OP/ED Authors:

Op/Ed

Irish Medication Case Highlights Medication Regulation Concerns

Last week saw the much-talked-about case concerning the well-known equine veterinarian Tim Brennan come to a conclusion in the Irish courts. To briefly summarise it, Brennan was alleged to have been found with unauthorised substances whilst in the yard of Champion National Hunt Trainer Willie Mullins in February 2015. Given the profile of the Mullins yard and with drugs in sport being such a serious issue, it was a case that attracted inflammatory headlines and generated no shortage of chat and speculation inside and outside the racing industry. However, when...

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Op/Ed: Tom Gentry and Converging Storylines

Ever watch a movie where there are multiple storylines that converge at the end? That sort of happened for me this week, though not on the big screen. In Washington D.C., representatives of Facebook, Google and Twitter testified before Congress on their advertising policies, trying to explain how millions of Americans saw placements from Russian-backed groups. In Kentucky, horseman Tom Gentry died. Those two items do not seem related. Stay with me. The next morning, on National Public Radio, Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a...

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Why Horse Racing Wins With a Gold-Standard Anti-Doping Program

In 1655, the first track designed for Thoroughbred racing was built on the land that would later be known as the United States, and more specifically, New York State. Exactly 360 years later, in 2015, important legislation was introduced by congressmen across party lines from New York and Kentucky, two of our nation's most revered states for horse racing, through the Horseracing Integrity Act. The bill was designed to give a voice to those whose inability to be heard created a long-standing drug problem in racing, resulting in unequal, and...

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Op/Ed: Stronach’s Next Move Should Be Consolidation in California

If the bottom line were all that mattered, Frank Stronach would never be pulling stallions and broodmares out of Kentucky and moving them to Maryland and California. It's a poor business decision because you're bound to make less money breeding in those states than in Kentucky, especially if it means moving A-list sires out of the Bluegrass State. And while it's true that the bottom line may improve at Stronach's tracks if and he alone can increase field size by breeding more horses in California and Maryland, his motives seem...

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Op/Ed: Off the Pace: Changing the Attitude Toward Horse Racing

A wise person once told me: "If you want to change somebody's behaviour you must first change their attitude." In Blog 1 last week, I discussed research that indicated society's perception toward horse racing is becoming increasingly negative. Data can show us what people are doing and saying, but we need to look deeper to work out what influences attitude before we can begin to encourage change. Our attitude is predominantly shaped by two things: our beliefs and our experiences. Our beliefs are largely crafted by our upbringing. I grew...

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Off the Pace: How Our Industry Must Change

Ask anyone in horse racing how the Australian horse racing industry is going and they would answer 'pretty darn well.' Our prizemoney is relatively sustainable across all levels, our bloodstock prices are among the highest in the world and our racehorse quality is now appropriately recognised by international standards. We have Winx, Chautauqua and a national treasure called the Melbourne Cup. However, the startling reality is that the majority of Australians wouldn't know that Winx is a horse--let alone what a Chautauqua is, and have a waning interest (at best)...

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Op/Ed: Nutraceuticals: The Shadow of American Horseracing

Numerous Op/Eds have been penned detailing and debating medication use in American racing. However, racing regulators and industry leaders have targeted drugs and medication to the exclusion of an even bigger threat to equine welfare and the competitive integrity of American horseracing: nutraceuticals. Nutraceuticals, generally, are orally administered substances supposed to have pharmaceutical properties, which include but are not limited to vitamins and minerals fed at high dosages, herbal combinations, and chemical compounds. So long as their labels do not purport to prevent disease or achieve drug-like effects, veterinary nutraceuticals...

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Good Things Happen When Customers’ Bankrolls Grow

For the past few years, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has been lobbying for changes to the tax code on behalf of racetracks and betting customers. Since the late 1960’s, single wagers paying over 300-1 were reported to be taxed, and bets that pay over $5,000 were subject to withholding. The NTRA believes that (with inflation and the explosion of exotic wagering) this is unfair, and they’ve drafted a proposal to modernize the system. They are now in the home-stretch of this effort, and (so far) with little resistance,...

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Op/Ed: Englehart Marijuana Suspension: Enough Already

Trainer Jeffrey Englehart, 26, smoked marijuana. In eight states that’s legal. In New York State, where Englehart trains, the punishment for possessing 25 grams or less of marijuana is a $100 fine. The second offense is a $200 fine. Get the point? It’s 2017 and smoking marijuana is no longer considered a big deal; it’s about as innocuous a crime as there is, right up there with having an overdue library book. Yet, the New York Gaming Commission apparently doesn’t see it that way. Englehart’s license was up for renewal...

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Chrome Back for ’18 Pegasus? Why Not?

Ask someone in horse racing why things are done a certain way and the answer is usually "because that’s the way it’s always been done." It’s a terrible answer and speaks to an industry so stuck in the past that it's afraid to try anything new an innovative. Well, Frank Stronach didn't just try something different last Saturday with the GI Pegasus World Cup, he turned the entire sport upside down with something so bold and daring that it was one part brilliant, one part crazy. And guess what? It...

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