Another lawmaker has joined calls for tighter regulation of US horse racing, following a damning report in last Sunday’s issue of the New York Times.
The Times report painted a disturbing picture of the industry, especially so in New Mexico.
It said racing practices continued to put animals and riders at risk, describing an industry still mired in a culture of drugs and lax regulation, with a fatal breakdown rate that remained far worse than in most of the world.
Representative Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican, called for renewed support for legislation he introduced last year that would subject horse racing to federal controls and ban the use of furosemide, or Lasix, on race day. The drug continues to be used on race days as it has been found to reduce bleeding in the lungs.
Whitfield said: “For too long, the safety of jockeys and equine athletes has been neglected for the pursuit of racing profits.
“The doping of injured horses and forcing them to compete is deplorable and must be stopped. Despite repeated promises from the racing industry to end this practice, voluntary meaningful action and oversight are not going to happen.”
His comments were echoed earlier in the week by Senator Tom Udall, a Democrat from New Mexico, who is sponsoring a companion bill.
Their bill would subject any trainer who tests positive for a performance-enhancing drug in a horse three times to a lifetime ban. In addition, it would ban the race day use of drugs.