Sunday, March 30, 2014

10 Different yet not random thoughts on racing.

1. If racetracks and the racing industry wanted to stop cheating, they could. They don't. It isn't that simple, but it is that simple. Everyone inside the game knows who the cheaters are. Some don't want to get involved, while others don't really care that the cheaters cheat, as long as nobody (the press and the public) finds out and makes a big deal about it. If not for the PETA video, most of you wouldn't even be reading this blog.
2. Why not just have a track veterinarian for every track that does a mandatory one week (random) unannounced inspection of every horse on the grounds? If you don't pass inspection or can't answer for why you are doing something unethical that will surely harm the long term interests of the horse, then the horse goes on a 6 month can't race list. 
3. I often wonder when it became so acceptable that certain horses are not racing to win in a race and we all accept that as okay? It goes against the very principles of why we started to have races in the first place. Racing became too much business and not enough sport. Still is that.
4. You can't win every race, or even most races, but you can try to. If you aren't, you are cheating the bettors. No bettors, no industry.
5. People don't come to the track and bet on the horses mostly because it isn't worth the money they charge you for that. Nor the time involved. That is the number one issue racing must address and the one they never do. If everyone is going to stay home and bet and watch on the internet, might as well get rid of 90% of the tracks and have us all wager on the same track, no matter where that is. Is that what we want to happen?
6. Big whales betting is great for handle, but long term, it is the last nail in the coffin of racing if they keep counting on that. Once they get tired of racing, and move onto another form of gambling, who will be left to bet? The 2 dollar bettor is already sick and tired of hearing that these big whales control the pools and get a huge rebate on top of that..which is basically the whales taking a slice out of your wagering dollar on the front end. That is just total insanity.
7. If you want the industry to be drug free, you have to get rid of the drugs. No matter what most say, if others have access to them and you have to compete with them, and they are legal (lasix, bute, other bleeders and pain killers) then you are going to use them to stay competitive. Don't expect even the most honorable of owners to be martyrs because the industry can't get their shit together. It is easy to say that they should--when it isn't your money. Fair is fair.  If you want them to stop, make everybody stop. Honorable owners are willing to follow the rules, but they aren't going to lead themselves into financial slaughter.
8. Here is something Jeff Gural did right. He made all trainers and owners sign a waiver that if they wanted to race at HIS establishment, a racetrack, they had to agree to terms, and if they violated those terms, they were out. That is the best way to avoid the appeals and stalling tactics so many trainers use to game the system, like taking their suspension when they have no horses racing for any money of note. Good for him.
9.No horse should ever run on medication. Medication is for or to prevent sickness. If you are sick, you don't go out and compete at the highest level of competition. If we give meds to horses, it should only be to treat them after a race or to make them better from an ailment. Instead of treating every bleeder in the racing world with lasix, we should stop breeding horses that need it. Right now, the opposite is the case. Instead of managing racehorses pain so they can compete, we should breed sounder, more durable horses. Like we used to before 2 year olds ran insane speeds on fragile legs to try and recoup ridiculous yearling prices and stud fees. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.
10. If you think a National Racing Commissioner would solve all or most of racings problems, you are as delusional as those that think Asmussen is going to get a long suspension for what he has done. Neither is going to happen. A commissioner is needed, but he or she cannot solve racings problems. Only provide a platform and leadership to do so. People in racing have to want real change and act like it matters enough to get it. Most don't. They are happy as long as the purses are high and they are getting their slice of the pie. When that happens, they turn a blind eye to any problem, until it starts affecting them.

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