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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Talking the Talk

In a column written by Stan Bergstein for the Daily Racing Form,  Bergstein writes about another columnist, this one harness racing columnist Andrew Cohen, and his campaign to raise funding to develop a test for ITTP which may be being used at harness tracks to account for sudden form changes on horses making a mere claimer the next Niatross, if only for a few starts.  Ten months ago he suggested the USTA and SC contribute the $100,000 needed by the University of Pennsylvania to finish developing a test to identify the drug.  As Bergstein himself stated, that drew silence.  Cohen also suggested some of the leading racing states also contribute funds towards the effort.  Once again, silence.

We all talk the game about integrity but it seems no one wants to do anything about it.   

So now, claiming a drug which is not being detected and suspected of being used in harness racing is likely being used in thoroughbred racing, Bergstein now turns to the Jockey Club asking them to fund the needed research to develop a suitable test for ITTP.  Wouldn't it be ironic, and somewhat sad if the Jockey Club comes up with the money needed to detect a drug which may have first shown up in harness racing?

I realize funding is tight for the USTA, so maybe it could have gone to the racetracks and ask for contributions to develop a test for ITTP.  Even if the thirty-four extended pari-mutuel meet harness tracks in the United States (excluding Blueridge Downs, Prairie Meadows, and Thunder Ridge) contributed equally to come up with the $100,000 to develop the test, it would have amounted to a whopping  $2,941.18 from each track to fund the research.  Let's even go further and say the money would be split between the horsemen and track operators; it would have been $1,471 for each group at each track. Apparently, that was too much to ask for.

I understand today it is ITTP, who knows what tomorrow will bring, but to not try to do anything about it?  Integrity, integrity, integrity is what we all speak about.  Yet when it comes to putting up the money, no harness group could come up with it?  If racing is not willing to fund initiatives like this does it have the right to talk about integrity?

Just something to think about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not sure where the funding will be coming from to detect ITTP, as well as another relatively new drug called, AICAR, but it's unfortunate that we spend thousands upon thousands of dollars trying to prevent people from cheating instead of funneling the money to drivers, grooms and trainers for all their HONEST hard work and dedication. (A blog post you wrote)

I perused through the recent rulings on the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium webpage and could not believe the amount of violations. Even though some were minimal fines, the amount of work that the industry has to go through to ensure everyone is on the straight and narrow is astounding.

I just feel if funds are going to be injected (no pun intended) into the industry, then it should be for positive growth, not positive tests.