19 June 2008

There Will Be A Ban On Same Day Medications Very Soon

I listened to most of today's Congressional Hearing: "Breeding, Drugs, and Breakdowns."
The panels were made up of mostly well versed individuals who are involved in horse racing in various capacities. Richard Dutrow was supposed to make, but called in sick. Actually, the report is that he didn't even bother calling in. I'm glad he wasn't there. He would have added a lot of bs, and this hearing wasn't about bs.

Jack Van Berg was the star of the show as far as I'm concerned. Paraphrasing, he said something like, "the vets are training the horses these days."

One panel member mentioned that vet bills can be as expensive to owners each month as general training bills are.

The panel was unanimous when it came to banning race day drugs, and the majority of the panel members want to ban drugs altogether.

It is almost a guarantee that we will see the race day ban go into place in the USA very shortly. I'm sure Canada will follow. And I'm pretty sure the harness people will have to follow as well.

The other thing that had overwhelming support was the fact that racing needs a commissioner. It needs to have the same rules to apply for all of the 38 racing jurisdictions in the States. Again, I can only see Canada following suit.

Steroids were looked at very negatively as well. Van Berg mentioned that drug testing needs to be more vigorous, and needs to be funded aggressively.

Another very good point was made regarding the weakness of today's thoroughbred. In 1960 the average race horse ran over 11 times a year. Now, the average is just over 6 races per year.

When breeding was talked about, I got the idea that some panel members had different agendas. Suggested were things like banning certain cross breedings. But that bothered a couple of panel members.

Nobody mentioned my idea: Don't allow a horse to stand stud until he reaches the age of six.

And of course, the horseplayer wasn't mentioned. Without the horseplayer, there would be no horse racing. But what do they care?

For a more in depth review of the proceedings, read this. Also read Paul Moran's take on it. He also brings up a Van Berg quote on the state of racing today: "chemical warfare." Moran also writes about a vets testimony regarding lasix. I missed that part of the hearing. Apparently a vet testified that lasix doesn't do what it is intended to do, but in fact, it is great at masking other drugs.

Update: Live blogging report from yesterday by Ray Paulick.

ORC rules that WEG must accept entries by standardbred owners ROBERT HAMATHER, LLOYD NICHOLSON, GARY SMITH & GEOFFREY MOUND

Man accused of attempted murder used to work in the Fort Erie backstretch

Horseplayers are organizing. The internet is a wonder thing. HANA - The Horseplayers Association of North America has been formed. Read more about it at Pull The Pocket.
Like Pull The Pocket, I too found the post by a Pace Advantage member to be right on, so I've got to reprint it too:

Horseplayers have become increasingly more and more fed up with the way the industry is being run. Horsemen withholding signals from ADWs, track management's disdain towards the customer, trainers who are constantly rewarded for cheating, and a tote system based on obsolete technology - these facets of the game and more have resulted in an industry that is, to put it kindly, no longer mainstream.

An entire generation now exists who could care less about racing.

Yet, over the past two decades while racing has been alienating itself from an entire generation of potential new fans, almost all other forms of gambling have seen explosive growth. Go to almost any casino and you will find a young vibrant crowd (the generation that racing failed to win over) having fun feeding tokens into slot machines.

There is a formula for success in business that I remember from a strategic management class I took in college. Ok. I turned 50 in the past year so I've been out of college and part of the real world for a while now. But what they taught us back in 1977 is every bit as valid today as it was back then:

Define your market space and target customer. Understand your target customer's needs and wants. Figure out how to satisfy those needs and wants and (amazingly) your business will grow.

Every successful Fortune 500 company practices this. By itself it doesn't guarantee success. But failure to practice it practically guarantees failure.

The reason I get so pissed off at the people who run the horse racing industry is that they so completely fail to put this into practice.

And failure to put this into practice just widens the chasm that exists between the industry and its customers. I am both amazed and disgusted by the way that horsemen and track management continually appear so completely clueless that a problem even exists at all.

A grass roots effort has been started over at the PA site to organize horseplayers. I have attended two meetings (conducted in the PA War Room) where we adopted a name and agreed to get a website started.

I was charged with creating the group's mission statement. The mission statement that I wrote up has not yet been officially sanctioned by the group. And somebody else will probably end up doing the official site.

For the benefit of those interested I've created a mock up web page - a rough draft - that shows what we are working towards. Here's the link:

Woodbine Poly appears safer than the old dirt track. That is if you only use last years deaths on the track versus the deaths on the track the year before.
Different types of injuries happen to horses who run on the Poly. The long term affect can't be measured yet.

I was wrong. I expected 9 or 10 horses in the Plate, but it wound up with 15. In my next post, I will analyze the race.

NY bettors commenting on Steven Crist's Blog threaten to boycott NY racing because of idiotic increase in track takeout

Great Idea to get new fans: The Sixty Minute Six Get some network involved to show it every week on national TV, and open the doors so that everyone (including Canadians and Europeans) can bet on it.

Fort Erie Tote Hiccup
A reader informed me that on Tuesday in the last race, the number 6 horse was mysteriously removed from the tote board as if scratched. I'm not sure for how long, but I do know that quite a few people went back to the windows to cancel their tickets with the 6 horse on it. They most likely bet other tickets with their case dough (it was the last race after all).
Problem is that the 6 horse wasn't scratched, and appeared back on the tote board, at least during the running of the race (I'm not sure the length or minutes to post that he was temporarily removed). The other problem is that the horse WON.

The horse should only have run for purse money. I wonder if anyone is looking into this.


QQ said...

Oh, my -- Average Horseplayer had a post about the Sixty Minute 6, and like you, my immediate response was: TV show. Great idea that could be interesting programming and coincidentally, help increase the racing fan base.

Also, for what it's worth, I think your idea of delaying a horse's stud duty until age 6 is the simple and elegant solution to a number of problems in the industry: runners might actually stick around for more than a season, and stamina in a pedigree would get a bit more notice. I'm wondering if you think it would have any impact on the number of foals each year?

Anonymous said...

If the panel had their way, a lot more horses would need to be foaled because sore horses just wouldn't be able to make it to the races.
I think if a horse is successful to five, he'll have a large lineup of takers.
I don't think that changing the age will in itself increase or decrease the amount of foals produced each year though.

Anonymous said...

Make the 60 minute 6 at least a 50 cent minimum. You can't expect a novice to bet a $2 pick 6.

Anonymous said...

Ken Albu testifying.there is 2 things Ken is good at,drinking beer and lying.

Anonymous said...

I watched the woodbine live on t.v. a couple weeks ago and Enrico Rosa DaSilva Dalosa was interviewed after winnig a stakes race,he was so enthusiastic great horse great job by trainer etc.this filly came back at 1/5 friday and missed the board in a simple allowance race.why interview a jockey ? is he gonna say my horse is a pig or the trainer should be pumping gas for a living ,no get the b.s off the air ,so not to throw off the betting public,and yah Jim Bannon is woodbine's biggest fraud,1/2shot is all he know's .

Anonymous said...

Anon, 10:03: Or maximum a dollar. It could be sold as sort of lottery ticket.

Anon, 11:34, no need for personal insults here. I don't want to moderate comments, so keep personal vendettas away if you can.
I like Kenny btw.

Anon 11:40, The filly bounced in a speed duel She was very impressive her first two races though. They aren't machines. Da Silva is good for the game, alway cheery. If you don't interview jockeys or trainers, you'll have a lot of air to fill listening to chalk picking canaries like Bannon. Would you rather have that?