Horse Racing Exposed: Drugs, Deception, and Death
Imagine being pushed beyond the point of exhaustion: the bones in your legs straining to hold up the weight of your body, your bleeding lungs incapable of taking in enough air, and you’re forced to keep running despite it all. This is what life is like for racehorses who are chronically drugged by trainers in order to mask their pain and enhance their performance.
PETA’s four-month-long investigation focused on the operations of Steve Asmussen, who runs the largest horse-racing outfit in the U.S. and has more wins than any other American trainer in the past decade. He also has the most extensive record of rule and drug violations of any current major U.S. trainer.
Our investigator documented horses who were injected with drugs so that they could continue to run, despite suffering from painful injuries and conditions, such as having fluid in their joints and chipped bones.
One of Asmussen’s drugs of choice was thyroxine. Although it is a prescription medication for hypothyroidism, in Asmussen’s New York stables, it was regularly administered to many, if not all, horses without any apparent testing or evidence of any thyroid condition, reportedly for the sole purpose of revving up the horses’ metabolism. Horses in Asmussen’s Saratoga stables were also given Lasix—a controversial drug that is banned on race day in Europe and that dehydrates animals and makes them lighter and faster. It’s little wonder that horses in the racing industry are called “chemical horses.