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New Mexico Governor Calls for Horse Racing Drug Reforms

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico’s governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, is urging horse racing regulators to take immediate action to address the use of performance-enhancing drugs at the state’s tracks. In a letter to the New Mexico Racing Commission, Governor Lujan Grisham emphasized the need for consultation with Kentucky, California, and New York to establish best practices for drug-free racing.

This call for reform comes after the recent deaths of seven horses at Ruidoso Downs, which is set to host the All American Futurity – the richest quarter horse race – over the Labor Day weekend. The governor expressed her concern that the state’s long-standing horse racing tradition has been marred by the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs.

This problem is not limited to New Mexico. Horse deaths have been reported at tracks across the country as the implementation of the federal government’s antidoping and medication control program faces legal challenges and delays. These rules were intended to standardize regulations across states and tracks.

Highlighting the severity of the issue, the trainer of racehorse champion Maximum Security was recently sentenced to four years in prison for participating in a scheme to drug horses for faster racing. The abuse of racehorses through the use of performance-enhancing drugs has been a subject of federal investigation, resulting in charges against more than 30 individuals.

The horse racing industry in New Mexico has previously faced doping allegations, leading to subsequent testing and regulations. However, the industry continues to struggle due to competition from online wagering and rising costs. The Racing Commission had already begun implementing changes before the governor’s demands, but more action is needed.

The governor’s demands include comprehensive pre-race evaluations for all horses, with blood draws and continuous monitoring during training and while they are in their stalls. She also called for the adoption of the new standards being used at Ruidoso Downs across all tracks in the state.

The Racing Commission is already taking steps to address the issue, with testing machines running continuously and pre-race inspections conducted by contracted veterinarians. However, further measures and improvements are required to ensure the welfare of racehorses and maintain the integrity of the sport.

Unique Perspective: The governor’s call for horse racing drug reforms in New Mexico reflects a growing concern about the welfare of racehorses and the need for fair competition in the sport. By demanding immediate action and collaboration with other states, Governor Lujan Grisham is sending a strong message that performance-enhancing drugs have no place in horse racing. This push for change is vital to protect the horses and maintain the public’s trust in the industry.

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