Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday Notes: Fall Guys, the Grassroots and PETA Ladies

Rusty Arnold's letter to the editor at the DRF is making the rounds.

He speaks about stabling beside Steve Asmussen and alerts to the fact his horses are well-cared for. I have little doubt they would be. The fella has millions of dollars in horseflesh and big money clients. Would you think they aren't getting name brand meds, good vet work and groomed daily to look fit and happy? Would you think he would risk that clientele and the living they provide by using backstretch supplied pre-race or magic juice? Not only is that not likely, it's probably impossible.

The complete mind-bend of all this, is something that's plagued many with their opinions on this situation. What Steve also has to do is be competitive, or he will lose clients. That's the grey area.

I tweeted out that I liked Rusty Arnold's letter and Kathy from PETA responded, in one way.
Rusty was not saying "if it's legal, it's okay". He simply said that Steve, within the existing framework of the "business", was doing nothing, in his opinion, wrong. Steve Asmussen might be on trial, but he shouldn't be. The culture of racing is on trial.  I am certain that if the rules were modified and changed, Steve Asmussen would change the way he approaches some things. He's playing chess against grandmasters. He can't handicap himself by taking his bishop off the table, but would more than likely be happy to if his opponents can't use the bishop either.

It's weird, because if you support Steve - in this one micro way - you are an apologist. If you slam him, you are probably using him to get your pre-ordained point across. Logic and fairness take a back seat.

I am in the position like a lot of you are. It's 2014, and the culture of racing must bend to modern society, not the other way around. Lasix use must be looked at. Trying to unload a lame horse on someone is a cultural change that should be eliminated and should never happen; that part of that video made me ill. Mistreatment of an animal that has happened on the fringes and we've all seen before needs to be addressed with tough penalties (if you don't feel for places like PETA and what they're up against, you should. You can watch your neighbor beat a dog to an inch of his life and report him. In many states he would be lucky to get a $100 fine). But using Steve to forward that goal is something I can't logically or ethically get behind. It just feels wrong.


A grassroots movement has started to try and boycott Churchill Downs. This has been festering for some time on the interweb. Churchill Downs is an easy target, because every time you turn around, it seems the press has been not kind to their moves. If you want to keep tabs on what's happening, follow Andy @racetrackandy or Players Boycott at @playersboycott .

I was a fairly regular customer of Churchill Downs. My couple thousand in handle a day will not mean much, especially to executives with all those stock options, but I won't be playing them this year. I have not fully decided about the Derby, but I sense I will more than likely just watch the card. I value my money which I work hard for, my own principles, and I can't support racing shooting itself in the foot for what feels like the bazillionth time. Supporting them is tacit approval that they can walk all over you. They will not walk all over me.

Lenny wrote a rhyme based on Green Eggs and Ham about Churchill Downs. Pretty funny.

If you follow @insidethepylons , yesterday you got a glimpse into how price sensitive bigger players are. You also got an education on host fees. You rarely hear or read about this inside baseball stuff that has a huge correlation to handle. He's worth following.


ron said...

I'm with you 100 percent.I won't bet a dime on a Churchill Downs race or a Churchill Downs racetrack. Ive bet exactly $160 on California racing over the last 4 yrs after betting exclusively on their races the previous 10 yrs. Quite frankly, I'm dissapointed any time I see a handle increase there.

Pull the Pocket said...

Roger that Ron. It's tough to watch. Betting racing is a way of life and they're making it hard to stick with it. Very difficult. I don't blame the players who have left over the years one bit. Maybe we're the crazy ones.


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