Veteran horse racing journalist talks about anti-doping effort
This time of year, high-profile Thoroughbred racing events bring added attention to the horse industry. A Lexington man with decades of equine journalism under his belt has his own thoughts about the status of horse racing.
Ray Paulick came to Lexington in 1988 to continue his work covering horse racing. There is a relatively new, and quite honestly not fully accepted, federal horseracing law that carries integrity and safety phrasing. Paulick remembers the FBI raid in March of 2020 when more than two dozen people in racing were arrested, tied to administering performance-enhancing drugs.
“And if you think the FBI rounded up everybody, you’re pretty naïve because they just focused on a couple of racetracks. They could have gone to Pennsylvania….they could have gone to name a state and they would have found the same kind of thing going on,” said Paulick.
Paulick said, quote, “It’s better today, but it’s not fixed.” The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority is beginning its anti-doping and medication control program. Paulick said there will be far more out-of-competition testing and surveillance.
The horse racing industry remains under scrutiny and the eight fatalities at Churchill Downs during Derby week caused additional concern. The Paulick Report Dot Com Publisher said it’s not a first when it comes to this type of reaction.
“You know it’s troubling, but each time something like this happens the industry started to react to make some changes to make things safer to restrict some of the therapeutic drugs are used that can mask injuries or mask pain,” said Paulick.
Paulick said there were similar concerns and questions raised when Barbaro was put down after the Preakness in 2006 and Eight Belles just two years later in the Kentucky Derby.
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