HBPA Told To Fight Back Against ‘Elitists’ In ‘Environment Of Poison’

by | 02.04.2016 | 5:39pm
Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association
Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association

Eric Hamelback likes to focus on the positive in horse racing. Running his first winter convention as chief executive officer of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, the former general manager of Frank Stronach's Adena Springs in Kentucky put together several panels on Thursday's opening day designed to give HBPA members reassurance that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't an oncoming train.

The convention, which concludes on Sunday with a full board meeting, is being held at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater Beach, Fla. It began with a keynote address by Stella Thayer, owner of nearby Tampa Bay Downs, which many of the HBPA members will visit Friday after the convention's morning session on medication.

Thursday's first panel, entitled “Establishing Public Relations & the Importance of Media Awareness,” featured a warning from At the Races radio host Steve Byk that there is “a small group of elitists trying to marginalize horsemen.” Byk brought up the issue of race-day medication, namely the anti-bleeder drug Lasix, saying that there are “trainers out there who know very well their own opinion but they have owners sticking guns in their ribs, telling them what they have to say, because it is that particular owner's perspective.”

Byk discussed the fallout from the undercover video of Steve Asmussen's stable in New York and Kentucky by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the lack of an immediate industry response. Horsemen need to fight back when attacked, he said.

“There should have been a vocal, uniform pushback to an outrageous and disgusting attempt to embarrass the sport at large,” Byk said.

Byk took umbrage at what he called the “outlandish response by Dinny Phipps” – referring to a statement issued by Jockey Club chairman Ogden Mills Phipps in the wake of the Asmussen video.

“Here was something that was the most vile attempt to smear an industry, and the head of The Jockey Club, instead of responding in a responsible manner, heaps more mud at the individuals in question,” said Byk. “Here we are two years removed and I'm still waiting for an apology.”

An investigation by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission found no wrongdoing in the Asmussen barn. The New York State Gaming Commission also investigated the matter, ultimately fining Asmussen $10,000 while agreeing with PETA on only four of 14 charges made by the animal rights group. New York regulators also tightened medication rules as a result of the PETA undercover video.

Byk said another problem is the “environment of poison” created by some in the media and in the comment section of online stories.

“Some of it has to be addressed, some of it can be ignored, but you have to strike a balance and figure out how do we come up with a central uniform message as a drum beat to beat back the catcalls,” said Byk.

“It really would behoove us collectively to have that kind of a mentality, that when something happens nationally or locally, there would be a very specific message that would be put in the hands of the most vocal horsemen.”

An afternoon panel featuring Mark Lamberth and Ed Martin, chairman and president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, respectively, cited progress industry regulators have made in recent years toward uniform medication rules. Lamberth, whose term as chairman ends in March, instituted a series of “town hall” style meetings at which he hopes industry stake holders can find common ground. Martin pointed out the positive news that U.S. pari-mutuel wagering on Thoroughbred racing increased in 2015 despite a decrease in the number of races run. He said proponents of federal legislation to put medication regulations in control of an independent agency affiliated with the United State Anti-Doping Agency are hurting the industry through their efforts to get the bill passed.

Martin pooh-poohed the bill's chances of getting Congressional approval, saying handicappers in Washington, D.C., led him to believe Lamberth had a better chance of out-racing American Pharoah than Barr-Tonko had of passing.

Other panels focused on the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance and NTRA Advantage; Thoroughbred aftercare, and a discussion on how horsemen should be “working with, not against professional gamblers.”

  • Hamish

    Paulick, you making this up, as these speeches must be coming from some parallel universe? Reality can certainly be looked at differently.

    • Bourbon Man

      Oh, if only that were the case.

  • larry

    Good for you Eric. Well put could not have made all those points any better other than to say the integrity of the racing is in the breeding standards of the times. Tapit, Kittens Joy, and many others are money in the bank no matter who is training them. l have always wondered why someone who trains horses should be treated as someone who cannot be trusted but the people at the top making up the rules are pristine white. There are to any inquiries in todays game and to many owner appeals on these things(one is to many). Two outcomes from one horse race is not integrity. The potential for some real white collar corruption is in the tote because thats where the money is ! From the odds dropping half way through the race, to for profit racetracks using the inquiry sign to keep a big gimmick wager going the real integrity issue in all of this is a leaky, manipulated tote.

  • Bourbon Man

    Nothing about cleaning up his sport, just self-righteous indignation that anyone would question the obvious cheating. Business as usual, right?

    • larry

      Please share the names of those obvious cheaters and we ll clean it up. If you know something the rest of us don t then maybe your a part of the problem for not sharing with the rightful authorities what you know. Otherwise your just a whiner.

      • Bourbon Man

        No, you won’t clean it up. The CHRB just suspended a Standardbred trainer, catching her with out of competition testing. When the “authorities” start out of competition testing the big money/high percentage trainers (and, apparently, when pigs are flying), there will be an even playing field. If you cannot see that the sport has cheaters, you are living in a dream world, larry.

        • larry

          So does Wall Street with whom you have in trusted your life savings, l don t disagree there is not cheating going on but its all in the tote , the inquires, the owner appeals that reinstates the order of finish back the way it ran for the owners, and the reliance on perpetuating the gimmick wagering where you will find the perfect ruse under which to implant an unethical process to hide corruption. If owners are going to be granted appeals to the stewards decisions then its time to just pay the race out the way it ran on the racetrack to the betting public. For all the content out there give me one track that would like to try doing it this way. Thanks for your interest in my post Bourban Man

          • Bourbon Man

            I know better than to entrust my life savings to Wall Street, and rest of your post has little to do with the topic. Thanks for your interest, larry:you responded to MY post!

      • billy

        Juan Vasquez

        • youcantmakeitup

          Larry said to share a name of a cheater and you did. And then he said it would be cleaned up. Juan Vazquez will be around as long as he has horses to train. I see him running horses in New York now.And I think he will be allowed back at Penn National and Delaware. Just a matter of time.

  • Andrew A.

    Byk said another problem is the “environment of poison” created by some in the media and in the comment section of online stories.

    “Some of it has to be addressed, some of it can be ignored, but you have to strike a balance and figure out how do we come up with a central uniform message as a drum beat to beat back the catcalls,” said Byk.

    “It really would behoove us collectively to have that kind of a mentality, that when something happens nationally or locally, there would be a very specific message that would be put in the hands of the most vocal horsemen.”
    =======================================================

    This is the Steve Byk who routinely defends the status quo and acts as an industry apologist. This is the Steve Byk who routinely berates Horseplayers who ask for optimal takeout rates. This is the Steve Byk who routinely minimizes efforts by Horseplayer Advocates who want Horse Racing to be a legitimate gambling game of skill through optimal takeout. (Optimal Takeout is the price point that drives total wagering handle upward to where total long term revenue becomes maximized for tracks, horsemen, and governments). I once saw Steve go after a guy who complained about Parx 30% takeout rates. That’s who Steve Byk is and that’s what he does. He’s no friend of the Horseplayer.

    I guess Steve Byk likes to pontificate on things that he believes are important and wants to supress the opinions of some people (namely horseplayers, and horseplayer advocates) with whom he disagrees.

    • tony a

      This is why he doesn’t take calls, he’s a hypocrite, when he puts Tony Black on and he tells of his stories how he cheated and laughs about it.

  • Charles Smith

    The nonsense spewed by Steve Byk (who revealed himself as a cheater lover) only underscores the desperation of a disturbingly large segment of horsemen to cling to the status quo. In the long run, this sort of rubbish talk can only hurt the game that these HBPA members claim to respect. Now, more than ever, we need USADA to oversee drug testing in American horse racing.

  • youcantmakeitup

    Byk says there are some owners sticking a gun into the ribs of trainers telling them what position to take on issues. The last I heard, it was the owners who really put on the show.They put up their money to buy and train the horses and I believe should have a big say in what is put into their horse`s system. So Byk`s position is basically, screw the betting public and screw the owners who pay them . In other words, the public and the owners are a bunch of dummies. Can`t the HBPA elect someone who is at the very least , open minded.

  • Rachel

    That’s not a “gun” stuck in the trainer’s ribs…it’s $$$.
    All these years I thought the HBPA was there for for the horses…it just hit me reading this article why nothing changes…it’s not for the horses, it’s for the “horsemen”…period.

    • HowardRoark314

      Uh, the H in HBPA doesn’t stand for ‘horse’ – you just figured that out? It’s a dirty union is all – guys and gals making a living drugging animals for fun and profit – a large animal cockfight. Every Hall of Fame trainer before 1970 would laugh at calling modern trainers ‘horsemen’.

  • Horsesfirst

    The bottom line is most of the HBPA members are trainers who are completely incapable of training without drugs. Let them retire and give a chance to some trainers who do not need a large pharmacy.

  • HowardRoark314

    I could give a speech pointing to people like Steve Byk as the source of many of the problems in this industry. I hate PETA as much as anyone, but the behavior towards the horses and owners in that tape was inexcusable. Byk and his drug trainer buddies need to realize that the Kings in The Sport of Kings are the horses and the owners. Stinks for bettors, trainers, and media wannabes but that is reality. Keep drugging one of the kings to death and disrespecting the other king and you won’t have much left to talk about on your hack radio show.

    • Charles Smith

      I’m no fan of PETA, but I would agree with you that the content of that tape was disturbing. As a owner since the late 80’s, I understand that the foundation of the sport is the horse. We ask them for everything they have and they give it willingly. The comments made on the tape revealed an attitude toward racehorses in general and owners in general that’s just disgusting. Training is a tough, high pressure profession, but without the owners who are willing to lose money 80 to 90 percent of the time and the horses, who lay down their well being on the track, and the continued participation of the wagering public, guys like Asmussen and Blasi are nothing, no matter how big their egos are.

      • HowardRoark314

        I blame the media as much as the trainers. These so called ‘journalists’ can’t merely report the news, they must make themselves part of the story. They are in cahoots with the trainers because it makes them feel like insiders. But they aren’t truly newsmakers and it bothers them – and speeches like this is where it comes out in the open. Any opposing points of view must be silenced? – that is what passes for Journalism 101 these days.

        • Excellent and timely response.

          • larry

            Hang em high! Except when it comes to Graham Motion. Right Barry?

    • larry

      Just keep on treating the bettors the way you have you will not not have an industry. The only reason you still do is the subsidizes from slots. Sorry Howie but you could t be more wrong.

      • HowardRoark314

        Well Larry, I’m no gambler so I will certainly defer to your feelings on the subject. But with no owners…there are no horses….with no horses…there is nothing to gamble on. Trainers are relatively expendable in this entire process, but gamblers are not. Yet everyone, like Byk, seems vested in protecting and honoring said trainers, like Asmussen.

        • betsalot

          With no horses there are plenty of things to gamble on. Cards dice slots sports are just a few

          • Rosemary Homeister

            I thought native Americans liked horses!

          • betsalot

            You watch too many movies

          • Old Timer

            They do like horses and has nothing to do with movies….

          • betsalot

            Of course every course all peoples like horses including native American,anglo, African American, Arabic etc. Rosemary homemeister was making a remark to me because I pointed out to her that native American people prefer not to be called indians. My comment on this thread was to point out there are other ways to enjoy gambling besides horseracing which I also enjoy

        • Canarse

          From your comments it appears you are an owner? If you are an owner of thoroughbred racehorses, you are a gambler.

          • HowardRoark314

            I’m not an owner, but I work closely with many of them through my role within the industry. They don’t complain to me, but I often see them get the shaft – and many have left the game quietly, with not much ‘new money’ coming along to replace them.

          • Canarse

            No doubt owners get the shaft. I would like to be an owner sometime in the future and I wonder how I would go about it without getting shafted by a pinhooker, trainer, etc. I’ve read Squires’ books and heard about plenty of other shady dealings. The whole industry needs a good scrubdown from the Jockey Club to the grooms. I still love it though…

          • tony a

            Don’t. First you need a lot of disposable cash, don’t go in buying at a sale or privately, nobody looks at you as if they do a good deal we’ll have a good business relationship, they just try to pick you clean and find excuses as to why it didn’t work this time, as a small owner you would need to get lucky with the right trainer that can win because a big trainer wont give you the time of day, If you do decide not to take my advice, take this, whatever anybody tells you don’t believe it, use your own judgement and your own two eyes.

          • Canarse

            Thanks, Tony. If I ever dip my toe in it will be with eyes wide open.

        • Sal Carcia

          This mentality is ultimately killing the game. The owners are not “the customer”. There is only one customer. It is the the horseplayer. And without horseplayers/customers, there is nothing left.

          • HowardRoark314

            You have noting to bet on if not for the owners, but yes the bettors are at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of respect. Trainers cheat you bettors every day with drugged up horses who have no business in a race – and media types like Byk cover for them. That’s what’s killing the game.

    • Perfect response to this crapola.

  • Canarse

    Another pass the buck speech. Let me summarize, “It’s not our fault, it’s everyone else’s fault.” It’s not that he doesn’t make a few good points, it’s that he doesn’t seem have any interest in horsemen, as a group, taking responsibility for anything. Typical union or trade group. As a bettor it makes me want to puke.

  • Tim

    Of course owners have an influence on trainers, they pay the bills and take the risks. No different than the owner of an NFL, NBA, or MLB team hiring and firing coaches and managers. The HBPA has a distorted view of the role of trainers in the pecking order.

    • HowardRoark314

      Nailed it. Horses-horses-horses-owners-owners-bettors-trainers-media is my preferred hierarchy. Byk? Ha, he has it: media-trainers-media-trainers-bettors-horses-owners.

      • Bourbon Man

        Face it – the “check writers” are mushrooms (fed poop and kept in the dark)

  • BILL CASNER

    Unbelievable ( in fact it is) bombastic, inflammatory, and arrogant rhetoric. I trained horses for 14 years and I never forgot who actually paid the bills. I did my best to do the very best job that I could, while being sensitive and cooperative to my owner’s request. My trainer today is a team player and we have experienced both the mountain tops and the valleys together. It has been an outstanding relationship and we cheer and cry together. Bottom line we are respectful of each other and we are always endeavoring to do what is right for our horses and the industry long term. In 1980 when I left the track, Santa Anita would get 25k people in the grandstand on a Wed.–now you be lucky to get 2 or 3k. Handle has continued to decline.
    We have had a monopoly on interstate gambling since 1978 and we have been unable to capitalize on that advantage and we have seen a gradual deterioration of public opinion and support.
    The HPBA (which all owners are members of by the way) would be much better served by reaching out and working together with those that pay their bills for the re-growth of horse racing and by not creating division and resentment.

  • Hamish

    The more I read about yesterday’s panels and conversations, the more it appears to have been high school pep rally in nature, than any type of organized industry think tank.

  • Sal Carcia

    This is the equivalent of saying those that don’t agree with the horsepeople are toxic to the game. It is a toxic point of view itself.

    More importantly for everyone is that there is no desire or system in place for the game’s factions to resolve their differences.

    Finally, both sides showing anger to its customers, the horseplayers, will forever hold the game back. Doesn’t anyone out there care about that?

  • Ernest Vincent

    Whenever I read the comments of such an article, I always say to myself:
    “These posters are obviously not betting horses. And if they are, they must be hypocrites.”
    The article says the organization is going to “Push Back.” Go after those who push them around. And admits that they have not in some cases.
    But let’s get real. The boss is the boss in EVERY setting. And if one disagrees, they have certainly been shown the quickest way to the door.

  • Noelle

    Byk asks “how do we come up with a central uniform message…?”

    The glaringly obvious answer is “we” can’t. It’s impossible. “We” (whoever that includes) cannot come up with a central uniform message because racing has neither centralization nor uniformity.

    Let the various racing states or tracks or whatever form a league and create a league management structure with broad powers, including the power to articulate a national uniform message. At the same time, grant them the power to mete out appropriate punishments to rules violators.

    Messages issued individually and separately, no matter which of racing’s alphabet soup groups issues those messages, carry no weight at all with the general public.

  • ben

    Basically, Mr Byke says, have it our way or the high way.

    In the short run, this might work. But overnight it will fail.

  • Mike Oliveto

    Byk sounds like Trump when he lobs a vaguery like, “Trainers out there who know very well their own opinion but they have owners sticking guns in their ribs, telling them what they have to say, because it is that particular owner’s perspective.” How about naming these supposed owners who are holding hostage the true opinions of these nameless trainers? Without specifics it’s just another example of a guy who loves to hear the sound of his own voice.

    • larry

      What goes around comes around there are a lot of people on these blog telling the world the industry is full of cheaters without any proof at all, without providing any names at all. So whats the difference?

  • Ian Howard

    The sense of entitlement in this industry is symptomatic of the paranoid position that rationalizes racings diminishing appeal. It couldn’t possibly be that as an industry we have failed to respond to changing technologies and competing gaming products that have carved away at our traditional revenue streams. Except for a shrinking demographic we are not a spectator sport but a wagering opportunity. Without slot money which was available because of the desire to expand gambling opportunities with expediency racing would long ago have imploded.
    So instead of trying to expand our appeal with innovative products ( there is going to be a fantasy void ) or improve those aspects of our business which alienate our customers we blame the media. Predictable and futile but that describes our traditional responses to adversity.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    Mr. Byk, I expect that you will be naming these trainers and owners who you cite in your comments?? You have no problem naming Dinny Phipps. Why are you not naming the others you claim to be causing the problem?

    • Andrew A.

      That would require Steve to have the courage of his convictions. Don’t hold your breath.

  • Turf Paradise Tommy

    I seriously doubt anyone takes Steve Byk seriously, but if they do we are all in trouble. No one in the media has done more to harm this game than this guy. I listen to his show regularly (Lord knows why?) and he supports every cheating trainer in the business, hates horseplayers and is for everything that is bad and against everything that is good. Whenever he does have a horseman on he is so fawning it is nauseating. He acts like a star struck little kid. I don’t need to give the Paulick Report a pat on the back but the work it has done exposing the ills of this industry is tremendous and Byk was obviously taking a shot at it by his snarky comment about people posting comments on line. It is attitudes like his that have kept this sport from making the changes it needs to correct the many wrongs that are killing the game. And, while Dinny Phipps, a rich guy, is an easy target, he has made innumerable contributions to the sport. What has Byk done? He runs a hot dog stand at Saratoga and kisses trainers’ asses on the radio five days a week. Gee, how is it he’s not yet in the Hall of Fame? This guy makes me sick. He is a cancer to this great sport.

    • tony a

      You are spot on, we listen only because we love horse racing and he has no competition. When Johnny D comes on he probably uses his 10 minute diatribe to relieve himself. I laughed one day he had a vet on, Steve was going on to him about how stupid fans were for getting on a trainer for a drug overage, he almost choked when the vet said the only reason to have any nano grams of a particular drug was for cheating, All he does is name drop about people who nobody else cares about, for his own well being.

  • Sandy Wallis

    Wow. After reading these comments, I have to agree with a lot of the article. Every comment I have read is negative- either bashing the sport, the trainers, or the author. This is posted on a site (supposedly) for people who like and are interested in horse racing. Not one person offered a positive solution to some of the problems facing racing. Instead of stating how they see the issues, they make personal attacks on the author, attack trainers in general, racing in general, and the HBPA. If you like horses or any other animal, then PETA is no friend to you. PETA’s lies and smear tactics actually damage legitimate causes. They do not help anything. If you love racing, then try to be a little constructive. There are thousands of people in racing who truly want to make the sport better. Constructive criticism of the industry is both necessary and helpful. It can show the way to actual solutions. If you’re just bitching and pointing out everything you hate about racing and how awful you think it all is or ignoring someone’s points just because you don’t like them personally, then instead of being part of a solution, you are actually part of the problem.

    • Andrew A.

      Many of the people commenting have put a lot of their own time and effort into growing and improving the sport whether it be on the gambling side or the Owner/Trainer/Breeder side because the status quo is certain failure. The comments directed at Byk and his comments are spot on.

    • larry

      Not everyone on here. For the record l have put forth a way to improve it. Get rid of the stewards for the betting public and just pay the race out the way it ran on the racetrack.

      • Bourbon Man

        A sure invitation for jockeys to play bumper cars with the owners’ investments – great idea, larry.

  • David Worley

    What a depressing talk by Mr. Byk. I mean ‘seriously?’ That’s your response to what is happening? He sounds more like a gang leader rallying his ‘brothers’ to go take out a rival gang than an industry leader. Mr Byk is a part of the problem in the industry not someone working towards a solution.

  • Teddy

    What’s with all the hate?

    Racing is doing just fine. We will have a huge surge soon with foals and handle if we just maintain and stay the course. No changes are needed.

    Everybody, and I mean everyone, must stay positive.

    Eric and Steve are right. If you have anything bad to say, don’t say it. If you don’t like it, just leave.

    • Hamish

      The game does not belong to Eric and Steve. They are just a rather small piece of a very large enterprise. It is not incumbent upon them, nor do they have the right to ask people to leave if folks see things differently. The “We ARE large and in charge” speeches made yesterday were sickening and will most probably backfire on their attempt to threaten people into falling in line. That’s real old school “horse thugery” and entirely out of place in today’s environment.

      • Teddy

        If the game belonged to Eric and Steve it would do a lot better than if it belonged to all the haters and negative people.

        Positivity breeds success.

        • Bourbon Man

          That’s the spirit! Go with the old tried and true (and working so well for a dying sport) remedy of sweeping the nasty stuff under a rug while telling everyone the place is clean.

        • Hamish

          Someone must be paying you to say that because the truth is far removed from your words.

    • Canarse

      At first I thought this was sarcasm.

      • tony a

        He’s Steve’s next guest.

  • I think the HBPA’s little PR stunt has backfired in their face.

    • Bourbon Man

      Except for one man: larry

  • To say that I am tired of all these meetings, town halls, and ongoing rhetoric is the understatement of the past 25 years. People in this sport talk a good talk, especially those in leadership, but when they get to the point of turning that talk into substantive action and results, they balk. The proposed legislation by the “elitists” needs work; the HBPA and ARCI are in bed together to save their jobs notwithstanding the fractured nature of who they are and what they actually do; and all we do is keep hearing the same pontification about how all those in “leadership” want to see our sport improve and how much they “care” about horse racing, yet no real change actually occurs. I wonder why that really is. Racing horses on any drug is bad. We need legislation that bans drugs in racing. We need independent, well-funded oversight of drug testing. It doesn’t have to be that complicated. K.I.S.S.

    • Hamish

      Ms. Simmons, you repeat what we all know is true. So, what must happen before the real wake up alarm goes off and the obstructionists that played their cards the last couple of days choose the horse and the sport over their cushy jobs and self proclaimed prowess?

      • Mr. Hamish, thank you for your question. The wake-up alarm has already gone off, but those in leadership are too absorbed in their own chatter to actually listen to any voice that isn’t their own. The HBPA serves a viable interest with respect to its benevolence and charity, but perhaps through some creative mechanism that usurps existing legislation, we need to strip it from claiming it represents the voice of the owners….it does not. The ARCI needs to be removed from its position of regulatory authority, especially with respect to the issue of drug-testing, given the history that we’ve seen of some of its commissioners playing favorites, alternatively engaging in witch hunts, and inconsistent and unreliable drug testing. We need real leadership in Lexington that actually listens to outside voices and stays the course to effectuate nationwide change, vis a vis, the aforementioned legislation.

    • ben

      The ARCI and the RMTC are eating of the hand from the horsemen.
      It,s like the slaughter that is qualifying it,s own meat and the whole process involved.

  • johnnyknj

    In the words of a well known vet who has been on the Byk show, “Steve doesn’t know one end of the horse from the other”.

  • Kevin Callinan

    Self-appointed spokesperson Byk would like an apology from Dinny Phipps because Asmussen was ‘only’ guilty on 4 counts? Are you serious?

  • Jack Frazier

    The Phipps family has done more for racing than Byk ever will. Period. Having trained the California circuit whether or not it is real, it does appear that certain folks are treated much differently and their posteriors are kissed at every opportunity. It is no secret who is cheating but because of the laws surrounding libel, it would be pound foolish to actually name names.

    I question whether the testing facilities treat everyone fairly or if certain folks are given a pass because of who they are. I also question whether everyone is treated fairly by some in the front office of various race tracks. On a personal level, I have been talked down to with the person doing so, not knowing a single thing about my background. Equality does not exist and the elitists are treated differently whether in filling races or in punishment. That is a fact and is a reason many have and are leaving horse racing.
    Everyone wants to feel they are appreciated and most folks trying to make a living on the track are not appreciated. In fact, they are made to feel that the track is doing them a favor letting them run even though the tracks would be out of business without them. At best it is a break even business and at worst, it is one that can make a millionaire out of a billionaire in a short while. Many folks who love the business have become jaded. How do you get them revitalized? This is the only sport in which the players, the horses, do not get paid equitably and where an owner can spend thousands per month, run fifth or worse and not make a cent. Where is the logic in that?

    • larry

      My point exactly.What makes the person in the lab coat immune to corruption? A lab can be manipulated just as easy as a tote can be with one click of a mouse, a 20 to one shot gets disqualified easier than a horse at even money. Thats not right either. Just looking at the trainer as the only potential form of corruption is to see this industry bury its head in the sand.

      • Jack Frazier

        I don’t understand why in some instances, it takes weeks or months to test specimens. I go to the VA and my lab work is done within two days. I know the VA tests more folks than the labs test horses so why does it take so long?

        • ben

          Because of lot people are appealing everything found at a lab.

          • Jack Frazier

            Plausible. But appeals are not made until after results are determined. It still takes a long time and are you sure every specimen is examined according to Hoyle?

        • larry

          Sorry jack don t know, but l would t want one centralized tote for everyone that would be a disaster for the industry that would end up being controlled and manipulated by the elites for sure.

  • Always Curious

    I just to make one point here that is not related to the drug issues. The industry does not have a national or governing body in this sport to speak out when the sport is trashed in the media. The NFL and NBA speak out when there are problems or allegations. There is a lot of things said in the media by people who are not knowledgeable that never goes unchallenged, just one of our problems.

  • youcantmakeitup

    Sooner than later, the racing industry will be ” decoupled “from the casinos. Slot subsidies will be taken from horse racing and then the house of cards will fall.The only chance racing had was to clean up it`s house but they are incapable .All I ever hear is all the jobs racing creates. They keep saying thousands of jobs will be lost. Yes , some will lose their job . A lot of the subsidies end up in other countries like Mexico , Guatamala etc. There are plenty of businesses, small companies, with a little subsidy could expand and create jobs, good jobs. Horse racing thinks that they are entitled to this money, despite the corruption, dysfunction and in some cases , animal abuse. New owners are becoming extinct .Without subsidies, horse racing would be similar to Jai Lai or greyhound racing. There might be about five tracks in this country that might make it without the welfare( subsidies) Monmouth is doing all it can and Tampa Bay is hanging in there. But many will close when decoupling is a common occurrence.

  • Anton Chigurh

    Well what can one expect from a guy who used to have the classy Bob Fox on as a regular.

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