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HGH Not As Big A Concern In Horse Racing Says Vet; Lyons Says NYRA Med Director Must Have Full Clout

By Warren Eves

DVM Sheila Lyons doesn’t mince words.

Frog juice, Prialt, etc. are in a whole different league for performance enhancement, so why piddle around with lowly HGH?,” was her response to “Organized Crime and Drugs in Sports.”  She was making reference to Project Aperio, a most revealing report out of Australia.  The Australian Crime Commission’s study lists PIEDs in detail after 12 months of investigation.

“I think so many drugs are used in horse racing that are more useful for improving short distance speed that would not be helpful in human sports like NFL, Baseball, cycling, that HGH is like kid’s stuff,” she continued.

Lyons was critical of veterinarian practices in front of Congress back on July 12.  Many of her peers took issue with the founder of The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine in Brockton, Massachusetts.

“Race horses being at their age-prime already have the maximum hormone levels for growth both related to maturity and in response(training),” says Lyons.  ”While I think HGH would move them up a notch, it’s not at all like the 30 year old cyclist who lives to train, the NFL player who lives in the gym.  These horses gallop once around a track every morning and do very rare speed work.  They are not close to be being tapped out of their ability to improve.”

The Australian Crime Commission’s report spells out the “new generation PIEDs” and their sources.  For months we have pointed to the out of control use of HGH in sport.  We may continue to hear the bogus claims of NFL and baseball that they have HGH under control.  Nothing could be further from the factual truth.

Growth hormone releasing peptides(CJC-1295, GHRP-2, GHRP-6 and Hexarelin) are readily available in Australia at anti-aging clinics.  Project Imperio traced the origin of many of these peptides to China.  The Aussie report fuels our claims that HGH is, and continues to be, out of control in major sport.

This is why we sought the opinion of a highly respected DVM like Sheila Lyons.  She’s busy but continues to be pro-active when it comes to state to state regulation of vet practices.  ”I have gotten some recent compliments and thanks from my Senate testimony from politicians, including the N.Y. Senator who wrote the no drug dill which I hope passes for New York.” she reports.

A search committee has been formed to find an equine veterinary medical director for the New York Racing Association.  The NYRA and the Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine made the announcement on Feb., 13.  The position will be established outside of the NYRA and that person will report to Cornell.

“As for New York,” says Lyons, “it’s a great move.  But it comes down to two things.  Who do they hire?  And how much authority will they be given?  I was once asked if I would want such a job and I paraphrased something I once heard–In order to take responsibility for an outcome, I would have to be given complete authority over the issue.  I would like to think NY will find someone who is not “of” the industry so they have loyalties to anything but being the best veterinary professional making tough calls.  Then I hope the NYRA abides one-hundred percent by their directives.”

The NYRA search committee is comprised of: Michael Kotlikoff(chairman), dean at Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine; Anthony Bonomo and Steven Duncker of NYRA, Dr. Mary Scollay Ward, equine medical director for Kentucky Commission; Lisa Fortier, Cornell; Thomas Divers, Cornell; Terry Finley, West Point Thoroughbreds; Ken McPeek, trainer; and Dr. Jerry Bilinski of Waldorf Farms.

More comments from Lyons: “But with the abuse of drugs and owners who only care about short term goals, trainers who just want entries, not horses to train and develop like true horsemen of the old days–so few are treated as individuals and allowed to develop as such.  And when they seem to hit a plateau, the drugs start being used continuously and then the possibility to strengthen is lost. Then the only option becomes ‘what can I give this horse to get them to win on Saturday?’  Not, how can I get this horse to improve, train better and run well.”

Ouch!  And now you know why we love this gal.  She speaks with pointed breath.

We hope the NYRA names an equine veterinary medical director who will exemplify what the industry needs so badly.

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About The Author

Warren Eves
Warren Eves is the senior turf writer from the state of California who now calls Prairie River, Louisiana his home. The one time editor of the Pasadena Independent Star News moved on to handle publicity for racetracks coast to coast. Eves gained his first exposure to the racetrack through a school buddy Art Lerille, Jr., who eventually became a trainer in California. Warren worked as farm manager for crack two-year-old trainer Ray Priddy, before holding on track jobs at the racetrack. He worked for Hall of Fame trainer M.E. "Buster" Millerick, Allen Drumheller, Jr., and Dick Moon. Eves has a well rounded background in all breeds. He developed Quarter Horse Report in 1979 with Ed Burgart, track announcer, at Los Alamitos Race Course. It was an innovative publication which revolutionized the industry with actual descriptions of the workouts. While handling publicity at Saratoga Raceway in upstate New York Eves was named employee of the year in 1970. He also handled publicity for Sunland Park, Centennial Park, Ascot Park, Thistledown, and two harness meetings in California. Eves then went into the 900-line business with his best plays and has compiled his own Kentucky Derby ratings for many years. In 1997 he began going back and forth to Las Vegas teaming up with Ralph Siraco to create the long runining radio show Raceday Las Vegas. Eves has produced and directed many horse racing shows on both radio and television. In 2010 he got a call from Mark Geiger. That's when he began writing for the newest horse racing site on the internet www.pricehorsecentral.com. Eves, with a reputation of a trip handicapper, spends countless hours doing video tape review. His unique "playback list" includes consistenly conservative lengths lost notatations. Veteran clocker John Wilson encouraged Eves to put the minus(-1) notations into his commentary for those who do numbers. He's been doing this unique process for many years. While writing for Ridder Publication at the Pasadena Star News his investigative reporting was highly regarded by his peers. Often on the cutting edge, Eves has been given the green light to write about what issues he sees fit to cover. Have a question. If Warren doesn't know the answer he'll tell you up front. Eves won't drop it there, however, he'll find someone who knows the answer and get back to you. Until Santa Anita goes back to dirt tracks Warren will be conentrating on races at venues that do. It doesn't mean he's not reviewing the races at Santa Anita, it merely means his betting dollars will be playing other venues. He feels there's simply too many question marks when it comes to "fake" dirt tracks.

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