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Public Perception "Key To Race-Day Drug Debate"

Wednesday, 15th June 2011

Presenters at the International Summit On Race-Day Medication, emphasised that racing “can no longer make decisions in an industry vacuum” & examined the” public relations & political impacts of current policy & potential changes” reported thoroughbredtimes.com. John Della Volpe from SocialSphere Inc said polling showed “dramatic improvements in fan confidence following sweeping changes that followed the breakdown of Eight Belles in the 2008 Kentucky Derby”; those changes included eliminating anabolic steroids, standardising equine injury reporting, the launching of the NTRA Safety And Integrity Alliance & increasing equine after-care efforts. Della Volpe emphasised: “Racing made significant progress on integrity issues with the fans from 2008 to 2009 We saw 23%, 24% shifts in positive public opinion. I believe the reason we’ve seen such significant progress is because many in this industry acted with clarity & a unified voice.” Della Volpe said racing “cannot afford to be insular with increased media scrutiny & social media access” & noted that, while experts may outline studies “that show Salix does reduce EIPH (exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage), the public opposes drug use in race horses & makes little delineation between performance-enhancing drugs & therapeutic drugs”. He declared bluntly: “This is the era of transparency, the era of sunlight. Consumers expect & demand authenticity & transparency.” To read the full report, click on the link in The Great Debate panel on the right-hand-side of this page.

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