Steroid Ban Looming in the United States
When it comes to the use of steroids in horse racing there has always been an ongoing battle. Keeping races fair and ensuring the health and safety of horses is the primary concern, which has led to an in-depth probe into the use of steroids in the horse racing industry. The new probe has led to a flood of emotions and resistance against the looming decision to ban steroids from the racing industry.
As horses are viewed as athletes in their own right, the investigation hopes to shed new light on the performance enhancing capabilities of steroids. Many states across the United States, such as Colorado, Indiana, Arizona, Iowa, New York, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Arkansas and Illinois, have already adopted a steroid ban, restricting the use of steroids for thirty days before a race and it seems that other states will be following this example. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association wants to come to one ruling that will be implemented across the U.S.A. and will go hand in hand with the improvement of drug testing for anabolic steroids.
Most trainers are against the banning of steroids, as they argue that steroids, when used correctly, can be beneficial for the horses. Their argument is that steroids are rejuvenating, improve appetite, guard against the toll that racing can take on horses and build body mass. It is also said that steroids help horses to recover quicker from injury or layoff, and that due to the use of steroids, horses are able to run more often as the steroids assists them to recharge faster after a race. But even though most trainers do not use steroids on all their horses, only the ones that need a boost, there are trainers that dose their horses dramatically before a race, which is where the unfair advantage comes in and regulation starts getting difficult.
And while trainers only point out the positive effects of steroids, the veterinary world paints a bleaker picture of the long term effects. According to vets, steroids are the main culprit in the increase of fatal horse racing injuries. Countless legendary horses have sustained fatal injuries on the track and vets have warned that even though steroids create a stronger and more muscular horse, it increases the muscle and not the skeletal structure, which often takes strain under the weight and causes the frequent break down of horses.
The thirty day ban rule will at least protect horses from being put through a regiment of steroids before a race, while the Congress and involved organizations discuss and review results from the investigation. Although a blanket ban might be on the horizon, trainers and owners are battling to hold off any ban for as long as possible. Vigorous drug testing will continue to ensure that every horse that enters the starting gate has a fair chance at winning and good health.