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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Gural in the News; Sears Gets Time Off

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?


Anonymous said...

I like what Mr. Gural is doing. Just not sure how effective most trainer information before the race can be to bettors. If the truth about a horse is reported, such as , "refused feed" or "sore, no training or jogging", shouldn't the horse be scratched by the judges?

Bee A Magician's Friday race looked like a classic non-effort to me, just as many drives appear to be in stakes eliminations and series that build to a high purse final. I'm glad Gural called out the trainer and driver, but it makes me wonder if he would have responded the same way if it wasn't Brian Sears. Remember, he didn't like that Sears chose to drive at Yonkers most of the time.

As for catching drug cheaters, horsemen who insist they're honest complain among themselves about the crooks. They do little to nothing to help investigators.

Marv said...

This is a mess. First, the driver works for the trainer. If the trainer gives direction to the driver on how to drive the race, why is the driver paying the price? Why isn't Norman being suspended for 15 days?

Second, this comment regime, while well intentioned, is going to create an even bigger mess. Let's say you see a comment in the program "trained in 2:02 on Wednesday." What does that mean? "Trained sluggish." "Trained strong." There seems to be no guidelines for what is to be reported. Could these comments be utilized to manipulate the odds? If you saw "Tied up while training" in the program next to Bee A Magician, would you bet on her? Should she be scratched and put on the steward's list to requalify first? What if she zoomed to the lead and won?

Third, these manipulations happen frequently. A trotter breaks in a race. He goes an "easy mile" in his next race to avoid a qualifier.

Hopefully they can figure out a better way to implement this.

Anonymous said...

I cannot wait until Mr. Guard has Andy Miller or one of his other drivers duck his betting favorite off the gate and not reach the winners circle. Maybe he and Jason S. Will realize that the favorite is not always at the top of its game. Good luck Jeff Gural and your racetracks. I think I'll stay in Ohio and enjoy avoiding the drama of the East Coast Mecca.

edge1124 said...

I hear trainers in Australia thoroughbreds maybe 2 or 3 times a card at the 2 or or 3 tracks that race each day on my HPI account get interviewed and they share the fact that they have given instructions to a jockey to drop back and find a spot or go up and lay just off the lead, or their horse has was sick 3 weeks ago but is doing better and has a chance if they go fast up with that being said I use that info ho ever I want to and usually it helps somewhat....but if I am told Bee a Magician has been tying up or was going to be taken to the back of a 6 horse field...I FOR SURE!!! Would have used Shake It Cerry on top and keyed in my pick 5....sure Shake It Cerry would have been slightly lower in odds but at least I would not have WASTED $24 on BEE to come first...and Sears would be if they give us that info and Sears blows to the top and wins by 2 lengths....then that is when we have an investigation and Sears and Norman get fined....It is total BS what happens these days but if there is 100% intent on a change in strategy because of sickness or driver issues or we are just focusing on the final next week....IT needs to be stated to the public in the program or through the announcer and the ticker on the TV...if might as well be insider trading. This is why I play blackjack more often and now spend at least $20,000 less a year on horses.