Prosecution Told of drug culture, which had gained a deep grip within the game, the owners chased large purses and there was a fear among the trainers that the devious contestants could be held accountable. One of the culprits was trainer Jason Service, who trained a well-known winner in maximum security and accused the horses of covering performance-enhancing drugs under his care. The servants pleaded not guilty.
By November, Bob Baffert, the sport’s most decorated trainer and in many ways the face of horse racing, issued a public apology and promised to do better after failed drug tests by his horses. 29 trials by horses have failed in the last four decades, including four in the last six months. Many of those cases were met with minor fines or short suspensions, as Baffert said he did nothing wrong and blamed the test results on environmental pollution or human error.
The new framework may change how similar cases are investigated and judged.
“This is a watershed moment for our sport,” said James L. Gagliano, chief operating officer of the Jockey Club, one of horse racing’s oldest and influential organizations. “We have a chance to regulate our game to high standards. If you don’t have a safe and clean game, then you have nothing. “
Horse racing arrived at this time, as in 2012, Hancock and his wife, Stacey, founded the Water He Oats Alliance with the mission to get drugs out of racing. He developed it for more than 1,800 industry members, who embarrassed horsemen, veterinarians, politicians and regulators to treat them like athletes rather than commodities.
Among the most notable opponents to racing cleanup were Churchill Downs Inc. – host of the Kentucky Derby, America’s most famous race – and Senator Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky and the Senate majority leader who counts the company among its top patrons.
In 2016, Hancock said McConnell told him he could not push an earlier version of the bill until Churchill Downs was found on the board.
“We do not believe that a federal bill is practical, reasonable or imminent,” Bill Carsten, Churchill Downs chief executive, Told The New York Times in a statement in 2019.