I expected I'd hate it, but I didn't.
The half hour CCTV expose on horse racing in California was not overly sensationalistic. It was nothing like I expected. To those who have followed racing for a long time, nothing was overly surprising either. The funniest part of it, I guess, is that it came from a Chinese television show, not from anything this side of the pond.
From the California track vet who is retiring because the protective nature of the sport fills her with dismay and malaise, from the "deep throat" trainer who tells us what many already know, from the pageantry of racing on the front side, to what happens in the backside in some instances; all of it was interesting.
I read an Aussie report recently and it said:
As long as there have been races, people have found ways to beat the field and cheat the system.
the days when Gai Waterhouse's father, Tommy Smith, was one of many who
built a career on anabolic steroids before they were banned, trainers
with the best biochemists have stayed ahead of the game.
racing people know this is true. Publicly, many stay silent or deny it.
Some are loyal to a fault - like cycling officials, riders, team
managers and sponsors were before the Armstrong scandal was finally
lanced after years of festering "rumours" that proved to be true.
The romantics among us, of course, would rather not know. Just like the
nice folk in Texas who still can't believe good ol' Lance did more drugs
on tour than the Rolling Stones.
With stories like this seemingly behind every corner, with no geographical bounds, it's becoming more and more difficult to be romantic; to 'not know'. That's probably a good thing. The more we're educated about the business, the fewer people there are to apologize for it. The fewer defenders the indefensible has, the easier it is to enact change.
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