Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Drugged Up

There is no doubt Curlin is an amazing horse. He won the Preakness last Saturday by a nose over Street Sense, the Kentucky Derby winner. Prior to his defeat in the Kentucky Derby, he ran three races and won them all by a combined 28 lengths. In other words, he smoked them.
The sad fact in all this, Curlin is trained by Steve Asmussen who has a history of drugging his horses. He has had 22 failed drug tests on his horses and 21 of those failed tests were on horses that finished in the money. On one of the failed tests, the horse had 750 times the allowable amount of a undisclosed substance. Asmussen claims that he had no knowledge of the drugging and thinks other trainers have conspired against him to take him down. I think this is very unlikely because most of his peers are guilty of the same offenses. Everyone in the industry knows the penalties for drugging horses are small fines and very rarely a short suspension. The Louisiana Racing Commission suspended Asmussen for 6 months in 2006. Trainers mix up drug cocktails called "milkshakes," containing sodium bicarbonate, water, and sugar. This delays the fatigue factor in racehorses. They add some steroids, maybe a little cocaine, and a little Lasix. These horses run and don't feel pain, and jack-ass trainers like Steve Asmussen continue reaping positive media attention and praise for their success. The American race industry sucks. There is no regulation. Each state determines their own rules and we are the only country in the world that drugs horses to this extent. In most countries, if trainers are caught drugging horses, they are banned from the sport. In a week, the test results will come back for Curlin and some other Preakness horses. We, the public, will never know who tests "positive." The test barn will discuss results with track officals and the trainers, Asmussen will pay his $500 fine and smile as he goes to cash in his million dollar purse. It is just one of many dirty little secrets. When are we going to let our amazing thoroughbreds run on natural ability not drug induced frenzies?


Kathy C said...

I had no clue. That's despicable!

Molly said...

Good gosh! That was certainly eye-opening. I knew they could race on Lasix and Bute but what the hell? Cocaine? That's nasty.

Rising Rainbow said...

How knew?

It's interesting that you posted this, I've been going my own direction about integrity (or lack of it) in the horse industry.

Mine was sparked by Calvin Borel and the fact he is a man of his word. Something I find to be refreshing in the horse industry as a whole and even more surprising in the race industry.

I believe the only way to stop such practices is to expose them to the light of day. The more people know about this crap, the more likely the public will get wise and finally have had enough!

Great post!

Ishtar said...

I think it's the same thing all over the world. Whenever there are any major races in Niger, the other horses get drugged. My vet used to work with some of the biggest race horse owners in Niger but he stopped after seeing what they were doing to the horses. Now he's back - but that's just because he loves the way my horses are cared for compared with the rest of the country...

learninghorses said...

UGH! That is terrible.

arthist99 said...

How awful. People outside the horse world would never have any idea...

L said...

Aarrggh!!! You mean, we may have been deprived of a Triple Crown this year because of one horse being drugged?!? That is truly infuriating.

Thanks for this post. I was not aware of how loose the drug rules were.

Tracey said...

Yeah, I'm sure they're all out to get him!

Sad state of our human minds, isn't it?

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