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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Credit Where Due (Or Not)

I've been quick to blast the New York Times for their lack of racing coverage and the highly negative perspective of Joe Drape in his continuing Happy Series on the sport. So, to be fair, I wanted to mention the fact that on Wednesday, right there on the front sports page, underneath the lead stories on the now-World Champion New York Yankees and that night's upcoming Game 6, was this story on Zenyatta. So I just wanted to mention that.

Of course, just in case you were having any thoughts that there is anything good about the sport and the upcoming event, Drape makes up for it today with this hard-hitting story on the scourge of trainers being permitted to compete after fully serving drug suspensions. So there. Not that he doesn't make some valid points, but there's no real news here, so why was it saved for this week? To cast his usual pall at one of the very few times his paper actually pays any attention to the sport?

29 Comments:

SaratogaSpa said...

I agree, and in fact would argue, in today's society where both legal and illegal drug use is rampant-no one really cares all that much about drugs in sports-either for humans or horses. Look at the Yankees, Petite is an admitted Steroid user as is A-Rod and both were cheered loudly throughout the series. Fox Network never once mentioned the steroid issue during the entire series, and why should they-no one cares. Like it or not, its all about winning-in every sport, in every game.

Anonymous said...

Whatver happened to "its how you play the game.." Don't let horse racing completely fall into this "must win" mentality as it will be the final nail in the coffin.

El Angelo said...

The difference between racing and other sports is that, for the most part, in human sports the drug users know or should know the risks and hazards that they're posing to themselves. In racing, the horses have no idea and are often being put at risk when they shouldn't be competing. (I'm talking about pain numbers like cobra venom, not steroids.)

Erin said...

I have no problem with Drape's tactics if publicly shaming the industry motivates one ounce of change. Exposure is a great motivator, just ask Miss CA.

Erin said...

And I agree with the difference El Angelo points out. It's the same reason no one protests the ethics of car racing or other equally dangerous sports with human atheletes.

rather rapid said...

Drape's continually negative tone in the country's biggest newspaper is disturbing.

Anonymous said...

Drape's not a bad fellow and he means well. he's an ole' horse racing guy that is disgusted with our inability to change for the better. I applaud his tactic of "shame for change."

Steve Munday said...

Great from El Angelo on difference between human & equine athletes. Why not give more ammo to the nut-job PETA activists who want to ban horse racing while we're at it?

Another difference between drugs in MLB and horse racing: wagering handle funds the sport (at least until every track is a lifeless racino). How do you expect people to bet $$ when they can't trust things are on the up and up?

Many reasons why handle is tanking but lack of credibility when it comes to policing race day meds isn't helping.

Erin said...

Steve, he's not giving PETA types "more ammo," they are well aware of this argument.

El Angelo said...

I thought I was just pointing out the obvious.

Steve Munday said...

Erin,
Sorry for the confusion. I did not mean to say he's giving the PETA wackos more ammo but that the racing industry's lack of credibility in this area (through lax rules, token punishments, etc, etc.) is providing the ammo. Re-reading my comments, I understand how they could be interpreted as criticism due to my poor phrasing.

El Angelo, to clarify, I thought you made an excellent point, obvious or not!

SaratogaSpa said...

El Angelo-I agree with you on humans vs. horses... and thanks for pointing out the difference. I do believe that despite alot of talk and bluster I don't know how many fans/horseplayers actually leave the sport because of drugs.

Erin said...

Steve, thanks for the clarification.

SaratogaSpa, I think the drugs issue is much more detrimental to the creation of new fans than it is to keeping current ones from leaving.

El Angelo said...

From talking to many of my friends who aren't into the Sport of Kings, the three major turnoffs of horse racing are: (1) the notion that the races are fixed; (2) the notion that the horses and trainers are crooks with drugs and cheating; and (3) the notion that everyone who plays horse racing is seedy and degenerate.

#1 is impossible to change. #2 and #3 are possible to change but would both require a ton of work.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, can't change the "notion" that racing is fixed, but we can stop races from intentionally being fixed. Jocks and agents, racing office staff, trainers, vets and owners just all need to STOP contributing to this problem. A little more intervention from state Attorney Generals, along with the FBI chaps would help. there is a belief amongst law enforcement that as long as you confine organized crime you can control its effects on the general masses, so we do need them to break this "keep it at the racetracks" barrier.

Anonymous said...

Watchful Horseman.

Charlie Hayward, is determined to keep NYRA's name, in the courts, continuing their well worn,
'track record' of spending the states monies, in litigation.

Amusing in one way, Governor Paterson's, rightfully determined, to cut back the budget, but he has
NYRA still running, financially unrestrained.

4 Nov '09.

www.courthousenews.com/2009/11/04/Horse_Racing_War_Gets_Acrimonious.htm

- The President of the NYRA, says the president of an Off-Track Betting regional office
defamed him in the New York Post as a "liar and a thief."
The OTB office accused the NYRA of defamation this summer.

In his complaint in Nassau County Court, NYRA President Charles Haywood says the feud began when the Nassau Regional OTB illegally broadcast live simulcasts of horse races over the Internet…………….

xxxx

Does anyone have a recall, on the very heated reported, radio interview (WFAN Radio), between Hayward and Nassau OTB spokesman Robert Zimmerman, on 24th July 2009, on this subject ?

Which Aqueduct bidder is NYRA presently favoring ? Going by NYRA's continual reneging, over agreements, in past yrs, especially to NY state, they may have been handed, a poisoned chalice !

Anonymous said...

Not so sure I'd want NYRA's endorsement based on the track record of their gaming partner picks. They couldn't get MGM across the line during its indicment, they seemingly hand picked Delaware North and that didn't work, now they have come out and given a vote of confidence to S.L. Green. I'd rather be one of the other guys!

Glimmerglass said...

What's a shame is that The Grey Lady continues to give Drape inches to constantly slam racing. Seriously why not just give what scant space they do for racing to Bill Finley?

Keeping the cheaters in check is fine and I have no objections. However where are the positive stories? Finley is not without aiming a light on the roaches in his articles but do it in such a way that he doesn't make fans of the sport feel dirty.

Drape's "Zenyatta" story was mixed in with more then a twinge of slamming Rachel Alexandra.

Since Drape really has little to say positive about racing I think he should just do what the LA Times sports writer TJ Simers did: he openly said he was done with the sport and would never, ever write another word about it. If only we could wish the same about Joe.

steve in nc said...

Drape has a story today on synthetic track safety. In it he cites stats that show a decrease in CA breakdowns. But he also asserts that breakdowns had increased a bunch through the mid part of this decade before the poly came in. So perhaps poly is as safe now as dirt used to be? Or the sample's too small? Or some other factor (drugs?) is playing a role?

If you're gonna be down on Drape, you should be 3X as mad at the folks who control this sport who've done so little to clean it up. Erin, well put.

DiscreetPicks said...

Santa Anita - Race 2

#11 Miss McCall  (6/1 ml)

Smallish gray filly can really motor, breaking from an extreme outside post last time to press early fractions that were only a tick slower to the half-mile and 5-furlong mark than those set in the Grade 1 Ancient Title (won by the Breeders Cup Sprint challenger Gayego) an hour later on the same card. Seemed to tire just a bit through the final furlong, but that's understandable considering her early exertions, and also the fact that she was making her first start in over 4  months. Clearly enjoys the surface, holds a nice pace edge here, and should be fitter with the comeback race under her belt. Hard to find much fault with her.                     

Trent Podnesik said...

Alan:

Never heard of these guys - are they credible?

Saw this ad on Facebook - trackplayer.com - supposedly giving away $10 - $100 to each new member for 'Breeders' Cup Bonanza' they call it.. Never heard of them, but free money is free money. I got $25.

Thought I would share.

Trent

Anonymous said...

Now, Alan, if you would only get as pissed off about the rest of the Times so-called "news coverage", I would be happy. Now the word is that Google is looking at riding in as the white knight to save the old rag....and Google is even further out there than the present lot. I still would consider getting the Times if they did away with the A section, a section which has become unnecessary in the Age of Drudge. /S/greenmtnpunter

Anonymous said...

Biggest plus I've heard for the BC is today's Jime Rome Show on the radio. I think he'll be on TV in a few minutes with Rome Is Burning(from the SA paddock).
RG

Anonymous said...

Agree about rome. He used to make fun horse players but since he became an owner you can tell he's done a 180. He promotes the sport any chance he gets

Anonymous said...

Great call on Miss Macall, Discreet Pix!!!!! I somehow hooked her with the no-hoper in second and nailed me the exactor and a 10 cent super.

alan said...

DiscreetPicks has been smokin' on this site!

DiscreetPicks said...

Miss McCall wins @ $11.80

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was lying. I didn't even bet the race. But still, great call, DP.

Anonymous said...

I remember when Drape would hang out in the bar and ask people who to bet on. The guy knows very little about horse racing and it's ridiculous that he's become the horse racing authority for the country's most famous newspaper, and it's even more ridiculous that he's commenting on a subject as complex as medication. Believe me, the guy knows nothing. But I guess that just tells you how low journalism has sunk these days.