Lexington, KY --- New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez is the latest example to surface underscoring how the “no doping” policies in horse racing are tougher than other sports that deploy a process to allow the hidden use of performance enhancing substances in competition.
“If Alex Rodriguez was a horse he would not be allowed to race,” said Ed Martin, President of the Association of Racing Commissioners International.
According to a new book by Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts, Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball's Steroid Era, the baseball great was granted permission from Major League Baseball in 2007 to play while receiving prohibited treatments of testosterone.
“Other sports and the Olympics allow therapeutic use exemptions which allow athletes to compete under the undisclosed influence of prohibited substances if they apply with the required medical request. In racing, we require that horses be scratched and not allowed to participate. It’s a big difference that many people overlook,” Martin said.
According to the book, 1,354 MLB players were tested in 2007 and exemptions to 111 players were allowed by the league to compete with undisclosed prohibited performance enhancing substances.
“Those who bet on baseball games in Vegas may want to shift their action to racing,” Martin said, noting that Furosemide is the only substance allowed in a horse on race day and its use is almost ubiquitous in North America and disclosed to the public in the program.
While acknowledging that horse racing, like every sport, has a drug challenge, Martin said racing has a very aggressive anti-doping program and does not permit the undisclosed backdoor use of prohibited substances.
“The Therapeutic Use Exemptions that were granted Lance Armstrong for the 1999 Tour de France and Alex Rodriguez would never be approved in racing. Are we concerned about the use of legal substances in horses being trained? Absolutely. But we test for them and a host of other things in post-race samples. If we find them at levels that can affect performance, charges are brought. As far as doping is concerned, it is not allowed.”