Kentucky Derby winning Thoroughbred trainer H. Graham Motion has joined the Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA), the latest member in a growing list of trainers who support efforts for passage of The Horseracing Integrity Act.
To date, WHOA's roster includes 65 trainers, including Hall of Famers Roger Attfield, Michael Dickinson, Neil Drysdale, and Jonathan Sheppard, as well as leading international trainers Ian Balding, John Gosden, Alec Head, Criquette Head-Maarek, and Gai Waterhouse.
In a statement to WHOA, Motion said:
From what I have seen WHOA is the only group that is making a serious effort to form a national governing body with uniform rules and penalties covering all 38 racing jurisdictions and in sync with international rules of racing bringing transparency and integrity to U.S. racing.
I have held off joining WHOA up until now, but frustration with the lack of a governing body continues to become more apparent as shown by the problems that several horsemen, including myself, have experienced in the last few years.
There is a lack of understanding as to how complicated the medication rules have become from state to state and there seems to be a desire from the powers that be to trip us up rather than guide us through these issues.
We cannot compare ourselves to other countries when it comes to medication infractions. In the U.S. we are allowed certain medications within a closer time frame to race day and, in my mind, herein lies the problem.
There is only one solution and that is a governing body with guidelines similar to other countries where common sense and uniform rules are used. Despite the sensitivity of testing, little has changed with regards to the environment in which our samples are handled. This also would be better addressed by a group that would oversee all testing protocols. Without change we will continue to give our industry a black eye.
Motion was born in Cambridge, England, in May 1964 and was raised at Newmarket's Herringswell Manor Stud operated by his parents. The family moved to the United States in 1980.
Motion’s career began with six years working with Sheppard, during which he traveled extensively with four-time Eclipse award winning steeplechaser Flatterer. This was followed by time with trainer Jonathan Pease, in Chantilly, France. Returning to the United States in 1990, he worked as assistant to Bernard P. Bond. On Bond’s death in 1993, two owners left their horses with Motion, who took out his trainer's license at that time.
Motion won the 1,000th race of his career in 2006 and entered 2015 with more than 1,900 wins and more than $97 million in purse earnings.
Motion and his wife, Anita, live in Fair Hill, Maryland, with their two children, Jane and Marcus.
The Water Hay Oats Alliance is a grassroots movement of like-minded individuals who support the passage of federal legislation to prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of horse racing. The group believes that the appointment of an independent anti-doping program run by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency will solve the problem of widespread drug use in American racing and put U.S. racing jurisdictions in step with international standards.