Can Jockey Club reforms overcome ‘confederacy of dunces’?

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Just because a situation looks hopeless doesn’t mean you should give up. That philosophy, apparently, is what is driving The Jockey Club and other supporters of medication reform in horse racing.

Many of the men and women who regulate racing at the state level probably had a good chuckle during Sunday’s Jockey Club Round Table in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., when medication reform was being discussed. The Round Table for many years has been a wish-fest, with an array of professional and sincerely committed speakers hoping and wishing for uniform medication rules and tough, across the board penalties for cheaters.

But when a call to action occurs in the shadow of a scandalous, epidemic outbreak of cheating, the likes of which has never before been uncovered by sophisticated drug testing, and the violators are continuing to ply their trade…well, I can’t blame the regulators (and the horsemen who stick up for the status quo) for having a good laugh at The Jockey Club’s expense.

I am talking, of course, about the frog juice or dermorphin positives in multiple states. Licensees who have been suspended in Louisiana are continuing to train their horses. Frog juice positives in New Mexico from more than two months ago have yet to have formal complaints filed. Additional cases in Oklahoma, Texas, and Nebraska have not been made public, and I’m starting to wonder if they ever will. And no one knows how many other states have either decided not to test for the hideous Class 1 drug or have “warned” their horsemen they will soon begin testing for it, as a certain “keystone” state has done in the past with other substances.

And not a single veterinarian or supplier of this drug has been fingered. It’s almost as if the racing commissions are not interested at getting to the source of the problem. In fairness to one state, it is my understanding that the Louisiana Racing Commission is pursuing charges beyond the shedrows of the trainers so far named. Whether that actually happens remains to be seen.

So when racing commissions in multiple states refuse to crack down on cheaters using drugs that have absolutely no therapeutic use and whose only value is to enhance performance, how can we expect them to take seriously what was presented at Sunday’s Jockey Club Round Table?

There is only one way forward, and that is to eliminate the all-encompassing power of state racing commissions. Whether it is through federal legislation that will mandate medication, drug testing and penalty guidelines (and then leave it up to the states to enforce the rules) or through the creation of a national oversight board, this is the only kind of change that will work.

Going from state to state and begging these regulatory “gnomes,” as former Churchill Downs CEO Tom Meeker once referred to them, is a recipe for continuing failure.

There are good people serving on state racing boards and commissions, but their efforts are overshadowed by the confederacy of dunces, if I may borrow a term from John Kennedy Toole, who are conflicted, indifferent or too ignorant to see that they are killing the sport they are supposed to regulate.

These dunces, along with the structure that perpetuates their power, make the outlook for uniformity hopelessly bleak. Thankfully, The Jockey Club, which may be the only organization in racing that is looking at the long-term prospects for the survival of this sport, has not given up the fight.

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  • Cepatton28

    Everyone should applaud LA for their efforts in catching these guys.   NY should be ashamed of themselves for warning the people they are about to start testing for it.  

  • Cepatton28

    Everyone should applaud LA for their efforts in catching these guys.   NY should be ashamed of themselves for warning the people they are about to start testing for it.  

  • Polowonder

    And what of retesting of frozen archived samples.  I have heard (hearsay i admit) of an influtential veterinarian in northern California that had this substance on board their vehicle until recently.  Too late to catch them now, but if it is was on their truck it was used.  But that would open a whole can of worms wouldn’t it?  Like looking down the rabbit hole?

    • Guest

      Problem with testing the frozen samples is that very few jurisdictions can afford the extra testing.

  • Polowonder

    And what of retesting of frozen archived samples.  I have heard (hearsay i admit) of an influtential veterinarian in northern California that had this substance on board their vehicle until recently.  Too late to catch them now, but if it is was on their truck it was used.  But that would open a whole can of worms wouldn’t it?  Like looking down the rabbit hole?

  • May Flower

    Well said but so damn sad!

    Either a national authority is created to takes over the governance of the 38 racing jurisdictions under tough, uniform rules and regulations with strong support from the FBI or ethical, compassionate racing people who want transparency, safety, cruelty-free, drug-free, criminal-free racing, fair competition and want to save the breed from toxic decay must form their own racing league to be governed by a single authority using strong uniform rules and regulations.

  • May Flower

    Well said but so damn sad!

    Either a national authority is created to takes over the governance of the 38 racing jurisdictions under tough, uniform rules and regulations with strong support from the FBI or ethical, compassionate racing people who want transparency, safety, cruelty-free, drug-free, criminal-free racing, fair competition and want to save the breed from toxic decay must form their own racing league to be governed by a single authority using strong uniform rules and regulations.

  • Caroline

    Could you get rid of the state racing commissions completely in the national oversight board scenario? Seems as though they would still have to regulate wagering and “protect the wagering public” which is a terrible shame. 

    • fb0252

        In 2020 horse racing with racing firmly in control of its new found national dictator looks back and sees that in 2013 State Racing Commissions were eliminated due to “frog juice”.  My Q would be whether this “cheating” stuff is in fact this serious and widespread as the OP implies, or whether this is a gross overreaction to State Racing Commissions that are actually dealing with the problem.  My back stretch observations were that it “ain’t all that easy” to be a cheater, and in most instances the cheaters get caught and receive appropriate penalties under local standards.

      We lately get the impression that everybody on the backstretch is a cheat, and the Stewards do nothing.  Is this true, or false?

      • Caroline

        The jockey club round table participants yesterday presented some pretty horrifying statistics on the % of repeat violations committed by a small fraction of trainers (and by default of trainer choice, their owners). But those statistics are not nearly as horrifying as the ones showing the economic gain to cheating. Penalties nationwide are pitifully tiny and play no serious deterrent role whatsoever for the committed nor the occasional cheater.   

        • fb0252

           as usual–r we getting apples mixed with oranges?  there is a difference between multiple jay walking offenses such as failing to have ur papers in the office and, in contrast, administering frog juice.  my Q deals with the latter. r u saying above that there r horrifying stats on repeat violators who intentionally administered substances to affect performance.  My experience is that these sorts get ruled off immediately.  Usually for a year minimum.

          • Caroline

            They are both fruit to me.  

          • fb0252

            I presume this response means that ur initial “horrifying stats” response is hyperbole?  Surely u r saying other than that having the foal papers late to the racing office is an equivalent offense to intentionally administering a performance enhancing substance?

          • Caroline

            I presume your response means you did not read the article which specifically addresses the medication reform and cheating issues discussed at yesterday’s jockey club round table? Here, listen and watch it yourself 
            http://www.jockeyclub.com/roundtable_2012_live.html

      • Guest

        I actually believe that it is more widespread than one would want to believe. I don’t believe very many get caught. Many of the worst offenders have, and run, an enormous amount of horses simply because their %s skyrocket and the owners come running to the guy “who has the wonder juice that is working and clearing!”

        The guys using the ractopomine are putting it in their horses’ feed. No vets involved at all, no needles, no syringes. I have no idea how the demorphin is given, but it may not involve a needle, either.

        Not all penalties are what they should be if someone has enough influence – 3 years ago a guy had a paratoxin (cobra venom) test, Class I at the time, and received $1,000 fine, loss of purse, and 6 months PROBATION. That is garbage, Class I should have been an automatic year SUSPENSION, but noooo…….

        • Stanley inman

          Class one has to be major, severe punishment;
          Like,
          One and done
          Anything less sends the message
          that cheating will be
          tolerated;
          That cheating is to be expected/
          (Nip it in the bud)

        • fb0252

           you may believe that, although might want to comment on fact that all available statistical evidence is otherwise. 

          Just ran into stats given by Ogden Mills Phipps at the JC Roundtable.  Out of 12,600 trainers 2005 to 2011 98.5% had zero med violations.  That’s what?  About 175 that did.

          So, because 175 trainers out of nearly 13,000 received med violations over a 6 year period we eliminate State Racing Commissions?  Or, alternatively, we eliminate State Racing Commissions because the frog juice investigations by an “unknown” number of violators in NM are proceeding slower the certain “people” would like–due process, possibly–wanting to ferret out the truth before punishment, possibly???

          Ogden Phipps postures on the podium that 175 violating trainers are responsible for public “misperception” (yes that’s u, Guest), and that therefore our agenda of getting rid of State Racing Commissions, getting a national commissioner, putting racing under control of a hopefully benevolent dictator, eliminating  the non-boutique meet race tracks etc. are therefore warranted and justified INSTEAD OF standing up there like a man and declaring the JC and this whole sport are sick and tired of misperceptions driving the agenda. Personally, from the JC I’d hope for the latter.

          • Sevencentsstable

            As someone in the trenches for many years I can explain the low statistics fairly easily – many jurisdictions do not test very thoroughly. No state can afford to test for everything. They just can’t.
            A few years back Arlington went to “super testing,” wherin the track itself paid extra money to expand testing and quite a few trainers went down for previously unheard of human arthiritis medications and clenbuterol levels that had previously been passing were popping hot.
            The states generally test for all the allowable levels on common medications, but when trainers or vets get creative they tend to get away with it for awhile, sometime a long while. Most commissions have investigators who try to get an idea from backside chatter when a new drug hits the scene, but alot of money is made until the commissions figure out the drug and the labs develop tests for it. Does anyone really believe demorphin just came on the scene this spring? The number of positives alone indicates that it has been around quite awhile for that many people to get caught using it. That’s only the ones who won or placed with it and got tested…
             Even many known medications are not regularly tested for when the Powers That Be believe they have caught enough guys on it and the drug is no longer an issue. They quite testing for X and spend that part of the testing costs testing for Y. Someone will chance it, get away with it, and drug X  quietly goes back into play.

          • Sevencentsstable

            Actually it is an “unknown” number in Oklahoma. The trainers in La and Nm who were popped for demorphin have been publicly named.

  • Caroline

    Could you get rid of the state racing commissions completely in the national oversight board scenario? Seems as though they would still have to regulate wagering and “protect the wagering public” which is a terrible shame. 

  • Perks

    Big problems like this require major rapid changes of rules.  So far thats not happening and no one can understand why these states are dragging their feet, the horses are still running in major races, we dont see any moving and shaking going on.

    Owners who dont want their horses drugged, are going to have to step up, band together and push for fast changes.  I think we can do it.

  • Perks

    Big problems like this require major rapid changes of rules.  So far thats not happening and no one can understand why these states are dragging their feet, the horses are still running in major races, we dont see any moving and shaking going on.

    Owners who dont want their horses drugged, are going to have to step up, band together and push for fast changes.  I think we can do it.

    • Guest

      Want to see horrifying? Look at the entries for the All American Futurity Trials 8-16 @ Ruidoso. A multi-million dollar race. Heath Taylor (demorphin in La.) has 3 in, J. Heath Reed (8 demorphins in Ruidoso Trials in May and 2 stanozolols) has 17 in, Charlie Sedillo (2 demorphins from Ruidoso Trails in May) has 2 in, and John Basset (3 demorphins in Trials from May) has 8 in. In the Derby Trials the next day Taylor has 3 in, Reed has 3 in, Sedillo has 1 in, and Bassett has 3 in. 2 1/2 months since the positives were first dicovered and nothing has been done.

      Guess we can’t deny these guys their chance at millions to help pay the lawyers… Pretty bad deal for the rest of the trainers… Actually it’s crap!

      • May Flower

        Thank you for the post. Pretty bad deal for innocent trainers. How many others are guilty of abusing and doping horses but have not been caught or publicly exposed yet?

  • May Flower

    Caroline, just scratching the surface here. The wagering public is obviously not being “protected” by state racing commissions. Horses, riders and honest horsemen lack  protection as well.

    The public is being “protected” by the Bureau of Consumer Protection under the FTC, so why couldn’t state racing and wagering laws become federal laws governed by something like a Bureau of Horse Racing Wagering Public Protection?

    • Caroline

      I think they should. 

  • May Flower

    Caroline, just scratching the surface here. The wagering public is obviously not being “protected” by state racing commissions. Horses, riders and honest horsemen lack  protection as well.

    The public is being “protected” by the Bureau of Consumer Protection under the FTC, so why couldn’t state racing and wagering laws become federal laws governed by something like a Bureau of Horse Racing Wagering Public Protection?

  • PTP

    Hell of a good article Bacon.

    PTP

  • PTP

    Hell of a good article Bacon.

    PTP

  • voiceofreason

    “There is only one way forward, and that is to eliminate the
    all-encompassing power of state racing commissions. Whether it is
    through federal legislation that will mandate medication, drug testing
    and penalty guidelines (and then leave it up to the states to enforce
    the rules) or through the creation of a national oversight board, this
    is the only kind of change that will work.”

    Beautifully stated, Ray.

    • May Flower

        “(and then leave it up to the states to enforce the rules)”

      State racing commissions are in bed with local horsemen, vets and all. Would anything really change?

  • voiceofreason

    “There is only one way forward, and that is to eliminate the
    all-encompassing power of state racing commissions. Whether it is
    through federal legislation that will mandate medication, drug testing
    and penalty guidelines (and then leave it up to the states to enforce
    the rules) or through the creation of a national oversight board, this
    is the only kind of change that will work.”

    Beautifully stated, Ray.

  • Thelibrarian

    It may well be “Dunces” vs. ”Dunces” And the winner is?

  • Thelibrarian

    It may well be “Dunces” vs. ”Dunces” And the winner is?

  • May Flower

      “(and then leave it up to the states to enforce the rules)”

    State racing commissions are in bed with local horsemen, vets and all. Would anything really change?

  • fb0252

      In 2020 horse racing with racing firmly in control of its new found national dictator looks back and sees that in 2013 State Racing Commissions were eliminated due to “frog juice”.  My Q would be whether this “cheating” stuff is in fact this serious and widespread as the OP implies, or whether this is a gross overreaction to State Racing Commissions that are actually dealing with the problem.  My back stretch observations were that it “ain’t all that easy” to be a cheater, and in most instances the cheaters get caught and receive appropriate penalties under local standards.

    We lately get the impression that everybody on the backstretch is a cheat, and the Stewards do nothing.  Is this true, or false?

  • ASL

    I second the sentiment of this article. 

  • ASL

    I second the sentiment of this article. 

  • Caroline

    The jockey club round table participants yesterday presented some pretty horrifying statistics on the % of repeat violations committed by a small fraction of trainers (and by default of trainer choice, their owners). But those statistics are not nearly as horrifying as the ones showing the economic gain to cheating. Penalties nationwide are pitifully tiny and play no serious deterrent role whatsoever for the committed nor the occasional cheater.   

  • Don Reed

    No.

  • Caroline

    I think they should. 

  • Don Reed

    No.

  • Guest

    You make it sound like those state’s commissions/boards aren’t doing anything, and that is false information.  What they are doing is locking in the evidence and legal process so tight through their Attorney General’s office, that a court will not be able to overrule their disciplinary action, which will be suspension and fines.  I’d much rather they take their time to get it right, than allow an appeal that will work in favor of the offenders.  Due Process doesn’t happen overnight. 

    • http://judgebork.wordpress.com/ Lou Baranello

      Guest, You are right about due process, but I disagree with your claim about commissions and boards.  I am unaware of any court ruling that states, or even suggests, that the commission did not get it right procedurely or legally in any matter relating to a commission’s adjudication of a horse racing medication case against a trainer.  Please cite one case where a commissions’ adjudication of such a case was modified or reversed in a court of law.  Also, provide some evidence of your claim that commissions are sharpening their tools for court. 

      • Sevencentsstable

        Ramon Gonzalez got 13, yes THIRTEEN bad tests overturned, because of the NM Racing Commssion not doing their job correctly, and Heath Taylor had a caffeine positive from the All American Futurity overturned because of a glitch in chain of evidence. Those were both in the last 3 years and all under the previous NM Racing Commission. I am betting dollars to donuts it happens in other states as well.

        • Jon Cohen

          Branello is an ex steward. Of course he will defend the racing commissions, he was one of them, and thus, part of the problem.  I wonder if he ever walked into the office, saw a simulcast race on tv, assumed it was the live race he was supposed to be watching, and cut off the betting early ?

          • http://judgebork.wordpress.com/ Lou Baranello

            Mr. Cohen, You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but you are really off base and uninformed here.  If you were to search this sight, or any other, you would realize that I am definitely not a defender of racing commissions. Read my blog—judgebork.wordpress.com—I have written considerably, criticizing the acts and omissions of racing commissions.  In my reply to “GUEST”, I simply said I was not AWARE of any such case.  I did not say that it never happened.  Please feel free to challenge anything that I write.       

        • http://judgebork.wordpress.com/ Lou Baranello

          Sevencents, I stand corrected!  As I have said in the past, I want it the right way even when it is different from my way.  Would you mind telling me which New Mexico court made those rulings, I need to add them to my files in order to prevent my being unaware of these cases in the future.  Thank you for correcting me.

          • Sevencentsstable

            I would not have any idea which court overturned the rulings on these two “gentlemen”, I’m sorry. I would assume the hearings occured in Sante Fe or Albuquerque, but assumption is all it is. In the Gonzalez cases the purse monies had already been redistributed months before. When the court overturned his rulings the monies were all pulled from the other owners’ accts. and given back to Gonzalez without any notice to the others. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth over that as well as, I believe, a group lawsuit against the NMRC by the other owners – no idea what ever happened with that part of it.
            A lot of trainers get stays of suspensions through the court system, I don’t know how many are overturned.

    • Raysghost

      Even if I agreed with this statement (and I don’t–one of the hallmarks of the apologist is that there is always a reason that nothing is being done), why aren’t the horses at least being frozen out of the entry box during the ongoing investigation?  Wouldn’t that be a prudent move to protect the betting public?

    • fb0252

       along those lines–interesting from NM trainer over at pedigree forum:

      NM racing is ok. Not thriving, but not sinking. The breeding end is actually pretty healthy still, attracting some pretty nice stallions to NM. The new Racing Commission is going to be pivotal in keeping owners in the game. For too long NM has been a  a cheater’s Paradise and that needs to stop or the owners are going to quit. This group is proving to be very serious about cleaning things up and I even saw one reprimand the VP of Zia Park over their track surface issues. Zia is probably the healthiest track in the whole southwest as far as revenue (largely from slots) goes and was allowed to run rogue by the old administration. Sunland Park is very healthy and has made great strides to improve racing in NM. Purses are very healthy from Septembe trough April, the smaller summer tacks are still struggling from comptition from Indian casinos near them.[/quote]

  • Guest

    You make it sound like those state’s commissions/boards aren’t doing anything, and that is false information.  What they are doing is locking in the evidence and legal process so tight through their Attorney General’s office, that a court will not be able to overrule their disciplinary action, which will be suspension and fines.  I’d much rather they take their time to get it right, than allow an appeal that will work in favor of the offenders.  Due Process doesn’t happen overnight. 

  • Rachel

    The Feds could create legislation that would set rules, but they would probably have to enforce those rules, they can’t force a state to enforce federal laws…like California with medical marijuana, it’s still federally illegal to grow, dispense and smoke pot but the ATF enforces federal law…

    There’s no federally mandated seatbelt or helmet law…the federal government can with hold federal highway & roads grant money to states who don’t have mandatory sealtbelt laws, but they can’t force the state to create a law making it mandatory…

    I’m sure the federal government could create standards through existing Interstate Commerce or Gambling regulations…

    Or, you can change the US Constitution’s definition of state and federal powers. ;-)

    • May Flower

       Rachel, thank you. Learning about fed and state power as I go. What do you suggest as a solution?

      • May Flower

        Sorry, I missed your solution: feds create legislation, set rules and enforce them. Central racing commission?

  • Rachel

    The Feds could create legislation that would set rules, but they would probably have to enforce those rules, they can’t force a state to enforce federal laws…like California with medical marijuana, it’s still federally illegal to grow, dispense and smoke pot but the ATF enforces federal law…

    There’s no federally mandated seatbelt or helmet law…the federal government can with hold federal highway & roads grant money to states who don’t have mandatory sealtbelt laws, but they can’t force the state to create a law making it mandatory…

    I’m sure the federal government could create standards through existing Interstate Commerce or Gambling regulations…

    Or, you can change the US Constitution’s definition of state and federal powers. ;-)

  • fb0252

     as usual–r we getting apples mixed with oranges?  there is a difference between multiple jay walking offenses such as failing to have ur papers in the office and, in contrast, administering frog juice.  my Q deals with the latter. r u saying above that there r horrifying stats on repeat violators who intentionally administered substances to affect performance.  My experience is that these sorts get ruled off immediately.  Usually for a year minimum.

  • http://judgebork.wordpress.com/ Lou Baranello

    Guest, You are right about due process, but I disagree with your claim about commissions and boards.  I am unaware of any court ruling that states, or even suggests, that the commission did not get it right procedurely or legally in any matter relating to a commission’s adjudication of a horse racing medication case against a trainer.  Please cite one case where a commissions’ adjudication of such a case was modified or reversed in a court of law.  Also, provide some evidence of your claim that commissions are sharpening their tools for court. 

  • Michael J. Arndt

    Ray, its hard to disagree…

  • Michael J. Arndt

    Ray, its hard to disagree…

  • Sevencentsstable

    Ramon Gonzalez got 13, yes THIRTEEN bad tests overturned, because of the NM Racing Commssion not doing their job correctly, and Heath Taylor had a caffeine positive from the All American Futurity overturned because of a glitch in chain of evidence. Those were both in the last 3 years and all under the previous NM Racing Commission. I am betting dollars to donuts it happens in other states as well.

  • Guest

    I actually believe that it is more widespread than one would want to believe. I don’t believe very many get caught. Many of the worst offenders have, and run, an enormous amount of horses simply because their %s skyrocket and the owners come running to the guy “who has the wonder juice that is working and clearing!”

    The guys using the ractopomine are putting it in their horses’ feed. No vets involved at all, no needles, no syringes. I have no idea how the demorphin is given, but it may not involve a needle, either.

    Not all penalties are what they should be if someone has enough influence – 3 years ago a guy had a paratoxin (cobra venom) test, Class I at the time, and received $1,000 fine, loss of purse, and 6 months PROBATION. That is garbage, Class I should have been an automatic year SUSPENSION, but noooo…….

  • Caroline

    They are both fruit to me.  

  • May Flower

     Rachel, thank you. Learning about fed and state power as I go. What do you suggest as a solution?

  • fb0252

    I presume this response means that ur initial “horrifying stats” response is hyperbole?  Surely u r saying other than that having the foal papers late to the racing office is an equivalent offense to intentionally administering a performance enhancing substance?

  • May Flower

    Sorry, I missed your solution: feds create legislation, set rules and enforce them. Central racing commission?

  • Guest

    Want to see horrifying? Look at the entries for the All American Futurity Trials 8-16 @ Ruidoso. A multi-million dollar race. Heath Taylor (demorphin in La.) has 3 in, J. Heath Reed (8 demorphins in Ruidoso Trials in May and 2 stanozolols) has 17 in, Charlie Sedillo (2 demorphins from Ruidoso Trails in May) has 2 in, and John Basset (3 demorphins in Trials from May) has 8 in. In the Derby Trials the next day Taylor has 3 in, Reed has 3 in, Sedillo has 1 in, and Bassett has 3 in. 2 1/2 months since the positives were first dicovered and nothing has been done.

    Guess we can’t deny these guys their chance at millions to help pay the lawyers… Pretty bad deal for the rest of the trainers… Actually it’s crap!

  • Guest

    Problem with testing the frozen samples is that very few jurisdictions can afford the extra testing.

  • Stanley inman

    Class one has to be major, severe punishment;
    Like,
    One and done
    Anything less sends the message
    that cheating will be
    tolerated;
    That cheating is to be expected/
    (Nip it in the bud)

  • fb0252

     you may believe that, although might want to comment on fact that all available statistical evidence is otherwise. 

    Just ran into stats given by Ogden Mills Phipps at the JC Roundtable.  Out of 12,600 trainers 2005 to 2011 98.5% had zero med violations.  That’s what?  About 175 that did.

    So, because 175 trainers out of nearly 13,000 received med violations over a 6 year period we eliminate State Racing Commissions?  Or, alternatively, we eliminate State Racing Commissions because the frog juice investigations by an “unknown” number of violators in NM are proceeding slower the certain “people” would like–due process, possibly–wanting to ferret out the truth before punishment, possibly???

    Ogden Phipps postures on the podium that 175 violating trainers are responsible for public “misperception” (yes that’s u, Guest), and that therefore our agenda of getting rid of State Racing Commissions, getting a national commissioner, putting racing under control of a hopefully benevolent dictator, eliminating  the non-boutique meet race tracks etc. are therefore warranted and justified INSTEAD OF standing up there like a man and declaring the JC and this whole sport are sick and tired of misperceptions driving the agenda. Personally, from the JC I’d hope for the latter.

  • Jon Cohen

    Branello is an ex steward. Of course he will defend the racing commissions, he was one of them, and thus, part of the problem.  I wonder if he ever walked into the office, saw a simulcast race on tv, assumed it was the live race he was supposed to be watching, and cut off the betting early ?

  • May Flower

    Thank you for the post. Pretty bad deal for innocent trainers. How many others are guilty of abusing and doping horses but have not been caught or publicly exposed yet?

  • Hareteamracing

    Like i have said in the past its business as usual for the trainers that have the bad tests.  Even if they get days and actually serve them they wont miss a paycheck.  Because trainers that are known to cheat attract more clients, and shame on the owners that condone bad behavior.

    • voiceofreason

      Agreed.

      Think of it this way: If you are even thinking about being involved in the sport, you have a choice. Get one of the trainers who wins a lot, or don’t. If you are simply looking at the statistics, that’s all there is. Choose a winner, or expect to lose a bunch of money. That’s ugly, but the industry has institutionalized this way of life. Be a winner, or be broke.

  • Hareteamracing

    Like i have said in the past its business as usual for the trainers that have the bad tests.  Even if they get days and actually serve them they wont miss a paycheck.  Because trainers that are known to cheat attract more clients, and shame on the owners that condone bad behavior.

  • david stevenson

    this could be the tipping point for a more reliable result

  • david stevenson

    this could be the tipping point for a more reliable result

  • voiceofreason

    Agreed.

    Think of it this way: If you are even thinking about being involved in the sport, you have a choice. Get one of the trainers who wins a lot, or don’t. If you are simply looking at the statistics, that’s all there is. Choose a winner, or expect to lose a bunch of money. That’s ugly, but the industry has institutionalized this way of life. Be a winner, or be broke.

  • http://judgebork.wordpress.com/ Lou Baranello

    Sevencents, I stand corrected!  As I have said in the past, I want it the right way even when it is different from my way.  Would you mind telling me which New Mexico court made those rulings, I need to add them to my files in order to prevent my being unaware of these cases in the future.  Thank you for correcting me.

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    “THE TRUTH” & nothing but “THE TRUTH”…all this CHEATING BS has gotta GO & IT WILL!!!…ty Ray…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    “THE TRUTH” & nothing but “THE TRUTH”…all this CHEATING BS has gotta GO & IT WILL!!!…ty Ray…

  • http://judgebork.wordpress.com/ Lou Baranello

    Mr. Cohen, You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but you are really off base and uninformed here.  If you were to search this sight, or any other, you would realize that I am definitely not a defender of racing commissions. Read my blog—judgebork.wordpress.com—I have written considerably, criticizing the acts and omissions of racing commissions.  In my reply to “GUEST”, I simply said I was not AWARE of any such case.  I did not say that it never happened.  Please feel free to challenge anything that I write.       

  • Cliff

    It was a local regulator who discovered the cheating. It waslocal regulators cooperating who stopped the supposedly rampant use of “frog juice.” The caught cheaters have been stopped and are using the same due process I expect any national board would also afford them. Truth is any national board will not stop cheaters any more effectively than our current regional system. And if this Jockey Club push yields results, if it becomes appointed with people who don’t agree with Ray, he’ll just call it a confederacy of dunces as well.

    • RayPaulick

      Actually, Cliff, it was a drug testing laboratory, not a local regulator. Now go sit in the corner with a dunce cap.

      • Sevencentsstable

        Playing devil’s advocate here, but wasn’t it the local (state) commissions who requested that the lab develop the test for the demorphin? It has been a long day, I am tired, please don’t make me research one of the original articles when the story broke, but I am 90% certain that it was stated that the OK Racing Com. asked their lab in CO to develop a test for this stuff becasue they had been hearing rumors of it. ;-)

    • May Flower

      The only way to prevent abuse and cheating is to invest in modern technology to protect, track and video-tape all race horses 24/7 and identify everyone who touches them.

      In addition, official stores would provide all therapeutic medications (in therapeutic doses and for genuine therapeutic purposes only) and regulatory vets would record all ailments and administer all meds. Emergency packs including meds and syringes would be available to all licensed vets 24/7 inside training centers and tracks. Abuse and crime against horses, riders and honest horsemen would be prevented, race horses would stay healthy longer, miscreants would quit or be caught and punished and ethical horsemen would have a chance to win.

  • Cliff

    It was a local regulator who discovered the cheating. It waslocal regulators cooperating who stopped the supposedly rampant use of “frog juice.” The caught cheaters have been stopped and are using the same due process I expect any national board would also afford them. Truth is any national board will not stop cheaters any more effectively than our current regional system. And if this Jockey Club push yields results, if it becomes appointed with people who don’t agree with Ray, he’ll just call it a confederacy of dunces as well.

  • RayPaulick

    Actually, Cliff, it was a drug testing laboratory, not a local regulator. Now go sit in the corner with a dunce cap.

  • May Flower

    The only way to prevent abuse and cheating is to invest in modern technology to protect, track and video-tape all race horses 24/7 and identify everyone who touches them.

    In addition, official stores would provide all therapeutic medications (in therapeutic doses and for genuine therapeutic purposes only) and regulatory vets would record all ailments and administer all meds. Emergency packs including meds and syringes would be available to all licensed vets 24/7 inside training centers and tracks. Abuse and crime against horses, riders and honest horsemen would be prevented, race horses would stay healthy longer, miscreants would quit or be caught and punished and ethical horsemen would have a chance to win.

  • Barry Irwin

    FBI

  • Barry Irwin

    FBI

  • Barry Irwin

    FBI

    • May Flower

       Yes, the FBI is needed early and often.

  • Barry Irwin

    FBI

  • May Flower

     Yes, the FBI is needed early and often.

  • Raysghost

    Even if I agreed with this statement (and I don’t–one of the hallmarks of the apologist is that there is always a reason that nothing is being done), why aren’t the horses at least being frozen out of the entry box during the ongoing investigation?  Wouldn’t that be a prudent move to protect the betting public?

  • fb0252

     along those lines–interesting from NM trainer over at pedigree forum:

    NM racing is ok. Not thriving, but not sinking. The breeding end is actually pretty healthy still, attracting some pretty nice stallions to NM. The new Racing Commission is going to be pivotal in keeping owners in the game. For too long NM has been a  a cheater’s Paradise and that needs to stop or the owners are going to quit. This group is proving to be very serious about cleaning things up and I even saw one reprimand the VP of Zia Park over their track surface issues. Zia is probably the healthiest track in the whole southwest as far as revenue (largely from slots) goes and was allowed to run rogue by the old administration. Sunland Park is very healthy and has made great strides to improve racing in NM. Purses are very healthy from Septembe trough April, the smaller summer tacks are still struggling from comptition from Indian casinos near them.[/quote]

  • Sevencentsstable

    As someone in the trenches for many years I can explain the low statistics fairly easily – many jurisdictions do not test very thoroughly. No state can afford to test for everything. They just can’t.
    A few years back Arlington went to “super testing,” wherin the track itself paid extra money to expand testing and quite a few trainers went down for previously unheard of human arthiritis medications and clenbuterol levels that had previously been passing were popping hot.
    The states generally test for all the allowable levels on common medications, but when trainers or vets get creative they tend to get away with it for awhile, sometime a long while. Most commissions have investigators who try to get an idea from backside chatter when a new drug hits the scene, but alot of money is made until the commissions figure out the drug and the labs develop tests for it. Does anyone really believe demorphin just came on the scene this spring? The number of positives alone indicates that it has been around quite awhile for that many people to get caught using it. That’s only the ones who won or placed with it and got tested…
     Even many known medications are not regularly tested for when the Powers That Be believe they have caught enough guys on it and the drug is no longer an issue. They quite testing for X and spend that part of the testing costs testing for Y. Someone will chance it, get away with it, and drug X  quietly goes back into play.

  • Sevencentsstable

    I would not have any idea which court overturned the rulings on these two “gentlemen”, I’m sorry. I would assume the hearings occured in Sante Fe or Albuquerque, but assumption is all it is. In the Gonzalez cases the purse monies had already been redistributed months before. When the court overturned his rulings the monies were all pulled from the other owners’ accts. and given back to Gonzalez without any notice to the others. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth over that as well as, I believe, a group lawsuit against the NMRC by the other owners – no idea what ever happened with that part of it.
    A lot of trainers get stays of suspensions through the court system, I don’t know how many are overturned.

  • Sevencentsstable

    Playing devil’s advocate here, but wasn’t it the local (state) commissions who requested that the lab develop the test for the demorphin? It has been a long day, I am tired, please don’t make me research one of the original articles when the story broke, but I am 90% certain that it was stated that the OK Racing Com. asked their lab in CO to develop a test for this stuff becasue they had been hearing rumors of it. ;-)

  • Sevencentsstable

    Actually it is an “unknown” number in Oklahoma. The trainers in La and Nm who were popped for demorphin have been publicly named.

  • Mwins

    ” There are good people serving on state racing boards and commissions, but their efforts are overshadowed by the confederacy of dunces, if i may borrow a term from John Kennedy Toole, who are conflicted, indifferent or too ignorant to see they are killing the sport they are supposed to regulate” Ray, thats a run on sentence. Whos the dunce now ? Sorry, I couldn t resist. Your article hits the mark.

  • Mwins

    ” There are good people serving on state racing boards and commissions, but their efforts are overshadowed by the confederacy of dunces, if i may borrow a term from John Kennedy Toole, who are conflicted, indifferent or too ignorant to see they are killing the sport they are supposed to regulate” Ray, thats a run on sentence. Whos the dunce now ? Sorry, I couldn t resist. Your article hits the mark.

  • DavidB

    I just read the transcripts. They certainly seem very proud of themselves.

    • May Flower

      As WHOA reminded us in its latest press-release, that JC Round Table is 60 years old… Ouch!

  • DavidB

    I just read the transcripts. They certainly seem very proud of themselves.

  • May Flower

    As WHOA reminded us in its latest press-release, that JC Round Table is 60 years old… Ouch!

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