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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pena - Last Thoughts for Now

Some people have privately come to me wondering if I have gone over to the dark side, with regards to Trainer Lou Pena.  No I haven't.  But to clarify things, permit me to re-iterate my position regarding my general feelings regarding drug cheating and how it relates to Mr. Pena. 

  • I BELIEVE...
    • In zero tolerance when it comes to violating medication rules.
    • The fact we are pre-treating horses for races is a black mark on horse racing.  Pre-treating horses including, the use of legal drugs should not be done.  Horses should be racing as close as possible to the hay, oats, and water principle.
    • Milkshaking is an abomination and should be treated harshly.  Horses are a living being, not a car engine.
    • Bute on race day which some of our states do permit should not be allowed.  If a horse needs to be using bute, it belongs in the field or beginning a new career.
    • The use of Salix (Lasix) is being abused.  We should be barring horses that bleed a certain number of times from stallion duty as a study from South Africa shows that bleeding may be hereditary.  If need be to introduce stallions from other trotting breeds which don't bleed, so be it.  For breeding purposes, it probably would strengthen the breed if the gene pool got a little deeper regardless of the bleeding issue.  In the meanwhile, a ban on Salix should be introduced on a graduated basis starting with two year olds, the second year with two and three year olds, followed the next year when two, three, and four year olds are banned from Lasix, so bye year four, Lasix would be a thing of the past.
    • Trainers are responsible for knowing the rules of each state regarding medication.  .
    • "Everyone else is doing it" is not an excuse
    • A rule in a state is a rule and needs to be followed even if it seems to be stupid.  Ignorance of a rule is not an excuse. 
    • Fines for drug violations are much too light.  Penalties should be swift and heavy.  Repeated cheats should be banished.
    • There are some owners who know exactly what is going on with their selection of trainers.  There needs to be reasonable but effective tools to penalize owners from seeking out questionable trainers.  Yes, some owners may be lost, but the sport doesn't need the problems they seem to be encouraging.
    • There should be strict enforcement of the rules and all tools available should be used including veterinarian records provided there is a legitimate reason to do so.
    • I also believe in the right of privately operated racetracks to have the right to exclude someone they feel may be detrimental to their business.    

    • We need to respect the constitutional rights of all involved. You can't go after someone just because you "just know" they did something.  This doesn't mean you need a search warrant to go looking into records or to conduct a barn search.  You need to be able to prove a legitimate triggering event (illegal syringe, a positive or atypical blood test, unaccounted for vials, a tip from a reliable source, etc.) before one starts digging deeper. 
    • Racing Commissions just can't go fishing to bring someone down.
    • Racing Commissions can't be selective in and how they investigate a case.  There needs to apply the same standard of investigation to all trainers.
    • Rules of investigation can't change just for one individual.

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