For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Monday, September 30, 2013

Anatomy of a Faux Pas

Yesterday, I took my lumps for writing a column which criticized the standardbred industry for not wanting to change its policy on Clenbuterol, primarily because 'that is the way it has always been done'.  In a reply to the original article, Phil Langley, President of the USTA, took me rightfully to task for not getting the facts correct when I opined as to why the USTA rejected the ARCI rules and withdrew from the RMTC.

Why do I bring this up?  It once again shows a problem within the industry.  Who is racing and the racing media writing for?  It certainly isn't the racing fan, the people who spend their money at the mutuel windows or their computer screens.

Now don't get me wrong.  I got things wrong and am not trying to get out of it.  Nor was I the only blogger who came to a similar opinion.  That being said, I speak only for myself regarding how I came to my original opinion.

I depended on the press releases by the USTA and the RCI for all my information.  Could I have gone the extra mile?  Perhaps, I should have but this blog is about the opinions from the perspective of the racing fan and most racing fans are going to base their facts on what is reported in the media.  My error was doing what the typical racing fan would do.  Clearly, there are times I need to go the extra yard (or furlong) and this is one of those moments.

I went back at the original USTA press release about this subject to see where I got it wrong.  Truth is it is a pretty lengthy release which I am sure most if its members, especially the horsemen would understand the unspoken intricacies about Clenbuterol and its effects.  They may even know the ARCI proposed rules were proposing for the medication were in effect leaving Clenbuterol in the hands of the thoroughbred industry but taking the drug out of the hands of harness horsemen.

As for the layman, after reading the press release from the RCI, you can't help but think this is another case of the industry not wanting to change its ways because it is the way it has always been done.  After all, the RCI indicatied their is a substitute medication which would work for standardbred racing.  Based on the press releases, my original comments were understandable.

Only after being further educated by Mr. Langley did I learn the alternative medication being talked about is a medication many states currently ban in racing and the problem the industry had was with the withdrawal time for Clenbuterol; the new standard was fine for a breed which races maybe once or twice a month, not for the overnight standardbred horse which tends to race weekly.  The rules apparently were being written to stop the alleged abuse by thoroughbred horsemen, ignoring the legitimate use of the drug by standardbred horsemen.

Now I realize you can't write War and Peace every single time you put out a press release, but what if the original press release from the USTA indicated a little more detail such as what the specific problems were with the proposal instead of allowing the RCI to make its claims unchallenged?  Then, a reader gets a better idea of the USTA's reasoning; there is a real unfairness within the proposed rules.

I understand, 95% of the material written by the USTA and others is written for the consumption of the racing industry, but the industry needs to understand with the dearth of news sources for the racing fan, those same press releases and articles need to be written so the layman can understand the issues for these press releases are what the racing fan is going to form their opinions on.  Perhaps if articles were written realizing the racing public (gambler) is relying on these articles, the industry may come out ahead with a better image.


No comments: