- Todd Pletcher’s trip to Dubai resulted in two fourth place finishes- with Host in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free, and with Magna Graduate in the $6 million World Cup – resulting in a payday of $551,590. The trainer told the Albany Times-Union: "You want to win every time, but it wasn't bad….Two fourths in Dubai is kind of like winning the Travers." Well, kind of. Notice he didn't say that it's kind of like winning the Derby. I’m sure he’d trade the two 4ths and the Travers for his first Derby win. Sunriver got the expected tout from Haskin for his troubled third in the Florida Derby, and Pletcher spoke to the Form about the five week layoff: "Statistically, that kind of time frame works well for our barn, so I don't see why it wouldn't work for the Derby too." Statistically, Pletcher might want to bring a horse into the Derby off of a five month layoff!
- It seems that the New Jersey State Police, when they’re not investigating hockey players’ gambling habits, are doing a little harness race handicapping. An officer explained to the NY Daily News what prompted the investigation that led to the arrest of Eric Ledford, the third leading driver at the Meadowlands. "What made us look into the [stable]? The performance….It was typical of horses entering this stable to vastly improve." The improvement shown by the Ledford stable was certainly no secret around the track.
One also-ran named Mighty Mite Morgan finished eighth and posted a time of 1:58 in a Jan. 18 race. The very next time out, it romped to victory in an amazing time of 1:52.4 - equivalent to a 26-length improvement. [NY Daily News]This brings to mind a statement last fall by NYRA’s CEO Charles Hayward, in which he said of NYRA’s detention barn: "I don't pretend that the barns have stopped everyone….You look at the past performances and that's not the case." It may be as easy as that to suspect that something is going on, but without proof, hard to come by with cheaters seemingly always one step ahead of the game, and the participation of law authorities, the suspicions merely linger like a rancid odor until the law authorities step in.
Bloodhorse editor-in-chief Ray Paulick picks up on the story in his Opinions column on the website today; after all, it has implications for horse racing of any breed. He informs us that Aranesp was approved by the FDA in 2002 to help treat people suffering from anemia associated with chronic kidney failure…
Similar but more powerful than Epogen, Aranesp is misused by athletes to increase red blood cells that carry oxygen to muscles and reduce fatigue.- Workouts: Private Vow breezed three quarters in 1:15 flat at Oaklawn; Strong Contender worked a bullet (of four) five furlongs in 1:00.60 breezing at Gulfstream, and Lost in the Fog went six in 1:11.80, fastest of eight. The champion sprinter is slated to return in a six furlong stakes at Golden Gate on April 22.
Amgen, the biotechnology giant that developed Aranesp, worked closely with the International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and others to develop tests to catch cheating athletes. The horse industry is close to developing a test, according to Dr. Scot Waterman, executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.