Updated on 04/24/2012 7:56PM

Congressional subcommittee to hold hearing on health and welfare in racing industry

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A subcommittee of the House of Representative’s Committee on Energy and Commerce has scheduled a hearing for April 30 to examine health and welfare issues surrounding the racing industry, according to a notice from the committee.

The hearing, called by the Subcommittee on Health, will be held in a high school auditorium in Kennett Square, Pa., about 25 miles from Philadelphia. The chairman of the subcommittee is Rep. Joe Pitts, a Republican who represents Lancaster, Chester, and Berks counties in the House.

Late on Tuesday, the subcommittee released a list of the attendees that were invited to speak. The list included Gary Stevens, the retired Hall of Fame jockey; Arthur Hancock, owner of Stone Farm, who has been a high-profile critic of medication; George Strawbridge, a Pennsylvania owner who also has been critical of medication; and Gretchen Jackson, co-owner of the late Barbaro.

Those four will appear on the first panel, the list said. A second panel will include trainer Ken McPeek; New Jersey trainer Glenn Thompson, who last year self-published a book alleging the widespread abuse of medication by rival trainers; Dr. Kathryn Papp, a Pennsylvania veterinarian; Gregory Ferraro, a professor at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, which conducts the California Horse Racing Board’s post-mortem program for horses that suffer catastrophic injuries; and Dr. Cornelius Uboh, director of West Chester Univeristy’s Equine Toxicology and Research Center, which conducts drug testing for several racing jurisdictions.

The hearing will take place five days prior to the Kentucky Derby and in the wake of a lengthy examination of the safety record of the racing industry five weeks ago in an article in the New York Times. The article was highly critical of both the alleged widespread use of drugs in racing and what it characterized as lax state regulation of the sport.

Terry Marshall More than 1 year ago
What's the use of explaining how ignorant some people are. The sign says "Health and Welfare" so leave your bias against "big gummint" at the door. Its just too ignorant a brush off in such a dirty cheating sport as what horse racing is today. Lasix is to make a horse lose 10 to 15 pounds by race day. Its a diuretic ans it makes the horse pee so much it alters its metabolism in due time. I guess all unraced two year olds are bleeders then? Come on, give your head a shake. Bob Baffert admittedly said he didn't take care of his health before he had a heart attack, then what does he care about an animal if he doesn't care about training his own body? So what kind of medication does Bob Baffert's body need to live by. No, O don't hate racing - I was born and raised into it and am totally disgusted with trainers and owners who seek success from the end of a syringe. Use Goofle to do your own research or do you ahve a bias about the truth like you have against "big gummint"? The go to hell with racing losers, you don't love anything but walking away with money in your own pocket. Its too bad Baffert didn't come back from Dubai in a pine box.I would have went out and gotten drunk and I don't even drink. I got passion and no greed. What do you have besides a biased, lop-sided brain?
Rodney Dangerfield More than 1 year ago
Terry, It sounds like you need to start drinking, or get off the meds.
Terry Marshall More than 1 year ago
Please leave your bias toward "big gummint" at the door. The sign says health and welfare and "No Virginia, there is no Santa Claus". One only need look at the trainers and their reliance on the plethora of steroids on the market in the various ways they are adminstered. Lasix will knock 10 to 15 pounds of the average horse before post time. This is why every horse runs on it. Stop the nonsende thinking its anti-bleedr mediaction. There's no standard test for EPO, the "Tour de France" drug that inreases red blood cells thus ibcreasing oxygenation in the blood. Its all there online. Do some reading and educate yourselves. Don't give me the straw man argument. "If you hate racing then close your eyes" I grew up around the track made a helluva lot of living out of it but walked away in the 80's when the relaince on the advances in chemistry hit ALL sports worldwide. If Bob Baffert admittedly can't take care of his own health, how much more concern would he have for the animal? How many good 6 year olds does he have in his barn? Look at human nature and the greed in every occupation from Wall Street to market breeders and back to the tycoons who want to own "the best" horse. Bring your head out of the sand and let the truth prevail. Are you a greedy gambler or is it "fun" to you in a sporting way? Geez, I get tired of ignorance in this sport. Just go online and do some Google searches and read about the difficulties inside the sports testing procedures. Newly disguised drugs arrive every day. Why was Barry Bond's drug of choice called Balfour "clear"? Because it was transparent in the testing lab. No cloudy tests folks. Educate, be wise and call for reform or find a crap shoot in the alley to lay your bets down. It will probably be a lot cleaner.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Maybe next they can have a hearing to stop Uncle Sam from taxing us for playing. No way to avoid when you hit big either ten cents, 50 cents, etc...Hard enough game to win and we got to give up a take already to the track and on top we get the tax. So not in the favor of the handicapper and not a good way to introduce more fans to the sport.
Peter Blood More than 1 year ago
If you examine the bone density of all breeds of horses I am quite sure you will find thouroughbreds have significantly less bone density than other breeds due to the lack of foundation in preparing them for thier racing career
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
The timing of this also is suspect, just before the Kentucky Derby. I hate to tell them but horses, especially those of Kentucky Derby quality probably live, eat and get better health care than most humans. Shoes, dentist and regular vet check ups, are part of their routine. Congress would be better off worrying about getting the US economy back on track and leave us in the industry alone. One of the posters below has it right, the government just wants to get its grubby hands on the racino loot. As with most of the government committees it is the same ole same ole and simply a pitch to the cameras to show people the government cares about something and is on the job. Election year, expect more of the same. And how much knowledge do these senators have regarding horses? Don't think they are out a 5 am shoveling manure. Oh, I may be wrong about that one. They do shovel plenty of manure!
Terry Marshall More than 1 year ago
You are completely avoiding the issue by living in a fairytale. Your avoidance of reality is apparent as well as your hatred for "big gummint". Do you have Google? Then start with "EPO Racing" "Kentucky Horse Racing Commission tests"...satrt anywhere except from your innate hatred for government. This is about the health and welfare of the animal, not your pocket book.
mrm More than 1 year ago
It's very apparent that the government is bashing the industry so they can get their grubby hands on the racetrack casino revenue. It's happening in Pa and NJ. NYS is already grumbling about the revenue sharing with NYRA.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Thing that irritates me is in PA they voted to have bigger purses and legislation pushed for it to create jobs so people could make a better living. Now they are turning around and going against what they voted for. Typical dirty politician.
Terry Marshall More than 1 year ago
Read the sign on the door...Health and Welfare"...That means for the horse not your money grubbing gambling. Read, read, read....Google...Google...oh yeah, you don't trust the truth either...
mrm More than 1 year ago
I think you need medication.
George More than 1 year ago
Get the government out of the stables! They can screw up a wet dream!! They can't balance their own books, why should they look at others houses?? Clean them jp and then maybe they can call on the horsing industry! Here's a novel idea, get local over sight, not federal BS!! Thank you for your moment!!
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
How bout if Racing cleans its' own house. The Jockey Club is a JOKE !!!
Terry Marshall More than 1 year ago
You are a true racing fan Chad. Racing needs many more fans like you.
kingsailor2 More than 1 year ago
Remember, the TOBA/Jockey Club said they would seek to pass the federal legislation via an amendment to an Energy bill . . . and here we go, sensationalist hearings with false horror stories right in front of the Derby for maximum exposure. What they want is a lasix ban and those who support it are the witnesses who will be called. And who benefits from a lasix ban? Not handicappers, not owners, but big-time breeders, who can survive and thrive when only a few stallions remain. Here is the brave new world: a few big breeders, with stallions who have never used lasix and who have won a Grade I (like in Germany), with all the little guys crowded out. And our federal masters will impose new rules every few weeks, with a huge bureaucracy, no expertise. But here is the good news: our federal poohbas will be easily located--they are the ones on the Las Vegas junkets, in the tubs, with the wine glasses. The states are doing a great job of cracking down on the bad drugs and bad offenders this year and last . . . where is the credit due to them?
Terry Marshall More than 1 year ago
Do you know what Lasix is and what it does to the "Health and Welfare" of the animal? You flew off on a rant with no facts, just subjective opinion. You are trying to project your hatred on government and are completely avoiding the truth of the matter at hand. This isn't listening to Rush Limbaugh and extrapolating ill will onto phantom enemies. This is a search for the truth about drugs in this sport. My God Roger Clemons is on trial for using steroids and lying to Congress. I guess there is a Santa Claus if you simply want it to be so.
Slew32A More than 1 year ago
Thanks for interjecting your political preference you leftist lunatic. The fact that you can't post a comment without throwing in your jab shows you're too brainwashed to be involved in any serious discussion.
Rodney Dangerfield More than 1 year ago
Bottomline, all they will try and do is tax 10 cent superfectas.
Michael Gilligan More than 1 year ago
They already do tax 10 centers, when they hit $600 whether for .10,.20,.30,.40 bets. The day they tax 300 to 1 10 centers=$30 is the day that bet dies off!!
Terry Marshall More than 1 year ago
What? From a Health and Welfare Sub-Committee? Do you even know the various branches of "big gummint"? Its just about your wallet and not the horse huh?
mrm More than 1 year ago
PETA left wingnut.
Jack More than 1 year ago
The leading Trainer will SOON be the one that has the BEST chemist, SAD but TRUE. AND they WONDER why this ONCE great SPORT continues it's DECLINE..Forget trying to ATTRACT the YOUNG, how about the MILLIONS of BABY BOOMERS that have NEVER set foot at a RACETRACK ,set to RETIRE with ALOT of DISPOSAL income and the TIME to spend it...Upper level Manaegment at the VAST majority of Race Tracks across the Country, couldn't PROMOTE a BOWEL movement with a "Truck load of Bran Muffins"...Such a GROUP of" NON-THINKERS" They NEVER played the Game and ONLY think they know what the PUBLIC wants....They ALL need to be taken out and HORSE WHIPPED and then FIRED....
Robin Dawson More than 1 year ago
Here, here...never a truer word(s) spoken.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
soon??????? you must be asleep, obviously has been going on for many years. Only way racing will ever be anything is if ALL medication is banned, lasix does nothing. If nothing is allowed and any substance produces a bad test, nobody can cheat. Its impossible to win more then 25% and people are winning 30-45 around the country. Everyone says if they're cheating why dont they get bad tests, simple, how can you when they dont know what to look for??
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Alot of them chew Jalapenos and rub it on them. Ive heard tons of stuff. My dad was Harness rider for long time. He than became a judge because of drugs and other outside factors.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Cant test for things like that.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
I think Frank Stonarch did a really good job with this past Santa Anita meet. From opening day festivities to closing day Santa Anita presented some really good racing. I can hardly wait for next opening day and also the Breeders Cup. The track was polished and clean and the weather even cooperated. A good meet. I am looking forward to Monmouth Park's opening day. I hope that it shows much needed improvement.
Slew32A More than 1 year ago
Yeah the most horse's this winter died there. The malnipulation of the track to get ultra fast times, how much of a toll did that take on the horses legs?
Terry Marshall More than 1 year ago
Ahhh, a sensible thread with truth seekers. God bless ya boys racing needs compassionate fans to save the horse from the animals...
Slew32A More than 1 year ago
Well not too long ago wasn't one of Todd Pletcher's biggest owners the head of the biggest pharmaceutical company in Canada?