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Courts Say Injecting is "Fraud", Weekend Racing Thoughts

In a case that lasted five years, and went to the highest courts in the land, an Ontario trainer was convicted of fraud for injecting a horse with a performance enhancing substance.

Although the penalty (a fine) seems inconsequential, the tenets of the case strike a chord.
Manarin said there’s a difference between cyclist Lance Armstrong using performance-enhancing drugs and Riesberry injecting them into a horse, Everyone’s Fantasy, before it ran in Race 6 on Sept. 28, 2010, at Windsor Raceway. “The horse has no choice,” said Manarin.
The message sent is pretty clear.

It does show how difficult it is for racing, and the courts, to deter such practices, however.  The trainer in question was caught in the act, yet it still took a long period of time, and the courts themselves needed to be educated about the effects of such actions.

This weekend was a big one in Thoroughbred racing with the Derby field getting very close to being set.

In the Wood, the speed figures came up ok, but the field crawled home like they were running in molasses, each carrying a fat man. Outwork, the son of Uncle Mo, had pace pressure the whole way, and lasted on the front end, holding off a massive longshot. He probably raced well, I suppose, but I can't discern much from that race.

In the Santa Anita Derby, Danzig Candy - perhaps the fastest three year old so far at a distance - went way too fast and stumbled home on a weird surface. Exaggerator's final time was ok, and he was visually impressive, which usually means he will be overbet come Derby day.

Another horse with visually impressive credentials won the Blue Grass - Brody's Cause. I always liked this horse, and he has a nice closing kick, but again I am not sure what to make of the race in the grand scheme of things.

Right now, Nyquist is the big chalk, and deservedly so. But he has reached that threshold with a 7 furlong prep where he went 44 to the half, and a Florida Derby where the main competition didn't show up, allowing him to race and beat a bunch of 60-1 shots. Adding to that, the pedigree guys hate the dam side, too. As we said a couple of days ago, he "might be the best horse we're looking at", and the chinks in his armor might end up being pretty minor when compared to the others.

It's a weird year so far, and unless something pops in the Arkansas Derby, we have Nyquist, a few prep winners who look slow on paper, two early steam horses in Mohaymen and Danzig Candy who cantered home in their last preps, Gun Runner, and some others. Right now the Nyquist-Gun Runner perfecta looks to take a beating.

Last year at this time there were three horses with big numbers, who won their preps impressively, who looked the part coming into the Derby (AP, Dortmund, Firing Line). It's sure not 2015.

The handle for the prep races were good at the various tracks, but could've been better, considering how good, and how big the handle has been for these big days of late. The suspect weather may have played a part.

The cross track stakes pick 4 did great, and it did, in my view, more than just inflate the Blue Grass handle (which was a record, but would not have without it). It added a little zip, and showed two tracks working together can bring in some scratch.

The handle for the Santa Anita Derby day looked fine, but I never trust the handle reported from the state. For example, "all source" handle for the last meet was reported as down 1%, while on Santa Anita races it was down about 10%, or down 3.5% date adjusted (not official figures, but they're close).

I hope everyone had a nice weekend.

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