Monday morning the Justice Department's Southern District of New York, acting on a year-long Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into the abuse of drugs by trainers Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro, indicted 27 individuals involved in a widespread scheme to break Federal laws.
For years those horsemen, regulators and racetrack owners who asked WHOA where the proof existed in its claims of rampant cheating have now had their nay-saying voices silenced.
While many outside of horse racing will decry today's news as another black mark against the sport, WHOA members look upon this revelation as a step in the right direction to root out those in the sport who would take advantage of horses for their own selfish gain, as well as cheating their fellow trainers, owners and the wagering public.
"The biggest beneficiary of the FBI investigation is undoubtedly the proposed Federal legislation, The Horseracing Integrity Act, currently making its way through Congress and strongly backed by WHOA," said Staci Hancock of WHOA. "Nothing could more dramatically highlight what is wrong with drugs in racing and nothing but the legislation can correct these deficiencies."
The Water Hay Oats Alliance commends The Jockey Club and its leader Stuart Janney for the role they played in jump-starting the initiative that resulted in today's indictments.
The Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) is a grassroots movement of over 1,900 like-minded individuals who support the passage of federal legislation to prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of horse racing. The appointment of an independent anti-doping program run by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will resolve the problem of widespread drug use in American racing and put U.S. racing jurisdictions in step with international standards.
Doping destroys public confidence in racing, defrauds the betting fan, weakens the genetic pool and, most importantly, puts the life and limb of our equine athletes and their jockeys at risk. It is obvious that after years of committee review and discussion, America's racing industry cannot police itself by eliminating the proliferation of performance-enhancing drugs in our sport, nor does it possess the power to adequately punish the purveyors of these drugs.