First, for those looking for big pools, there is an Instant $30,000 guaranteed Pick-5 pool at Cal Expo tonight with the first leg (race three) kicking-off roughly at 10:05pm (EST). Program pages for the Pick-5, courtesy of Trackmaster may be found here.
Like many of you, you probably caught part of Lance Armstrong's conversation with Oprah last night on television. During this interview, Armstrong admitted to cheating, using various methods to win the seven Tour de France bike races. It got me thinking about parallels with horse racing.
How many people didn't think Armstrong was cheating in all these races? After all, how does someone win seven Tour de France races, especially as they grow older? Like one of those super trainers, you know something isn't kosher, but you can't put your finger on it. In the meanwhile the trainer in question keeps doing what they have been doing, basically laughing at you as they head to the bank. When we found out that Armstrong was confessing, it was a 'knock me over with a feather moment'.
As Armstrong indicated, he didn't consider it 'cheating' per se because he was doping to keep up with everyone, not to get ahead. How many trainers explain cheating for the very same reason?
Like in horse racing, Armstrong didn't name names. Doesn't that sound like racing where horsemen complain about someone using the juice, yet few go to the regulators and name names? The code of silence lives on.
Like racing, cycling's regulatory body, UCI, welcomes Armstrong admission, claiming his admission was "an important step forward on the long road to repairing the damage that has been caused to cycling and to restoring confidence in the sport". Yes, cycling has earned a bad reputation which began before Armstrong one his first Tour de France but does anyone really think the confession of a big fish is sufficient in restoring the reputation of cycling? Yes, Lance Armstrong may have been the big fish, the one everyone was aiming for, but UCI can't just wipe their hands and say 'We're done'; there is a lot more work needed to restore the reputation of racing. The same applies in horse racing. Catching the one big fish is just the start, there is a lot of work needed to restore the reputation of racing.