Today the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York announced the indictment of 27 individuals in connection with doping in the horse racing industry. The Jockey Club has long been an advocate for drug reform in racing, and we commend the actions of the FBI, the Department of Justice, and their collaborating enforcement agencies. We acknowledge that indictments are not convictions and charges are not conclusive of criminal guilt. Nevertheless, these events make it clear that federal law enforcement officials view the conduct alleged as serious, unlawful, and warranting substantial attention.
The Jockey Club understands that this investigation and the criminal investigation and related prosecutions will be painful and controversial, but the integrity of the sport and the health of all racehorses demanded action. From this point forward, it will be critical to the future of the sport that the reforms that are so badly needed are pressed forward by all segments of the industry—by everyone truly interested in clean competition and the safety and welfare of horse and rider.
Equine doping has long been a concern in racing circles, but one that has been difficult to investigate or prosecute effectively because the sport’s regulatory oversight has been diffused, and often lax, across more than 30 separate state regulatory and enforcement agencies. Most people in the sport have suspected that some level of doping occurs, but evidence has been mostly third hand and circumstantial, and real information was needed to define the problem and craft a path to a solution.
At the August 2016 meeting of The Jockey Club in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., The Jockey Club told members that it had engaged 5 Stones intelligence to analyze the then current state of investigative procedures and to make recommendations for improvement. 5 Stones is a leading private investigation company with offices around the world that played a major role in the World Anti-Doping Agency investigation that resulted in sanctions against Russia for doping in the Olympic Games.
5 Stones’ investigation produced indications of significant racehorse doping and active equine doping networks within the industry. This included information supporting findings that doping is often supported by enablers composed of trainers, veterinarians, pharmacists, stable staff, and in some instances, owners.
We have pledged our total cooperation as Federal authorities continue their investigations and prosecutions.