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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New York Horsemen Appeal But Perpetuate an Image

In New York, the Court of Appeals is going to hear the state's horsemen's appeal of a decision which permits out of competition testing, claiming portions of it are unconstitutional.

The horsemen have every right to bring this appeal and I would never suggest they shouldn't.  However, if this case gets any coverage in the mainstream media, it is going to perpetuate an image of harness racing being the sport of chemists, not trainers.  In most sports these days, from track and field, cycling, baseball, wrestling and others, out of competition testing is an acceptable method to ensure a level playing field. In skiing, the regulators have shown up to charity events just to get a skier to 'fill the cup'.  Even though horsemen claim they want the drug cheats out of the sport, an appeal like this sends a different message, a message of 'What are you afraid of?'.  Rest assured the headlines will be simple, such as 'Horsemen Appeal Out of Competition Testing Rules' and many readers will go no further than the headline, and make their opinions from what they did read.

What bothers me is how come horsemen in other states have accepted out of competition testing and there is such a problem in New York when it comes to it?  Is it just the horsemen are more litigious than in other states or did the racing commission go rogue when formulating these regulations?

We will find out when the Court of Appeals makes their decision and shame on the eventual loser for dragging the sport through the mud.

Are you Playing the Breeders Cup?  Sigh, while I have no interest in the Breeders Cup I know many of you do.  If you plan on playing the Breeders Cup, you need to get the latest edition of HANA's Monthly Newsletter, the Breeders Cup Edition where they talk about the Championship races.  In addition, while you are reading about the Breeders Cup, make sure you read the Harness Corner where Garnet Barnsdale talks about a big score he hit. 


Anonymous said...


Public relations wise, this appeal won't help harness racing's image. I agree it looks like the horseman want to preserve their right to skirt the rules.

But, given how the NY gaming and racing regulators mishandled the Lou Pena case, maybe the out of competition testing policy is also an exercise in government abuse of power.

Pacingguy said...

You may be right, I certainly don't discount that. The court will decide that. In the meanwhile, we get another black eye PR-wise.

Anonymous said...

Are you actually suggesting that the horsemen abide by what they view as an unfair policy simply to avoid "bad PR"? Maybe you should research exactly what they are fighting for before coming to a hasty judgment - you might hold a different view if you were aware of all the pertinent facts.

Pacingguy said...

Not at all. I think the horsemen have a legitimate complaint. First, the idea you have to ship your horse to get tested is absurd. In other states, they go to the horse; no expense to the trainer/owner.

If you note, I said shame on the eventual loser for causing this situation; it may very well be the NYGC.

I am merely pointing out the problem is the perception in the general public will be bad by what the general media will report.

Perhaps I was not clear in this thread. If so, I apologize for any confusion.