Monday, August 22, 2011

4 in 12 Days. It's Why We Need Rules

Racing tends to govern down to the letter, but only if the letter is written. The problem as I see it is that sometime, somewhere, there will be someone who pushes an envelope, and we need another rule.

It was reported this past week on twitter and elsewhere, and today on the Paulick Report, that trainer Richard Dutrow's filly, who raced four times in twelve days, was put on the judges list. The outrage on the web has ratcheted up several notches, because in her last start of the tough stint, she was eased.

It's true there was no 'rule' broken, but it's a big reason why this sport needs more and more of them.

It doesn't matter if trainer 'X' once raced a horse four times in 15 days, or another trainer raced one three times in eight days, or whatever anecdotal evidence we want to give to excuse it (I am sure we all know someone who never wore a seatbelt, but didn't die in an auto accident). What matters, is that in this day and age, when racing purses are being subsidized upwards of 40% by slots (i.e. public money), when the public has never before been so in-tune with animal rights and treatment, and where the spotlight has never been greater, the above shouldn't happen.

This has happened many times before in other areas. For instance, when a trainer gets convicted of horse abuse, but is still allowed to work with animals as a trainer. There is no rule that says he can't, so he does and the public thinks we don't care a lick for our equine friends.

We have always needed protection from ourselves in racing because of that, and that is why we see so many (sometimes ridiculous) rules.

I hope this is at least a lesson learned. If you are thinking of entering your horse four times in 12 days, please don't. Your horse will thank you, and so will racing. We won't have to waste everyone's time writing a rule to stop you from doing what 99.8% of trainers would never even think of doing.

3 comments:

Marty said...

I agree!!! Anything that keeps those beautiful animals safe.

Scott Ferguson said...

excuse me if I've missed the reason behind the story, but I don't see the problem. Each horse is different, each race is different. It would be another matter if the horse was distressed at the end of the race, or had been whipped severely to run a mediocre ninth in those races. Some horses prefer to race than exercise. How does safety come into it? A horse would work out at least that often anyway. Some horses race best with 60 days between runs, others need to race week in, week out.

Two people can have exactly the same diet and exercise regime with one turning out three stone overweight, the other rock hard fit. Metabolisms are different, running styles are different etc.

Judge each case on its merits, not by some generic statistic....

Anonymous said...

The horse being considered in the article is trained by Dick Dutrow, who had a hearing with the New York State Racing and Wagering Board because of persistent racing and drug violations involving his horses, and for being considered detrimental to the sport of thoroughbred horseracing. He is awaiting a decision. He may be suspended or banned. He was denied a trainer's license in Kentucky, earlier this year. Do you still believe Dick Dutrow has the good sense and awareness to know what is right for the horse, and for racing, by running a horse potentially 4 times in 12 days after learning these other facts? If you do, I suggest you are more lacking in insight, and what is right, than Dick Dutrow is. He should have been banned a long, long time ago.