New York Enacts a Rule to Restrict the Use of Steroids in Horseracing: The First Step On a Long Journey

Benjamin L. Loefke, Staff Writer

The New York State Racing and Wagering Board, the governmental body responsible for “regulation and oversight of legalized gambling . . . govern[ing] Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing, Quarter Horse Racing, [and] Off-Track Betting . . . ,” recently promulgated Rule 4043.15, the “steroid rule.”1 The rule became effective on January 1, 2009 and has already had positive effects on the dying horse racing industry that has taken recent blows from the horrible tragedies of Eight Belles and Barbaro.  The deaths of these horses linger in recent memory even for those with little or no interest in horse racing.2

The state’s passage of the steroid rule has given the industry hope as far as the integrity of the sport and preservation of the animal athletes. Unfortunately, the rule might not be enough to save what has become a nearly obsolete sport, because the public’s general feelings of illegitimacy towards it and the advent of other forms of legalized gambling have diverted revenue that was once spent at betting windows on the daily double instead of on lottery tickets and at quick draw terminals.

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