International Equine Acquisitions Holdings, which is starting a $100 million horse hedge fund, is taking a stand against performance-enhancing drugs in horse racing.
IEAH said it would immediately begin withdrawing steroids and other unnecessary medications from its 50 horses, and that they would be drug-free by Oct. 1. The firm’s co-president, Michael Iavarone, added that he would pay for drug testing before and after every race.
“I know Big Brown or any of our horses do not need this stuff to win,” he said, according to The New York Times. Big Brown, the stables’ marquee horse, won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes before falling short at this month’s Belmont Stakes.
The Garden City, N.Y.-based firm previously made steroid-related news on the other side of the issue: Big Brown’s trainer, Rick Dutrow, admitted that the horse had been receiving steroid injections in the months prior to his convincing Derby victory. Iavarone said Dutrow signed off on IEAH’s new policy.
Iavarone said he made the move after seeing last week’s Congressional hearing on performance-enhancing drugs in the sport.
“I was moved by the hearing,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Times reports that Big Brown’s disastrous defeat at the Belmont—he came in last—has taken a big chunk out of his future breeding fees. Iavarone said that if Big Brown never raced again, he might earn $40,000 to $75,000 for a breeding session. He might have been worth as much as $200,000 had he won the Belmont—and with it horse racing’s Triple Crown—or even if he had simply run a better race.
Big Brown will likely return to the track on Aug. 3 for the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.