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First Time Gelding's a Microcosm of Racing's Big Issues

A horse gets gelded, a horse wins first time gelded. At times - probably a lot of the time - we have no idea the true timing of such. That's been going on forever.

In Hong Kong (oh Pocket, here you go again with the Honk Kong thing), a horse gets gelded and wins first time gelded. We know exactly the timing of such, because vet work is documented, and a vet and trainer who didn't report it would be on the next plane to Ulan Bator.

Hong Kong has a tight system that can enforce proper reporting, and procedure, so their betting customers can feel 100% confident in the data. North American racing does not have that.

What if the industry here really wanted to ensure that when a horse is gelded, the date and time is accurate, and the reporting is accurate through the system? Well, it would be pretty much impossible the way a horse is structured wouldn't it?

For something accurate and real to be implemented here, you'd need big penalties for not reporting this properly. Track vets would have to be sanctioned for not reporting it. Trainers would have to be sanctioned for not reporting it. You'd need to build a set of protocols so that when a tattoo number is checked (just like is done at every harness track by the gal or guy with a clipboard), a horse is checked to ensure a colt is a colt and a gelding is a gelding. This data would need to be kept in a database.

Sounds easy enough, if it was one jurisdiction. Just pass a new fine, disseminate it to the masses, let people know, and build the protocol. Then ensure your data provider is on board. Done.

Unfortunately, this process would have to be uniform. At Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to the Ils S'ont Partie tracks where the Duck Dynasty dudes reside, to New York, to Florida, to California, where seemingly the simplest policy changes go to die through infighting.

Horse racing was never built for uniform change; whether that be for legislation regarding uniform whip rules, withdraw times, lasix, bute, drug levels, or a hundred other things. That's why something you and I might find very simple - whether a horse doesn't have testicles today, where he had them yesterday - seems to get mired into a bizarre reporting and fiefdom Chinese finger puzzle.

It's not that this industry does not want it, and it certainly does not mean trainers are trying to pull one over on us. It's just seemingly impossible.

I was recently looking at a horse I used to own. He's listed as a colt, even though he was gelded three years ago. I doubt this is going to change any time soon.

Comments

JLB said…
In paragraph 8, the wording seems to indicate testicle implantation. Now THAT's a change that has to be listed, esp. if it involves a filly. Happy Holidays, wishing you the very best for the New Year.
Mike Maloney said…
Nice piece PTP, agree totally. New gelding info being listed on the equibase website has been helpful for me. Kudos to equibase and HANA for making that happen. Doesn't address all of the issues you discuss in the article but a solid step in the right direction.
Pull the Pocket said…
JLB: I laughed when I read that and changed it :)

Season's greetings.

It is a step in the right direction. Certain kudos to Jeff and Hank.

Happy Christmas to you and yours Mike.

D