Muscle Sport Magazine

They ‘Shoot’ Horses, Don’t They?

The Sport of Kings Has a Gray Area in Doping

By Leigh Penman

This is part of a continuing series provided exclusively by MuscleSport Mag entitled, “This is Your Magazine”.

Leave it to New York’s ‘Daily News’ to come up with yet another juicy steroid story (no pun intended!). This time around, tired with the world of baseball, they turned to the world of horse racing. In a recent report they ‘discovered’ that drug use is rampant in horse racing in America, although England, France, all of Europe, Japan, South Africa, Dubai and Australia banned the use of steroids years ago.

The article quoted Dr. George Maylin, the Director of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board Drug Testing and Research program (now that’s a job title for you!) as saying, “ North American racing has come to realize there is a problem with drug use and they must do something about it. Anabolic steroids are just the tip of the iceberg.”

I guess this means that the $35 million a year that is spent on keeping the racing game clean is still not having the desired effect. However, Alex Waldrop, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association would beg to differ claiming, “There is testing using urine and blood and we are increasingly moving towards plasma testing. One thing we have discussed with Congress is that we believe our testing methods are superior to testing of humans.”

The difference between the use of anabolic steroids in horse racing and their use in other competitive sports is that four anabolic steroids have actually been recommended by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium to be used for therapeutic treatment on horses – boldenone, nandralone, stanozolol and testosterone. However, the fact that they are technically given the “okay” is leading to their abuse.

The steroids provide the horses with the same benefits observed in humans with increased recovery, muscle mass and aggressive behavior being observed. All useful traits when it comes to producing winning animals. However, the abuse factor comes into play when the drugs are used to keep a horse in training when it shouldn’t be due to injury. In this respect the drugs are ultimately causing premature breakdown in the animals by over extending their natural capabilities.

One trainer openly admits to giving all of his horses Winstrol on the 15th of every month, although he does qualify this statement by saying that if the authorities say he can’t use it any more he won’t (believe that at your own discretion).

There is also talk of Cobra Venom being used as a performance enhancer with one trainer already serving a one- year suspension for its use. I wonder how long it will take this substance to turn the heads of bodybuilders?!

The interesting thing about the whole article is that fact that throughout the text anabolic steroids are constantly being referred to as ‘therapeutic drugs’. This is in sharp contrast to the terms used when anabolics make their way into human sporting circles where they become ‘performance enhancing substances’ and the users are labeled ‘cheats’.

Whatever your feelings are on the subject, I guess it makes a change to see the animal kingdom under fire for drug abuse for a change. However, I don’t think we are in any danger of seeing an Olympia contest for racehorses – although with the rampant use of veterinary steroids in the bodybuilding world who knows what we may see on the stage in the future – enough said!

Leigh Penman, in addition to be a staff writer at MuscleSport Mag, has been writing for bodybuilding magazines, websites and nutritional supplement companies since 1985. Whilst residing in the UK, she earned the reputation of being one of the top female writers in bodybuilding-related media. Her credits included being a contributing editor on all the magazines in production as well as filling the shoes of Ladies Editor and Showbiz Editor on two publications (the later being on Arnold’s sanctioned magazine, ‘Bodypower’). During this time she also competed successfully on four occasions (placing in the top four in all contests).

Relocating to New York in the late 1990s she focused her writing attention to crystal healing techniques and metaphysics – however, she still maintained a five day workout schedule during this time and gained her personal training certificate.

Having also studied pharmacology in relation to sports performance, her writing began taking her in that direction until the present day which sees her embarking on a return to the magazine world, as well as extending her web-related work in the bodybuilding and fitness field.

Leigh has been working out for close to thirty years so she is clearly a writer who ‘walks her talk.’
She can be contacted personally at or you can also check her out at New York’s favorite metaphysical store

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