New York's PETA report is due out very soon. Will it point to the future or just deal with the present?
New York is in an interesting position, and to change racing (hopefully for the better) they are a jurisdiction that can certainly, and probably has to, lead. The Aqueduct issues, politics; things are very real in New York State. It's an opportunity to move forward.
Here are a couple of things I hope happens:
The first thing I did after the Kentucky Report was published was congratulate Steve Asmussen's lawyer on twitter. As has been my opinion from the beginning (and as much as I am flamed for it at times), this episode has nothing to do with Steve Asmussen. He does not need to be "made an example of" and it's an injustice if he even serves one day for being the fall guy for the sport. He's had to hire lawyers, go on TV (where he was clearly not at home), and some owners have questioned him. All for a video where you have to extrapolate, guess, or nitpick to find a violation. Enough is enough. Take down the Horse Racing Most Wanted posters and let him go back to work.
The Life At Ten episode was something this sport had to go through. It's brutal that a 110 pound jock has to make a decision about a horse on the track, with no consultation with a trainer and the horse's owners, while readying for a $2M race. It's a situation that there was no SOP, in need of an SOP. That investigation was not about "convicting" anyone, but about the future, and that made the investigation worthwhile. I hope we see that here.
As for new policies, with vets, meds and all the rest, I suppose that is left for another day. But in this report it is a fine time to springboard towards discussion of that kind of reform. New York has some fair minded, smart people - vets legislators and others - who are clearly capable of navigating the minefield of reform. I hope this is not the end, but the beginning of the discussion of new policy to make this better for our owners, investors, and most importantly the horses.
I fear not long after the report is released the focus will be on Steve Asmussen, because, after all, that's what the report is dealing with. But I think that's missing the entire point. The last six months were about horse racing, not one man. How the sport moves forward - beginning with this New York report, which I hope deals with big issues, not micro-issues - will tell us a lot about the sport itself.