Horse Health

‘Time For A Revolution’: Gary Stevens Calls For Support Of Horseracing Integrity Act

Source: The Paulick Report

The Water Hay Oats Alliance issued the following press release Monday:

Gary Stevens, a Hall of Fame Jockey and a long time member of the Water Hay Oats Alliance, is calling for reform.

“It’s time for a revolution to save our sport.  And it has to happen ASAP!

I believe good things can happen when mistakes are made. I was taught it’s okay to make mistakes but don’t make the same mistake twice. We have been making the same mistakes for decades in our industry. It’s time to correct that and take responsibility for our mistakes and right the ship we are sailing. 

The Horseracing Integrity Act can put us on the right course by turning the issue of drugs and medication in U.S. horse racing over to an independent expert on the subject.  The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) functions under the international WADA code and practices under the highest rules of independence and integrity.”

Stevens has been on the forefront of reform since 2012 when he testified before a Pennsylvania Field Hearing on the Health of Jockeys and Horses in Horseracing.   The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health’s hearing entitled “A Review of Efforts to Protect Jockeys and Horses in Horseracing” examined what reforms, if any, had been made in the horse racing industry to protect jockeys, horses, and the integrity of the sport.

Most recently Stevens appeared on CBS This Morning which originally aired on Saturday, November 30th.  When commenting on the need for national racing reform, he said “It’s gotta happen or they are done here. Period. And if they’re done here, it’s going to be a tidal wave across the United States.”

9 replies »

  1. … he said “It’s gotta happen or they are done here. Period. And if they’re done here, it’s going to be a tidal wave across the United States.”
    My comment … if the racing industry can’t rid itself of animal abuse then let it be DONE.

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  2. It would seem that the jockeys have plenty of reason to make the sport safer, although it’s dangerous at best. It would also seem that the jockeys have the power. They can’t have a race without them

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, it depends on the races. There are plenty of bush-track races going on under the radar. Think illegal gambling, but with horses, and often just kids aboard. The more high profile races also have more rules, but still can’t keep horses safe. I’m not sure how to address the bush leagues though, since they will just go further underground even if the premier tracks and races shut down.

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      • Yea, and I don’t think jockeys are unionized at all, they just get asked to ride by owners and trainers, and agree or not for a share of the purse if they win. There are always more willing to ride, so I don’t think jockeys have any real prospects of changing racing, though they could change their own riding techniques (not using whips, or refusing to ride drugged horses etc.).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but am dismayed to learn of so many horses not having Coggins tests, which means they are a potential vector themselves for spreading around an untreatable disease. Warm climate, horses traveling all over under the radar, and any biting insects are enough to infect any other horses in the area. We don’t have a vaccine for this, only annual blood tests, so if your horse tests positive you still only have two options: lifetime quarantine or euthanasia. Even wild horses are supposed to have negative Coggins tests before any shipping across state lines (though this doesn’t always happen, and some papers are clearly fraudulent).

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