Atlantic Columnist Andrew Cohen wrote an article about the alleged Asmussen Affair, but from a different angle. Instead of focusing his story on the alleged perpetrators, Cohen looks at the people in the industry who allow such behavior to continue. It is a must read.
The article applies to thoroughbreds, but for the most part it can and does apply to the standardbred industry. Where there may be a difference (I admit I don't know the mindset of those in thoroughbred industry) is with regards to the acknowledgement there is a medication problem. There are leaders in the industry who are looking to find the most efficient way to detect new and existing medications; Jeff Gural has taken testing for illegal substances to Hong Kong. There are horsemen associations which have made grants to buy testing equipment or fund research to come up with ways to catch the crooks. This doesn't mean I don't think the Feds should get involved; they should. But it can't be denied there are those in harness racing actively looking to catch those cheaters.
Quite honestly, one of the biggest problems any form of racing has are the rights conferred upon the accused and the unwillingness to boot any but the most abusive cheats out of the sport; call it plea bargaining or disinterest by racing officials. I am not saying a person should not be able to defend themselves against accusations, but they are given too much leeway when it comes to abusing the system to stall justice at every turn.
How come driving a car is a privilege and not a right but being a participant in racing is a right and not a privilege? There is something wrong when judges worry more about someone keeping their job instead of the damage they are inflicting on their employers and customers (the bettor).
Yes Cohen is right, but I wish he would address in his next article how the judicial system is set up to defend the cheats to the point that those who would do battle against them rather lock themselves up in a closed room, screaming and pulling their hair out. Until the law is changed to put the rights of everyone in proper perspective, this nonsense will continue.
For a different spin on the subject, here is an essay from a horsewoman who welcomes PETA's involvement. She correctly points out you can't stop with racing; there are other disciplines of equestrian sports which need to be followed.
For those who don't care for Jeff Gural's use of exclusion rights, Ray Paulick wishes there was someone like him in thoroughbred racing.