Friday, March 31, 2006

Hay, Oats, and Water? What Are THEY On?

From the Thoroughbred Times, online, Thursday, March 30:

An Association of Racing Commissioners International panel is seeking an answer to the question, "Can you win a race on hay, oats, and water?'' Scot Waterman, D.V.M., executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, answered in the affirmative on Thursday, but with a very big condition.

"Yes, you can win with hay, oats, and water, with good horsemanship, with good nutrition. But too many people who are involved in this sport don't believe it," he said. "Many trainers don't believe in their own capabilities. They think they have to have these medications to win."

I think the internet term for what I did when I read this is: ROFLMAO. Maybe the damn regulators in this business need to show us how it's done. That's right, let's have a human version of "hay, oats, and water." Send them home right now to empty their medicine cabinets. No more aspirin for when those pontifical meetings go on and on and give them a splitting headache, nor any Preparation H, either. Get rid of their high blood pressure meds, viagara, prozac, insulin, muscle relaxants for bad backs, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for aching joints. I don't think that it's fair that they should make such important decisions for all the rest of us while under the influence of all this stuff. What? The quality of their life would suffer without these things? Maybe, or maybe they just don't believe in their own capabilities.

When I hear a would-be regulator pine for the utopia of "hay, oats, and water" regulations , I question whether he has any understanding of either horses or athleticism. For years the state of New York denied its racehorses Lasix because of this holier-than-thou concern for "purity." The result was the sidelining of many otherwise capable equine athletes due to pulmonary bleeding, and/or the subjecting of the animals to other experimental, less effective, and usually clandestine, "therapies."

The way I see it, denying a competitor efficacious therapeutic remedies for minor or easily correctable problems is nothing less than animal cruelty. What if, you might ask, these things are used to mask serious, life-threatening conditions in the horse? It has happened, of course, but regulators tend to stick together, so the failure of track vets, state vets, and stewards to detect and prevent these instances of abuse go largely unexamined. At one track I visited, when a jockey tries to scratch a horse at the gate, he reports to a vet who examines the horse from the other side of a chain link fence, never actually touching the animal. At another, the attending vet rarely leaves his comfy seat in a pickup truck while conducting his examination. But why should regulators want to look at themselves, when it is easier and makes for much better public relations for them to simply put more inane and harmful regulations on trainers and their charges?

Somehow, this madness must stop. Maybe "hay, oats, and water" for the regulators is the answer.

BTW, if you haven't seen my earlier articles on the regulators' criminalization of baking soda, please check these out:

The War On Baking Soda and The War On Baking Soda, an Update


Blogger marilyn said...

We need people in the commission offices that are horsemen. To let a horse bleed while racing is crulity to animals. These people in the commission offices get drunk with power and think that what they say is the absolute. They have no investment and yet they think they should control ours.

10:54 AM  

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