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Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Horse racing scandals: A look at some of the most notorious controversies in the sport’s history

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While horse racing has provided countless moments of excitement and entertainment throughout its history, it has also been plagued by a number of controversies and scandals.

Here are some of the most notorious controversies in the sport’s history:

  1. The 1919 Black Sox Scandal: While not directly related to horse racing, the Black Sox Scandal involved the fixing of the 1919 World Series and had an impact on horse racing, as it led to the passage of the 18th Amendment and the subsequent prohibition of gambling, including on horse races.
  2. The 1980s and 1990s steroid scandals: During this time period, several prominent trainers and jockeys were caught using performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids. This led to increased regulation and testing in the sport.
  3. The 2002 Breeders’ Cup betting scandal: In this scandal, several individuals were caught attempting to manipulate the results of a race at the Breeders’ Cup by using a remote control device to administer electric shocks to one of the horses.
  1. The 2011 Penn National scandal: In this scandal, several individuals, including trainers and jockeys, were charged with various forms of corruption, including drugging horses and manipulating races.
  2. The 2019 Santa Anita horse deaths: During the 2019 racing season at Santa Anita Park, there were a number of horse deaths, leading to increased scrutiny of the sport’s safety protocols and calls for reform.
  3. The 2008 Kentucky Derby “Fillygate” scandal: In the 2008 Kentucky Derby, the filly Eight Belles broke both front legs shortly after crossing the finish line and had to be euthanized on the track. This tragic event led to controversy surrounding the use of fillies in the race and calls for changes to the sport’s safety protocols.
  4. The 2014 PETA undercover investigation: In 2014, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released an undercover video showing a top trainer using electric shock devices, administering illegal drugs, and committing other forms of animal abuse. This led to a widespread investigation of the trainer and increased scrutiny of the industry’s animal welfare practices.
  1. The 2020 Maximum Security disqualification: In the 2020 Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security crossed the finish line first but was later disqualified for interference, giving the victory to a longshot named Country House. This decision sparked controversy and debate among fans and experts, with some arguing that the disqualification was unjustified.
  2. The ongoing doping scandal: Horse racing has long struggled with issues of doping and performance-enhancing drugs, with some trainers and owners accused of using illegal substances to improve their horses’ performance. While testing and regulation have improved in recent years, the sport continues to face allegations of doping and cheating.

If You Have It, You Can Make Anything Look Good

These controversies have had a significant impact on the sport of horse racing, leading to increased scrutiny, regulation, and public awareness of issues related to animal welfare, safety, and integrity. While these scandals are certainly negative aspects of the sport, they have also led to important reforms and improvements that have helped to make horse racing safer and more transparent for all involved.

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