Racetrack Contamination: Kentucky’s Newly-Funded Study and its Effect on Equine Drug Testing.

Racetrack Contamination: Kentucky’s Newly-Funded Study and its Effect on Equine Drug Testing.

In October 2017, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved $25,000 worth of funding for a study regarding the effects of contamination on racehorse drug testing.  This analytical study will seek to determine the possible levels of substances—both therapeutic and performance-enhancing—found on the racetrack and its surroundings, and will be based on samples collected through 2019

Tug of War for the Future of Fantasy Horse Racing: The Stronach Group v. Horse Racing Labs

Tug of War for the Future of Fantasy Horse Racing: The Stronach Group v. Horse Racing Labs

Since 2006, the total pari-mutuel handle within the horse industry has steadily declined. In an effort to halt this decline, some in the equine industry have attempted to invent new ways to create interest in the sport by tapping into the growing daily fantasy sports industry.  In the case Derby Wars, a fantasy horseracing website, the Central District of California put a halt to one of those efforts.


The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) recently approved a controversial proposal to allow racetracks in the Commonwealth to card races where the competing horses would not be allowed to be administered furosemide on race day. Furosemide, an anti-bleeding medication commonly known as Lasix, is intended to decrease the effects of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH). While some initially thought the vote could have an impact at the 2015 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be run at Keeneland on October 30-31, Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said he does not expect Keeneland to schedule any Lasix-free races until 2016.

Wagers and W-2GS

The 141st running of the Kentucky Derby is upon us. Although most taxpayers have filed their 2014 returns with the IRS, cashing a winning ticket on May 2nd could come with a price. Racetrack winnings, like other gambling income, are subject to federal income tax. Currently, the Internal Revenue Service permits taxpayers to deduct gambling losses against winnings. The tax-code’s treatment of racetrack gambling proceeds has not changed much over the years, but many handicappers were relieved to see that the exemption escaped the new limits on itemized deductions that Congress enacted in 2013. 

A Promise of Protection: The Right of First Refusal for Recreational Horse Owners

One feature of many equine transactions is that the seller often conditions the sale of a horse on the buyer’s promise to notify the seller when the buyer wishes to sell the horses and give the original seller a chance to repurchase the horse. This is known as the Right of First Refusal (“RFR”). RFR provisions can often be found in sophisticated equine transactions involving race and show horses.

A Horse! A Horse! My Fourth Amendment Right for a Horse!

In the recent case of State v. Fessenden, the Supreme Court of Oregon held that a police officer did not violate a person’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure when the officer entered private property, without a warrant, in order to seize an emaciated horse and take it to a veterinarian for treatment. In upholding the two defendants’ convictions for animal abuse and animal neglect, the court concluded that the officer acted lawfully because he had probable cause to believe the crime of animal neglect was occurring and he reasonably believed immediate action was necessary to prevent further harm to the horse. Acting on a call from the two defendants’ neighbor, the officer had observed the horse on the defendant’s property from the driveway, noticing that “the horse's backbone protruded, her withers stood up, her neck was thin, all of her ribs were visible, she had no visible fatty tissue in her shoulders, and she was ‘swaying a little bit.’” Observance of the horse’s condition, partnered with the belief that acquisition of a warrant to enter the defendants’ property would take between four to eight hours, led the officer to exercise no hesitation in entering the property.

No Horsing Around: Brits Announce Zero-Tolerance Steroid Policy

In the Bluegrass State, the fall season is yet another reason to celebrate Kentucky’s title as the horse capital of the world. Most notably, Keeneland’s September horse sale is the world’s largest yearling sale, attracting both domestic and international buyers. However, a new regulation set forth by the British Horseracing Authority limiting the use of anabolic steroids in horses poses a potential threat to future horse sales worldwide.

Bill to Give Soring the Last "Big Lick": Representative Whitfield’s New Legislation to Amend the Horse Protection Act

The close of the summer term has sparked renewed discussion of the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act (PAST Act) HR, 1518, sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and 303 other House members. It was referred to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, where it has remained stalled since April 12, 2013. With nearly 70 percent of the House in support of this Bill, outcries from supporters challenge legislators to pass the legislation before the end of this session.