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Read TDN Magazine’s six-part series, “A Painful Truth,” which explores the medication reform movement in U.S. racing. (pdf format)

The Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA) is a grassroots movement of like-minded individuals who support the passage federal legislation to prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of horse racing. The appointment of an independent anti-doping program run by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will solve the problem of widespread drug use in American racing and put U.S. racing jurisdictions in step with international standards.  Doping destroys public confidence in racing, defrauds the betting fan, weakens the genetic pool and, most importantly, puts the life and limb of our equine athletes and their jockeys at risk.  It is obvious that after years of committee review and discussion, America’s racing industry cannot police itself by eliminating the proliferation of performance enhancing drugs in our sport, nor does it possess the power to adequately punish the purveyors of these drugs.

In 2010, several thoroughbred owners and breeders went to Washington at the request of Congressman Ed Whitfield and Senator Tom Udall to discuss the use of performance enhancing drugs in American horse racing.  In 2012, WHOA was established as a grass roots movement able to speak with a unified voice calling for a ban on drugs in racing.  Since then many concerned members of our industry have joined in support of federal efforts as the only viable solution to the drug problem in our industry.  While a bill has not been passed, WHOA continues to support federal legislation that would appoint USADA as the anti-doping organization responsible for protecting the integrity of horse racing.  American racing has been unable to manage itself in the comprehensive, uniform, and independent manner necessary to have an effective anti-doping program.  Like cyling, track & field, swimming and a number of other Olympic sports, it simply cannot be done internally.