Going to the Saratoga Race Track is a fun outing for many Capital District families. The sad thing is that there is something going on that people at the track may not know: More than 90% of the horses are given drugs hours before a race.
Horse racing many seem so clean and simple but really it’s not. There are people called online sellers. Online sellers are people who make drugs at their house and then sell them online without a prescription. Sometimes, people who race horses will decide to give them to their horses illegally.
Today, the NYS Gaming Commission stands by their statement: NO DRUGS. “Some drugs such as EPO are very dangerous, EPO makes a horse’s blood carry more oxygen, we don’t need horse drugs,” says my dad, Rick Goodell, an employee of the NYS Gaming Commission.
Horse drugs may seem so minor but can really hurt a horse. About twenty-four horses break down a week because of horse drugs.
Horse drugs are tested for after a horse races so the testing does not bother a horse before a race. “We use urine and blood samples to see if the horses have been given drugs.” Drugs like EPO-equine can mask pain and tell a horse to keep on running when it’s really in pain. “I would want my horse to win a race but not so desperately to hurt a horse,” said Rick.
Some drugs, like stimulants, make horses lose a race. “It’s crazy to see what people do just so their horse can win a race. It’s not like horses need to win every race.”
Some people give their horses drugs without realizing how dangerous it really is for the horse. Even using punishments like being suspended or paying a fine does not stop people from giving their horses drugs.
Although it is hard to detect horse drugs there are programs to stop it, like the Equine Drugs and Medication Program. They have stopped many people from hurting race horses. So the question remains: Will horse racing ever be clean? Think about that the next time you visit the Saratoga Race Track.