Why would racing be any different?
This weeks newsflash, first broke at NOLA.com by Bob Fortus, is about the South American Tree Frog, and its analgesic and pain killing "juice". So far we have a dozen or so positives and we'll likely have many more.
A few thoughts that may or may not be accurate, but are my opinion:
- Racing gives away $1B in purses each year - more if you include Canada - so this should be no surprise. If a guy will take a gun and rob a bank for $1,000, it's not a stretch to see someone order something over the internet that won't be detected in a racehorse, and take cash that way. The best part of it? If you get caught robbing a bank, you'll get thrown in jail. If you get caught robbing fellow horse owners, you'll likely get legal help to fight the positives from the horsemen group, get six months, and be able to use some of the money you stole for a nice vacation.
- A lot want to say it isn't widespread, but it probably is more than it looks like on the surface. EPO wasn't supposed to be widespread either, but there were plenty of busts with people selling it over the last ten years. The fact is, two horses are tested a race only. To catch a positive, one or both has to be using it (probably within a set time period) and the test has to not only be developed, but when it is, it has to work perfectly. For so many positives to have popped up, this is likely more widespread than people think.
- I think it's naive to think that a few trainers in New Mexico or Louisiana are the only ones with an internet connection to order this drug. The only jurisdiction testing for it, caught it.
- This is the true scourge in our sport. Horse's not feeling pain is cruelty. Not to mention, the jocks on their back, fellow riders and horses are all put at risk of death when things like this are used.
- When lasix is spoken about, or therapeutic positives, I defend a lot of horsepeople (in fact, one of my horses over the last 20 years had a positive once, and had no intent behind it). These drugs are not there to cheat, or be bad to the horses. There is no intent to steal, there is no intent to cheat. Unfortunately, drugs like this make people want to hang everyone with a positive. It hurts a lot of honest horse owners, trainers and the sport.
- A part of me is happy (selfishly) that this is being exposed in thoroughbred racing. I for one am tired of hearing how harness racing trainers use everything, but somehow thoroughbred trainers aren't made of the same genes as other humans and wouldn't even think of it. Human nature is human nature. If you're running for $25k for an 8 claimer and your horse runs, you are as likely, or even more likely to do something like this than with a 5 claimer harness horse that paces, racing for $3,800 at Windsor Raceway. Those aren't my rules, they are Adam Smith's.