Owners Protest CHRB’s Regulatory Inaction on Masochistic Race

by | 07.30.2014 | 1:12pm
A.C. Avila, trainer of Masochistic

If you weren't outraged at the stunning form reversal by a 4-year-old California-bred gelding named Masochistic in a Kentucky Derby undercard race at Churchill Downs, then it's likely you either cashed a nice bet on the horse when he breezed home by 14 lengths or you think deception of the wagering public is part of the game's charm and allure.

Horse owners David Frankham and Brian Carmody are outraged that the California Horse Racing Board has taken no action on a case where Masochistic, in his only previous start, finished fifth under a hammerlock ride against California-bred maidens March 15 at Santa Anita Park, after which he tested positive for the tranquilizer, Acepromazine, at nearly 40 times the allowable limit.

Frankham and Carmody have issued the following statement concerning the first race at Del Mar on Thursday in which their horse is entered to compete against Masochistic, saying they will not run as a protest over the CHRB's inaction.

Is anyone else outraged enough to take a similar stand? – Ray Paulick


We are the owners of Smogcutter, a 3-year-old colt entered to run in the first race at Del Mar on Thursday, July 31.

When the entries were released yesterday, we saw that one of the horses in the field is Masochistic.

Many will remember Masochistic's race at Santa Anita on March 15. It was clear to most that day that the horse was held back by jockey Omar Berrio and not ridden to the best of his abilities. It was obvious enough to demand an inquiry by the stewards. Then, weeks later, the California Horse Racing Board revealed that Masochistic had tested positive for the tranquilizer Acepromazine in the March 15 race.

It was hard not to be disgusted by this, and see it as a blatant defrauding of the bettors. No one was reimbursed for betting on the sedated Masochistic.

Subsequently, this Cal Bred maiden shipped to Churchill Downs to run on Kentucky Derby Day and won by 14 lengths. A strange move considering the winners share for this race was roughly $30,000, compared to $33,000 (plus a $17,500 Cal-bred bonus) for a maiden race at home in California. I find it hard to ignore the fixing of odds while pulling off a huge betting coup at the public's expense, on a day when pari-mutuel pools are large enough to mask substantial wagers.

It is unconscionable that a violation this egregious is left unresolved 4 1/2 months later, while the trainer A. C. Avila is allowed to continue training without any ruling by the CHRB.

As owners we believe wholeheartedly that we have an obligation of fairness to the betting public. If the governing bodies do not enforce and uphold that obligation and that trust, then we will rightfully continue to lose the betting public and owners alike.

Consequently, we have instructed our trainer not to walk over Smogcutter for the race on July 31, in protest. We won't stand with A.C. Avila in the paddock and we hope that other owners in this race will review these incidents as well and consider what type of racing they want to support.


David Frankham and Brian Carmody

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