Friday, September 7, 2012

Precarious Policies, Friday Notes

There was a very good opinion piece at the Thoroughbred Times on Lasix yesterday. The author contends that there is a parallel between lasix and milkshaking. Both are performance enhancers, both are argued as being "good for the horse" and only one of them is banned. In addition, both substances (apparently) can mask other drugs.
  • What this issue really comes down to is not science but the integrity of the game. When horses are administered drugs on race days, old suspicions arise of a crooked sport. Fair, or not, is debatable … but it's a fact. This was pointed out once again in the McKinsey & Co. study that was presented last year at the Jockey Club Round Table on Matters Pertaining to Racing. For that reason alone, the industry must rid itself of race-day medications.
This is a very logical argument, no matter what side you're on. If we allow lasix, why not allow tubing? If we allow those two things, what about allowing meds for joint pain before the race? What about other things to help the horse feel better?

It's a slippery slope, and what we always have to remember: We're dealing with horses, not humans. It's okay if Tony Romo wants to take a cortisone shot before a game for sore ribs. He is human and he can make that decision. A horse, standing in cross ties, can't say no to a needle.

Gwiner looks at the harness racing speed barrier on DRF Harness. We've discussed that here, and Bob Marks makes some good points. This weekend in Harness Racing Update there'll be an article of a similar nature. I'll post it here when it's up.

Saturday night's card at the Hawk is a good one as we prepare for the Canadian Trotting Classic. Champlain divisions are pretty stacked, too.

I played Turfway Park last night for the opener. It was pretty formful. Turfway is a good place to play - in fact, Kentucky racing, in my opinion, is one of the best jurisdictions to play horse racing. I've always had a soft spot for Turfway because they try. The lack of slots are killing them.

There was a conversation on twitter last evening with the Knight Sky speaking about harness track takeout rates in Canada. Flamboro Downs, for example, has 24.7% WPS take (no that is not a mis-type). The prevailing thought was 'how did executives (with slot money pouring in) let that occur?" I have no answer. It makes no sense to me. When 80% or more of your purses and profits are coming in from slots, you should have 10% takeouts and try and build some business. This should've happened the day slots were introduced.

Germany is looking at horse racing reform, because they have too many racetracks and not enough customers. I remember taking economic geography in university in second year (I think), and we learned about locating businesses, market areas and all the rest. I swear when I look at racetracks, no one read those books or took that class. It's like this world wide. When you are granted a monopoly the rules of regular business seem to go right out the window.

Cangamble looks at what Ontario racing should look like with a new deal. Whatever it looks like, it's going to be a whole lot smaller. If the rules of business are not undertaken with what's left - short meets, bundling signals, lower rakes etc - it'll probably never fly.

There is a poll up on Standardbred Canada asking what purse money for the 5th place horse should be used for, when the field is not made up of five horses. What's running last is not surprising.

Have a great Friday!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying what should be allowed and what shouldn't be allowed for a pre-race (and the conversation should include the other 20 or so meds being used on a daily basis), but comparing a shot with sticking tubes down a horse's throat, and layering it with foreign substances, is a stretch.

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