UPDATE: The Meadowlands will delay the implementation of the trainers reports until they meet with the SBOANJ on the best way to implement the process.
Jeff Gural had a busy week regarding the protection of gamblers, indirectly and directly.
First of all, Gural was invited to speak to thoroughbred leaders regarding the issue of drug testing. As I have been saying for a while, drug testing in the United States for race horses is a farce. Either telling horsemen what they are testing for and/or state racing commissions attempting to save money by refusing to expand or even curtailing drug testing, it is open season for the use of illegal drugs in race horses. What can be done.
According to Gural, it is up to the tracks to police racing as the Meadowlands does with harness racing. Gural calls for the big four thoroughbred tracks to implement their own drug enforcement teams to catch those who cheat using illegal medication with the goal of identifying the cheats and throwing them out of the tracks using the private tracks' exclusionary powers. Yes, a track telling a trainer to pack up and get out doesn't keep them from continuing their cheating ways, but when a trainer or two (for example) are forced to move on from the Southern California circuit to Les Bois Park, the message will be clear to trainers; there is a huge cost in cheating, a cost they likely won't wish to incur.
Of course, the call goes out to harness tracks as well. Unfortunately, there are few tracks who are willing to incur the cost required to truly catch drug cheats. I can see perhaps one or two tracks who may be willing to take on enforcement if they had the will to do so. As for the others, with alternative gaming be king, tracks are hesitant to spend money on protecting the integrity of a product they just as soon get rid off.
Did you play Bee A Magician on Friday night? Did you feel like you got screwed? Apparently, Gural would agree with you as would the judges.
Livid to see Bee A Magician sitting last most of the race you can imagine how he felt he learned from the trainer that Sears was told to try not to race her up front since she has been tying up of late. Avoiding the front end doesn't mean sitting last most of the way.
Apparently the judges felt the same way when Sears was given a fifteen day suspension for 'lack of judgement'. Gural is determined not to see this happen again. Effective immediately, trainers need to report the status of horses entered at the Meadowlands so it may be reported in the program and the website.
Will this eliminate all inside information? Of course not, but Gural is right. If you want gamblers to wager, they have the right to know how horses have been training and if they have any physical ailments which may impact their racing. Horses should be competitive at all times and if there is a chance they may not, the public needs to know about it.
Of course, scan social media and you will see most horsemen are against this new policy. And we wonder why harness racing is looked upon poorly. When will people realize we need to give our customers the information they need to make an intelligent wager?