Drugs in horseracing
Abuse of legal and illegal drugs is widespread in the racing industry. It is not unknown in certain countries or Australian states to administer legal performance enhancing drugs.
Drugs are not only administered to improve immediate performance, they may be used to mask the pain of injury during the race or to decrease recovery time post-race.
Drugs may achieve the desired effect in the short term, but many of these ‘chemically assisted’ racehorses may develop even more serious career-shortening injuries or illnesses.
Frequent administration of drugs by needle, drench or stomach tube soon causes severe stress, pain and fear in horses. It is not uncommon for a horse to start to shake at the approach of someone who looks like they may use one of these ‘treatments’ on them.
Laboratories cannot detect every illegal drug. According to some authorities, these might number in the thousands.
“There are trainers pumping horses full of illegal drugs every day. With so much money on the line, people will do anything to make their horses run faster.”
– Former racing public relations director.