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Steroid hearings extend to racing

NTRA head to testify before House panel studying performance-enhancing drugs

From wire reports

February 17, 2008

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Four-legged athletes are joining their two-legged counterparts as part of a congressional probe into steroids in sports.

The president of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association has agreed to testify in front of a House panel investigating the effects of performance-enhancing drugs.

Although most of the focus has been on baseball and other team sports, thoroughbred racing also is trying to enact a national ban on steroids, at least for the days leading up to races.

"The perception is drug use in racing is worse now than maybe it's ever been," said Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Republican from Kentucky. "There have been many individual veterinarians, prominent breeders and owners who are quite frustrated."

NTRA president Alexander Waldrop will join representatives from Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA and NHL, as well as officials with college and high school sports, at the Feb. 27 hearing in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's panel on commerce, trade and consumer protection.

Whitfield is the top Republican on the subcommittee.

"We have tested for performance-enhancing drugs in horses for more than 60 years, spent more than $30 million in testing alone," Waldrop said. "It's not surprising Congress would look at horse racing. I don't know that they're necessarily taking a dim view. We have a mature testing program in place, and they may want to learn something from it."

While Waldrop and other racing officials have spoken with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the hearing will provide a more public approach to the issue. Waldrop said it is the first time an NTRA official has testified before Congress on the issue.

On the track


• Santa Anita Park // Surf Cat won the $150,000 San Carlos Handicap in Arcadia, Calif., for his first victory in almost two years. The 6-year-old son of Sir Cat had lost four in a row. He had been sidelined for 13 months after winning four consecutive races in 2006. Ridden by Alex Solis, Surf Cat overtook Greg's Gold deep in the stretch and was a half-length in front at the finish. Surf Cat was clocked in 1 minute, 21.62 seconds for the seven furlongs and paid $7, $3.40 and $2.80.

• Aqueduct // Gold and Roses rallied for a half-length victory over heavily favored Whistlin' in the $81,325 Hollie Hughes Handicap in New York. Rajiv Maragh was aboard the 6-year-old gelding, who won for the 10th time in 34 starts for trainer Tom Bush. The winner covered the six furlongs in 1:10.82 on a fast track in the race for New York-breds. Gold and Roses paid $7.90, $2.80 and $2.70.

• Gulfstream Park // Why Tonto edged Cowboy Cal by 1 1/2 lengths in the $77,000 Hallandale Beach (Fla.) Stakes. Ridden by Edgar Prado, Why Tonto ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.20 and paid $13.40, $4.20 and $2.80.