Monday, November 19, 2012

A Far East Salvo

I expected I'd hate it, but I didn't.

The half hour CCTV expose on horse racing in California was not overly sensationalistic. It was nothing like I expected. To those who have followed racing for a long time, nothing was overly surprising either. The funniest part of it, I guess, is that it came from a Chinese television show, not from anything this side of the pond.

From the California track vet who is retiring because the protective nature of the sport fills her with dismay and malaise, from the "deep throat" trainer who tells us what many already know, from the pageantry of racing on the front side, to what happens in the backside in some instances; all of it was interesting.

I read an Aussie report recently and it said:

As long as there have been races, people have found ways to beat the field and cheat the system.

Since the days when Gai Waterhouse's father, Tommy Smith, was one of many who built a career on anabolic steroids before they were banned, trainers with the best biochemists have stayed ahead of the game.

Privately, racing people know this is true. Publicly, many stay silent or deny it. Some are loyal to a fault - like cycling officials, riders, team managers and sponsors were before the Armstrong scandal was finally lanced after years of festering "rumours" that proved to be true.

The romantics among us, of course, would rather not know. Just like the nice folk in Texas who still can't believe good ol' Lance did more drugs on tour than the Rolling Stones.

With stories like this seemingly behind every corner, with no geographical bounds, it's becoming more and more difficult to be romantic; to 'not know'.  That's probably a good thing. The more we're educated about the business, the fewer people there are to apologize for it. The fewer defenders the indefensible has, the easier it is to enact change.


1 comment:

Christine said...

Agreed it's a good thing that the chance for people to claim ignorance is diminishing! As it should be for many things out there in the world.

But it does make me laugh when an expose includes information that is generally already known, but great to read that it wasn't full of sensationalism!