Federal drug testing for horses can’t work. Different states and differant climates affect what is needed and when

  17. Part of the problem on why this has gotten this far is the total disregard some of the trainers have to the sport and they think it is there to taken advantage of. Think Dutrow Passaro and a lot of others. It is in there DNA.

    The answer id not the Feds that is for sure if you the think its a problem now just wait if they are involved it won’t stop there. There involved at that point and it won’t stop with just addressing the drug problems. They will threaten other aspects with regulation and have their hands out at the same time. It will be total chaos. Has anyone been reading about how successful privatization has worked. The government won’t fix anything they will make it worse

    • Lynn – Thanks for the comments. To the trainers you mentioned could be added oh-so-many more – thats sure! Very few have the integrity required to sink or swim on only their own skills. They see other trainers cheating – and winning – and getting away with it completely, or only getting a slap on the wrist when caught. Most then feel compelled to cheat in order to compete, and justify it for the sake of their owners, or their families (i.e keeping their jobs and putting food on the table).

      In actuality it is a simple problem to fix. As one of the other posters mentioned – simply make the penalties so severe that no trainer that wasn’t an outright deviant criminal would be too afraid to chance it. Let’s say; first offense – 180 day supension, second offense – permanent revoking of license. And that’s if no accident/breakdown occurs on th track. In that case – and the horse is found to have had illegal drugs in its system, then criminal prosecution should follow. As I stated in another response – I really think if the state of Kentucky took the lead on this, others would soon follow.

  18. I must say that I will be probably be in the minority with this post but what the heck. I”m all for the regulation of our sport and feel that legislative measures are necessary in order to preserve the integrity and longevity of the sport. My feelings on drugs in Horseracing is that they are abused and it goes on more than we think. I have a friend who is a trainer and he talks about it all the time. He has shared story’s about smaller groups purposely drugging their horses trying to get any edge they can on the track. This is just wrong and someone needs to step in and regulate it. I believe it’s just plain ignorance if you do not think this is a big problem. Lasix, is performance enhancing and also does have some benefits to the horse.

    Think about like this:

    When your recovering from a major surgery they give you steroids to recover better.

    But you still can not use steroids during sporting events.

    Just my 2 cents

    I can tell you with 100% confidence that there is a problem with drugs in horse racing.


    • Demetri – Thanks – all comment appreciated, no matter if you are of the majority or minority opinion. THis is precisely why we asked for comments pro or con – to get a feel for how our subscribers are thinking on the matter. I think we are 100% in accord that ther eis a drug problem in horse racing. I think we are 100% in accord that horse racing is in a mess and on a downward slide. What we don’t all agree on is how to ‘fix’ it. I agree that the game needs new “regulations” in this regard. For me, though, the more local the better. By the individual track, by the city, by the county, by the state – whatever . . . as long as we keep it completely out of the hands of the feds.

  19. joseph muzzicato

    horse racing in new jersey is almost at anend because of state gov.,i can t imagine what the feds will do.mew jersey lost a chance at sports betting,when they did nt give the people a vote on it. the fed gov will be the end horse racing as we know it.

  20. it’s las vegas all over again – when gaming (feds) stepped in they weeded out all the bad people and the costumers felt safer and more secure about there bets

  21. Like a cancer Federal involvement in any spear of our lives and business has a way of growing once it starts. The ultimate direction of legislation and regulation based on the whims of the electorate and pandering politicians can only be guessed at. Some iIndustries have tried to avoid the the encroachment of federal men in black into member’s decision making centers to some success. Pro sports like baseball and football maintain some internal control.

  22. Until drug policies are strictly enforced, and violaters punished, in every juridiction there will be little progress. Even if federal guidelines are established, state racing commissions will have to uncover and prosecute violators.

    • Spence – Good point. The needed changes must be initiated and processed at the state level – not (heaven forbid) at the D.C. level.

  23. Horse racing as we know it today is on it’s death bed. New younger players are not attracted to the worst gamble you could make. With so many more opportunities to gamble your money on why would anyone choose a gamble that will slowly take all your money. When an entity takes over 20% of your money before you start to play that’s a sure way to the poor house. Now with the Feds putting their two cents into the mix the sport will surely die or smaller tracks will go by the wayside and a few of the strong will survive with continued dwindling of attendance, when a track like Hollywood Park with 4 stakes races on a Saturday draws 6000 people that tells you one thing the sport is doomed. With the horse supply getting shorter every year and the takeouts not being lowered, the sport is all but finished.

    • Jack – Right on all points. However (if we can keep big guv out of it) there must be room for optimism – after all, something with a 3 or 4 thousand year history obviously has something going for it. It won’t disappear, but of necessity – it will be changed.

  24. Gary: Feds are into everyone’s business? It’s only going to get worse. Back in the early sixties, Feds where intentional and left the day to day business of Running State Gov. to the people of that STATE. The Feds gave big money to the STATES to
    do their business.

    Feds found out without any fan fare that the could coe

    • Ghost –

      You’re right – it’s getting worse by the month. One can only imagine whatthey would to horse racing. I read somewhere that the Pythagorean theorem consists of 24 words. Archimedes’ Principle is 67 words . . . and the US government regulations for The Sale of Cabbage consists of 26,911 words!!


  26. The horse racing industry is about to get what it deserves from its own inaction regarding drugs in horse racing. What the industry forgets (owners, trainers, and the tracks) is that this is a gambling business. It is funded solely by bettors. Bettors have a right to feel the game is honest. Part of that involves having horses race with no race day medication.

    There is constant debate as to whether certain drugs, especially lasix is performance enhancing. IT DOESN’T MATTER!!! It is an matter of perception and let’s face it, most people think horse racing is crooked. Yes, I will say it again, most of the public thinks the racing industry is nothing but a scam. They trust a slot machine as a more honest form of gambling. This will only change when the industry pulls together (it never will) and joins the 21st century.

    The industry for years has catered to owners and trainers in a “good old boys” club. Ignored completely for the past 30 years has been the BETTING public. Horse racing is beautiful to watch. The pageantry is exciting. But at the end of the day, it is a gambling sport. Why the industry can not acknowledge this and is beyond me.

    I think eliminating race day medication is essential nationally. The industry still has a short window to wake up and do it at all tracks voluntarily. They won’t. They never do what is best for bettors and the image of the business. They will be federally regulated. And yes, this will ruin the sport but…they asked for it and they will deserve exactly what they get. Too bad for those FANS that love betting (yup, I said it..betting) on this wonderful and exciting sport.

    • Jon – Thanks for the response. It’s true the game has been on a long down cycle – for all the reason’s you’ve stated. I think there is still a chance the cycle may turn up again – likely in a ‘new’ format of some kind. There are a few wise and sharp individuals out there who could lead if only the types you mention would get out of the way. But heaven help us if they turn ANY aspect of the game over to the federal government.

  27. The only man in that hearing who had anything truly relevant to say was Stirling of the National Horseman’s Association.
    Racehorses in the USA need Lasix. We have inbred speed and lost the Iron Horse probably forever. Without lasix most fields could have fewer than 5 betting interests. The average mutual payoffs could nosedive and players that use contrarian approaches to the game will leave the game. It wouldn’t take long for Joe Six Pack to also leave the game when $3.80 was a average mutual.

    • Nick – Your observation is true. Perhaps then we need fewer tracks. It would be a shame – and the passing of an era if all the “bush league” fair-circuit type tracks disappeared – yes, but it appears to be an inevitable part of what’s coming. I used to love going to the early-morning workouts, then going out after to eat a leisurely breakfast while pouring over the form for the days races at Santa Anita before heading back to the track early before the crowds showed up. The whole process – the smells, the sights and sounds – then the great spectacle itself once the racing began . . .

      But I could do without all that in order to save the game itself, so I trust others could as well. If the number of tracks is cut in half, and the number of racing days down to say three-four per week at the major tracks. We’d get the full fields back.

  28. Paul in PA.

    You are witnessing the art of misdirection a popular tactic to get the public to look at everything else rather than than Focusing on BAD POLITICIANS. No buddy should be able to hold office who that does not have a proven record of accomplishment. I am still waiting to see Mr. OBAMA’s past accomplishments why are they sealed. Has he done something in the past that would disqualify him from being an accepted as a Presidential Candidate. He now wants to see Mr. Romney Tax Records I would like to see Mr. OBAMA’s Educational Records. Horse Racing is just another diversion. Vote NO OBAMA and it all stops. Then we can take the country back. VOTE NO More BS.

    • Paul – thanks fo the comments – all I can say is . . . Don’t get me started on that subject!!

  29. Is it possible to love your country and hate it’s government? That’s the point where I find myself these days! The federal government’s only responsibility should be that of a national defense! Individual state’s are more able to deal with foreign trade without the interference of federal middlemen! The same can be said with keeping horse racing regulated on a local level ! With a minimum number of politicians/bureaucrats involved ! America’s best and brightest don’t choose politics as a career! And every day that passes, we are seeing more evidence of that! Sad but true!

    • Gary – The founding fathers saw it all coming, and tried to create protections against wanton and predatory government officials and their self-serving, power-grabbing policies. Somehow we citizens have allowed those protections to be stripped away – those very same ones that so many of those same founding fathers gave their very lives for. Executive Order is now the rule of this land – and tyranny has hidden itself in plain sight.

  30. The feds ruined the post office, created the Great Debacle (great society) ushered in OSHA, they forced the FDA to be controlled by big pharma, made campaign disclosurea a bad joke, screwed up the utilities, regulated business to death forcing them to go overseas, drove hospital costs over the top and I could go on. The point is the feds RUIN anything they touch, including people.

    They are running out of funds to steal. They are desperate for revenue.


    C A

    • C. A. – And your ‘list’ could go on for several more pages. “Governments are entities with their own interests, and will always put their own interests first. They treat their subjects as milk cows, and if they have to – they will treat them as beef cows.” (a paraphrase of something Doug Casey once said)

  31. sam reman

    This is simply history repeating. Every overgrown over reaching totalitarian government started out as a arbitor to “level the playing field”. Like all parasites, it feeds off its host until it kills it (private sector). This is just another revenue source for Uncle Sam. All they need is a victim, an open door, and a claimed monopoly on the solution. BS!

  32. The Feds getting involved would be the absolute death to horse racing as we know it. Drugs need to be eliminated but under the control of experienced Vets and/or people who have been in the business for years and have the experience to assist the Vets. The Feds can’t run anything correctly as stated in earlier comments. There is too much Government in our lives now.

    • Ted – Thanks for the comments – If this was a straw poll – isn’t it surprising how many of us are agreeing?! I asked for all comments pro anmd con. My gosh – this should show clearly what the sentiment is around the country, and not just as related to horse racing.

  33. Even though I’d like to see a central leadership/regulator in horse racing, I am convinced that our government is the worst choice for that role. I’d prefer to see some sort of regulation covering all US race tracks – keeping things uniform and safe in every state. But our government has proven to be a very poor manager of almost everything it has tried to manage (ie: TSA).

    • Absolutely agree with your assesment, and it now occurs to me that the most urgent problem now is not the original problem of drugs . . . the most urgent concern has now become keeping tha game out of the hands of big guv.

  34. Jim Craig

    Well, I would like to believe that federal regulation is not necessary, and that the states could police this relatively (unless you are in the racing business) insignificant issue. Unfortunately, this has not proven to be the case. Everyone on here agrees that “something needs to be done”. So the question that begs an answer is “Why hasn’t it?” The financial markets have certainly proven themselves unable to police themselves, education and infrastructure that is left to state control in places like Michigan has been absolutely devastated under the philosophy of tax cutting and deregulation, and assuming that all the states would magically “get this right” is quite a stretch. When I walk to the window and place a bet, I want every assurance I can get that it is a fair game.

    • Jim – Your response is well thought out and definitely causes pause . . . why haven’t racing’s problems been adequately addressed to date? This would sort of lead one to maybe think – “hey, we need a change – why not let the feds in? – maybe that will help.”

      But – I for one just can’t go there. I do not trust that big government is the answer to this problem – or any other. As I said in my post, it is now in the hands of the simply incompetent, but to put it into the hands of unlimited, federally organized incompetence? Again, it is just my take on it, but I don’t think that could be the solution to ANYTHING we might be discussing – much less horse racing.

  35. When did our government become experts in the horse racing business, especially the day to day care of the horses themselves? I don’t think that ever happened nor will it ever happen. Sure, the drug problem exists and something should be done about it. But, the federal government in charge? I don’t think so. I think some kind of national racing committee with the right individuals involved as Glenn mentioned, is a great idea. But again, not the federal government. Everyone should lobby against this.

    • Rich –

      Right on! It’s a ludicrous idea to think that a commitee of any kind headed up by professional politicians – would be expert in anything (maybe save for bald-faced lying while kissing babies and smoozing with potential campaign contributors) 😉

  36. The state of racing has become impossible for the small operator to make money and thus is being forced out of the sport. They can’t compete at the better tracks against the big money operations; so they are forced to resort to drugs or go to smaller tracks where the purses does not allow them to make a living. Drugs that hide pain should definitely be ruled illegal; but drugs that allow the animal to preform in a natural manner but not a enhancing effort should be allowed.

    • Gerald –

      Thanks for the comments. You sound like you are, or are closely related to a “small opoerator” about which you speak. I don’t know enough about all the various equine drugs and their effects (short and long term) to separate the good from the bad. I do know that if some are allowed, there will be those that then find a way to mask with one legal drug or combination – an illegal one, so that testing will then show a false negative.

  37. Cindy –

    Drugs need to be out of racing – period! Absolutely agreed. I just DO NOT trust the feds, and am quite positive they should not be the ones put in charge of the game.

  38. While I agree that there is a drug problem in racing, there is a bigger problem…IGNORANCE. We see it here in Florida at the greyhound tracks with folks picketing outside along with the horse race issue. The people in ‘power’ do not have a clue as to the 24/7 care given to these animals, in many cases a labor of love.

    • Howard – THanks for the comment. I agree (in spades) that the biggest problem we have – regardless of the topic – is ignorance. And I would add that putting the regulation of horse racing into the hands of federal government officials would be turning it over to the overall most ignorant group that could be chosen!

  39. It is to bad that this majestic way of life has come to this….modern day horseracing as a whole is a disgrace to all the great ones who truly built this worldwide hobby of raising,training and racing their horses. The lights camera action are no longer there, the crowds and tellers at every window gone because this great American pastime and way of life for some has been destroyed by greed and people who want us to believe any drug including lasix is ok…so wrong

  40. glenn davis

    The Feds may be needed to set up a national racing commission that actually would have the authority to establish a national set of rules regarding drugs, claiming rules, entries, racing dates, etc. Something has to be done to stop the chaos.

    • Glen – Thanks. I agree something must be done. I just don’t trust the federal ‘guvment’ to be competent in doing what must be done. It’s a matter that should be taken up by the states in coordination with with each other.


  42. This article doesn’t surprise me one bit. Government continues to grow and with it all the fat cats and lobbyists in tow. We need less government intervention, not more. Everything the government touches turns to crap so please just stay away. Are there problems in racing? Sure, but let’s work with people that are in and around racing on a daily basis, not some vastly bloated government agency led by some talking head trying to make a name for themselves.

  43. Tom Walker

    The best way to ruin an ailing industry is to let the government run it or even get involved in it. By a slip of hand ploy, congress banned online poker. This is a freedom taken away. The government intends to manage our medical care. What a fiasco that is proving to be.

    When the government gets involved, costs go up, effenciency goes down, and corruption increases. We don’t need the government or congress in horse racing.

    • Tom –

      Thanks – you are a man after my own heart. I’ll re-quote one of my favorites, “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” – Grover Norquist

  44. A sound horse should be able to perform without fear of inducing pulmonary odema. Whilst I don’t support excessive government interference in any aspect of life, I don’t want to be wagering on unsound animals either. Why can’t the industry regulate themselves?

    • Daniel –

      Your are so right about the bane of “unsound animals” making the game more dngerous than it should be (and harder to handicap!). There may need to be government intervention of some kind if the industry won’t wake up on it’s own, but it should be at the state level. Keep the feds out! I would think if a state like Ky. and particularly a track like Churchill Downs, took the lead on the thing – and sort of coereced the others . . . Like maybe – horses bred or raced in states that allowed drugs would not be allowed to enter the Ky Derby – or the Breeders Cup (if CD gets the full-time contract to host BC), or any other race in the state. Then get a couple of other states and major track onboard . . . ? Just a thought.

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