Letter to the Editor: Gretchen Jackson


In reference to Thursday's filing of the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act.

Yesterday a bill to unify Thoroughbred horse racing rules was introduced to congress. It was a positive step in the right direction–it had the backing of The Jockey Club, the Breeders' Cup and WHOA, the grassroots movement to end all raceday medications.

While it was an attempt to clean up racing and establish U.S. Racing as congruous with the rest of the world, it failed to eliminate raceday drugs. The rest of the world bans raceday drugs.

WHOA was created by George Strawbridge, Julia Jenkins, Staci and Arthur Hancock, Paul and Melissa Sullivan and Roy and Gretchen Jackson. We all trained to Washington to meet with congressmen and senators to implore their help before our beloved sport imploded from chemicals. We worked hard and none worked harder than the Hancocks. Congressman Pitts and Senator Udall heard us and wrote a very powerful bill that they introduced before congress several months ago. This bill states that race day drugs will not be tolerated. USADA will be in charge of running the testing–random, out-of-raceday testing will be in place and, most importantly, the bill would place American horse racing on par with the rest of the world and its standards. The diminishing European buyers would again frequent our sales. American stallions would be authentic talent and in just a handful of years we would help our Thoroughbreds to be healthier, stronger horses, possibly eliminating bleeders altogether. Looking back, honestly, we really have let our standards get lower and lower

To sum up my feelings and thoughts about WHOA at this point: WHOA without consent of all its founding members, and advisory board, has signed up and supports the wrong bill. If other members are disappointed and confused I share their stance,

Roy and I and others are sticking to our desire to see all raceday drugs eliminated and join the rest of the world in knowing we are doing the right thing by our horses.


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