Now that a proposed plan has been established, it is time to deal with the feasibility of not only getting this plan enacted, but also how successful it would be in limiting medication use. One of the big problems with current drug regulations is the limited testing. The Texas Legislative Council did a study on regulation of performance enhancing drugs, posting their findings in 2012. They compiled many of the testing rules from the various states. For post-race testing, none of the states surveyed required every horse in a race to test in the post-race. In fact, most of the states required just the winner and for some races a few other horses, but never the whole field. Of course for pre-race testing, every horse must be tested at entry. The current testing rules seem a little bit lopsided, allowing trainers some leeway when using race-day medications. Basically, the rule is that if your horse does not win or does not get selected, you will not get caught. This proposal solves that problem by having tests done on every horse in a race, not only a few.
The one problem with this proposed plan is the implementation. Widespread implementation right from the start is impossible; if it was possible, uniform rulings would have already have happened. However, starting small is the way to go. I already have plans to send this to the racing board in Pennsylvania within the coming weeks. Going state by state will allow more people to see the benefit of a points system. The AQHA is successful with their medication violation program so why can’t thoroughbred racing be successful with this. While this will take a lot of time to implement, as well as a monetary cost for state testing, eventually a system like this is necessary. One way to mitigate these costs is by using the US Anti-Doping Agency, which has already taken a look at integrating itself into horse racing, to provide the tests. However before that happens, this system would need to be implemented in more than just one state. Together, with you my readers, we can help this system grow and save the sport we love. Until we correct the dark cloud that drug use has given to horse racing, there will always be a large amount of people opposed to the sport, as well as limiting the international success of American horse racing. If we were to clean up the tracks, there would be a larger pool of international horses that would race in the states, where purses are larger. Since most international horses cannot use race-day medications and are very limited in other medications, it becomes much more difficult to draw them to race here. A uniform drug system helps expand the American brand both nationally and internationally. It is finally time to take a stand and move towards what other countries have done with horse racing. While we are still too far away to have completely drug-free racing, this would be a step in the right direction. Of course there are going to be trainers and owners opposed to such a system, but that just reveals the character of those people. If they truly believed that they would stay within the rules then they should support this system. If not, then how are we supposed to trust that they do not drug their horses now? We can start moving forward towards the system that Ogden Mills Phipps wants, one that gives a “level playing field.”
Thank you for following our three part series. Please, spread the word about this plan. One way to do that is by going to your state racing board. Other ways are by talking to people in the industry or the local press. Also, you can follow this link to a Change.org petition in support of this proposal. The more people that know and support this plan, the more likely we can move towards a clean racing product.