Major Kentucky thoroughbred breeder and owner Arthur B. Hancock had strong words for the racing industry at Monday's meeting of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission's (KHRC) Race Day Medication Committee.
Referring to the Jockey Club's recent release of the McKinsey Report on Thoroughbred Racing, he spoke out against the use of race day medication.
"Let's rejoin the international thoroughbred market with clean, medication-free rules of racing and horses raced on their performance, and not on some drug they may have been given," said Hancock. "Let's create a level playing field for everyone...and restore our reputation around the world and with our fans here at home."
Hancock argued that medication is driving owners out of the sport.
"Drugs are not free of charge. The only person who pays these bills is the owner...Race day lasix alone costs owners one hundred million dollars a year. A lot of owners are leaving the game because of these expenses, and a whole lot more are very unhappy about them."
He also attributed widespread drug use to declines in international buyers for American bloodstock.
"It is difficult to attract investors when the vast majority of the population has such a negative perception of our business."
The McKinsey report found that over 75% of the population believes drug use is rampant in horse racing.
"How in the world can we expect to thrive and be popular when a vast majority of the population views us in such a negative light?" Hancock asked.
"The public doesn't want (race day medication). Period. That's all that really matters because they are the fans, and our fans keep us in business...The fans have spoken. We must listen to our customers or continue to lose them."