Friday, April 26, 2013

A Fascinating Response To UK Steroid Positives

Reading in the Telegraph today (h/t to @sidfernando):
  • Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed has been vocal in his condemnation of the incident and locked down the Moulton Paddocks yard until full testing of every horse is undertaken. The BHA is due to start that testing on Monday, with chief executive Paul Bittar and Godolphin currently tackling the issue of who will oversee the training of horses at the yard.
  •  Sheikh Mohammed have given use a commitment that they will cooperate fully with all of our requirements in terms of investigations. "We will be testing them from Monday, in which we will cover every horse in the stable that we have not yet tested. We will also be doing a review of their procedures in that stable and then providing them with a report of what needs to be done to get it up to speed." 
This fascinates me, because both the owner of the stock and the regulator want to get to the bottom of this whole affair. They seem to be working hand in hand. It feels like someone is minding the store, that someone cares, that someone is there to stand up for horse racing. It's how it should be done, shouldn't it?

Keep in mind he does not have to do anything, and so far no one has shown he has done anything wrong, but this is kind of what I expected the CHRB and Baffert to do with his situation, where seven horses have died in 18 months. 

I expected the CHRB and others to work with Bob and his training staff, to get to the bottom of what's been happening, if anything. Maybe they'd put his stock in a security barn, where everything is monitored to the milligram, like they do in Hong Kong as a matter of course. They'd investigate from top to bottom to see if anyone is sabotaging Bob's stock. They'd look to see if bad feed, or vitamins or supplements are a culprit so it could save more horses in other stables, as well as Bob's. They'd investigate if there is a vet going around with bad stuff, purported to be a regular treatment and selling it as good on backstretches. Or maybe they'd see it's absolutely nothing but bad luck.

Some sort of published action plan would be expected and reasonable wouldn't it?

Instead we got, well, nothing really. At one meeting a CHRB member, straining all credulity said, “No trainer or trainers have been mentioned in our discussions.”

I don't even know if anyone is doing anything (maybe there is an action plan and I missed it?), other than business as usual.

The above is just one little example of many we could've used. I don't understand, with millions of dollars in stock, billions in betting dollars and an industry that supplies so many with a living, how we seem to take things so nonchalantly here in North America when it comes to horse safety and guarding the public trust.


Anonymous said...

I may be wrong, but I'm gonna predict that Rick Dutrow's federal lawsuit will show the extent of complicity and corruption in NY's racing commission at least.
As for CA, that's just a disgusting situation.

Warren Eves said...

When the Godolphin story broke I contacted DVM Brian Stewart in Australia, whom I consider to be near the top when it comes to such matters. He got back to me within minutes naming the two drugs involved. I find it refreshing that Sheikh Mohammed reacted in such strong fashion. He did not do the usual dancing around the issues like we find at so many racing domains. He wanted, like most owners and breeders should, to get to the bottom of the problem. Wow! Imagine, a powerful man like the Sheikh was being up front, vocal, and not coming with the rhetoric we have been enduring in my former stomping grounds in California. Unfortunately there has not been a competent group known as the CHRB(California Horse Racing Board) in eons. I know because I have been writing about their apathetic greedy members of a non-action board for many years. It's been a mess for a long time. It really got messy when Roy C. "Do Nothing" Wood was the administrative director of the CHRB. Their so-called investigators made futile attempts to do a mandated job. The problem is this. The loosely written mandates have been just that in California. We did a minority report on the state of racing way back when, pleading with the factions to re-write and put teeth into their mandates. As the years rolled by, those sitting on the CHRB were simply puppets acting on behalf of special connections. They, in all their non wisdom, found reason to re-admit Patrick Valenzuela, one of the biggest rule breakers in the history of racing. That tells you all you need to know about how totally useless this so called racing board has been. When charges have been made, it only took a dime-store lawyer to go to court and win a reprieve for a client. One of the major owner-breeders sat on the CHRB for years, manipulating things to enhance his operation and his California buddies. For many years I have been calling for the CHRB to be disbanded in its current form. I was tipped that eight Baffert trained horses had dropped dead well before the story broke. I didn't even bring the subject up in a horse racing column I write for, nor did I tweet it. What's the use, I thought, because the CHRB isn't going to investigate one of the major stables in Southern California. Well, my tip was mostly right. There were seven, not eight horses involved, and still this useless CHRB body has not acted. So why should any of us be surprised? You had this guy Keith Brackpool sit as chairman despite his shady connections. Then he cut some sort of a deal with the very factions we thought he was connected to in the first place. Now he's out and some pompous man named David Israel is sitting in the chair. And the way he conducted himself at the last meeting of the CHRB someone should have knocked him out. Nobody should be allowed to act in the manner Israel did. Guess none of us should be surprised he's no longer sitting on the Coliseum Commission. It's a long winded commentary about how pitiful things have become in California, once the greatest racing in the U.S. Sad but true.

Tinky said...

While I am entirely sympathetic to the comparisons to U.S. racing, etc., it would be extremely naïve to imagine that Sheikh Mohammed is innocent. I emphasize the word "extremely", and am not referring to the fact that, as owner, he is "ultimately" responsible.

Pull the Pocket said...


Not commenting either way on that.

The contrast I was making was that he, and his team, are letting the BHA do whatever they see fit, instead of stuffing a horse's leg in a bag, or blocking their entrance with a court order.


Tinky said...


Sorry, didn't mean to imply that you were. It's just that the reaction the Sheikh Mohammed's well-crafted response has, for the most part, been naïve.

Ask anyone in Newmarket who has been close to the Godolphin operation, and you will find near-unanimous incredulity in response to the claim that he wasn't aware of what was going on.

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