Bumper sticker policy involves implementing a rule or rules that makes us feel good, but really does nothing. It happens everywhere else too at times and we've all seen it. Want crystal meth gone? Ban it and declare "war". Want to stop kids from getting fat? Ban a big gulp. Do you want to stop EPO in the Tour De France? Well we test for it on raceday. Take that!
It rarely works because the policy rarely addresses the root issues. It doesn't have a vision. It isn't based on sound policy. It is created on a reaction.
Today in Harness Racing Update Gary Machiz offered a new suggestion for drug testing. It involved looking at "cloudy" tests in pre-race drug testing.
- I suggest that all horses competing on a given race card arrive at the track, not later than lasix treatment time. All horses would have blood drawn upon arrival. Every horse must produce a "clean" not "cloudy" sample in order to be allowed to compete.
Gary explains it better than I could, so please give it a read (pdf). However, the narrative is sound. Trainers who use ITPP or EPO have cloudy tests, trainers that are pushing the envelope have cloudy tests. If their horses blood profile does not match the mean they don't race. If they don't change their ways they don't race. If they don't change their ways owners do not get to earn money and they move elsewhere. In other words, the industry says: Race drug free on raceday or don't race at all, lose owners and go work at Wal Mart.
This eliminates the massive cost of post race testing over time, and the non-sensical positives for banamine that was given 48 hours out instead of 51, with zero malicious intent to cheat anyone.
Is it doable, the right thing to do or just another bumper sticker policy? I don't know, but it shows some critical thinking on an issue that has been serviced with a bumper sticker narrative for 100 years.