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Resource ID: #25876
Source:New York Times
In a series of articles entitled “Breakdown,” The Times used the full gamut of multimedia tools to document how bigger purses, swelled by casino money, had corrupted the track. The money encouraged trainers to rely on pain medicine and race thousands of tired, injured and unfit horses, often with catastrophic results. Within days of The Times's first article, the Jockey Club, the most influential industry group, proposed a nationwide ban on the use of drugs on race days and stiffer penalties, including lifetime bans for repeat offenders. “The status quo had been very much in evidence prior to the New York Times story — after which all hell broke loose,” wrote Barry Irwin, a prominent horse owner, breeder and Kentucky Derby winner. Beyond cataloging carnage on the track, The Times found 3,800 cases of trainers illegally drugging horses since 2009, mostly to enhance performance or mask injuries. Meanwhile, equine veterinarians — who bear the greatest responsibility for protecting the health of a horse — abandoned their oath by reaping profits from drugs they prescribed and by routinely turning medical decisions over to unqualified trainers whose primary goal was to win races.