60 Minutes Poll: More Cheaters Than Jerks in Horse Racing

by | 01.21.2014 | 12:01pm
According to a new poll, Americans think football players have the worst behavior, but horse racing ranks high in the "cheating" category

The 60 Minutes brand on CBS television expanded into the sports world last year with the creation of “60 Minutes Sports,” a new series on Showtime. One of the show's first subjects was Doug O'Neill, trainer of 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another.

60 Minutes also has an ongoing relationship with the popular culture, fashion, and current events magazine Vanity Fair.  This month, 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair published a monthly poll that questioned Americans about their opinions and attitudes toward the sporting world. Horse racing came up in that poll, but not in a way we would like.

Among the questions asked were “which sports have the most cheating?”

Horse racing, sadly, came up in second place, among 18 percent of respondents. The only sport that had a worse perception was boxing, which was named by 21 percent of the people sampled by the pollsters.

Football was listed at 16 percent, baseball at 14 percent and cycling 13 percent. Track and field was far back at 3 percent, with 14 saying “none” or “don't know.”

It's not clear whether “cheating” in the eyes of the Americans questioned in this poll was defined as doping horses to win or holding horses to lose in a fixed race. The latter always seemed more popular in the movies and television shows than in real life.

No matter how it's defined, however, this is a race where a first- or second-place finish is not good.

What surprised me is the relatively low percentage of perceived cheating in track and field, a sport that not long ago was rife with doping scandals. Creation of the United States Anti-Doping Agency in 2000 and more stringent and effective out-of-competition testing since then has apparently cleaned up that game, as reflected in the poll. It would be interesting to see whether track and field would have polled higher six years ago when Marion Jones was forced to return her five Olympic medals from the 2000 Summer Games after she was exposed as a cheater.

On the plus side, only 4 percent of those polled said horse racing “has the most jerks.” Football came out on top in that category, with 25 percent of the respondents saying the sport has the worst behavior of its participants (and that was before Sunday's Seattle-San Francisco playoff game and the emergence of the now-famous Richard Sherman post-game interview).

I've never heard anyone say a horse is a “jerk.”

Click here to read the entire poll.

  • biggar

    A poll of opinions from people that most likely know nothing of horse racing. There is a lot to be learned from this.

    • Cangamble

      A poll of horseplayers would probably put horse racing at number one.

    • Ginger2000

      Why is that such a common argument? Implication being it’s meaningless because the people know nothing about racing. The problem is they are avoiding racing and betting on racing. Therefore racing suffers.

  • Larry Ensor

    I can’t count how many times over the years I’ve hear “it’s all rigged, or aren’t the races fixed?” in response to what I do for a living.

    The industry has and continues to do a very poor job of protecting its image. IMO

    • fb0252

      maybe the powers should decide whether cheating on the backstretch is indeed a widespread problem, since there’s a post on this every other day.

      • Hamish

        Sounds reasonable. There are no unbiased independent “powers” currently in the horse racing game, so why not enagage the USADA to conduct the “cheating on the backstretch” investigation? A non-vested third party working in conjunction with local racetrack “moles,” informants and alongside undercover law enforcement would tell us a lot about what’s really in our closet.

        • Tonto

          The USDA has been unable and unwilling to stop the terrible treatment of show Tenn. Walking Horses- why expect any results in racing ?

          • betterthannothing

            The USDA is the ag dept, the USADA is a private anti-doping agency and the one racing needs to clean itself and protect its horses, riders and ethical horsemen.

      • You are trying to inspire momentum from a stone.

    • betterthannothing

      The industry cannot protect its image without first and foremost doing all it can to protect its horses and riders.

  • Tinky

    “What surprised me is the relatively low percentage of perceived cheating in track and field, a sport that not long ago was rife with doping scandals.”

    Ironically, it’s not so much the fact that Track and Field has developed more stringent testing that has made a difference, it’s the simple perception that the authorities were actually serious about the problem that has changed the broad perception.

    Yes, of course it is crucial to make specific strides in testing and enforcement, but as the racing industry, to use just one example, wasn’t testing for Cobalt for almost TEN YEARS after it had been identified as a likely tool for cheaters, how can anyone have the slightest level of confidence that the problem is being seriously addressed?

  • Lexington 4

    Blah, blah, blah on the public’s perception of doping by trainers. That issue is more for people like Tinky to drone on about and Ray to keep wondering about.

    Maybe it is just because I am a trainer and new acquaintances do not want to say things to my face, but in terms of “cheating”, random people that I meet are much more likely to mention something about big gamblers fixing races with trainers and jockeys on the take to score a big bet than to mention something about doping. (That is what I have been asked about.) And, believe me, I have never had even one solitary person in my entire history of meeting new people ever… EVER … mention the word “lasix”.

    • Tinky

      If, by chance, you don’t have a stable name yet, I’d recommend “Ostrich Stables”.

      • Lexington 4

        Or how about “Able to Stay On Topic Stables”.

        The topic of this post was an internet poll of people who apparently: (1) Watch the Showtime network, and (2) take the time to click on internet polls. Ray, since he is running an internet site, is naturally interested in internet polls of Showtime viewers because it provides content for his site and something to twitter about.

        Even Ray asks: “It’s not clear whether “cheating” in the eyes of the Americans questioned in this poll was defined as doping horses to win or holding horses to lose in a fixed race.”

        I am saying that a clear majority of the people that I have met, should the topic of “cheating” come up, ask me about race fixing among gamblers, trainers and jockeys to win bets– NOT “doping” with PEDs. I actually think this is an interesting question. And as an added bonus would be squarely ON TOPIC.

        It is not a surprise that you predictably jumped straight, and exclusively, to drugs with your first comment- even managing to work in COBALT…. which I am pretty sure had very little to do with the poll. Don’t you get enough opportunities to comment about drugs that you can’t ask a slightly different question this time? You are not a one-trick Tinky, are you? You realize that would make you sort of boring, right?

        • Tinky

          Apparently you don’t meet many of the very customers who primarily support the game in which you make a living. I can assure you that the vast majority of serious bettors who have reduced their participation, or left the game entirely, are or were concerned primarily with cheating through the use of PEDS.

          There is also little doubt that, broadly speaking, the perception amongst those who are not “in the game” is fueled by largely by facts reported through the media, and not some anachronistic image of riders holding horses or using buzzers.

          You say that those you speak with talk about “race-fixing”. Well, how do they imagine that races might be fixed? Only through collusion between trainers and jockeys? How can they possibly be so naive about PEDS when it is impossible not to learn about the topic through MLB, the NFL, cycling, the Olympics, etc.?

          My original comment on this thread was exactly on point, albeit that of a specific element of Ray’s piece. I explained simply why Ray shouldn’t have been so surprised at how positively Track & Field is viewed so soon after having been deluged with scandals. I made the point that they were far more proactive than racing has been, and you, as a stakeholder, should be quite concerned about that.

          While I’ll leave it to readers to make up their own minds, what I find so striking about your defensive responses to my posts is that you have continuously failed to address the concrete example that I have used to illustrate the depth of the problem still facing the racing game. I could have used many other examples, but the fact that you don’t see a connection between the cobalt issue and the poll – even after I laid out its relevance quite clearly – speaks volumes.

          • Lexington 4

            Of course there is a drug problem “still facing the game”, Tinky.

            There are really only two ingredients necessary for “cheating” to arise, in any business or competition:

            Ingredient No. 1: People
            Ingredient No. 2: Money

            That’s it. Those are the only two ingredients necessary for the natural occurrence of “cheating”. Doesn’t matter the business. If the competition includes athletic performance (of any kind and any animal) then there will be a third obvious ingredient:

            Ingredient No. 3: Performance Enhancing Drugs

            Everyone knows that, Tinky. Everyone also knows racing can do much, much, much better in this regard. And should. This isn’t just people cheating and hurting other people, it features an additional layer of people hurting horses, as well.
            Now explain to me how you know so much about this specific “poll” (this…. SPECIFIC…internet poll) that you are confident that the 18% clicking on racing is so different from the 13% that clicked on track and field.

            And to answer one of your other questions, Yes, when people smile and ask about the gambler-trainer-jockey connection they usually aren’t asking if those three entities are passing bottles of clenbuterol to each other. Or lasix.

            To put it another way, what do you think the “Cheater” poll results would be in one of those vaunted, drug-free “rest of the world” countries like England? Or would those results not fit the narrative.

          • Tinky

            What an odd question. I don’t know much about this specific poll, nor have I asserted that I do. It could be ANY poll.

            As to why nearly 50% more chose racing over T&F, I’ve explained why I believe that is the case. T&F, the Olympics, and Cyclng have all had their reputations badly damaged by drug scandals, and all ultimately reacted by developing cutting edge testing and applying serious penalties. Racing has, in contrast, been much slower on both fronts. The industry has been far more inclined to bury its head in the sand, which explains why I have reacted sharply to your posts.

            With regard to those who view racing as crooked, yet don’t associate PEDS with the issue, they must either be blissfully unaware of cheating in all other major sports (not very likely), or are unable to calculate 2+2.

            As to your last question, I don’t know what polls would show in the U.K., but there would certainly be some reasonable suspicion reflected in the responses, as the average citizens in England are far more familiar with racing than their American counterparts.

          • Lexington 4

            That comment, especially the last two paragraphs, pretty much lets everyone know what they need to about you, Tinky. What a waste. I hope everyone bookmarks that comment for future “Tinky” reference.

            Understanding your comments, If there is no PEDs problem in England then why would a poll in England be above 0%, Tinky? And why wouldn’t the same non-PEDs concerns that would push an English poll above 0% not also account for an X percentage of an American poll?

            As a matter of fact, I am not so sure that a similar point-and-click internet poll in England wouldn’t come up with very similar results.

            I guess you don’t have any ideas on what those non-PEDs concerns might be?

          • Tinky

            Are you attempting to win some Straw Man of the Year award?

            On what possible basis did you conclude that I believe there is no PED problem in England? I have never stated, nor implied anything of the sort.

            I also implied nothing about how the results might compare with American poll results.


          • Lexington 4

            I am not saying that you have implied anything about English racing, Tinky. I am the one bringing that subject up and simply ASKING YOU QUESTIONS.

            And the reason that I am asking you questions is because you have equated this internet poll’s results with PEDs. Have you not? Did you ever mention anything else?

            I am simply bringing up vaunted English racing because I have read, roughly a thousand times, about how wonderful and clean English racing is compared to us drug-addicted, animal abusing Americans.

            I would just like ideas, then, on what the results of a similar English poll might be and what might account for its results. The reason I am asking you, Tinky, for your input is because unlike a lot of the goofballs on here I think you have some smarts. If you do not have any ideas then you do not have any ideas. That’s fine.

            Maybe someone else will.

          • Tinky

            There is a frequent conflation on the topic of PEDS in England. I, and others, of course, have used England (and many other countries) as contrasting examples to the U.S. when it comes to Lasix use.

            In spite of rules against the use of any race day drugs in those countries, I am not naive enough to believe that there aren’t trainers who have attempted to enhance, and at time succeeded in enhancing performance with illicit drugs. Look no further than the poster child for such behavior, Patrick Biancone, who left a lasting stain on French racing as well as Hong Kong, prior to being welcomed into the U.S.

            This is a complicated topic, as you know, but your previous post suggests that you – perhaps understandably – assume that at least some observers mistake the no race day medication policies abroad for 100% clean racing.

            The U.K. has taken a hit recently, and I expect that they will step up their testing and enforcement efforts as a result. Hong Kong is the cleanest racing in the world, but they do enjoy some great intrinsic advantages that could not be fully replicated elsewhere.

            As I tried to suggest in my previous post, polling is a trivial matter relative to how testing and enforcement are carries out by the jurisdiction in question, but it is a reflection of the general state of affairs. My original distinction and disagreement with you is that I don’t believe that such poll results reflect uneducated responses based on old stereotypes, but more of a broad understanding that PEDs are endemic in big money sports.

            It’s early days, of course, but Gural’s proactive approach is very likely to lead to palpable, positive feedback in the form of some big bettors and owners returning to the (harness) game as their confidence in a level playing field begins to be restored.

            The main reason that I hammer away on this issue is because I know that racing could do much more to reinvigorate its fan (and owner) base, and yet it continues to fall well short. I’m not suggesting that there haven’t been any positive developments, but – yes – the cobalt issue is symptomatic of how far behind the curve the game remains.

          • Lexington 4

            Fair enough. I can agree with a lot of that.

            I said what I wanted to say.

          • 4Bellwether666

            “Of course there is a drug problem”…And it very well may be “The Death” of “The Game” in the near future if the powers that be (including the Fed) don’t start putting some reel teeth in the laws…J

          • 4Bellwether666

            Wiped out again by NO BALLS PR…

          • Casey

            OK… I ‘ve got to squeeze in here. Over and over, I read these comments about the gamblers quitting over PEDs. I train, my Dad gambles. Big gambler? I don’t know, around 10k a month. That’s a whole lot to me! For 25 YEARS our conversation has gone like this,” What do you think of your horse today?” He’s doing super, Dad. Sure think he can win it. “How about the 6 horse? So and So is using that sh*t. I can’t leave his horse out “… Sometimes I out run them, sometimes I don’t. But for as long as I can remember Dad and his friends have played ” Those Trainers ” , the ones “using the good stuff”. I don’t think he’s unique. The serious gamblers add PEDs and who they THINK is using them into their handicapping.

          • Tinky

            Thanks for your input, Casey, but your dad’s a minnow (even at $10k/month), not a whale.

            It is true that some big bettors remain, and simply factor in the “juice” variable. But it has driven many of them away, and that shouldn’t be surprising.

    • Ginger2000

      The reason is really irrelevant. the FACT is that the public perceives racing negatively. The gamblers you mention are perceived by the public to be part of racing, and no the average person doesn’t talk about lasix, as the average person doesn’t really know about drugs. Drug addicts and those who abuse drugs are the experts on the names of drugs, Normal people just know drugs EXIST, just like they know CHEATING exists.

      • Lexington 4

        Say what?

        Did you really just type, “The reason is really irrelevant.”

        What if you went to the doctor and after running tests she said to you, “Well, Ginger, your body is breaking down. The reason is really irrelevant.”

        Or maybe at work your boss tells you one day, “You know, Ginger, we took a poll around the office and 60% your co-workers can’t stand you. The reason is really irrelevant.”

        Reasons are not irrelevant, Ginger. Identifying them are actually the first step towards correction.

        And by the way, if all drugs vanished off the face of the earth tomorrow there would still be people who rate horse racing as having “cheaters” simply because it is a gambling sport.

  • sirius

    Some big stories (baffert string of 8 deaths in 17 months) demand attention and ray paulick does a super job and should be commended. But, the way the media creates a firestorm over small irrelevant stories (an overage in a bute, a high clenbuterol, a TCO2 finding, etc); has led to this general misconception (cheating) by the public. The public has been force fed these myths…that these things actually enhance performance. You want to know what enhances performance? A good horse who has been trained up to a race and is peaking the day u lead em over to be saddled. There is no substitute. Alot of hard work, patience and time goes into the craft of having your animal ready to run on raceday. And its a shame that the process has been mischaracterized and minimized. At any rate, i support ray paulick but i think the racetracks and the press should not make mountains out of moehills when reporting high butes, etc.

    • Realitychecker

      I cannot believe that you are pretending to be oblivious to the fact that there are PEDs. You say there is no substitute for hard work, patience, and good training..I wish that were true. I have a very close friend that does just that, but from experience, I totally disagree, and you know I’m right! He worked his tail to the bone with horses that have talent, just to be beaten by another horse that I know is a couple lengths slower than his. In addition, they didn’t receive the care, quality nutrition, or training that his received. How do I know, because they are stabled right next to him and I saw them everyday and how they were cared for. The reason his horses were defeated was they ran on oats, hay, and H2O and the other somewhat neglected horse on, PEDs. I have been around this game for a long, long time so please don’t insult my intelligence and personal experiences, by telling me there are no PEDs.. I agree that high butes and regular use of therapeutic drugs like Banamine, Legend, Adequan, etc. are being blown out of proportion. If used correctly, those things can benefit a horse. Misuse or overuse of any drug, even a good one, can harm them. Don’t forget, a horse with a Bute overage can move up because of his ability to run longer without feeling as much pain as he would if given the proper amount and within the 24 hour limit. So that in and of itself, is somewhat of a PED although it is legal. Now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the use of milkshakes, blocking of horses, clenbuterol misuse, mimics of steroids, and undetectable PED use is not being blown out of proportion! Those things are a reality and they do move horses up! Whether you want to believe it or not.I know it because I have watched it happen in front of my eyes time and time again. Until the U.S. decides to do away with ALL medication, there will always be an uneven playing field. The trainers with big money owners will continue to have their chemists supply them with the newest synthetic performance enhancer that cannot be detected. Although there is cheating going on in Europe, (again big money trainers can do it and more than likely get away with it i.e. the Sheik’s trainer until he got caught) it is not nearly as prevalent. Why do you think horses from Europe and other “drug free” countries come over here as claimers or low level allowance horses and turn into champions and GI Winners overnight. You guessed it, the PED move them up!!! Check the PPs of horses that come from Europe and you’ll see what I’m talking about. In conclusion, please do not act as if there isn’t blatant cheating going on throughout the industry on a wide scale. This is a game on inches and if one can get even a slight edge, they will win. The best trainers already have the best horses, so it’s really unfair that they cheat! How are you supposed to beat those guys? How many times have we seen a trainer claim a horse that can’t run higher than a 59 Beyer and 14 days later runs a 87 and wins by 14 lengths. O.K., they’re not hopped up!! Please! I agree, if the horse has no talent, you can give him whatever you want and he won’t win. However, if they have talent and it’s hidden because of pain, or they’re lazy and need an extra push, (the battery is also a PED in my opinion) the horse is going to run to the best of his ability and win. Look at Ben Johnson when he was on steroids and hop compared to when he wasn’t. How about Lance Armstrong? Those are human examples of what PEDs can do. Why do you believe this is any different, and that they don’t enhance performance in the equine athlete? The day of the “Super Trainer” is here and it’s because of PEDs! It will not go away until all race day drugs are banned including Lasix.. It’s that simple.Sorry for my rant, I’m finished..

      • fb0252

        Nice post. However, what you report is different than my experience on many backstretches in the midwest just a few years back. Maybe things have changed. My experience is that there are a cartload of individuals–owners in particular–at every track–their horse gets beat, the winner must have been on something.

        As to the cheaters–they exist, of course. I’ve watched ’em directly, blocking horses, giving shots, illegals in the feed, etc etc. I’ve never seen anybody at the track that I respect doing this. It’s always somebody unable to train a dog to bark, they cheat because they are unable to train, they almost never win a race, they invariably get caught due to their stupidity, and they tend to be short timers in the game. The exception to this is steroid use, which is indeed a performance enhancer, and I fear still has widespread off track use. However, the off track is a hole in the rules instead of cheating. Yet, we have Barry Irwin here claiming everybody cheats. I think we need that backed up before I’ll believe it. because I never saw it. Instead i saw a lot of hard working people that would not consider cheating with a horse, nor endangering their livelihood and licenses.

  • sirius

    Maybe the word “cheating” needs to be defined as well. Ask any vet on the backside….drugs cant make a slow horse fast. If all the vets disappeared and we went back to hay oats and water, the same guys with the best horses would still be winning.

    • Tinky

      For an apologist, you really don’t do yourself any favors with your arguments.

      No one who understands cheating in horse racing has been, or is concerned about turning $10k claimers into Breeders’ Cup winners. Furthermore, your suggestion that the degree of cheating in racing has been wildly exaggerated is laughable on its face. I won’t even bother to review some of the mountains of evidence that show otherwise.

      Your statement in your post below, suggesting that it is a “myth” that clenbuterol and milk shaking enhance performance, suggests that your your head is buried so deeply in the sand that a bronchodilator might be just what the doctor would order. They were/are both potent performance enhancers, and no racetrack vet or trainer with any real experience would claim otherwise.

      You, as a trainer, don’t like that your peer group has gotten a bad name. That’s understandable. What isn’t understandable is how you could be so blind to the reasons why that perception developed, and persists, or that you somehow believe that exposing the problems facing the game is, perversely, the problem.

      I notice that you made no effort whatsoever to address my point about the astounding gap between when cobalt doping was first discussed in scientific papers, and when the American racing industry began to scramble to develop tests. I know trainers who are outraged that it took so long. In contrast, your reaction tells readers all that they need to know about your interest in preserving the integrity of the game.

      • fb0252

        ms. tinky–would u provide links to the mountains of evidence to which u refer.

      • Old Timer

        I’ll take a stab at Sirius’ point here, because he’s absolutely correct, a slow horse can not run any faster than it actually can. No drug will make it go faster. The most a person can do is take away the impediments that make it even slower than what it can do at its best. Meaning milkshakes do not make a horse run faster, only longer for a greater duration. There’s some science by Dr. Soma that done a couple of times (milkshaking the same horse) this will in fact decrease the horses stamina over a period of time. One and done, it works, repeatedly is a situation of diminishing returns. That and there is a considerable amount of ancetodal eveidence that milkshaking has no effect under a mile, and is marginal for a couple of more furlongs, but still having an impact all be it small. When horses start hitting a mile and quarter, watch out, rebreaking form the gate can occur!

        In regards to clen I think its a wonderful drug when used correctly, and I’m pissed as hell that its been abused so much that it will be effectively taken away from horsemen that used it correctly by the cheaters. When used appropriately it is not a PED

        • Tinky

          OT –

          I’m afraid that you are incorrect. Reducing fatigue is precisely the same as making a horse (or human) run faster. Increasing oxygen carrying capabilities is precisely the same as making a horse (or human) run faster. Do you somehow imagine that Lance “EPO” Armstrong didn’t win those Tour de France races by cycling faster than his opponents?

          Look up the training records of Leo O’Brien, Gary Sciacca, Mitch Friedman and James Bond, both before and after Mike Galvin (their common vet) was caught milkshaking. What you’ll find is overwhelming circumstantial evidence of the power of milkshaking. There are many, many other examples of higher profile trainers in KY, CA, etc. that illustrate the same point.

          There is absolutely no question that milkshaking, bronchodilating, and blood-doping are all POTENT PEDS.

          I agree that it is a shame that clenbuterol, which does have very important therapeutic uses, was badly abused. But it was.

          • Real fan

            What on earth do the training records of those 4 trainers have to do with Mike Galvin being caught milkshaking? Are you suggesting that Subordination, Saratoga Dew, Fourstardave, Fourstarallstar, Valley Victory, Instant Friendship, Yank’s Music, Behren’s, Will’s Way, etc were all milkshaked? Before casting misguided and erroneous aspersions, it would serve you better to have irrefutable facts and not slanderous hearsay. Clenbutarol is an absolute bane to horseracing. Consider the remarkable winning percentages of trainers/managers in the last 10-15 years that were documented for utilizing clnbuteral on a daily “training” basis. A drug that is known to unnaturally cause the heart rate to accelerate. Ignorance is bliss, whilst knowledge is folly.

          • Tinky

            I’m suggesting what is well known by those who were close to NY racing at the time, and to anyone who has a basic understanding of how to interpret trainer patterns as they relate to cheating.

            If you believe that it is a coincidence that those four trainers had their best years by far during that period, or that it was simply stock related, then I have a fine bridge to sell you at an attractive price.

          • Tonto

            But Lance Armstrong still had to TRAIN for his event – a fact overlooked by many so called trainers that think 30 minutes on the walker is a days workout and expect the $500. pre -race vet call to make the difference.

      • Lawrence T Cook

        huh ? (head spinning) what he just say ? : – p

      • betterthannothing

        “…you somehow believe that exposing the problems facing the game is, perversely, the problem.”

        Tinky, terribly widespread, sad and true.

      • PomDeTerre

        tinky- could you simply shut the hell up? just because you can use 4 syllable words does not lend validity to your arguments, and you have taking up about 50% of this chatboard with your diatribes of dribble. you are posting here not out of knowledge, but out of your personal need to be right. your “insights” are based upon ego, not intelligence, and I highly doubt you know the difference between a fetlock, a forelock and a furlong.

        • Tinky

          Congratulations, tater – you might well be in line for the ad hominem attack of the year award!

          Be sure to check back if you can muster the courage to actually challenge the substance of one of my posts.

          • PomDeTerre

            (s)tinky- considering that the nomination has come from you, zi hardly see that as an honor. I also observe that not only have you resorted to the use of Latin in the sense to show your superiority, but you also subscribe to ongoing checks of your posts for possible replies and ego gratification. and since I have “mustered the courage” (hah- another pompous ego check necessary) why don’t you attempt to answer MY previous inquiry: kindly define the difference between a fetlock, a forelock and a furlong without having to resort to Wikipedia.

    • 4Bellwether666

      Please get your head outta that DARK DARK HOLE you have put it in…ty…

    • circusticket

      Yes, the vets would say that, wouldn’t they?

    • Barry Irwin

      If you believe that horse pucky I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to offer you. If this is so, then why do the winning percentages of cheating trainers drop like a stone in the river Styx when they are sanctioned or scrutinized by racing authorities? You are dead wrong.

      • Stevie

        Hey Barry,I get a very high percentage improved performance simply using practical methods of improving body mechanic’s which have been effected through poor conformation or injury causing enough dysfunction to effect the horse’s performance.over the last 20yrs. Or so I’ve been using a combination of massage,magnetic touch and deep penetrating therapeutic ultrasound.DVD available,free demonstration available.If interested give me a call 516- 448-1245 .stevie

  • Burton DeWitt

    I’ve always maintained that Birdstone is a jerk for ruining Smarty Jones’s triple crown hopes. That jerk.

    • Joyful Victory

      Easy Goer ruined Sunday Silence’s TC hopes, Empire Maker ruined Funny Cide’s TC hopes…………. the list goes on. Ah, racehorses. Just gotta love them :)

      • 4Bellwether666

        REAL QUITE!!!…

    • The nerve of that no good cucumber.

    • PomDeTerre

      what does that have to do with anything regarding this article? the best & best ridden colt on that particular day won. the TC isn’t deserved, it’s earned, and outside of your use of the word “jerk” your comment has absolutely no relevance.

      • Burton DeWitt

        Someone clearly missed that this was a joke in response to the last line, “I never heard anyone call a horse a ‘jerk.'”

  • Big Red

    The surprise here is that racing didn’t come in first!
    I bet if you asked 100 people (if you could find them) this question at the track, 99 would say racing is the worst. The one person who voted otherwise would probably be the tracks leading trainer.

  • Windways

    Who pays to watch Track and Field? People watch every 4 years at the Olympics, period! The 3 percent represents 100 percent of viewers.

    • Barry Irwin

      That is absurd.

  • Wabstat

    The problem here is what racing defines as legal medication the public believes is cheating. I’m with them. When the Times reported the meds given to IHA between the Preakness and Belmont and vets said that his treatment was normal, I was surprised. If that is normal, the sport is rotten to the core and we need to start over.

    • Ginger2000

      Yes indeed!

    • Barry Irwin

      This is the same as the inside the beltway mentality of Congress. They are so deeply entrenched inside, they cannot see the forest for the trees. I agree with you totally.

      • Elliott ness

        Did Barry Irwin on national tv not say the reason why he fired all of his trainers were they were liars? He just won the friggin Derby, still slinging mud. No wonder the perception figures. The horse game will make a person cynical and angry. So much jealousy and mudslinging. Just listen to to tinky ,always mudslinging. Always about how bad it all is, but no creative energy towards a fix.

        • Barry Irwin

          Dear Elliott Ness, I remember your great grandfather, when his name was Eliot Ness. I’m guessing you did not fare so well in grammar when you attended grade school. FYI, in virtually every Op-Ed piece I’ve had published in the last 25 or so years, I have offered creative suggestions to solve the problems I’ve written about. Your twist on what I said after the Derby is laughable. Our game has a problem because we have failed to graduate from an insiders’ game. If we ever get USADA involved, we could turn it around. I suggested USADA several years ago and there is now plenty of momentum to have them monitor and overhaul the way drugs are used, tested and policed in racing. So go crawl back under your rock pal.

          • Lexington 4

            What did you say after the Derby? (Is there a video?)

    • betterthannothing

      Well said. The abuse of horses including with drugs is so rampant and lucrative for some that it is expected, justified and considered normal and acceptable along with shoddy equine management and stable conditions.

      Although the preventable abuse of horses causes immense suffering and unnecessary waste, it is perpetrated to feed an orgy of year-around racing and bottom lines, dump damaged horses and avoid disrupting the exploitation of “the product” into the ground especially by cheap owners at cheap tracks where casino money is up for grabs.

      The outside world is shocked even by the little it knows. Meanwhile, it is business as usual for the ignorant, numb, blind, greedy and morally bankrupt inside racing.

      Racing needs to start over or honest, classy racing people need to create their own racing circuit for them and the public to enjoy.

  • 4Bellwether666

    95% of American’s (the ones that know “The Game” still exist) really believe Horse racing and cheating (from top to bottom) go hand in hand…Sad as hell but true…

  • Sal Carcia

    Horseracing has about a 30 year backlog in marketing. I’d say those polled were thinking about the movie with Joe Pesci and Rodney Dangerfield. :)

  • Relying on Vanity Fair (Conde Nast) – a notorious fawner of Hollywood tinsel and its agents, producer, actors & actresses – for factual information is like taking Rich Dutrow Jr.’s word for it that everything is on the up and up.

    60 Minutes? Not too long ago, they went into the tank doing an obsequious interview with Tiger Woods.

    We just got 12 inches of the white stuff in a big storm last night. I came here and in the respect that both of these outfits can be trusted, regrettably, have encountered a bigger snow job.

    It is good of Ray to report what these people are saying. Otherwise, we’re on our own.

  • Lawrence T Cook

    standard bred, they might have a case

  • bpiets

    lol…the FOLK only have SHORT MEMORIES when it comes to the POLITICAL bunch of ‘cheaters’ which in no way is any where near what we know about them BUT since all the drugged etc horses that had trainers etc. investigated espec. at the eastern board racetracks going way back to the 40’s etc and even recently it should be no surprise…etc..etc..etc..but boxing ‘TRADES >>>lol..lol..lol..) ‘players’ / bettors ‘ are also well into horse racing EVEN as BETTORS…so MAYBE >> THAT is also a source of the VOTES or way of folks THINKING..lol..

  • Barry Irwin

    This is just more proof for those ostriches with their heads buried in the sand , as I have written time and time again in Op-Ed pieces, that the perception is the reality for our sport and until we get rid of ALL drugs in racing, we are on a path just like boxing to extinction. The battle lines are drawn. Are the honest horsemen and honest vets in our sport going to take a stand against their cheating peers and save our sport as only they can, or are they going to remain silent and allow a minority to kill the goose that produced the once golden egg?

  • gambling boat

    it was Vegas who pointed out to the ncaa that point shaving was going on. to this end I wonder why high rollers have no say in what goes on in policy. wondering if bettors need a “union” to organize their positives and/or displeasures.

  • Beach

    “I am shocked, shocked, to find out that there is gambling going on in here…”

    Great line from an old great movie, but it’s not even the gambling that I have a problem with.

    I’ve already said this kind of thing until I am blue in the face–but what the heck, I’ll use the most recent(large) example–

    So, everybody WONDERS WHY this sport has an IMAGE PROBLEM when one of its most successful, well-known, prestigious “employees” gets FOUND OUT(and I’m not so naive I don’t know there are probably others) hopping up the ENTIRE barn equine population on THYROID SUPPLEMENTS?

    News is rampant and overabundant in a techie age, folks–and there are A LOT of compassionate people out there–is it SHOCKING that, based on the example above, the same compassionate people might have a SERIOUS problem with an industry that, at the very least, LOOKS LIKE it is profiting from ANIMAL ABUSE?!!

    I’ve already said that I’ve adopted racing greyhounds–I love greyhounds and thoroughbreds(wish I could adopt a couple of the latter, too) and I don’t want to see them go away as breeds. I also suppose I love SPEED–and racing is thrilling. But the RIGHT thing to do is CARE for the animals as best as possible WHILE they do what they do–AND when they are done doing it, or can no longer do it, they are not TRASH to simply dispose of, abuse, neglect, or send to slaughter.

    One’s image tends to STINK LESS when one is doing things CORRECTLY and ETHICALLY.

  • 4Bellwether666

    Take all my post off as u people @ the PR don’t have any BALLS @ ALL…PERIOD…

  • Jay Stone

    The semantics tell the whole story here. The old perception of the game was that cheating meant races being fixed by riders and others. The new perception of cheating is now the drugs given to horses to win races. The days of fixed races and riders holding horses is basically gone. The public’s negativity towards the game is based upon the misconception that all trainers drug horses. This is a sentiment that will only change when the game finds a way to enforce itself or cedes power to a national group to enforce it. When the thoroughbred tracks follow Jeff Gural’s lead the percentages will slowly drop in the negative column and the public will show more confidence in the sport.

  • Ladyofthelake

    Not exactly a scientific study from this pop culture oriented website (Vanity Fair & 60 Minutes). Plus it’s been shown in communication studies that people will perceive there is a problem in whatever area the media chooses to obsess over. That being said, horse people in the non-racing state where I live generally don’t watch racing because of the drugs, racing horses too young & the resulting breakdowns, or the perception they are “mean” to the horses.

    But I’ve always thought horse racing does a lousy job promoting itself & making the non-die hard fans aware that other races besides the KY Derby actually DO exist. I mean, would it kill ESPN to at least mention racing in between their non-stop chatter about obnoxious prick football players? “Meanwhile, in horse racing news, Rosie Napravnik became the first female jockey to win meet leading rider at the Keeneland track!” I’m not holding my breath waiting to read that headline in mainstream media.

  • Mimi Hunter

    Some very interesting comments – and it’s back to ‘they’re cheating’ and ‘they’re not cheating’ as the main argument. And that really is not the main problem. The problem is more the perception of cheating. That is what needs to change. The general public has to believe that racing is run fair & square before the crowds will come back to racing.

  • Tonto

    The only time horse racing is mentioned on our local news is when something bad happens- a fall, breakdown or drug raid- local owner won the KY. Derby several years ago. – Got a 1 line 5 second mention on the 9 pm news

  • Convene

    Personally, based on what I see and read from just about all walks of life, integrity and honesty are becoming obsolete commodities. Remember the Ikea commercial with the woman who obviously considers herself very clever because she thinks she got away with cheating a cashier? Even TV commercials extoll the virtue of filching things from other people – food, drinks – everything! Yeah, we have cheaters – far too many of ’em. But more than other sports? I’m not convinced about that one. Sorry, sports fans. I’m not completely buying it. Now all the fans of other things can flame me!

    • nu-fan

      Convene: You made a very astute observation. And, I have to agree with you. I have seen cheaters (in all their forms) become more the rule than the exception. Has it always been this way? I don’t think so but find cheating, today, as commonplace and this is very disheartening to me. Have the values of our society eroded so much? Cheating in horseracing? Sure, but it is everywhere. Why should horseracing be any different? The one thing that I see is of horses not having a “vote” in the horseracing industry–and the cheating that goes on within it; and, the horses become the primary victims.

  • Tonto

    Can we have a group discussion where just currently licensed can post and let the ‘grandstand’ trainers argue their fantasy to one another??

  • boogsley

    I laughed at the end, just b/c I commonly use “jerkhorse” when I’m mad at someone

    “Quit being a jerkhorse!”

  • Lexington 4

    I am out of the house plenty, Barry. Care to take a shot at my question about English racing?

    1. In your opinion, what percentage of British fans would cite English racing as a sport of “cheaters”?

    2. How much of that would be drug related cheating?

    3. What would account for the remainder?

    These are just opinion, so you can say whatever you’d like.

    • Barry Irwin

      Absolutely. As soon as you step out from behind your screen name and act like a responsible citizen.

  • pat

    I believe the ONLY reason horse racing didn’t come in first is that so few people care about it or are in the least bit interested in it.

  • wayzer

    I’ve been watching/playing horse racing for over 40 years…I still can’t figure out how in more than 30% of the races how the winner could have won based on the PP’s…take a look at OP results in the last 4 races on 1/23/14…3 of the 4 winners paid over $60..are handicappers that bad…are the PP’s that wrong…there was 1 winner for the pick 4…was he/she a genius or lucky or had some extra help…last week a friend of mine who knows a trainer at a certain track gave him 8 tips on horses…6 winners and 2 seconds…guess if it looks like a duck…sounds like a duck…walks like a duck..it must be a duck…

  • Equine Avenger

    If you are a cheater and an animal abuser, wouldn’t that make you a jerk too, amongst other things?

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