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US Jockey Club Supports Drug-Free Racing
US Jockey Club president Ogden Mills Phipps released a statement "applauding the recent Association Of Racing Commissioners International initiative to formulate a plan that would eliminate the use of medication in horses competing in races". Phipps declared: "We have often voiced concern, and we sincerely believe the over-use of medication endangers our human & equine athletes, threatens the integrity of our sport & erodes consumer confidence in our game. There is a growing & correct perception that horses in this country are over-medicated. The percentage of total starts with furosemide injections on race day in this country has increased from just over 45% in 1991 to nearly 95% in 2010. And nearly 90% of all 2YO starters receive furosemide on race day. Horses should compete only when they are free from the influence of medication." Phipps noted medication policies in the US "stand in increasingly stark contrast with the rest of the world, as international racing authorities continue to phase medication out of their racing programs". Phipps emphasised: "The Jockey Club & the Thoroughbred Safety Committee encourage the member organisations of the RCI to work with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium, the American Association Of Equine Practitioners & other industry stakeholders to immediately develop a strategic plan & set a timeline for the development of rules & penalties to transition the US to medication-free racing. The Jockey Club stands ready to assist in those activities. The ban on anabolic steroids proved that, when this industry works collaboratively, game-changing progress can be made in a short period of time. We need more of that spirit of cooperation & a greater sense of urgency."