Op/Ed: Robert M. Beck, Jr.

During one of the most politically polarizing times in our country's history, Congress passed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 (HISA) with bipartisan support. What did this rare display of unity say about the health of the Thoroughbred racing industry? To say it kindly: the industry needed help. HISA handed over the reins for regulating Thoroughbred safety and anti-doping and medication control matters to a private, self-regulatory organization named the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (Authority). Before HISA, Thoroughbred racing in the United States was regulated by a...

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Op/Ed: Corniche Connections Should Consider Dennis Diaz Wisdom

In 1985, owner Dennis Diaz had a decision to make after his runner, Spend a Buck, won the GI Kentucky Derby. Under ordinary circumstances it would be on to the GI Preakness S. two weeks later. But, as Lee Corso would say: "Not so fast." In this particular year, before the Triple Crown prep season had begun, Garden State Park owner Robert Brennan offered a $2-million bonus to any horse who won the track's two preps plus the Kentucky Derby and GIII Jersey Derby. Diaz and trainer Cam Gambolati sent...

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OP/ED: What's Next in the Fight to Ban Horse Slaughter in the U.S.?

For close to 20 years, activists have been working to protect American horses by lobbying for a federal ban on horse slaughter, rallying each year to keep the inspection of horse slaughter plants defunded and continuously working to pass the Save America's Forgotten Equine (SAFE) Act. The next 30 days are important in the push for a federal ban on horse slaughter. Every one in the racing business can have a hand in helping to pass a ban. In March 2021, the TDN interviewed veteran animal welfare lobbyist Chris Heyde,...

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Op/Ed: HISA Necessary for Our Future

At the end of 2020, I was happy to hear that an important piece of legislation geared toward keeping our horses safe, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), was signed into law. I chose to support HISA because it will establish the same medication rules and penalties at every track in every jurisdiction in the United States, which makes for fair and equal competition, promotes equine welfare and punishes those who cross the line. This week, I read the news that the governing authority established by HISA announced its...

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Op/Ed: It's Time to Challenge Monomoy Girl

Don't get me wrong. I respect Monomoy Girl (Tapizar). She's right up there among the best fillies and mares to compete in any of our lifetimes. But there was something routine about her victory in Sunday's GIII Bayakoa S. at Oaklawn Park. It was the 16th chapter in what has essentially been the same story from the start. In 15 of her 16 races, she has crossed the wire first, always against fillies and mares while winning in a manner better described as professional rather than breathtaking. There were some...

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Op/Ed: If Maximum Security Passed Tests, Owners Should Be Paid

The matter of whether or not Maximum Security (New Year's Day) should be disqualified from his victory in the $20-million Saudi Cup has been made out to be much more complicated than it is. Did any illegal substances show up in any of the battery of tests conducted on Maximum Security before and after the Saudi Cup? If the answer is no, there is no justification for not paying owners Gary and Mary West and partners the $10 million due to the winner. If the answer is yes, then disqualify...

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Op/Ed: A Year Without Derby Makes Most Sense

A few weeks ago, I felt like a lone wolf howling in the wind (not the first time). I was calling for Keeneland to call off its April meet and for Churchill Downs to go ahead and announce the cancellation of the Kentucky Derby. Based on what I knew of the coronavirus spread in other countries and that it had reached our shores, it seemed obvious to me that within days we would begin cancelling events at a rapid pace. The first sports leader to acknowledge such was NBA Commissioner...

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On TDN Writers' Room Podcast, Casse Renews Call for Clenbuterol Ban

Two days after writing an Op-Ed for the TDN calling for a ban of Clenbuterol, trainer Mark Casse continued his campaign against the use of the drug in the Thoroughbred racing industry when appearing as the Green Group Guest of the Week on this week's TDN Writers' Room podcast. The Writers' Room podcast is sponsored by Keeneland. Casse said he believed that numerous trainers are abusing Clenbuterol because it can act like a steroid and is therefore a performance-enhancing drug.  He called trainers that abuse Clenbuterol the "Lance Armstrongs of...

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