04/01/2011 10:49AM

Europe Declares Boycott of American Racing


April 1, 2011. In a move claculated to send shockwaves through the American racing industry, European horsemen met in Brussels on Friday to announce a boycott of American racing, one that will prevent all European-trained horses form running in the United States from this day forward.

The burning issue is America's lenient raceday medication rules. In Europe, raceday medication is not allowed.

"We will not permit our horses to compete in America until all raceday medication in the United States is completely banned," said Roy de Belgique, the president of the Federation of Intra-European Breeders (FIB), who also serves as the Sports Minister for the European Union. "It is time to draw a line in the sand," he said firmly, "and drawing it in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is as good a place as any."

Leading French breeder/owner Aggie Kohen concurred.

"We in Europe will not waver on this point," he said while promenading on the Champs-Elysees. "And it isn't just the drug issue that concerns us. In America you never know on which surface a race is going to be run. Is it on dirt or synthetics this year? And if a race comes off the turf, will it be switched to dirt or synthetics? It is all very confusing. Anyway, I prefer to remain in Paris. All of my favorite restaurants are nearby."

Speaking for the British Organisation of Owners and Breeders (BOOB), Liz Windsor was adamant.

"I much prefer to do my racing at Ascot in June," she opined. "The weather then is so lovely. And anyway, who wants to send a horse to run at a place like the Fair Grounds? The weather in New Orleans is so changeable."

Contacted at his desert lair in Dubai, trainer Saeed bin Thare Beefoor declared: "It doesn't make any difference where we run our horses. They are all pleasing me and I am very happy with them."

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a spokesperson for the Hungarian Racing Association said: "We were going to send three horses to run in the Kentucky Derby, but that's out of the question now. Churchill Downs' loss is Kincsem Park's gain. In Hungary we train horses the old-fashioned way: on water, hay and goulash!"

Kentucky racing officials, all of whom are in Houston to watch the University of Kentucky play in the Final Four, were unavailable for comment.