Monday, May 21, 2012

Is It 2008 Again?

This years Triple Crown chase moves to Belmont in three weeks, and the chatter has already reached a fever pitch. Will we see a TC winner - the first since "Night Fever" topped the charts? Or will it be a letdown, once again.

The funny thing this year, however, is the protagonists. We have a trainer who is very polarizing. If you visit a chat board, or an industry site, you'll see literally hundreds of posts laced with some serious vitriol about the dude. He's been cited for medication violations, and is appealing some of them in court. We also have an owner who seems to have rubbed some people the wrong way ......

Hold it, is it 2008, or 2012?

The spotlight once again is on racing as a sport, and once again, we're failing to deliver. People can wax poetic as much as they want about this Triple Crown bid, but holy smokes: The public has seen this once, and now they're seeing it again only four years later. In 2008, all the lead up to the Triple Crown did was teach the public about steroids. It didn't help racing one bit. Now in 2012 they'll get told stories about milkshakes, like CBS did in its "cheat sheet", and what was seen on a CNN feature this evening. Someone clue me in: How is this supposed to help racing?


Anonymous said...

Racing fans don't think along these lines. They rarely see that the public means everything; because polticians like Cuomo can gain more support from them. The sport itself is getting 40% of purse money from public gaming/subsidy. They control the purse strings and the sport and if we keep sending these trainers out on our biggest days, it plays right into the hands of the people who would rather have racing over and done with. When I read the internet I see how happy I am supposed to be, but I feel anything but happy. This is Dutrow dressed up in a hat.

Anonymous said...

I guess we might as well throw Larry Jones under the bus for killing Eight Belles as well?

Show me a trainer in this day and age that doesn't using performance enhancing drugs, because it doesn't happen. Casie Coleman, Steve Asmussen, Todd Pletcher, Rick Zeron, D. Wayne Lukas, they've all been slapped on the wrist for one of their horses testing positive for a banned substance.

So why now are we looking at Doug O'Neil under the microscope. If we were ever to try and find a Triple Crown trainer with an untainted past, we'd fall short.

And if we really want to look at a Triple Crown trainer with a drug past we'd better focus on Affirmed's trainer, Las Barrera, who tended to use Cocaine in his horses in the late '80's and no doubt tainted Affirmed in some way that we just never could catch.

To compare Rick Dutrow to Doug O'Neil is proposterous considering Dutrow was tacking up a horse Preakness day with Zetterholm under an ENORMOUS cloud of suspicion, and who has currently broke racing rules at 15 tracks in nine states dating back to 1979.

O'Neil might not have a clean past but this horse is something special, why fault him because of humans. Dare to dream.

Just my 2 cents


Anonymous said...


Have other trainers gone outside the rules to win? Certainly for some, probably for others.

While a horse can't be blamed for the actions of the trainer, the last thing I want to see is a Triple Crown winner from the barn of a guy who would be banished from racing if not for an appeal.

Defeating I'll Have Another would save the embarrassment of honoring a documented cheat who shouldn't even have a license now.

Arrrrr said...

Substance or no substance, you can't win the three jewels of the triple crown due to just performance enhancing. The winner's of each race are under the microscope and are tested thoroughly and have been identified as clean, especially the Derby.

Say what you want about the connections, but if this horse wins the triple crown, don't you dare take anything away from him. I'll Have Another has done nothing wrong and has earned that achievement apart from his connections. The horse has the talent friends, not necessarily the connections.

Anonymous said...

The last 7 horses to win both the Derby and the Preakness all had trainers that had violations for drug use, with the exception of one; Smarty Jones' trainer John Servis.

Silver Charm (Baffert), Real Quiet (Baffert), Charismatic (Lukas), War Emblem (Baffert), Funny Cide (Tagg-who used Winstrol), Big Brown (Dutrow) all had past violations.

So unless we change the rules of the Triple Crown races, thereby allowing only trainers without drug violations be eligible to enter a horse, we'll have to hope that I'll Have Another is running on his own merit, win or lose.

Again, just my 2 cents.


Pull the Pocket said...

I think, as insiders, we get off the beaten path sometimes with this.

A lot of trainers get overages for meds - stuff given 48 hours out that somehow tests in small increments - and things like that. I believe the public and the media feel okay with those things. It's not unlike an Olympic athlete taking an aspirin for a headache two days before and getting stripped of a medal. It's over the top, and the public knows it. There was zero intent to cheat.

However (and Doug says he never did it, so we have to be clear on that), things like "Milkshakes" are not done for therapuetic reasons. The intent to load a horse with soda is there for only one reason - to get a horse to go faster on race day and win money. I think that's what the media has picked up on here; not unlike they do with blood doping at the Tour De France. That's not done for therapeutic reasons either. In fact, it's very harmful.

What exacerbates it, is the use of it on an animal. A cyclist can make a choice to EPO load, for riches, or winning, or because everyone else is doing it. A horse does not have the capability to make his or her own choices - and in the changing world, it's a palpable difference.

So, it's a tough call, but I think the coverage you're seeing of soda is not unexpected. In fact, it should be expected. How racing weather's the storm of it is a whole other story.

We'll see what the next day of coverage brings.

All my opinion.


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