I don’t know why, but something about the latest Paulick Report post that turned (again) into a debate on the merits of drugging horses on race day has left me feeling defeated and fatigued. I can’t understand how an issue that seems so clear to me can be at best misunderstood and at worst defended by people who handle horses for a living. I realize that the racing industry in the United States has a multitude of problems (and yes, every racing jurisdiction has issues, including France), but I believe that banning all race-day medication in thoroughbreds would be a big step toward solving many of them. I realize that most people involved in American racing disagree with me. Usually, I don’t care, because I happily race in a country where medication is banned (and our breakdown rates are half of what they are in America). But one of the comments in the latest debate made me lose all hope. Somebody said, basically, well, fine, you have no drugs in France, but where’s the proof that your system could work for American-style dirt racing? This smacks of so much ignorance and disrespect for the horse that I couldn’t even reply. Rather than considering changing the system to preserve the horse, this guy apparently wants trainers to inject whatever is necessary to adapt the animal to the system. And by the way, get rid of those stupid synthetic racing surfaces, too, that interfere with my timed workouts and Beyer speed figures. Who cares if a longshot breaks a leg? I just want to get my bet in.
Then there’s the veterinarian (yes, apparently a licensed vet) singing the praises of lasix. Really, it’s all too depressing. I’m actually going to America next week, where I plan to spend a day or two at Tampa Bay Downs. I’m a little afraid to go. I’m not sure what I will do when I encounter this mentality face-to-face.
Anyway, just had to vent. I’ve gone native tonight, with snails and a good Bordeaux for dinner. Somehow makes me feel more at home than the thought of a cheeseburger and a beer. Oh, and by the way, forgot to mention Chantal Sutherland. Apparently the mere mention of the sexy Santa Anita jockey will make your blog hits go through the roof. I don’t have the semi-nude photos that you can find on the Handride and Cangamble blogs, though, so you’ll have to go there next….