Chenery: ‘The Time For Federal Legislation Of Our Sport Has Come’

by | 01.07.2016 | 7:58am
Penny Chenery

In a recent opinion piece for the The Gazette of Colorado Springs, Colo., noted owner-breeder Penny Chenery voices her support for U.S. racing to adopt uniform drug rules.

Chenery, who raced 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, urges the passage of the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act, legislation introduced by Rep. Andy Barr and Rep. Paul Tonko, which will establish national rules and penalties for medication/drug abuse in racing.

“Every competitor and everyone betting on a race – from Arapahoe to Zia Park or anywhere else in this country – would be getting a fair shake if this legislation becomes law,” Chenery writes.

“It would undoubtedly enhance the welfare of our equine athletes and the integrity of our sport.”

Read more in The Gazette

  • SPA

    The government couldn’t run a push cart hot dog stand and has never done anything but lose money and drag down everything they run. No thanks.

    • Quilla

      Okay, then who else?

      • SPA

        You will never get one agency to provide regulation. Which horse racing jurisdiction is ever going to cede power to anyone else? Most of the commission jobs are political appointees so good luck ending that corruption.

        • kcbca1

          It’s called the interstate horseracing act of 1978. You either play by the rules or we cut your OTB signal and out the door goes your revenue stream. Very simple.

          • SPA

            What program does the government run that is simple? As pointed out you are an idealist so in theory what you propose is great and few would disagree. In the real world it’s not happening.

          • kcbca1

            Educate yourself. Read the bill. The government will not be running the program. Have you read it?

          • SPA

            Yes I have, and you still have failed to tell us what program the government runs that is not over budget and in disarray.

          • kcbca1

            And you have failed to explain where in the bill the government is running the program. And I will answer you by saying many government organizations run very well considering the scope of the work they do such as the FDA, CDC, and FAA. I’m sure you can find fault with all of those but when I’m cutting into that medium rare steak tonight I sure feel better someone inspected it.

          • John G. Veitch

            I’ve read the bill and written an opinion piece on it in “The Saratogian”. You are correct, technically, the USADA will run the program, and funding comes from horsemen. As you stated, the Bill forces a racing jurisdiction to accept the Bill, because if they do not, that jurisdiction can not participate in the IHRA of 1978. (No simulcasting). That’s an authority no one has ever had, and put’s the USADA, in my opinion, in a superior position than horseman organizations. The cost is a big unknown too. Suppose it’s $150 per test? At small tracks, that’s a big chunk of the purse if you finish 2nd or 3rd. Do we need uniformity? Yes. Is the Bill the best approach? Big maybe in my opinion.

          • kcbca1

            Good point John. It’s one of the hurdles that will need to be overcome. I have plenty of ideas on how the costs can be spread out but who listens to me? And l have also stated that it’s not perfect, nothing is. Hopefully smarter people than me with some negotiating skills can work these things through. We need to have a little bit of vision and faith. I’m not sure I can emotionally handle life without those days I spend every summer at the Spa.

          • John G. Veitch

            The Spa can cure many ill’s! We’ll see..I’m afraid the USADA will use it’s authority to exert control over many aspects of racing over time. Congressmen Tonko is my Rep. in Congress, and I’ve followed his career for many years, and I cannot recall him showing any interest in Horse Racing. He replied in his letter to me that “cheating is rampant in racing”, yet offered no evidence, nor could he detail what he meant by cheating. And he’s a good politician & person too.

          • kcbca1

            Call me naive but I would like to believe that racing at Saratoga is about as clean as it gets. Unfortunately I don’t believe it can survive and thrive on an island by itself. I’m just a horseplayer that has an overall undying passion for the sport. I really can’t see any real growth until it works out these drug issues and the lack of consistency. I really believe we all want the same thing it’s just a matter of how we get there. It has become quite clear the industry is unable to do it on it’s own. Then what? It is quite disturbing to hear one of the representatives of the current bill in the House is so uninformed. All that being said I still believe we need to move forward on it. I don’t discount your fears of what might happen and we must all lobby to ensure that USADA is kept to just overseeing illegal drug activity in our sport.

          • Pebbles

            And that is where the federal government can come into the picture. It can provide some initial funding to reduce the costs of individual testing and make it more affordable for the regulated community. Perhaps some of the money from simulcasting can be used to offset those costs, etc.

          • mhm

            So you are implying that the current state of regulation is simple. In the real world racing is fractured and dysfunctional, with patchwork regulatory agencies.

    • kcbca1

      Educate yourself. The program will be run by the non-profit USADA organization. Basicly the same group that took down Lance Armstrong and will neither be run nor funded by the government.

      • togahombre

        educate yourself, usada owes it’s existence to federal funding

        • kcbca1

          Once again, educate yourself. Have you read the legislation. Funding and set up will come from within the horseracing community. And BTW we all know how successful all the other so called programs have been – NOT! And BTW just about every honest person and organizations including the majority of horseplayers are behind this. I can’t understand why everytime this comes up we have the same old arguments that don’t hold water against it. I guess you have a difference of opinion from not only me but Penny Chenery.

          • togahombre

            usada as it is right now is approx 65% funded by a federal grant thru some anti-drug comittee

          • kcbca1

            That’s for Olympic and ametuer sports. It’s very clear in the legislation where the funding comes from, read it. I’m not saying it’s perfect but life is not perfect. I’m sure adjustments will need to be made but this is the clearest way forward.

          • togahombre

            whats clear is that there’s a problem with uniform testing and enforcement, but by handing the problem off to washington you open it up to deep pocketed outside influences that would only hope to cripple racing, but your the authority, i’ll just sit back and watch

          • kcbca1

            Check out the FEI drug testing program for show jumping, dressage, and eventing. Some of the toughest standards there are and completely successful in eliminating drugs from the sport. And it includes out of competition testing. Hong Kong and Japan have eliminated drugs from horseracing not to mention England. So I ask you why we can’t do the same? Are you saying that they are better than we are? I would rather lead the world in this type of issue rather than be a follower and right now we are the latter. The only thing I can think of that would allow you to be opposed to this is that your one of the cheaters or you have an inside track on who is cheating.

          • togahombre

            as i started to read what you just posted i thought to myself, i’m discussing this with an idealist, while i’m more pragmatic, but then when i came onto your last sentence where you make a pretty baseless accusation i became convinced your likely at this point to far over the edge for any reasonable discussion, be careful; the tv might be listening to you

          • kcbca1

            I’m neither. I just want what’s best for horseracing. The idea government never does anything good is hyperbol. We would not be here without government. If all the racing authorities got together and did this in some meaningful way on their own, now that would be ideal. But sadly, due to so many reason I cannot list them all here, they will not. Unfortunately, for the welfare of the horse, the government must step in and do something. The Barr- Tonko legislation attempts to do both. Regulate drugs in horseracing and keep the government out. I don’t believe that anyone who supports this bill believes it’s perfect. No, far from it. But since the industry can’t do it on their own it’s the best way forward. I apologize if I went a little too far. It’s just that I am very tired of the same old arguments against this when clearly we should all know better by now.

          • togahombre

            any further funding thru this bill will be by industry participants thru decree of the federal govt, funding by proxy, to me it looks like swapping one set of bureaucrats for another

        • Pebbles

          Have you ever heard of user fees where the regulated community absorbs the costs associated with supporting the regulatory system?

          • togahombre

            my point is without an annual grant of approx $9m, from the federal govt there would be no usada unless they changed their filing status from not for profit to charity

          • Pebbles

            Perhaps. But going forward it would not be receiving any additional money unless it was to help horsemen meet the obligations and offset the expenses of testing.

      • SPA

        They receive taxpayer funding!!!! Come on now. Also, what expertise or experience do they have with horse racing?

        • kcbca1

          Read the bill. Then if you still disagree then you disagree with me, Penny Chenery, and a whole host of other reputable people in the business.

          • SPA

            I read the bill. Now tell me what the government runs that actually works well. Nowhere have I said that we don’t need uniform rules and testing, I just said the government will screw it up like everything else they touch.

          • The Feds are not going to run racing. The Feds ONLY involvement in the bill is grant authority to USADA to oversee drugs and integrity in American racing.

          • kcbca1

            I am very pleased to be on the same side of this debate with you. I know we have disagreed a few times before but that does not mean I don’t respect you. Keep up the good fight!

          • Terri Z

            And, trainers who have a history of infractions should have to pay to have their horses randomly tested.

        • Terri Z

          SPA, let’s review what happened to an honest trainer, Bill Mott, under the current system in NY. Bill Mott watches when his horses are injected with a small amount of lasix. He always has second samples drawn. NYRA’s second sample either was discarded or unusable. The lab said that the horse, who received a minimal amount of lasix at the correct time, had too high a level of lasix. Mott is currently fighting NYRA over this. Because someone in the lab at a NYRA track was negligent in the handling of the second sample, Bill Mott, has to pay a lawyer to fight being penalized for their mistake.Also, did the lab who ran the specimen regularly run controls to make sure that their readings were correct? Why should Bill Mott be penalized for incompetence of NYRA employees and by the lab employees?
          SPA, another episode was Life At Ten, in the Breeders Cup. No one took a sample of the horses’ blood after she looked to have tied up. Todd Pletcher was not penalized, Johnny V was fined $10,000, and John Vetch was fired; John Vetch tried to sue to get back his job and trainer’s license.
          Perhaps all of this craziness could have been avoided.

          • SPA

            I agree with you, but the government running ANYTHING will just send it into further decline. They can’t get out of their own way.

          • Boring….

          • SPA

            Boring, yet you read it, thought about it, and commented on it. Typical response when you have no comeback. This from the same man who called humans and horses competing at small tracks a cesspool. Nice.

          • Michael Castellano

            Neither can corporate America and private business. Just look what happened to the grid in California when it was privatized. What makes you think private business is more honest and competent that the government.

          • Roark

            Because private biz has competition. Not a perfect system, but better than any other. You left wing crazies fear monopolies, yet swoon with glee when it’s your government that has one.

          • Michael Castellano

            You want two competing governments? That’s known as Civil War. We had that back in the 1860s. Oh, I forgot, you are still fighting that war.

          • Old Timer

            You somehow think USADA will be different…I have land for sell in Florida for you too ;-)

          • Roark

            And there is the problem. A ‘horseman’ today is one who personally witnesses administration of a legal drug. There is so much wrong with that sentence I don’t know where to begin. Meanwhile trainers work stakes horses the same as claimers, turf horses like dirt horses, and sprinters like routers. B.S.

          • Pebbles

            There is no doubt that the integrity of the testing needs to be improved. The problem is money. NYRA does not want to undertake the expenses necessary to improve the integrity of the testing process which is essential. Why having testing at all if you cannot ensure the testing results are accurate.

        • You really are uninformed. There is no taxpayer funding for USADA in this legislation. Are you just a knee-jerk reactionary?

          • Michael Castellano

            Or a Republican?

          • mhm

            It is amazing that all the socialist programs (Armed Forces, Interstates, FDA, Medicare, and, yes, Obamacare) keep us free and the economy moving forward while Europe and Asia lurch back and forth into mini-recessions. Horse racing is stressed and losing fans, largely due to a lack of regulation, which many here argue should continue. SPA’s assertion that because Sensenbrenner “has an R next to his name” is the classic straw man argumentation technique which keeps the country–and horse racing–divided. You’ve been Trumped, Mr. Irwin.

      • Old Timer

        Oh yes the group that spent millions of dollars “catching” Lance Armstrong, BUT wait…they never caught him with a bad test! Yes you read that right, and go look it up yourself if you don’t believe me.

        Not once was good ole boy Lance ever caught doping from a test. So that begs the question, how is this group coming into horse racing going to be able to catch the cheaters with testing? Let me answer that for you, they won’t. Sorry its a dream, and it will be paid for on the poor backs of us owners that have been paying this whole time anyway.

        It now makes a lot of sense as I type this out, Mr. Barry Hypocrite Irwin wants the Feds to come in, not because he believes they will actually do a good job, but because the cost will be so pervasive that only the super rich and elitist will be able to participate! Excellent plan Barry Boy, excellent plan to get the contraction you want so desperately and not really improve the sport on the whole.

        • Michael Castellano

          Armstrong was able to switch the blood samples. Not something that could be done practically as the blood would be draw directly from the horse by an official authorized vet, not the stable. Obviously they are going to need to find out what the latest cheat drugs and substances are, and test for them to be completely effective. But is is certainly very possible to pull this off.

    • Bellwether

      You know the Fed couldn’t run Horse racing any further in the ground than the so called powers that be including and not limited to the NTRA/Jockey Club/HBPA …Time to pop the pimple plain and simple!!!…This Bill will pass this year and you can Book That…ty…

      • Terri Z

        I agree, there needs to be uniformity in testing. Suppose someone who is feeding the horse has residue of medication on his hands. With such sensitive testing levels, false positives can easily occur.

        • For every possible instance of what you described above, there are thousands of horses being doped across this nation on an annual basis. So what is your alternative suggestion?

          • Terri Z

            Uniformity in testing standards and testing levels. And testing labs have to be held accountable as well as workers handling the specimens for the tracks. And why not cameras in the barn? Also, Gulfstream is going to have their own pharmacy. I was hoping that with hiring of the assistant head of the FBI in NY for NYRA would address this issue with certain trainers who enhance the performance of their claimers with pharmaceutical substance.

          • Pebbles

            You do not need cameras in the barn. All you have to do is make the ban/penalty follow the horse. You do that and soon enough owners will insist that their trainers not engage in any activity that might result in false positives. Owners tolerate trainers because they know if they get banned, they can go to another trainer with the horse, but if you have the penalty either follow the horse, or also penalize the owner, you will have a clampdown the likes of which you have never seen.

      • SPA

        Really? They can’t pave the roads so yes they could run it into the ground further.

        • kcbca1

          OUR government paved them to begin with. Have you ever heard of the Eisenhower Interstate highway system. It’s what made this country an economic powerhouse to begin with. It’s the current dysfunction in congress that keeps things from getting repaired.

          • Bellwether

            One thumb up for U…

        • Terri Z

          Penny Chenery has always been politically conservative. This is not about politics, but about saving horse racing. This is the perfect opportunity to keep the new fan base that’s recently been attracted to horse racing. Yes, this new fan base is from our Triple Crown winner. And we have to keep the game legitimate and free of cheaters. Rulings need to be uniform country wide regardless of what state that the infraction has been in.

  • Lyle W

    If the Government is allowed into Horse Racing by invitation, and get a foothold of any kind it won’t stop at the point started at. I will remove myself from the sport, hobby I’ve loved since I was ten. There is a reason the NFL, NBA, Baseball works so hard to keep the Feds out. If they think Horse Racing in decline now, wait a bit. The sport will be discounted by many, and the rich can run on weekends again.

    • Bellwether

      By By…Get caught FIXING a NFL/NBA/MLB game and see how QUICK the FED steps in…The powers that be in those leagues don’t play and when caught in a FIX U and anyone involved with U is going to PRISON…PERIOD…Horse racing just can’t POLICE itself in ANY shape form or fashion!!!…Bring on the FED!!!…

      • lyle w

        Do you fix races, I never even would give that a thought. I was thinking more about the business and Horses vs government intervention. You your topic is sport fixing games and races. WOW! Regulation is good, racing should do it is my opinion.

    • Noelle

      The government is already in horseracing – and should be, to some extent. Ever heard of the commerce clause of the U.S. constitution? It specifically gives Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states…” Racing is not a local sport. It is broadcast nationally and supported by bettors across the country. Q.E.D. it’s a national sport engaging in interstate commerce. As such, it should have national management and is subject to national regulation.

      You cite the NFL. They have NATIONAL management, as do all the other major sports. That’s why they are able to react relatively quickly when problems arise. Of course they want to keep the feds out, but if they refused to resolve their problems, as horseracing does, the feds would rush in and they know it.

      Horseracing, unfortunately, with its hodgepodge of state managers, has neither the structure nor mechanisms for fixing itself. If it did, I doubt anyone would be looking to the government to force fairness and consistency.

      The gross incompetence of the federal government, as current structured and managed, is a separate issue.

      • 100% correct. These Right Wingers cannot seem to accept this as a fact.

        • Rachel

          What? What the heck does right or left have to do with anything?
          “The enemy isn’t conservatism. The enemy isn’t liberalism. The enemy is bulls**t.” —Lars-Erik Nelson, political columnist

        • SPA

          I’m not sure why or how a political stance matters on this but if anyone thinks the government does a good job at managing anything they are quite naive. The NFL has national management….PRIVATE management. The NFL is a club with franchisees. The national manager is elected by only the owners, not the players.

        • tony a

          Right Wingers?..Laughable. You, like this woman ( yes I’m aware of who she is ) wanting government intervention ( under any parties administration) have lost your mind.

      • Bellwether

        U nailed it!!!…ty…

      • bobjonestwo

        Gross incompetence is putting it mildly.

    • kcbca1

      Guess what! Drug testing programs of the major league sports in this country are a joke. The standards they have are not even close to Olympic level testing. It’s simply window dressing. HGH is rampant in the NFL. It would not be too far fetched to say about 20-30% of NFL players are using some illegal performance enhancing drugs. NFL fans either don’t care or are too naive.

    • bobjonestwo

      The government is not the answer to any problems, it is the problem. As Reagan said, the scariest words in the English language are ” I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

    • BILL CASNER

      With all due respect, the Federal Government is already involved in our business. If you will recall the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978 granted our industry a monoply on interstate wagering with simulcast. I was in the middle of it at that time as a trainer, and many proclaimed it would be the death of our game. Horse racing would not have survived without this huge piece of legislation. All this Bill does is try and create a level playing field and a means to catch and expel the cheaters.
      The current system of 38 independent, inept, underfunded commissions is ludicrous. The sky ain’t gonna fall…..

      • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

        Well said Bill. The horse racing industry has proven repeatedly that it is incapable of solving this problem internally but it is a problem that must be solved.

      • Bellwether

        TY…Bill…

  • Norm

    It is a simple fix really. The Industry needs to adopt its own Uniform Drug rules and establish uniform enforcement measures. That would be a start. Horse Racing will never be considered a major sport by anyone outside the industry until they begin establishing uniformity in all competitive aspects of the “sport”. Adopting Uniform Drug rules is a small step in the right direction. Keep the Government out of it.

  • Hamish

    As I read this blog thread, it is quite clear to me that there are many disgruntled Americans that are dissatisfied with their federal government and not appreciative of their American freedoms. To those of you that are so disenfranchised, I would suggest you try a 2-3 year stint in say Afganistan, or perhaps Syria, then if still alive, come back and report on what you experienced there versus your frustrations here with the government that we elect to run the greatest country in this world, the United States of America. The government fear mongering and finger pointing at its incompetence is absolute fantasy, and it is tearing at the beliefs that most of us have, that living in a democracy where billions of others around this world wish they could is indeed a best case scenario. Our government is ours, like it or not, so please do make the best of it, or leave.

    • kcbca1

      Just like I have been trying to say. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. And it still beats everywhere else. If you don’t like whats going on, then either vote them out or run for office.

    • Bellwether

      And TY too Mr. Harnish…

    • idavis

      It’s not a democracy, it’s a republic. Yes, we love our country. However, when the federal government over steps it’s boundaries and dictates our every move, we indeed should speak up and push back. Otherwise, we will be slaves to a corrupt government, as is the case in 3rd world countries. Freedom isn’t free. We all have a responsibility in keeping our nation free.

      • This is supposed to be a sport, and so, in a way, that should make it a more serious matter than “real life”. Sports people ought to know how to behave, and they ought to police themselves. Obviously – from cycling to athletics to racing – they have no intention of doing so. So what do you suggest?

    • L Ware

      Well isn’t 4 years during Vietnam enough to know what my country is about. Also a loss of a family member, To me it is freedom and less government intervention in my life. In my 72 years all of my family fought for there country, Father, Grandfather, and knew why. Most in a position to make changes in Washington DC don’t have the knowledge into all aspects of the issues they are involved in. When they get involved it grows into something larger. Horse Racing should take control of it’s problem, and move forward. There are take charge, and smart people in the industry.

  • BeastBob

    Isn’t there a regulation on anabolic steroids which came into effect after January 2009?

  • venetian

    Nobody in their right mind offers to let the Fed in their house!

    • mhm

      Unless they have cable, electricity, or operate a vehicle.

  • Terri Z

    An interesting related article is by Steve Haskin in the Blood Horse. It’s name is “Why Women Will Keep Racing Alive.” And one of the prominent women in racing mentioned by Steve is Penny Chenery. I loved what she did in starting the Secretariat Vox Populi Award. And uniformity of rules and testing standards will keep racing alive.

  • gus stewart

    Hey she is old school and female and as much as we would hope police departments would police themselves. …lol its the same in racing, they will not do it on thier word…. so i agree its the last chance this business has to fix this one of many problems it has…

  • gus stewart

    Continued and for those of u comparing the nfl and nba and baseball,,,, you better check tv revunue cable and revenues of other sports, we are more in line with the business mode of bowling and the Ringling brothers circus,, its not comparable. ..

  • youcantmakeitup

    For all who are against this legislation, please offer up your solutions to the multiple problems in horse racing. If you think the horsemen`s groups are going to handle it , show me any proof that they have made the necessary changes or are working on it.Just about any changes they have made aren`t being enforced uniformly across the states.The racing commissions are a joke( example: Pennsylvania, Delaware and Florida if they even have one.Trainers get suspensions and transfer horses to assistant until trainer is allowed in barn area.Example would be Scott Lake who did a 90 day suspension last year, horses were transferred to Steve Krebs and then back to Lake. Evidently,every owner of Lake`s was content with Krebs. Lake`s employees , grooms, riders, vets,blacksmiths feedman, etc all of them got hired by Krebs, then fired after Lake`s return.So where was Lake`s punishment for offenses. No punishment, just a little inconvenience. So who has more integrity,Penny Chenery or Lake, Vazquez, Asmussen, Ziade, Etc ? I expect my comments to be deleted and that would just enforce the point I`m making.

    • kcbca1

      I don’t know why you would expect to be deleted when your right on the mark.

    • togahombre

      if this position is as popular as some of the its supporters say, the solution is as simple as boycotting the entry box, but that would involve some sacrifice

    • That’s the point that Jack Frasier is trying to make – at the moment the owners are in it up to their hips with no personal risk. When they share the disgrace they’ll do most of the policing for nothing.

  • Jack Frazier

    To think the federal government can fix anything is at best, laughable. We already have a bloated bureaucracy that stifles inter-state regulation of workers compensation insurance and there is very little reciprocity between states regarding anything. Case in point is the horse who was on the vet’s list in California but raced in Arizona where it broke down and had to be euthanized. The best remedy is that each state adopt a set of regulations that;:

    1. Require anyone in any capacity overseeing racing, i.e., stewards, owners, jockeys, etc., from being on that board and if they are, they must divest themselves of ownership of the horses they have an interest in, including participation in active racing so that there is no conflict of interest in their rulings

    2. Make rulings in one state reciprocal in every racing jurisdiction and online for all to see

    3. Enforce the rules on the books equally

    4. Make penalties for drug violations so steep it will make trainers and owners think twice before using banned drugs

    5. Make owners culpable in the event of drug violations and have them receive the same penalty as the trainer

    6. If a trainer has a ruling no horse under his/her care shall be transferred to an assistant while the ruling is in effect. The stable would have to be disbanded.

    7. Racing secretaries, track CEO’s and personnel working in the front office cannot have ownership in horse racing..

    8. Increase security personnel in the barn area and do random sweeps in all barns including 24/7 video surveillance, have a list of all people working for each trainer and who has permission to be in each barn.

    9. Veterinarians should have to list all drugs in their possession each time they arrive and a list of all drugs administered while they are there and to the horse or horses they have been given. .

    10. Veterinarians should receive the same penalty as owners and trainers if a horse under their care comes up with a positive drug violation.They are as culpable as the trainers and owners

    11. If a trainer/owner appeals the rulings, they should not be able to race until that ruling is adjudicated.

    Of course none of these will happen. The elites will be always treated differently than others;

    • Jack, I’m sure that #s 5 and 6 would focus people’s attention. An added wrinkle would be to put the horse itself out of commission! Unfortunately it isn’t just elites that will object – I can hear the general chorus of righteous indignation from here!

      • Jack Frazier

        You are right. The horse should placed on an administrative list that would not allow it to race until it could pass a drug test. Sure there would be a lot of crying but sometimes exorcising the devil is needed.

    • Pebbles

      At first, I must tell you I thought this post was an attempt at humor when it suggested that the solution was for all states to adopt the same practices which is exactly why there is a need for federal intervention.

      No one ever said that the federal government was the answer to everything and that there are not trade offs when they get involved, but there is not better authority for encouraging action by individual state governments than the federal government especially when they can add incentives positive and negative that actually motivate states to take action.

      I will give you credit for outlining what the mission should be for the federal entity who takes on this task. Of course, at the rate the Congress is going none of this will happen in our lifetime.

      • Jack Frazier

        I distrust the government being able to even scratch their own rear ends. That being said, there has to be a way to govern effectively without the hands of the feds involved. I truly don’t know how it can be resolved because it is apparent that those running the show don’t really want to change.

        • mhm

          Of course you would rather use the interstate than state highways, and prefer the Air Force to drop its bombs on ISIS. The knee jerk antifederal attitude denies the reality. Effective governance requires an effective government, and that requires effective oversight to prevent bloat and decadence. Government not only scratches its own rear end, it probably scratches yours, too. Horse racing is losing fans annually as it dithers to regulate itself effectively, as you correctly note. From drugs to whips, on to fractured regulatory efforts, we need a “global” solution. Let’s not carry signs similar to “keep your government hands off my Medicare”. The lack of action calls for a federal solution.

          • Jack Frazier

            This is not a knee jerk anti-federal stance. Back in the day the government worked, somewhat. To say that the EPA, DEA, Obamacare, and others work well is a stretch. Horse racing is losing fans for more reasons than unchecked drug offenders. I think, most could care less about that than about being treated fairly by the tracks. We have different opinions and maybe the feds could help but their past record dictates that unless it were put under the auspices of the FBI, it won’t.

          • mhm

            I, too, believe government governs best when it governs least. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, however. The proposed solution is one step short of the FBI, and is intended to prevent criminality. The FBI is sent in after the fact to arrest criminals. I agree that the level of intensity and integrity which the FBI applies is needed in horse racing, where I would also assert that there is a low level of cheating. Public perception counters that fact. Unifying regulation in the end will provide a level playing field and reassure racing fans.

          • togahombre

            any industry that willfully enters into this kind of position with the federal govt without an air tight pre-nup deserves every thing it gets

          • Jack Frazier

            There used to be an organization in racing called the TRPB, Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau. I believe state jurisdictions took over its function. I know the role of the FBI and realize they come in after the fact but the feds have proven time and again the ineptitude. Public perception is a valid point but how much does the public actually care about racing? The falling number of fans says not much. There will never be a level playing field in racing just as there isn’t a level playing field elsewhere.

          • mhm

            The TRPB had many retired FBI agents in its employ. We are the government, and if it is inept, it is up to us to fix it. The public responds to questions about racing from a largely emotional place: “racing is cruel”. This proposal addresses components of that perception, as well as issues related to cheating. The effort to create a clean, if not “level” , environment is past due. And, to togahombre, anti-government rhetoric plays well, but ignores the vast success which government has achieved. Yes, it is in every corner of life, because we put it there. Lack of regulation created a huge number of problems which industries perpetrated upon the people. Racing is seen as defrauding the paying customers; fix it before it dies.

          • Jack Frazier

            I know “WE” are the government and we have done a piss poor job of making it function. Government ruined education, the EPA ruined the environment and the list goes on. Local is better in most things but what has to happen is that anyone connected in trying to clean up racing cannot, repeat, cannot have even a shred of connection to the sport as an owner, trainer or other entity. Back in the day racing secretary Ed Burke was well respected and it was said of him, “He treats everyone fairly. He hates everyone.” That is what we need, not an owner, trainer or jockey on the CHRB board ruling on the sport nor a racing secretary who is very chummy with the top tier owners and trainers who get favoritism or at least appear to do so, and appearance is everything, or an owner who races at the track they own. It might not be a conflict of interest but as they say, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duct, it most likely is a duck. As far was we being the government, we get exactly what we deserve when we allow people with a vested interest to control racing. This is only my opinion and you can take it whatever way you want to.

          • mhm

            Jack, you have some great ideas on implementing change in racing; your input would make the proposed legislation more effective. You also might be able to influence this new regulation in such a way as to make it effective and yet limit its scope.
            I will point out that the air is cleaner and the water also is healthier since the EPA began fining polluters and starting funds to make the spreaders of pollutants responsible for clean ups. And the rest of the world sends its children to be educated in our schools Where does the Chicken-Little-sky-is-falling-it-has all-gone -to hell-in-a-hand-basket attitude come from? Do you watch Faux News?
            In order to influence change, you need to be the change. Otherwise, it happens without you.

          • Jack Frazier

            Good points. In education, which I was involved with for twenty-two plus years, I would disagree. Our schools do not teach the basics. Few students, since the liberals control education, have a foundation in the principals of the Constitution or the state governments in the states they reside. Example: in California the workings of the Assembly are not even taught and there is little California history other than the building of the missions and that is in elementary school. There is no civics classes to teach even rudimentary workings of the U.S. government and most history classes leave out the formation of the U.S. and our Founding Fathers.
            As far as the EPA, they just ruined a very scenic and necessary river by polluting it with a gold based sediment that will take untold years to clean up. In some ways they have been successful but at the expense of American businesses.

            The children of foreign folks are sent to the far left institutions like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc., so that argument is moot. I do not have a Chicken Little complex in fact, it is more pragmatic, however, when the government or someone is running for political office makes an issue of anything, it is as if it is the last coming or at least the Titanic hitting the iceberg. As far as making a change in anything I agree one has to be a participant.

            I do participate, I do not get faux news and read or listen to both liberal and conservative news but only believe a fraction of what they say because each side has an agenda.

            I have been involved in racing since I was a boy beginning in the 1950’s and have seen the decline in popularity as those who run racing are only interested int he bottom line which is evident when they publish meet ending statistics. And as far as racing goes, those in charge do not want anyone in a position of power that can actually make a change and the one running the show know the problems and their attitude is to ignore them and hope they go away. I am not an outsider but have been made to feel so by the treatment of certain racing officials who look down on all but the top tier not realizing that it is the claimers, small owners and trainers that provide horses to fill races for the top folks. Interest in racing has waned except on certain days when a super star horse is racing, ala California Chrome or American Pharaoh.

          • Pebbles

            It is a shame you had to make this latest post into a partisan attack.

            Remember our schools right now are suffering because our teachers teach to the test. This is not liberal theology this is conservative theology which George W. Bush gave us with No Child Left Behind. Best of luck.

          • Jack Frazier

            That is why I retired. Schools are broke and whose fault it is is a question that needs answered. Bush has not been President for almost eight years so quit blaming him. I am not a partisan I distrust both parties equally

          • Pebbles

            Well, you started railing against the liberals. I did not see you similarly railing against the conservatives if you hold distrust equally for each party. Both parties deserve their fair share of blame which is why I pointed out what seemed like a bias.

          • Jack Frazier

            Conservatives are not in power. You blamed Bush. I didn’t like him either. Enough.

          • Pebbles

            Actually, bettors who support the sport have issues with its integrity as a result of drugging. Because testing is suspect gamblers have no way of knowing whether one horse or another has an advantage in a race based upon a drug being used. Also, with drugs used to mask injuries, it is also difficult for the gambler to know whether or not a horse is git in a particular race when the gate opens. And, as you point out, because banned persons and horses can travel between jurisdictions and still run gamblers are yet again at a disadvantage. Having the government have a centralized role in standardizing minimum practices nationwide would be very useful.

          • Jack Frazier

            We agree more than we disagree. Having seen the “large” (joke) crowds at Golden Gate, Los Al and Del Mar and the small numbers are SA., I think racing, unless it changes, is in its death throes. I have been enamored since I was a child but I just don’t go anymore. The only time I do is when one of mine runs and that isn’t often. I am in the process of selling all my horses including the ones in training, the two year old and the brood mares. It has been hard to watch the decline but it is declining and there are too many reasons and things that need fixing.

          • Pebbles

            It is a shame you are looking to get out of the game. The sport needs more persons with not just your passion, but your knowledge.

          • Jack Frazier

            No, it is just time. Other than posting a few things which actually don’t do any good or change anything, I will disperse my horses and be done with it. Maybe then I can be more objective but at this point, I am, as you said biased in that I don’t think anything will change without draconian measures

          • Pebbles

            Well, I do hope you will continue to lend your voice to the issues here for a long time going forward. Your opinion is needed. And as I noted, a person with your knowledge and passion will be missed as an owner.

          • Jack Frazier

            Thank you. I intend to keep commenting. Unfortunately for me, those in power don’t feel as if my opinions are worth a damn, and it has been like trying to push a pea uphill with my nose to survive in the business. I will be an interested observer, for what it is worth. When passion and love for something is overshadowed by the bottom line, it is like having someone you love cheat on you. You may still love them but you will never have the same relationship; ever.

          • Pebbles

            I think it is important that you educate those people on the sport who may not have your knowledge and experience. Thank you.

          • Jack Frazier

            Hard to educate folks that believe they know everything.

          • Pebbles

            Not everyone feels that way. I am always learning and I think most would be hard pressed to believe that they know everything. I know many horse trainers in the business for decades that do not believe they know everything. They know how to train, but there is always a new twist. :-)

          • Jack Frazier

            We agree on that. When I was a boy a wise man told me that unless you learn at least one new thing each day, you have wasted it. I have been a life long learner. As a matter of fact, I am intending to continue my education and work on a PHd. I payed for my undergraduate and post graduate work with the horses, first as a jockey then a part time trainer while I taught history. There is a staleness in the business and for the most part, a general lack of historical or cultural knowledge about racing. I don’t care who the trainers or jockeys are, the real heroes of racing are the horses. Listening to the interviews on Breeders Cup day or daily races televised on TVG, most of the interviewee’s can’t connect two sentences together.

            I grew up watching Kelso, Gun Bow, Roman Brother, Hill Rise, Sunrise County, Bold Ruler, Cicada race and I always reveled in the stories of Count Fleet, Citation, Assault, Stymie, Nasrullah and many others. Of course certain jockeys stood out, Arcaro, Longden, Sande, Wolfe and a few trainers like Ben and Jimmy Jones, Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons and a few others. I doubt if a multiple choice test were given about the history of Thoroughbred racing in America few could recognize or pass the test. That is the biggest pity.

            Training today is far different than years past. It really doesn’t take a genius to train a horse to run six furlongs. I believe that is why so many are carded and why breeders breed for speed rather than stamina and endurance. This observation doesn’t take into account how the cheating has diminished the luster of racing as well, and you never hear a negative comment about racing by commentators. The business if full of cookie cutter trainers who train every horse exactly the same. I find it abhorrent that most, maybe an exaggeration, people involved don’t know what they don’t know.

          • Pebbles

            Just finished reading Steve Haskin’s book on Kelso a friend had recommended. What a horse. to win 5 Jockey Club Gold Cups at 16 furlongs. Wow. I have a lot more to read. One of my favorite books is The Great Match Race about Eclipse’s race with Sir Henry. North vs. South and what a race it was. One of the reasons I appreciated Allen Jerkens’ talent so much was because he would examine each horse as an individual and decide what that particular horse needed. And he was not afraid to experiment. My favorite trainers right now are Graham Motion, Michael Matz, John Shirreffs, Cristophe Clement and Bill Mott.

          • Jack Frazier

            A good read. Good horsemen all.

        • Pebbles

          Well, to each his own, but much of your distrust in government does not seem factually based. The way to govern effectively without the feds being involved is through the USADA as proposed in the legislation. The fact is as you acknowledge that the horse racing powers do not want change or they do not want it enough to invest in advancing change. This is why the feds are the last resort.

          • Jack Frazier

            My distrust in the government goes back to the Vietnam War. I served in that theater and was exposed to Agent Orange. The government lied, covered up and denied it was what it was and I am currently fighting the effects of it on my immune system. The government also lied about PTSD of which I have had since being there saying we were making it up. Distrusting the government is an understatement. With bureaucratic, pencil necked geeks making decisions on about everything, I definitely don’t think that is the answer. My distrust of the government is absolutely and personally fact based.

          • Pebbles

            Well, you obviously have your reasons for distrusting government. I deeply respect your service in Vietnam and the sacrifice you and your family made on our behalf. My only point would be to caution you about sweeping generalizations. When I engage in such thinking sooner or later I am made to look foolish. This is why I try to examine each issue on its own merits.

            And many of the so-called “pencil-necked geeks” you mention are responsible for your getting your Social Security checks, our country staying safe from terrorist attacks, and the list goes on and on and on. Be well.

          • Jack Frazier

            Agreed. Yes but on the Social Security, the government has robbed it to spend on other things. There are some safeguards but all in all, it is a mess.

    • tony a

      Some good points but really enough with the non sense the owner be as responsible as the trainer, you should invest in a horse and see for yourself how often you are lied to whether it be a 30% trainer or a 2% trainer, at least with the high pct. trainer you have a chance to possibly make money, you must think all these low pct. trainers are on the level, nope, see instead of actually trying to do the right thing, they well most oftenly take the easy way out and basically rob you. Then when you find out you just flushed your money down the tiolet, depending how quickly you open your eyes, you have to walk away like a fool.

      • Jack Frazier

        Not nonsense. I am totally vested in the horse business with two four year-olds, 1 two year-old , two yearlings, four broodmares, two stallions, etc. How many do you own or have in training or own? I have been an owner/trainer since the mid-70’s and have had horses with other trainers for a while. I disagree with your analysis on low percentage trainers as well. Should you ever go to the backside and see how long and often vets stay in the big guys barns, you would know it is not a level playing field. To cast aspersions without knowledge of who you are casting them at is is supercilious. If an owner doesn’t know what a trainer is doing, then they are only a paper owner. If they actually are involved with their horses, they will know and have at least some acquiescence in what is going on. To think otherwise is asinine.

        • tony a

          BS. Im knowledgeable and on backside as often as I can. You want names? And realized who I could trust fairly quick and for away with little damage but you saying you trainer if you are would know what I’m talking about if you were honest and saying an owner bare the same responsibility as the trainer just shows you are not.

          • Jack Frazier

            To stop cheating which is a cancer, drastic measures may be required. I respect your opinion. Reciprocity would be nice.

          • tony a

            I respect yours as well but you did cast the first stone saying to think otherwise would be asinine. Happy to let bygones be bygones since we’re basically on the same side.

          • Jack Frazier

            Ok

          • Jack Frazier

            Not BS and personal attack are unwarranted in a discussion forum. My opinions are based on what I have seen and heard and I have and am a licensed trainer in California. As an owner and trainer, I am responsible just as you would be as a parent, if you allowed your kid to drive impaired in your car.

          • tony a

            Um, you already replied to this and we made amends.

          • Jack Frazier

            You are right. I am wrong on this one.

    • Share

      In the spirit in which I believe your comment is intended, I sense your frustration and share you desperateness for the players in horseracing to get it together, self-police, and share vital information for the sake of the horses, jockeys and future of our sport. The problem is, year after year goes by and nothing changes. I would love to see the government enact your suggestions entirely. I think Penny is right. Something needs to cause the necessary changes NOW.

  • Noelle

    Poorly-run private entities vanish into well-deserved oblivion (or get acquired and restructured) while poorly-run government agencies get their funding renewed, even increased, year after year and regardless of performance.

    Moreover, private sector shareholders have the option of bailing out at will while taxpayers are forced by law to finance the federal government – every agency; every program; competent or not; purposeful or not.

    Ideology aside, there is an absolute difference between public and private bureaucracies which inspires absolute assertions. Everyone is free to disassociate themselves from the former; everyone is forcibly compelled to involvement with the latter.

  • Jon Luman

    There are millions of people in this country that willingly throw their money away on lotteries, and casino games daily. Demonstrating the huge numbers that want to play any game besides horse racing (which happens to be the one where people actually have a shot).
    If horse racing were interested in filling that want…… again, it could easily clean itself up. It got this way because the general public believes horse racing is fixed. Federal legislation won’t change that.

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