Saturday, August 9, 2008

Welcome Change

In the aftermath of the tragedy of Eight Belles we heard from various commissions and groups recommending abolishing the use of steroids in racing. While most of these groups are associated with racing they had no real power to enforce any changes. That type of action -inaction - had been the status quo following any misstep, for as long as I remember. Event, followed by public outcry followed by the seemingly insincere self-flagellation of the industry and proposals for change. Seemingly insincere because the proposed changes rarely, if ever, became manifest. In light of this history the very positive actions of the last few weeks regarding the use of steroids is welcome news.

The first shot was fired by the Breeders Cup Committee outlining penalties and loss of funding for the B.C. race program. The Breeder's Cup is in a precarious position in that they have to try to level the playing field for international entrants to be lured to it's program. Certainly owners and trainers world-wide had to ruminate about the risk of running against doped horses before undertaking the risk and expense involved in shipping horses and personnel around the world. To truly have any right to the moniker 'World Championship' you have to have horses that represent that tag. Regardless of the spur, they did a good thing and that's all that matters. In my mind they didn't go far enough but any positive change is welcome and in reality the penalties did have teeth. While a one year ban of a trainer - for a first offence -doesn't seem very harsh it would have had the effect of clearing the trainer's barn of the highest quality horses. No owner is going to place their horses in a barn that can't run the big races. Of course most trainers wouldn't have been too concerned as they don't have that type of horse.

Now we have welcome news that the Graded Stakes Committee has determined:

Under the rules, states or racetracks through house rules must adopt, at a minimum, the Association of Racing Commissioners International model rule on androgenic anabolic steroids by Jan. 1, 2009 or the date of a state or racetrack’s first graded stakes in 2009, whichever is later. If a state or racetrack does not adopt the model rule, their races will lose their graded status and will not be eligible again for grading until the rule is adopted. (BH)

This really begins to tighten the seine! Together, the B.C. and Graded Stakes Committee has found a way to move the industry forward. This will cause almost immediate change in the industry, for the better. Of course after reading through the RCI model rules I still think there is more that can be done to tighten the purse strings of the net. However, these steps, while long overdue, are welcome and need to be applauded for the changes they will assuredly promote.

Cosmic Queen was a big disappointment in the Sorrento (gr. III). I had high hopes. It seems she hasn't got the heart. I hope I'm wrong and Paasch figures something out. I'll be following her for a while longer. I suppose Mike Smith jumping ship to Paash's other entry , Stardom Bound (the post time favorite), should have given me a clear clue. Like most handicappers sometimes I'm clueless and only see what I want to.

I wish I had seen Midnight Lute's Del Mar work! He's credited with 7 in 1:21 3/5! The track record is 1:22.46! Well, at least we know he's no morning glory. Maybe we'll get to see him again in the Forego this year. Not that I would want to move him if I were Watson, Weitman or Pegram, but if you look through Del Mar's offerings the rest of the way there's nothing there. That amazes me. I read the Pat O'Brien (gr.IIT) has been mentioned but I can't see going that route when the Forego is at a track he likes and offers a extra $50,000 and a grade I status. Seems like a no brainer.

1 comment:

Wind Gatherer said...

I don't know that he needs the GI since he took the BC sprint but the money is always good. It is surprising though that Del Mar has shot its load as it were.

Makes one wonder what the attraction is about?