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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Remember Uniform Drug Rules? Forget About It

The NYGC is reported to be considering issuing two sets of standards for medication; a set for thoroughbreds and a set for standardbreds.  The rules will basically be the same except for the medication clenbuterol.  If New York passes the split rules, it will be the first state to differentiate between the two breeds when it comes to medication rules though it is expected Pennsylvania and Ohio will pass rules allowing for different withdrawal times for clenbuterol.

Passage of the rule change in New York will officially kill the idea of uniform drug rules in horse racing.  Quite honestly, I could care less about killing this master plan of the RMTC because the RMTC, dominated by thoroughbred interests, didn't consider how clenbuterol is being used differently in standrdbred racing.  Quite honestly, they couldn't care less about the standardbred industry when it came to this issue.

The problem is the rules for standardbred racing will not be uniform.  Kentucky and other states, where standardbreds hold little influence have adopted the one-size fits all guidelines.  As a result, trainers will need to remember if Kentucky, no clenbuterol for 14 days if New York, 96 hours.

Admittedly, if clenbuterol is the only medication where the rules are different, trainers should be able to handle the discrepancy in the rules.  It is unfortunate in states which have adopted the one size fits all rule, racing commissions blindly marched to thoroughbred interests.

I and others have talked about the impact of takeout on the horseplayer and overall handle.  Keith Gisser of the DRF (yes, today seems to be DRF day) reports while takeout is an issue (primarily when it gets excessive such as Pocono's 30% takeout on some exotics), the most important factor to gamblers is pool size.  It makes sense.  What is the benefit of a low takeout rate if a $50 wager is going to cause a 8-1 shot to go to 2-1?  Ideally, you want to be able to wager your $50 and have no impact on the overall odds.  I suggest all read the article as a refresher course as to why takeout still matters in addition to pool size.

Racing Under Saddle Ontario is looking to kick it into high gear with the support of the OHHA as they have issued a RFP for consulting services to manage RUS by garnering more interest and introducing wagering on the product.  It is wonderful that a horsemen group has enough foresight to champion RUS where others are reluctant to introduce another form of racing due to "we've always done it this way".

The DRF reports that Celebrity Secret is on the comeback trail, the nine year old having last raced in 2008.  The stud is continuing to do stallion duty.  With five years off, the horse is no doubt sound; the question is does Celebrity Secret have the same competitive fire he had in the past.  If so, it will be great seeing him race.  If not, a return to full time stallion duty awaits.

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