Wednesday Notes

With apologies to our pal Tom LaMarra, this made us go hmmmm.

This is the response from sports' leagues in their lawsuit against New Jersey wanting to offer sports betting:
  • “Gambling on amateur and professional sports threatens the integrity of those sports and is fundamentally at odds with the principle… that the outcome of collegiate and professional athletic contests must be determined, and must be perceived by the public as being determined, solely on the basis of honest athletic competition,” the suit states. “Amateur and professional sports are an integral part of American culture, particularly among the country’s youth who often look up to athletes as role models.
That response would be fine, I guess, if states like Nevada didn't already have sports betting.  I see what they're doing (trying to stop a proliferation of sports betting) but it reads like the worst kind of outrage, in my opinion, the selective kind. Sports betting in some states is inevitable; it'll come.

If you read the news, or opinion, or even look at the sales, newspapering is "dead". Maybe it is, but the mainstream media still has huge influence. In the spring the New York Times hosted several articles on horse racing, drugs and horse safety, highlighted by the notion that racing is a rudderless ship. Much of what they wrote was somewhat hyperbolic, in my opinion, but when the mainstream gets a hold of something, others follow.

Not long ago racing insiders were the only ones speaking of penalties for rule breakers. Now everyone is. In a scathing article called "Cheaters Prosper at Calder Race Course" the author explores virtually everything nasty in racing. Much of it too,  is hyperbolic (again in my opinion), but at its core it talks about a lot of what we do as insiders.

I read with interest about the horse that was disqualified from Equestrian the other day for a scratch on the leg. Conversely, athletes everywhere are running with sore hamstrings, or coming off injury; even Usain Bolt was only 90% according to him. If you read some in racing, regarding race day meds, they'll use the fact that human athletes are taking something before races to make them well, so why shouldn't horses be able to as well? Well, precisely because they are horses. If Usain Bolt races with a bad leg he can pull up, get treated and go on to the next meet; that's his decision. Horse's cannot make them for themselves, and worse, they can't speak. If they "pull up" the penalty is not a few weeks off watching reruns of Survivor while getting a daily massage - it's likely death. We should stop comparing human athletes to equine ones. It's a red herring.

In racing and sports betting, sooner or later the problems, or issues come to a head. You can only put up so many roadblocks, or ignore issues for so long before the public gets ahold of them, or overzealous states flex their muscles. Slots will be removed from racetracks, race day meds will likely be gone, punishments for trainers will not be like it always was, new whip rules or other horse safety measures, sports betting and exchange wagering will come. It's only a matter of time.

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