Horses Given Viagra Ingredient To Run Faster, Trainer Suspended

Horses were given a Viagra ingredient by one New Mexico trainer in the hopes of making them race faster, leading to a hefty suspension and fine for the performance-enhancing drug pusher.

New Mexico horse racing regulators announced the discipline against trainer John Stinebaugh after four horses tested positive in July for a prohibited drug that’s an ingredient of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra. The racing commission announced that Stinebaugh would receive four suspensions — one of each of the horses given the Viagra ingredient at Ruidoso Downs — amounting to 16 years.

He was also given a $40,000 fine and forced to cough up $8,000 in winnings.

The Viagra ingredient given to the horses was sildenafil, which increases cardiac output, giving increased endurance and faster race times for the horses.

“That drug has no business being in a horse. It has no medicinal or therapeutic value in a horse,” said Racing Commission Executive Vince Mares.

While Stinebaugh can still appeal the ruling made this week, Mares said he wanted the suspension to serve an example to others who would think of injecting horses with performance-enhancing drugs.

“It is just a more proactive approach to… the doping problem in New Mexico.”

Horses haven’t been the only creatures given Viagra to improve performance. The Israeli defense ministry medical corps recently ordered 1,200 tablets of 100mg sildenafil citrate, the main ingredient of Viagra.

Though there were some questions as to whether the drug could improve performance on the battlefield, the report noted that the drug “would be used to treat soldiers with sexual performance problems.”

There is another side to the horses Viagra story, Stinebaugh claims. He told American Quarter Horse News that the positive tests were really the result of an anti-bleeding compound that track veterinarians gave to his horses in a paste. He said the drug testing mistook this for the Viagra ingredient.