Saturday, January 1, 2011


During the break in the rain, we went out to Santa Anita Racetrack. It was one of those beautiful days where there was no smog and the mountains were covered with snow. The air had a chill to it and the place was empty, perfect. Both my friend and I played a few races from Hawthorne Park in Cicero, Illinois and handicapped a number of races from Santa Anita. All in all it was a good day, which brings me to an article that I read and I must comment on.

Richard Dutrow Jr, a trainer, faces possible sanctions from the stewards at Aqueduct, for having one of his horses test positive for banned substances at Aqueduct on November 20th. The horse in question was Fastus Cactus. He won the third race that day at Aqueduct.

The general public does not hear about this because horse racing does not want people to know that there is some shenanigans going on behind the scenes. These trainers get caught doping their horses more than once. They continue to dope their horses because the price that they have to pay for their actions are nothing compared with the profit that they gain for their actions. In order for this type of behavior to stop is for the racing associations to really come down hard on these trainers. That probably will not happen until a national association is formed.

The small stables are the ones that really take it in the shorts in this game. They need to have horses to train but the owners will not give them the big name horses because they want to go with trainers that have a good record. A lot of these trainers resort to doping and when they win everyone makes money. The sanctions placed on them, when they are caught, are minimal as compared to the profit margin. The only way the small stable can keep up is to resort to cheating and most won't, which leaves them in a financial bind. The merry go round just doesn't stop.

The handicappers lose on this because there are some horses that are placed into a race and the handicapper does not know of the doping of this horse. The form shows that this horse is going straight to the glue factory and then it runs like Secreteriat. The handicappers lose, The cheaters win the purse and whatever bets that were placed on the horse and the small honest stable is still having to eat Top Ramen.

It is a big part of this game but in no way am I condemning all trainers and owners. There are great number of trainers and owners who want to see this nonsense removed from the game. Until a stand is taken against these cheats, with sanctions that would cost these people financial lose, we just have to get used to seeing articles about another trainer caught cheating.

I have noticed in the past few years that the racing in Canada is pretty much above board. Have not heard of any scandals with horse owners or trainers. When I handicap the races from Hastings or Woodbine, I seem to be comparing apples to apples and there are really no great surprises. I have come accustomed to betting the Canadian tracks and being laughed at by other handicappers. I seem to cash more winning tickets at the Canadian tracks then I do at the American ones.

There will be losing tickets, winning tickets, honest trainers and owners, cheating trainers and owners and good and bad jockeys. All I can say is this, "That's why they call it gambling."

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