Like most things in racing when it involves big change, arguments - often times tangential or hyperbolic - are brought through a special interest lens. This muddies the waters enough where detractors or supporters dislike the other side enough to ask for the status-quo as a reprieve. Then everyone breathes a sigh of relief.
It's generally what happens in a fractured sport, or business.
Paul Moran, writing on ESPN, uses Australia to make his point about lasix.
- Everything is better over there. No Lasix. No bute. Nothing except hay, oats and water. They're just better than we are and, of course, no one colors outside the lines.
- On the square, that is, except for the use of EPO-type hormones and other "go-fast" drugs, the widespread use of which has been alleged by a group of Australian trainers and veterinarian sufficiently concerned for their safety and the threat of official retribution that they insist upon remaining anonymous while embroiling the sport in a tremendous scandal. They suggest that not only EPO but a variety of opiate-based stimulants are in wide use including Etorphine, also known as "elephant juice." They also claim that the practice of "milkshaking," delivery of a solution of bicarbonate of soda.
No one has ever said "everything is better over there". That's hyperbole. We all know that without race day lasix other things are used to stop bleeding in some form. We also know, with ITTP, EPO, CERA and a pile of other nasty drugs, they will find (or have already found) their way into racing; here, there and everywhere. An antagonist downunder might retort "ya, but you have tree frog venom, take that!"
And milkshaking? Well, that's been going on forever. The Kentucky Derby winning trainer has had a high TC02 something like four times over here. Oh sorry, it was a bad test. Plus he swore on his kids eyes or something.
The lasix debate is simple. Race day drugs are an issue in this sport. It's not the wild west anymore and the urbanization of the American public does not stand for animals being prepared to race with drugs. That's not made-up, or an opinion - it's fact. Racing, and many other sports are living with it right now. Sports like rodeo (prodding a cow with a buzzer so it bucks; are you serious?) lived with it many years ago, which is why they aren't on network television every Saturday like they used to be. No matter how many articles we write about it, or how much we complain about it on twitter or the Paulick Report, it's a problem that will have to be addressed.
So, what should racing do about it? I don't know. I'm not that smart. But we can't have an adult conversation when that conversation is filled with fear or hyperbole. It's time to move on and find a solution. The status-quo has left the building and it's never coming back.