Thursday, June 19, 2008

Much Ado about nothing, so far

Well, The Thoroughbred Safety Committee released their initial report yesterday and I think that the recommendations are good ones. However, I and most other fans know, there is no way to enforce them. This is really the most lamentable situation that needs an industry remedy. I've spent a lot of time writing about this issue in the past so I won't go on about it here. Maybe something will come from the Senate hearings that are to begin today, though I wouldn't put $2 on the nose of that horse. The usual pats on the back and commendations are being thrown around in response to the report but that doesn't do a thing does it? The three main issues addressed are: elimination of all steroids (with caveats in place); ban on toe grabs; whips related reforms. Although to read the text of the report one would think that the biggest change on the whip issue is to abolish the word 'whip' from the lexicon and replace in with 'riding crop.' I really don't know what to say other than at least it's something. Well, what else can one think?

I've read a lot about how several of the steroids are "naturally occurring" so they are impossible to test for. I wonder how accurate that information is. I wonder if Floyd Landis would say that synthetic and naturally occurring testosterone is impossible to distinguish between. For those of you that don't follow bicycling at all, Landis was stripped of his Tour de France title in 2006 after it was determined that he had higher levels of testosterone in his system than is normal and that it was not naturally occurring testosterone. He of course denied doping, but the penalty remains intact after at least one court case that I know of so, at least until it is proven otherwise, I would have to make the assumption that there is a difference in the two forms. And if it can be tested for in humans it is likely to be able to be tested for in horses; albeit maybe at great expense. So maybe the issue, once again, is dollars and cents.

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