Arthur Hancock on Drugging

Arthur Hancock III is a world-renowned Thoroughbred owner and breeder, a member of racing royalty. In an op-ed published by the Paulick Report (11/23/13), Hancock had this to say about his cherished sport:

“Sadly, the federal government’s compassion shown for pit bull dogs [speaking of the fed’s prosecution of Michael Vick] has been absent in the terrible mistreatment of Thoroughbred horses that is occurring daily at racetracks across America. According to the New York Times, every week in the United States, 24 Thoroughbred horses die while racing and countless others are broken down and maimed for the rest of their lives because they are being drugged to enhance their performance.

These wonderful animals are given countless numbers of so-called ‘therapeutic’ drugs that are in essence performance-enhancing drugs. These include painkillers like Butazolidin which thins the blood, causing horses to bleed and, of course, Lasix to remedy the bleeding. Lasix has also been proven to leach calcium from the bones of human beings, making them susceptible to more fractures, etc.”

Regrettably, Mr. Hancock, probably due to an unfortunate mix of DNA and from-birth immersion, stops short of full enlightenment: We should end the pervasive drugging because “these brave animals [once] pulled our covered wagons across America and carried us into battle,” not because whip-forcing them to run for gamblers is a self-evident wrong. In fact, Hancock cares deeply about those gamblers (of course, they pay the bills): “…is Washington callous to the consequences its citizens must endure from wagering on drugged horses?” Pity the poor played players.

Hancock ends thus: “And so the beat goes on. Next week, 24 more horses will die and countless others will be crippled. Four percent of our fans will have deserted us by the end of the year, as they do every year. It is my hope that the federal government will wake up and do something about all of this. Nobody else will. Nobody else can.”

Here’s hoping they don’t. Let a sinking ship sink.

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  1. Why is it up to the federal government. If we wait for them to do something, it will never be accomplished. The NTRA needs to do something. There needs to be a governing rule over racing and if you don’t belong you don’t race. Bottom line. No drugs.

  2. Gail, the NTRA is a marketing and lobbying organization with NO authority to enforce anything. In addition to that, there needs to be an independent authority over the racing industry, not just another “racing organization” whose pockets are lined with blood money. As it has been said before, that would be the fox minding the hen house…exactly what it is now. Pit money versus an animal’s welfare?…money wins every single time.

    • Joy, I couldn’t agree with you more. Racing isn’t about the horses but it is about the “blood” money that lines the pockets of those that participate in it. .

  3. Arthur Hancock is undoubtedly one of the “big shots” in the racing industry. He is indeed racing “royalty”. If Hancock can’t manage to convince the industry to get the drugs out of racing, does anyone really believe that anyone else can be successful? I agree with the poster above. Why does the federal government have to get involved? Can’t the men and women that are immersed in racing insist that the industry make the necessary changes in order to help the horses and keep racing alive? I have said this before and I will say it again. The racing industry, which is based on gambling, is sinister and corrupt. Twenty-four more horses will die next week and the following week and on and on and on. I, too, hope the racing industry goes “bye bye”. It can’t come soon enough for me.

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