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Putting One Over On People

Sometimes some tweet storms are really interesting. This morning:

You can do a lot stringing 140 characters.

Horse racing - unlike anything really - rewards, and condones 'putting one over on people'. Unloading a claimer with a bum knee, with few starts left, is considered good business. Even the aggrieved party accepts it as part of the game, with the vernacular "he unloaded that rat on me." It's like some sort of strange badge of honor. This doesn't happen all the time, of course. I remember selling a horse once and watching the trainer explain how the filly's stifles were bothering her, that her ulcer issues needed taking care of, etc. To him, and others, that - not unloading one - is good business.

But as a rule, horse racing has always been the old west, and putting one over on someone is not frowned upon. It's accepted and it's part of the culture.

I really don't see that changing, unless there's a massive shift in the way horse racing does business. If you sell a house with a leaky basement you knew about, the deal can be rescinded, and in some cases the seller can be charged with fraud. This, through home inspections and the law, ensures a proper and fluid housing market. Horse racing in Hong Kong does the job, with vet reports, but the differences between Hong Kong and North America are as wide as the day is long. Claiming a horse will continue to be like a bizarre Christmas present that is not unwrapped until the scans and bloods come back a few days after you claim him.

And I have not even touched on the bettors. Betting is buyer beware in the utmost of extremes.

Sometimes I wonder if society even cares about this stuff in sports. They are desensitized that people cheat. Well, some sports. In golf if you doctored a ball's compression by even a small amount and it was uncovered, you would be banned for life and no one would come to your defense. If you doctor a football the same way, it's a reason for a court case, with minions at your beck and call in the media to protect and apologize for you. "It was kinda cheating, but everyone cheats. And we don't 100% know he knew, you know?" Two sports, two different cultures.

Without central control, a central office to set standards across the sport - aka things that will never happen - horse racing will continue to be buyer beware, continue to be a business shrouded in secrecy. It was like that in 1930, and it will be that way in 2030. It is what it is.

Enjoy your day everyone.


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