Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Banning Race Day Meds - One Tough Call

Today it was announced that Kentucky is looking at a banning of all raceday meds, primarily the bleeder shot lasix.

This is an intellectually challenging discussion for me, and we can see with the divergence of opinion, it seems that's confirmed by some others. Unlike whipping, where Ontario and other states made changes, there is more to it than simply a fear from participants of doing things differently.

My biggest fear lies in the fact that banning lasix will simply allow those who don't want to follow the rules more of an edge.

In the 1990's when milkshaking was a common process to make a horse last longer it was deemed a bad practice and banned. The people who did not want to follow the rule looked for edges in changing the ph level in horses and continued to shake. Later on, when D barns were prevalent, pretty much disallowing the benefit of milkshaking, the practice changed to dangerous blood builders. There are always people who will not follow the rules, and there is always something different to gain an edge.

If lasix is banned, backstretch shots of other bleeder meds I believe can, do and will happen. Even in the UK, where lasix is banned, we saw the Queen's horse's trainer get suspended for giving an anti-bleeder med on race day.

With 99% of thoroughbred racehorses getting lasix it is completely troubling. There is no way in hell these horses all need lasix. However, with lasix banned, chances are a fair percentage of these same horses will still get bleeder meds on raceday, we just won't see it.

Sweeping a problem under a rug can be good for public perception. The aforementioned UK example I think is a good one. Ask 100 people in North America about UK racing, and most would say they are clean. With brown bottle bleeders virtually everywhere, they are likely not as clean as we think; but that does not seem to matter.

It will be pretty interesting to see how this debate evolves, and if it addresses real change and not simply a public perception band-aid.


Pletcher and Repole talk Mo. In the comments section you see questions posed by two very sharp players and insiders asking about that shaved knee.

TVG talks their exclusive tracks, Woodbine/Mohawk and Keeneland. Like it or not as horseplayers, this is a proper business model for both tracks and TVG.

Jessica is either completely off her rocker, or smart as a whip. One thing for sure: She's got cajones! She leaves Uncle Mo at number one in her Paulick Derby list. But she might have used a raceometer.

A bettor here at PTP disagrees with Jess; with my nomination for comment of the week: "If Uncle Mo makes the gate in the big one I will eat my own spleen." I would probably just bet against him in futures if I were him, because that sounds a little painful.

Scott over at Sports Is Made For Betting asked me if I watched the Inter-Dominians in NZ last week. I caught the final on youtube, but came across the commercial for the event.

I have an idea: Ontario should take 5% out of purses and market like this! I know, I kid, I kid.

Enjoy your Wednesday folks.

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