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Monday, June 09, 2008

What's The Problem, Nick?

- Joe Drape of The Times posed the question of whether Da'Tara is on steroids, and got another no comment from Nick Zito. I don't understand what Zito's thinking is here. The drugs are legal in this state, so I don't see him taking a hit to his reputation - I haven't heard anyone seeking to ban Allen Jerkens or Barclay Tagg, two admitted users still held in high esteem. But by withholding comment, Zito, in my view anyway (and I've recently had to eat words uttered about him), is making an implicit admission of usage which makes him look secretive and shady. That as opposed to, say, Richard Dutrow, who admitted his use of Winstrol freely. Of course, Dutrow also said he didn't even know what it does, but that's besides this particular point.

Truth be told, I couldn't care less if Zito gave his Belmont horses steroids or not. If he did, I wouldn't contend for a second that they were the reason Da'Tara won the Belmont anymore than I think that the lack of them caused Big Brown to lose. But I do care very much that somebody ask the question! I mean, you can't spend a month absolutely killing Dutrow for admitting using them, and then just give Zito a pass because he's a good guy who is effusive, accessible, and eminently quotable win or lose. It's like virtually the entire racing press - and much of the blogosphere for that matter - are engaging in a mass ass-kissing here. Full credit goes to Bill Finley and Joe Drape for asking the question. Now, I for one would like to see some aggressive follow-up. It's not only totally relevant in light of all of the discussion over the last five weeks, but it's absolutely demanded by any basic tenets of good journalism.


rather rapid said...

should someone tell us what winstroll "does" before we dismiss steroids as a factor in the Belmont. does anyone besides me wonder how a horse that has one :49.3 breeze 8 days out since 5/17 put in that kind of performance over 1.5 miles?

Michael said...

When asked what they do, Dr. Larry Bramlage said: "It's not the kind of situation where it's going to be a stimulant for him. The anabolic steroids keep him happy and keep him aggressive, which he showed all week long."

Anonymous said...

Most trainers use steriods in states where they are legal. As a rule of thumb, horses without 5cc of Winstrol or Equipoise run for about half their claiming price. Probably only one in twenty go without steriods and other trainers love to claim from them.

Trainers will normally not disclose priviledged information regarding medications, feed, or supplements they use. Its part of the big poker game called horse racing.

Anonymous said...

Re: comments by Dr. Bramlage here is the link to one of the articles where he is quoted; about mid page.

Triple Crown favorite fails to fire as long shot wins

Anonymous said...

I have googled "detention barns" and read a little, but can't find basic information in one place. For example, it appears that New York requires at least some detention prior to at least some races. How about Maryland (and thus prior to the Preakness)? How about Kentucky (and thus prior to the Derby)? Could you please post a little about detention? Thanks, Jake.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the detention barn see below. It was a knee-jerk NYRA response to milkshake fears which ironically were best brought to light by IEAH's 'A One Rocket'.

Several excellent horses have not done well in the cramped barns pre race and its shown in their performance.

ESPN Aug 2005 "Detention barns have got to go"

Alan Mann said...

Jake - The article posted by Glimmerglass gives you the background, though I don't necessarily agree with its conclusions. I can think of two trainers specifically who have not been the same in NY since the detention barns were started. NY is the only jurisdiction I know of which has a procedure such as this in place.