With the racing world abuzz over the allegations against Lou Pena, where does harness racing go from here? Let me offer the following quiz.
1. You are taking friends who never have been to the track with you tonight. Your friend brings up the local newspaper's article about the indefinite suspension of Lou Pena. Do you...
a) Tell your friend that while the paper said 1719 violations of the rule, it really is only 675 races?
b) Proudly tell your friend that in 2010, only 16 positives for medication violations were found in NJ?
c) Shout for joy that harness racing finally got covered in the newspaper.
d) Look at your friend and just shrug your shoulders. After all, what can you say?
e) Actually hope your friends cancel on you?
2. How big a scandal do you think the allegations against Pena are?
a) Bigger than the alleged race fixing scandal was in Michigan/
b) Not that big a deal, like other incidents it will blow over in a couple of weeks.
c) See, there is an advantage to only a few people caring about caring about harness racing.
3. There are a few trainers you suspect of not playing on a level playing field. What do you think they are doing now?
a) Having an epiphany and will now train on the straight and narrow.
b) They are doing nothing different.
c) To paraphrase a current commercial, they are 'wondering what their vet has in their records'.
d) Finding a vet who keeps sloppy records
4. What do you think of current drug testing?
a) The drug testing we currently have is fine.
b) It's not great, but you can't test for everything.
c) It clearly needs improvement.
d) Bring in the feds.
5. What do you think about the $2.5 million in purse money the state alleges will need to be returned for redistribution?
a) Good luck collecting all that money back.
b) Glad the purses will be redistributed to the other horses in the race.
c) Wait, what about me the horseplayer? What do I get?
6. Do you think your racing commission is dong enough regarding bearding?
b) Why does the racing commission care about who is growing beards?
c) Stop it! It hurts me to laugh this hard..
7. What do you think of the idea of suspending horses who come up positive?
a) It is wrong, as it may keep people away from owning horses.
b) Why should an owner be held liable for the wrongdoing of a trainer?
c) A great idea, but it will never happen.
d) It should be implemented right away.
8. What do you think an honest trainer (and there are plenty of them) will do as a result of this scandal?
a) A collective feeling like they have been sucker punched.
b) Time to get tough on cheaters. Out with the code of silence!
c) Nothing. It is the racetrack's and the racing commission's job to catch cheaters.
c) What drug are you on to even think anything will change?
There is no answer key, but based on your answers, you will see if you are an optimist, a realist, or a cynic when it comes to addressing the problem of illegal medication.
USTA Responds: The USTA has suspended Lou Pena's membership in reciprocity to the action taken by the NYSRWB.