KY racing commission wants ADW; US horses have monkeys on their backs

TAGs: advance deposit wager, belmont stakes, Horse Racing, Kentucky

kentucky-horse-racing-commissionWhile the US Department of Justice is busy cracking down on online poker and sportsbetting, more and more states are looking to offer their residents advance deposit wagering (ADW) online. On Wednesday, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved a proposal to allow the state to license ADW operators for $1k/year, assuming you pass the background check. (Quick, delete those Seven Deadly Sins party videos from Facebook!) State legislators still need to weigh in, but the ADW boosters believe they could have a workable law in place by 2012.

us-race-horses-diureticsSomething all US states may have in 2012? Drug-free racehorses. While the Belmont Stakes wraps on Saturday, a two-day summit on the use of diuretics will get underway Monday in New York. Diuretics like furosemide (Lasix) are administered ahead of races, allegedly to lessen the risk of complications from a horse excessively bleeding into its lungs during heavy exercise, even though the number of horses that actually face such a risk is quite small (estimates range from 2-5%). More importantly, the diuretics also make racehorses piss like, well, racehorses. Trainers soon realized that a horse could lose 20lbs. of excess fluid, resulting in a lighter, speedier animal. Hmmm…

The US and Canada are the only two racing nations that still permit diuretics, and estimates of its North American use range as high as 95%. The racing industry is bitterly split over the issue, with some desperate to get the monkeys off the horse’s backs while others would prefer to keep the status quo (including veterinarians that reap as much as $100m from owners for administering such products). The post-Belmont summit isn’t expected to produce a consensus, but the parties need to find a solution fast. Fed up by the inertia, federal politicians are proposing bi-partisan amendments to the 1978 Interstate Horse Racing Act that would strip racing associations of their coveted exemption from interstate gambling prohibition.

In May, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced HR 1733/SB 886, the Interstate Horse Racing Improvement Act of 2011. Whitfield stated that “for too long, the safety of jockeys and equine athletes has been neglected for the pursuit of racing profits.” (You know, just once, we’d like a girl to call us an equine athlete.) The legislation would require host racing associations to implement third-party drug testing and weed out any pushers that attempt to elude detection. Failure to deal with the problem would see these host associations stripped of their right to offer interstate off-track betting.

US online poker players and sports bettors can only look on in wonder. These guys already have online gambling and they could be throwing it away because they don’t want to stop pumping drugs into horses. Can you imagine if US attorneys had announced on Black Friday that poker companies had pumped drugs (okay, more drugs) into their pro poker players? Actually, that would explain a lot of Hellmuth’s histrionics


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