Congress Debates Intervention Into Racing Safety

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress chided Big Brown's trainer for a lack
of manners and the horse racing industry for failing to do enough
to regulate itself. Then it threatened to pass legislation that
would make the sport safer.

Rick Dutrow's no-show did not sit well at Thursday's hearing on
thoroughbred racing safety held by the Subcommittee on Commerce,
Trade, and Consumer Protection. Dutrow on Wednesday told The
Associated Press that he was too ill to attend, but he remained on
the witness list - there was even a symbolic name card for him at
the table - because he apparently failed to tell those in charge.

"I'm disappointed by his absence," said Illinois Democrat Jan
Schakowsky, who ran the hearing as vice chairwoman of the
committee. "I'm disappointed that he did not feel the need to
notify the subcommittee of his decision, given Mr. Dutrow's stature
and reputation in the sport, I think he would have been a valuable
addition to this public dialogue."

Dutrow, whose star horse was a favorite to win the Triple Crown
before a stunning last-place finish in the Belmont Stakes on June
7, did provide a statement to the committee in which he discussed
his checkered record, including his use of anabolic steroids on
horses.

"People have asked me why I do it," the statement said. "My
observation is that it helps the horses eat better. Their coats
brighten. They're more alert. It helps them train."

Dutrow added that "if steroids are banned in the United States,
we'll stop using them."


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