Does Racing Need Mo Disclosure?

by | 04.19.2011 | 8:26am

Mike Repole's Uncle Mo arrived at Churchill Downs on Monday, still dogged by questions about his first career defeat in the Wood Memorial on April 9. Last year's 2-year-old champion had no response when challenged in the final furlong of the Wood, finishing third, beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Toby's Corner.

Some questions have gone beyond Uncle Mo's performance, dealing with more philosophical questions about transparency in the area of veterinary medicine and racehorses.

For example, more than a few observers wondered about that freshly shaved rectangular patch below Uncle Mo's right knee. Could it be a splint bone issue, a skin problem, or was the area ultrasounded for diagnosis only?

Others noticed markings on both of Uncle Mo's shins indicating pinfiring, something that could have occurred many months ago. And then there was what appeared to be a right hind foot with an Equilox patch, a remedy that could indicate the need for reinforcement due to a quarter crack, bad hoof walls, or simply a complication from shoeing.

We don't know, and probably never will.

The real question is whether or not it's anyone's business other than the owner of the horse.

It is the prevailing philosophy in American racing, as well as in the breeding and auction arena, that such information is private. Disclosure seems to be a dirty word in this business, whether it's surgeries on racehorses, leg-straightening procedures on foals who will later be offered at weanling, yearling and 2-year-old sales, or medications given to horses before auctions or races.

Is there a connection between this veil of secrecy and the growing distrust and skepticism consumers seem to be exhibiting about the Thoroughbred industry? Or is this much adieu about nothing?

For their part, owner Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher have practiced partial disclosure. Following Uncle Mo's defeat, they issued a statement saying the colt came out of the Wood Memorial with a gastrointestinal tract infection. The disclosure of the infection was preceded by this comment from Pletcher: “Although it is not my standard practice to share a horse's examination results with anyone other than the owner, I feel that Uncle Mo's disappointing performance in the Wood Memorial warrants an explanation.”

Their explanation for Uncle Mo's performance didn't include a treatment plan. Would he be given therapeutic medication, a special diet, or perhaps spend some time at a clinic with a hyperbaric (oxygen) chamber?

Again, is it any of our business?

That depends. Mike Repole owns the horse and pays the bills to take care of him. But many of the people who bet on horse racing believe they have a right to know what kind of injuries a horse may have had, what veterinary procedures that horse has undergone, and what medications he may be receiving.

Repole is a horseplayer. If he had no connection to Uncle Mo, do you think he might be curious to know about that shaved area on the right foreleg before he made a bet on the Wood? If he was playing the Derby Futures Wager, and there was widespread talk among racetrack veterinarians that Uncle Mo may have had a chip removed from his knee after the Breeders' Cup in November, is that something Repole the horseplayer would be interested in knowing?

There are veterinary-client privilege laws throughout the United States, but horse racing is a highly regulated, government controlled industry. Many states require disclosure of information regarding the gelding of a horse or what raceday medications a horse receives. The long arm of regulations could be expanded.

Complete disclosure is practiced in what many consider the world's most successful racing program in Hong Kong. Surgeries, lameness diagnoses and medications are fully disclosed and available to the public at the Hong Kong Jockey Club's website. In my opinion, that kind of disclosure builds confidence in the wagering public.

Here's an example: Sacred Kingdom, the 2010 Hong Kong Horse of the Year, had colic surgery last March and was diagnosed as lame on three different occasions. (Click here to read his veterinary report.) That kind of information is available on every horse stabled at an HKJC track.

In addition, horseplayers in Hong Kong are provided complete information on every horse competing in advance of each racing program. For example, click here for a look at tomorrow night's starters in the seventh race at Happy Valley.

“We have complied and published records on our official website for about 10 years,” said Bill Nader, the former New York Racing Association executive who now serves as the executive director of racing for the HKJC. “The Jockey Club website is content rich, embraces transparency and our customers have come to expect the highest standard of information delivery. So, it is all good.”

Nader acknowledges that it's a lot easier to practice complete disclosure under Hong Kong's controlled environment.

“The built-in advantage here,” he said, “is a captive horse population as only nine of our races are truly open to outsiders, the rest are for horses stabled at Sha Tin. Also, all vets are employed by the Jockey Club.

“Customer experience is the one thing that nearly every industry must respect and horse racing is no exception,” Nader added. “Reporting veterinary findings, whether on an odds-on favorite that has run poorly or any horse whether it be in a Class 5 or a Group 1, is good customer service. If a horse bleeds or suffers from a heart irregularity, we will announce it over our public-address system within an hour after the race. We strive to present the best racing and betting product in the world and, by doing so, we are meeting customer expectations. The fundamentals required to do this are quality racing, big betting pools that offer high liquidity, competitive racing with regard to runners per race (12.5) and integrity. Through greater transparency, we only take integrity to a higher level.”

Average daily pari-mutuel handle on each of Hong Kong's 83 racing programs is US$123 million and growing (that's more than was wagered in the pari-mutuel pools on the 2010 Kentucky Derby).

They must be doing something right.

  • Fred

    As Donald Trump would say: This could be one of the biggest Frauds ever committed in US History!

  • Matt S

    Great article. The HKJC has also been innovative regarding tax structure, takeout and rebate issues. I believe American racing could benefit greatly from studying more this sophisticated player in the industry.

  • SixteenK Claimer

    Trainer Talk translation: Uncle Mo will skip the KY Derby and be pointed towards a summer campaign including the Haskell & Travers. Thank you for your cooperation.

  • Nick

    More disclosure, nevermind to the level of that seen in Hong Kong, will never happen. As Nader said it would be good customer service and here in the US the racing industry doesn’t believe in that concept.

  • Kelso

    Too bad, but sadly it won’t happen here!

    Unlike Honk Kong which is too small geographically to even have a breeding industry, the kentucky hardboots won’t allow full disclosure.

    Who wants to breed to a bowed horse, etc.?

  • DonW

    The information available from the Hong Kong Jockey Club is indeed impressive. And note the free video replays, etc. Why, it’s as if the HKJC actually wants to give people so much free information so that they can bet more. What a concept!
    By the way, Ray, it’s “much ado about nothing”, not “much adieu”, although you may be bidding farewell to US racing…

  • Ray Paulick

    Fred,

    Donald Trump needs to show us the birth certificate for whatever that is growing on top of his head.

  • JW

    The Blood Horse had a centerfold picture of Uncle Mo breezing back in March, and that shaved patch was clearly visible then.

  • PTP

    Good article Ray.

    PTP

  • 2sunroofsue

    Great article, Ray! Does gastric infection translate to Bleeding Ulcer? A quarter crack, a fresh hot shin and an ulcer would make an ethical trainer and owner leave the horse in the barn. But TP trained under DWL. Enough said…

  • Bob hope

    Hong Kong is not really a good comparison but it does demonstrate what can be done in the way of improvement! HK does not allow casinos on that island in competition with horse racing. They also enable large local syndicates to participate in their pools which keeps the money at home. The U.S. has the greatest pool of bloodstock in the history of the sport and badly needs a co operative policy to unite them with the requirements of horse racing!

  • Joe

    So, why is Pletcher flunking it and teasing us? He could have easily bandaged Mo to avoid questions or use some bald-hair spray to hide it. Juss sayin’

    Thank you Mr. Nader for reminding us about how racing must be run.

    American racing has chosen to be dirty, abusive and secret. I really wouldn’t care if live animals were not the innocent victims of the making of such dysfunctional sport/entertainment pariah.

    Racing could easily choose to become ethical and transparent but it continues to wallow in the middle of its toxic manure dump, one abused, one doped, one broken, one dumped, one dead horse at a time. Although the path out of the dump is bright and well marked, it is a crying shame to see how racing is too sick to take it.

  • Kirk S.

    Excellent article! Looking through the HKJC website, there is a wealth of information that any horse player would find valuable. Easy enough to adapt to North American race records.

    If we wanted to. If trainers or owners wanted to. Which means it will never happen.

  • Patience Pays

    Keep pushing on this and related issues. There are a lot of players and just plain enthusiasts who want to know all about the athletes in these amazing sport.

  • Frank

    This WAS an insightful article. Everything that is done in Hong Kong can be easily done here in the U.S., and, should be DEMANDED. This info would be great/invaluable for owners/trainers in the claiming business, and reduce over medication of sore horses. I do not see one drawback, NOT ONE!!
    One other thing, all claims on any particular horse should be voided if the horse is vanned off the track after a race.

  • Google Act 71

    I don’t see Juan Carlos Guerrero being overly supportive of this measure.

  • Joe

    #10 well said. Pletcher was able to stomach of “The Program”. I’ll never forget the size of Eskedereya’s bow and the distress displayed by Dublin a year ago. Apples don’t fall far from the Hall of Shame tree.

  • mousse

    Wow….just read the vet reports on the HKJC link. Very impressive. Thanks for that. Can you imagine info of this nature being posted for the critters racing at NYRA, Finger Lakes, Suffolk, Tampa, etc, etc.

  • Mike R

    People in all walks of life are demanding more transparency and disclosure in our society with each passing day. I believe that the internet has significantly contributed to that expectation and obvious increased communication between people that would not normally be in contact. I believe that when there is a horse of Uncle Mo’s stature there is an increased expectation of transparency and rightly so. How far that should go and how obligated the owner and trainer feel is another question.

  • Hong Kong is the gold standard on disclosure, on drugs and on customer service. Cleanest racing on the planet. Every jurisdiction can learn from them.

    Bob Hope – All the casinos a Hong Konger could want are a 20-minute ferry ride away in Macau.

  • thomasMc

    Since the overall idea here is that the U.S. should follow other countries rules about racing then perhaps we should follow their other equine practices also. France doesn’t allow bute or lasix on race days but they eat a lot of horse meat in france. Maybe that’s all imported. In Hong Kong as in the rest of china dog’s and cat’s are on the menu. Do you think maybe somebody may have tried a horse or two. Why don’t we ask Mr. Nader where all their horses go when they are finished running, I hope to a retirement farm. You want disclouser but when is enough enough. Should everyone know if a horse didn’t eat up the night before? should you know what and when it eats? Should you know it’s training schedule? These are all things that effect the way it will run. Do you only want to know about veterinary practices since it seems everyone thinks thats how to win races.

  • Abigail Anderson

    Great article! I agree that this kind of “shady business” regarding horses like Uncle Mo is doing exactly nothing positive for the sport. Further, it would appear that this kind of non-disclosure could lead to very serious abuse of the horses themselves.

  • Mike R

    #10 2sunroofsue–you are so right. You hit the nail on the head with the mentor/student comment.

  • Race2Win

    Yes, I beleive in being truthful & disclosing all health issues regarding racing. After the “Life At Ten” incident in the Breeder’s Cup……I’ve lost all my trust in Pletcher…. Sorry Uncle Mo, I like you, but I won’t bet on you to win. Dialed In, MuchoMachoMan & Soldat are my favorites to win the Derby!!

  • Mike R

    Racing in the U.S. will never be as “clean” as it is in Hong Kong, but we had better at least make an effort to continually move in that direction one thing at a time.

  • Barbara

    Seems if you can ask the public to bet on the horses, they have the right to know what – and which vet – they are betting on? I would advocate privacy otherwise, but not in a sport that exists for gambling. What HK does with the horses when they are done with them is a separate story. Wonder if Ray wants to ask Nader about that?

    The US breeding industry (that HK does not have) is a stumbling block to revelation of medical procedures, etc., so to speak, and revelations on who got what, when, would help to clean up that side, too, in terms of selecting which stallion you choose to use.

    It seems Uncle Mo might not be the same horse this year, and he is certainly being trained with kid gloves. Tell us why?

    I’d like to see Mike Repole be the first to say, “Yeah, you know what, here you go – Uncle Mo’s vet records. And here are the records for the other 80 horses I own. Now I challenge other owners and trainers to release this information, too.”

  • matt m

    In a word, YES

    Also, I think it should be a prerequisite for vets to fax/email all equine patients visits to the US Racing Authority for a universal database to establish. Oh, forgot, no organized structure overlooking racing. Silly me. Nevermind, no.. continue on as well, placing the hot poker up the rectum-damn-near-killed-em

  • NAFTA

    Why do you think the NFL requires weekly injury reports for all teams, and severely fines teams and coaches that try to skirt the rule? Because they understand how critical the wagering public is to the game’s overall popularity. There are certain coaches like Bill Belichick that think it’s no one else’s business, but the league has never wavered on that.

    I realize comparing the NFL to horse racing isn’t completely relevant in this case, but the fundamental idea holds very true — the more information the public has, the more confident they’ll feel, and the more trust they’ll have in your product. That should be completely obvious.

    There should be at least some minimum standard for injury or medical procedure reporting. What those are, the smarter people can decide, but I certainly believe that if Mo had a chip removed or some other major procedure, we should have known about it.

  • tweetypie

    I still think TP should have taken some of the blame for Life at ten not just Johnny V, now woried what will happen to Uncle Mo!

  • What is the point of having all that information that Hong Kong gives the gamblers, if your stupid jockey gets stuck on the rails.. there are more losers in Hong Kong than winners, always have been, that’s racing.

  • apajax6

    If people only knew everything that happened behind closed barn doors.

    And whoever wanted to think that the GI infection was an ulcer, it’s not.

  • CG

    Won’t happen. Not just because of breeding but because of the claiming game.
    What should be, matters not to the main powers in horse racing.
    Things could change though. We now might be informed of first time geldings sometimes.
    It would be great for bettors, and even potential owners who claim to have things like tapping, hyperbaric oxygen treatments, breathing operations, etc. were reported. It should be in the past performances.
    But part of the claiming game (and private selling game) is to try to keep the potential buyer guessing.

  • Joe

    #21 Thomas:

    “In Hong Kong as in the rest of china dog’s and cat’s are on the menu. Do you think maybe somebody may have tried a horse or two.”

    China is by far the largest consumer of horse meat in the world. Yet, allegedly China euthanized over 600 Thoroughbreds by lethal injection in October 2005 after a change in gambling laws. As of a few years ago, Mexico was in second position as horse-meat eaters and Russia in third.

  • Joe

    #29 Tweet: What back-room deals were made and who really paid what to whom to take the fall for them? It is probably why it took months to disclose who the official bad guys were…

  • Stanley

    Joe

    Just curious. What makes you such a miserable human being?

  • MH

    Yes, Uncle Mo’s surgery histories, etc. would be much more helpful than what he wrote in his last text to his “girlfriend.” Gimme a break.

  • LetItRIdeMike

    This is a case of the cure being way worst than the disease. The owners of these horses have a tremendous investment in these horses. They will be much less likely to invest in them in any vet procedure can be misconstrued by a potential buyer to drive down a purchase price. Worse, the entire claiming game is based around you making the other guy guess how much run the horse has left in him. How can anyone participate in it and drop a horse into a winning spot without being sure to lose the horse if the vet records are all public. This is the exact same thing as saying that all poker hands should be played with all cards laid flat on the table. Insanity…. naivete…. whatever!

  • LetItRIdeMike

    Just looked at the poll results. Ray, all that proves is that 77% of the voters dont understand how our sport functions.

  • Barbara

    Or maybe Mike, it indicates just how out of step those that only see their own little picture are with the larger picture? I promise you, if you can read statistics on betting handle, foal crops, sale averages, and field sizes, it isn’t pretty. Hell, all you need to be able to do is read an arrow pointing downward;)

    If there was mo disclosure, there would be less abuse and a more level playing field for participants as well as bettors. And maybe it would encourage more horsemanship instead of asst. trainers named DVM.

  • PTP

    I take exception to “this is how this game functions”. I have gone to horse sales and asked a question about a cryo mark or surgery, or a potential bow and have gotten straight answers from many. I have went to a trainer who has a potential claim and asked him issues and got a straight answer.

    SOME in this business try and hoodwink and take money from unsuspecting people, but to say “everyone does it” is not even close to the truth.

    There are many good people in racing, but the policies allow for a few to make money and sully the game in terms of investment and public interest in the sport.

    PTP

  • Bocephus

    The shaved spot on Uncle Mo’s leg is where all of his stamina and heart leaked out…

  • trackman

    here we go…. what’s the over/under number for the amount of postings on this one… 100 ???
    As far as I’m concerned as an owner, I pay the bills so if my horse gets his knees injected or he has throat surgery, it’s no ones business and I’mm going to the windows to try and cash out on my “investment”.
    For a small price, you too can join this elite group of totally stupid people !

  • twocorgis

    If Uncle Mo really did have a bone chip removed from his knee after the Breeder’s Cup last year, that could well explain his lackluster performance in the Wood. In all my years on the track, I’ve never (and I mean never) seen a horse come back 100% from having a bone chip removed. Smart money says he won’t start in the Derby, and don’t expect his connections to be the least bit forthcoming about why.

  • Mary

    My daughter’s riding horse repeatedly gets ringworm on her leg so it’s often shaved just like in the picture of Mo. So I assume Mo’s shaving could be as innocent (and non-performance related) as ringworm.

    With that said, I can understand an owner’s belief that they’re entitled to privacy. But in this case I believe Mr. Repole elevated himself to a higher standard by repeatedly touting himself as an advocate for change and transparency in the industry.

    So IMO Mr. Repole should set an example and step up to the plate to directly answer these health/soundness questions.

  • CG

    LIRM, the stock market at least attempts to stop inside info. Why should the racing game be exempt?

  • papillon

    pinfiring is a barbaric and unsound “treatment”–if pletcher and/or repole practice pinfiring, they should be banned from the sport and brought up on animal abuse charges, as should their vet(s).

    transparency is needed for numerous reasons–fairness to the betting public for sure, but also to prevent animal cruelty.

  • Erin

    I don’t know that pinfiring is cruel or barbaric, but it has been established to be of little to no benefit and it’s too bad that racing is the last segment of the equine world to hang on to the practice. It’s not even taught in vet schools anymore because it’s no longer recommended. Yet it’s ok for multi-million dollar racehorses? Things like these are the equestrian segment, potentially a great target audience, are totally alienated by horse racing.

  • Indulto

    Reports of infection
    In Mo’s midsection
    Triggered circumspection
    Regarding his connections

    The loss of perfection
    was cause for dejection
    And pause for reflection
    On Derby selections

    Problem misdirection
    And blame redirection
    With turf writer dereliction
    Led to fan disaffection

    But altered complexion
    Doesn’t merit rejection
    Simply daily inspection
    For bettor protection

    Since averting defection
    Might require injections
    That avoid detection
    And stewards’ objections

    Premature projections
    Of Hall of Fame election
    And monument erection
    Now warrant introspection

    Still industry predilection
    For rumor collection
    With public dissection
    And frequent correction

    Casts doubt and uncertainty
    Over imagined impunity
    Creating opportunity
    To reward bettor disunity

    Victory would be confection
    To Mo’s rooting section
    Achieving resurrection
    Worthy of genuflection

    Yet if Uncle Mo runs poorly
    Or stops competing early
    Repole and Pletcher will surely
    Become Uncle Larry and Uncle Curly

  • jockeyboy

    This is all speculation we all are trying to find away to knock uncle mo and his connections I’m sorry just leave your guesses at home cause they are not valid. I’m wondering if this horse ends up proving all of you morons wrong and becomes an awesome horse are you guys still going to trash him.

  • LetItRideMike

    Barbara, I am not one who believes that if a restaurant has great food, they should become a chain and grow as big as possible. Our product is diluted to a ridiculous degree from what it was 30 years ago. We have too many days where race after race we see bad horses trained by bad trainers, attended to by bad grooms and galloped by bad riders running on bad surfaces in bad weather at bad racetracks staffed by bad personnell handling bets from bad horseplayers, and I know the horseplayers must suck, otherwise they would never bet on this junk. Folks racing doesn’t need to be “saved” or “grown” it needs to be “pruned. It needs to get back to the point where you or I can see ten horses or more in a race where we just might see something great happen. We have overbred, oversold, over raced and over bet for too many years. Vet disclosures are something that may comfort the unknowledgeable but they will harm the inner structure of our sport terribly, and will only chase more of the good owners trainers and breeders from the game. It takes a life term to learn the things these folks know, and it appears very few have any real appreciation or understanding (or interest in learning) what horses really are about, and what they need.

  • thomasMc

    Mike, If racing has so many bad horses,bad trainers,bad grooms,bad riders,bad surfaces,bad personel and bad horse players why are you still around it? Oh I know your one of the good ones.

  • bookiebuster1

    Well folks pin firing is a very poor substitute for time off..jus saying.

  • Ray Paulick

    jockeyboy,

    I don’t want you to get the opinion I’m picking on Todd Pletcher or Mike Repole. I used Uncle Mo as an example to ask a much bigger question about transparency on veterinary procedures, and compared America’s emphasis on privacy with Hong Kong’s emphasis on disclosure.

    I’m not passing judgment on his current condition and hope he rebounds from the Wood to run to the best of his ability on May 7.

  • Bocephus

    Indulto–that’s poetry! Awesome.

  • Kelso

    Excellent point Ray… HKJC has it right!

  • Barbara

    That was quite the poem!

    Mike, your math on the bad and the good doesn’t add up for me. But that’s ok.

    As for Mo, I hope he wins the Kentucky Derby, and if he enters the gate, I believe he has as good a chance as any.

  • caroline

    A very nice reprieve via Indulto, as one would expect. c

  • Indulto

    Bocephus, Barbara, and caroline:
    Thanks for the kind words. Mr. Paulick’s piece, which was one of his best, really laid out all the facts. It was a roadmap that inspired rhyme.

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  • Lucky KY Girl

    Most people are forgetting the easy question here, who is going to organize it and who is going to pay for it? It is not free and easy to set something like this up, there has to be someone in charge of it and someone to pay for it. Next it has to be decided what the rules are (what has to be reported what doesn’t). Who is responsible for reporting, the vet, the owner, the trainer? There would need to be a uniform reporting method that even your one horse owner/trainer would be able to learn and use. Of course this is easy in HK, all the horses are in one place, all the vets work for the JC… it really is not that realistic/easy for American racing.

  • Priscilla

    Since all vet records and x rays are now digital it is perfectly feasible here. It would also save owners money on diagnosis, so a lot of imaging would not have to be duplicated.

  • Of course it’s our business – holy geez, we’re betting on these things – it’s not like the game would continue on without us betting on it?!!! right??
    it’s absolutely absurd – from jockeys fighting (recently here at Woodbine) to first-time geldings, to suspensions etc, we are often left in the dark up here in Canada – it is very frustrating – everything is a big big secret all the time and I can’t believe how many people at tracks just sit around and don’t do anything…

  • Petey Green

    Sorry, Jennifer, but it seems in instances where there is no betting – specifically the World Cup, the Aiken Trials, etc. – racing does just fine. Maybe we ought to quit trying to placate bettors and get back to the actual sport of racing horses.

  • Maurice Miller

    Come on ! Just let Todd train the horse. He kind of knows what he’s doing.

  • Lucky KY Girl,

    That is far too logical a post for this discussion. People (including Ray) have no concept of the logistics and associated costs of something like this. Nor do they consider the claiming game which makes up 70%-80% of all racing. I already know the response, there should be no claiming game, blah, blah, blah.

    OK horse bettors, since there would be no game without you and you feel entitled, how about a 10% takeout on all wagers to cover the expenses? Us evil horse owners don’t have any money left after paying our crooked trainers, juicing our horses, paying for jockey worker’s comp, licensing fees, entry fees, blacksmith, vanning, etc.

    Would you also like the ability to have xrays taken on raceday at the owner’s expense or maybe a chance to get on a horse’s back before the race so you see how he feels?

    Is there every anything positive on this site or is the sole purpose to prove that owners, trainers and vets are all screwing the betting public and abusing horses?

  • Indulto

    “Is there every anything positive on this site or is the sole purpose to prove that owners, trainers and vets are all screwing the betting public and abusing horses?”

    #69, in California, it appears the vets and trainers are screwing the owners while they screw the bettors who are screwing each other. LOL!

    I think we should start experimenting with full disclosure for the TC and BC races and see how that goes. And extending it beyond that — if successful — doesn’t have to bring an end to claiming races, but possibly an end to getting rid of one’s horse that shouldn’t be racing at the expense of bettors and other horsemen. Perhaps it would lead to more private sales as well as more casual bettor enthusiasm and support for claiming races.

    “Maybe we ought to quit trying to placate bettors and get back to the actual sport of racing horses.”

    #67, I have no objection to that, but if betting isn’t allowed, who will provide the purses for all you “sportsmen?” If you want people to keep betting and/or bet even more, then you’ll have to provide more information — not less – starting with those horses for which the term “sport” still applies.

    P.S., Thanks, Bellwether.

  • C Simon

    Why do people think that:
    1. They could interpret the data
    2. Who ensures the data would be accurate?

    HK racing is not comparable to any other racing jurisdiction
    They have no competition, a huge, gambling mad captive audience, 1 backstretch which is pretty isolated, an enormous amount of money to work with and when all else fails, Chinese law which isn’t exactly known for it’s civil rights practices. It is great but it aint happening anywhere else.

  • elainestewart

    seeing Mo around the backstretch is like seeing a shiny new car that’s held together with duct tape,baling twine and spit. for a horse thats been somewhat lightly raced he sure has some dents and dings. pin fired around, the putty and spackled feet, and now the gut thing. Repoles’ shiny toy has some tarnish to him.

  • The Obese Restaurant Owner

    I think racing would be better off if people would just shut up and let everything be the way it is.

  • jockeyboy

    Mr. Paulick know didn’t mean You loved the article I was talking about the comments whenever there was an article about Uncle Mo.

  • Don Reed

    “This comment from Pletcher:

    ‘Although it is not my standard practice to…’ ”

    Don’t you just love the hauteur; that regal tone of noblesse oblige?

    The Theme: We’re all here at the press conference on his personal sufferance. His tolerance of our nosy intrusions is laudable.

    Sounds like “The Worst of Tiger Woods.”

    Since I suspect that someone else other than Todd wrote the statement, this is Exhibit A, proof that trainers quite often are at the mercy of their incompetent handlers.

    Todd, next time one of these PR revenue-non-enhancers hands you something like this, take the time to read it carefully.

    Then repeat it aloud.

    HEAR what it sounds like.

    Would you personally like to be addressed this way?

  • Barbara

    Interesting all the ways one can read a statement. In Pletcher’s case here I thought perhaps he just wanted to send the message to his other owners that he wouldn’t release info about their horse that they wanted to remain private. Anyway, it might have been an unnecessary use of words, but I don’t think anyone wrote it for him or that he didn’t know exactly what “his” statement said. Seems like a guy that stays in control of his message to me. I think Todd Pletcher is holding up to the pressure of having a horse like Mo, and a barn full of Gr. 1 horses quite well, and handles the press (and the occasional inane question) with aplomb and class. My favorite was right after the Wood, when someone asked Pletcher if he “expected” Mo’s subpar performance and he looked at the guy like he was a moron but recovered quickly and with some humor. It is mentally draining to try to nurse a horse through the TC trail that is so immensely talented, but possibly too fragile.

    Mo has dents and dings? I had no idea that many other race horses didn’t have putty on their feet or pin fire marks? And I am not sure how his gut can be seen from there, either, but I can hope this Ferrari finds his purr again.

  • CG

    Stewart, your comment about 10% takeout shows me you have zero understanding about optimal takeout and what it means to purses.
    Are you a TOC member by chance?

  • ratherrapid

    as soon as someone mandates “full” disclosure everybody will forget about it. are players going comb through the entire training records of every horse/every race?

    I’d favor reasonable disclosure for certain races, major TV racing, TC, Breeder’s cup. A galloping schedule ought to be posted and simple diagnostics. Could be done digitally in a heartbeat.

    Anything wrong with web cambs on in the shed rows at owner expense, and on the race track at track expense? How expensive is that? Thereafter, anyone that wants to follow a particular horse can, down to watching it sleeping in its stall. Full disclosure as a way to sell the sport. Otherwise another distraction and side show from more important things. Seems to me right now the sport needs to focus on marketing.

  • CG

    RatherRapid, that was very Drama Queenish of you. Full disclosure in the stock market doesn’t mean putting a camera on the execs of the company. No one is asking for a camera on horses, only that treatments be reported.
    Look at major league sports. There is close to full disclosure on most injuries. Do you think it is for the other team in the NFL, for example? I highly doubt it. It is for the gambler, because the NFL understands that without betting, there would be a lot less people watching, in the stands, on TV, and this leads to a lot less money bottom line.
    But there is an element that protects teams during trades (trades kinda equals claims), as most trades today can be quashed if the player is damaged goods or fails the physical.
    As for marketing horse racing….we need bettors who are winners. The Secretariat movie and Zenyatta were excellent for marketing, yet handle dips and dips and dips. Lower takeout everywhere is the best marketing idea horse racing can do. And I’m not talking Barnum and Bailey Pick 5 gimmicks.

  • ratherrapid

    CG u claim u’ve been on the horse side. wondering how many lessons u absorbed. if you want to win bets, spend the time you spend poring over beyer numbers and spend it watching the morning gallops. We’re talking athletics instead of stock market transactions. Horse’s run to their training primarily, although on occasion some run past their training–see Dialed In. What would possibly be more valuable to a handicapper in this sense than having web cam access to morning workouts?

    At any rate, disclosure distracts from the issues at the moment. I personally am completely sympathetic with Hanna and the reduce takeout. However, seems to me this is got by our good players getting on the side of increasing horse racing revenue by marketing the sport. u can talk takeout after there’s money to support the back stretch, which is priority one.

  • CG

    Rather Rapid, a lower takeout will lead to more money for the backstretch.
    As for a web cam, not really needed. Not enough time in the day to watch horses train. Plus it is a very subjective way to figure things out.
    We have stats for first time Lasix. How about stats for first time geldings (once that info is solidly reported throughout the industry. How about stats on horses first race and second race after being tapped? or a breathing operation or a trip to the chambers? That is objective data that handicappers would love to see.

  • ratherrapid

    perhaps other handicappers. this handicapper needs to see is a horse gallop. elect a national stat keeper i suppose when the $$$ from lowered takeout starts pouring in. respectfully CG possibly u r overestimating the impact of whales on the sport. Where Hana needs to get on board is marketing. At that point they will gain some credibility.

  • WEB CAM N THE STALL???…U-BET!!!…FORE THE PROTECTION OF OUR HORSE & US…THIS WE N TENDED TO DUE WITH OUR NEXT RACE HORSE A WHILE AGO…WE HAVE OUR NEXT HORSE…IF & WHEN HE MAKES IT TO “THE TRACK” A WEB CAM WILL BEE N HIS STALL…FORE ALL TO SEE!!!…ty…

  • #70 & #78…ty…

  • Brian Russell

    With respect to the public disclosure of vet records in Hong Kong, everyone is overlooking the elephant in the room. There are no claiming races in Hong Kong so making the information public can’t potentially harm an owner financially as it would here.

  • SimplyNotSureRU

    NEEDED CHANGES:

    Takeout dropped to 10% on W/P/S wagers…
    Takeout dropped to 15% on all other wagers…
    Legal theft of customer’s change (breakage) eliminated…
    Exchange wagering for Americans legalized…
    Wagering system modernized/comparable to NYSE software…
    Full races (10 or more starters) that can run (maybe fewer days/tracks)…
    No drugs in the starting gates. NONE!!!
    Final odds before the gate opens; not after the race ends…
    All information displayed in REAL TIME…
    Race related data freely accessible to ALL…
    Enforce all rules/laws across ALL jurisdictions…
    3 strike rule; NOT hundreds of chances…
    Guilt by association for those working with cheaters; use (Federal RICCO model)…

    Who are we kidding? Staus quo maintained until it dies completely in the middle of some “new” round table meeting…

    Like using an outhouse where everyone else craps on top of the lid rather than under it. This industry is putrid and its’ fate is completely in the hands of greedy, ignorant, shortsighted fools. RIP…

  • jim t

    horse racing has gone away from being a sport and has become a muti-billion dollar business and anytime theres that much money on the line you are going to have corruption whether its horse racing, corporate america, government,etc,etc,etc but maybe if horse racing becomes federally regulated they could at least put a government warning on it such as they have for alcolhol,cigarettes,etc it could read horse racing play at own risk betting on horse racing can lead to empty wallet, unpaid bills,foreclosure, and bridgejumping.

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