More than 100 Kentucky-based breeders have come out in support of new equine medication and related penalties proposed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.
Arthur Hancock III of Stone Farm near Paris, Ky., sent breeders copies of a letter he wrote to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority and its executive, director Jim Gallagher. As of Oct. 28, Hancock said 93% of the approximately 125 breeders contacted had replied in support of the letter.
"The encouraging thing about it is so many small breeders deeply support it," Hancock said of the push for uniform medication rules and enhanced penalties. "I'm really energized by that. For the past three years, some of the best minds in the country have been formulating a uniform medication policy. We need it."
In his letter to the KHRA, Hancock said Kentucky owners and breeders embrace the new policies because they provide "a level playing field for participants, instill confidence in racing fans, and promote the integrity of horse racing in the commonwealth."
"Decent and honest trainers and veterinarians cannot maintain their integrity when they feel disadvantaged by the unfair practices of a few of their competitors," the letter said. "The betting public is in the dark about medications a horse may have been given before it races. A trainer's mastery of chemistry or a veterinarian's superior drugs should not determine winnings.
"Kentucky has long been viewed as having a highly permissive drug policy and lax enforcement."
In his letter, Hancock also said the new medication rules would "promote the health of our horses and the quality of the Thoroughbred breed. Our best horses are running fewer and fewer races before they retire. Distance racing and handicap racing are now but memories."
Hancock read his letter to the KHRA at an Oct. 24 hearing on the medication changes. He said he has since received positive responses from a number of breeders and owners.
"I thought I'd be fortunate if 50% of the people said they supported it," Hancock said. "I've been concerned about this for years, and I think people finally realize a need for this. It shows that owners who put up the money agree. Twenty years ago nobody cared, but they sure do now."
The proposed medication changes continue to make their way through the regulatory review process.Arthur Hancock Letter and Signatures