Double Dosing?

And down the stretch they come! With the track announcer’s call, each pair of eyes turns toward the head of the stretch. The crowd roars in anticipation as the big chestnut, the favorite, lies just behind the front runners. His jockey moves him

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And down the stretch they come! With the track announcer’s call, each pair of eyes turns toward the head of the stretch. The crowd roars in anticipation as the big chestnut, the favorite, lies just behind the front runners. His jockey moves him to the outside and asks for that quick burst of speed. The horse responds and in a few strides has drawn even. Suddenly, inexplicably, his stride shortens and the rest of the field closes the gap until first one horse passes him, then another.


The fans leave, puzzled.


The chart for the race in the paper the next morning gives the explanation. Two words say all–Bled significantly.
This type of incident is not uncommon in the racing industry–Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, or Standardbred. Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) is a given part of the vocabulary around racetracks and is a common cause of poor performance in horses. It even is thought that EIPH is not limited merely to racing horses, and that bleeding to some degree occurs in other breeds and disciplines. However, it is believed that more than 75% of racing Thoroughbred horses have experienced EIPH. Some researchers believe that figure to be 100%. The range of bleeding runs from mild to severe.


Whatever the figure, EIPH presents a serious compromise to a horse’s performance ability, enough to prompt studies for finding solutions and drugs for treating or at least minimizing the severity of the condition

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Written by:

Tom Hall is a former English professor with a BA from Georgetown College, a JD from the University of Kentucky School of Law, and an MA in English from Western Kentucky University. He is an assistant editor for Eclipse Press.

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