US owners lobby for Drug Ban

A trio of high-profile US thoroughbred owner/breeders  are lobbying for support of a federal ban on performance-enhancing drugs in horse racing reported Arthur & Staci Hancock of Stone Farm, Roy and  Gretchen Jackson of Lael Stable, and Augustin Stable owner George Strawbridge issued a headline-grabbing statement “appealing for widespread support” for the historic legislation introduced into the US Congress by Senators Tom Udall and  Ed Whitfield. The letter from the owners emphasises the “use of therapeutic medication in racing has not helped the sport”, noting: since 1960 the average number of annual starts has fallen from 11.31 to 6.11; the average number of lifetime starts has fallen from 45.2 to 12.97 since 1950; and  the pari-mutuel handle has dropped 24.42% in the last 3 years. Their letter declares: “With precipitous declines in both attendance & wagering at our tracks, compounded by the plummeting bloodstock sales, it is apparent that thoroughbred racing is at a crossroads. The industry has suffered a loss of confidence & respect with its fans & the general public. In our opinion, this (the drug-ban legislation) is the only way to end this terrible blight on American racing & to bring us in line with the rest of the world. We have been disappointed time after time over the years by promises, platitudes & good intentions. Now, here is a way to stop the madness once and for all.”

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