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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This One's For Rick

This One's For Phil earned a Beyer of 379 in the Sunshine Dash, first-time out for Dutrow, prompting the trainer to quip: "Time to sell, babe." Trainers are mostly a pretty dull and unquotable group these days, but not this guy. Things would sure be dull around here without him. The accusations are already flying about the obvious suspicions given Dutrow's history. Beyer writes: The public at large is alienated when it suspects that drugs are tainting the sport's greatest events. Of course, the public at large would have no idea about that stuff if people like Beyer weren't writing that it suspects that drugs are tainting the sport's greatest events.

Personally, I find it difficult to believe that even Rick Dutrow would or could be stupid, brazen, or brilliant enough to be successfully cheating with the spotlight trained squarely upon him as it is. That of course doesn't mean that he's not. However, this horse went turf to dirt, cut back to the distance of his previous best Beyer, ran for the first time at Gulfstream, switched to Prado, and had his morning routine changed.

"I decided not to pound on him in the morning....See the chart. I just jogged him between breezes, then blew him out a little bit the morning of the race. He also just might like this track." [DRF]
So there are at least some reasonable explanations...including the fact that Dutrow is obviously quite good at what he does.

This One's For Phil is not quite as obscurely-bred as some might lead you to believe. Though he's by Unuttable, a Florida-based son of Unbridled with extremely unorthodox breeding (he's inbred 4x2 to In Reality, and 3x2 to Mr. Prospector and his full sister Gold Mine), he's out of a Septeime Ciel (Seattle Slew) half-sister to G2 winners Finality and Stolen Beauty; and descends from the same distaff family as the G1 winner Island Sand and Queen's Plate winner Niigon.


Anonymous said...

If you take a look at the final time, it's a valid point. The horse ran SUB 1:09! He had a bad start and hit the wire at 1:09.10!

Remember, Dr. Dutrow did NOT testify on the Hill last year. He came down with something. So, unlike Roger Clemens, what could they ever nail him with in respect to the under oath thing?

Racing always takes care of its own. Look at Asmussuen. One of his owners - Maggie Moss -- has come out of 'retirement' to represent him in his ongoing Texas case.

Would anyone like to lump Dutrow into the Spitzer, Barry Bonds, Madoff types group? They know the spotlight is on them, but they just go about business knowing they believe they can get away with anything and everything, but the house of cards finally comes crumbling...and quick.

It would not be surprising to see Dutrow get nailed with some goods and be finally harshly penalized with something like a lifetime ban. It may not be the racing authorities giving him a lifetime ban, but that his wagering activities combined with his training role gets him nailed to the wall.

Think about it, if Dutrow is really juicing horses and backs them through an account service (phoning a wager in), then wouldn't this qualify under some federal offense? Dutrow seems to have the brashness of the disgraced NBA ref and Pete Rose all-in-one.

SaratogaSpa said...

I think you said it best: "Dutrow is
obviously quite good at what he does" Even Beyer in his DRF article points out that drug testing is very strict for the triple crown horses and Big Brown was legal.

ljk said...

I had a golfing buddy who I cheated. I figured it was just factored into his handicap whenever I made a bet with him.

I can't say for sure which trainers cheat, but I think there is enough statistical data available before placing a bet.

Dutrow is 32% with horses making their first start him.

Anonymous said...

IS there a link to free pp's for this horse so we can judge for ourselves?

Not saying he does not push the envelope, but Dutrow and Assmussen ARE a very good trainers that have been around horses since they were walking. It IS possible for excellent trainers to improve horses WITHOUT cheating, in fact it is ridiculous for someone like Beyer to imply cheating without supplying proof. If he has proof, show us, if not shut the f up, he is hurting the game. Joe Hirsch would never print such crap.

Not like these guys is some hot walker that suddenly appeared on the scence, they have started thousands of horse for a long long time, and Dutrow just recently is getting the quality horses to compete in these races.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and now we are going to accuse a trainer of cheating because his horse ran the fastest Beyer figure of all time? Beyer figs?

Get real, this was a restricted state bred race, not the Breeders Cup Juvenile. It is not unusual for former claimers to wins such races.

Beyer is basing his entire argument on the fact that HIS figure is out of whack, then perhaps he should look at his figure first rather than cast aspersions.

Never thought I would be defending Dutrow to this extent, but this article is absurd and reckless.

Three races from now, Beyer will probably adjust the fig retroactively to a 90, and you bet he will not issue a retraction.

Anonymous said...

From Sunny Jim in Jersey -

In harness racing, the major tracks here and in Canada keep horses in a detention barn on the day they are to run in a stakes race. Plus, random blood testing is conducted unannounced, supposedly every racing day.

Even with the testing, three harness trainers were just suspended and fined for 'milk-shaking' their horses in New York last year. A couple years ago, father-son team of leading trainer and top driver (the Ledfords) were banned from racing in New Jersey after being caught juicing their horses multiple times.

I remember how - before they got caught - eye-popping improvements and 'wake-ups' would be seen in horses recently claimed by the Ledfords, in much the same way as Dutrow's horse did on Saturday.

I assume the same type of testing is done on thoroughbreds, no?

Anonymous said...

I'd strongly disagree with "the public at large would have no idea" if not for Beyer. Pretty much the only time in my entire life that my non-race going friends became interested in horse racing was after Eight Belles and Barbaro. Both times the overwhelming opinion was that it was drugs. These are people who couldn't tell a Kentucky Derby winner from a 4k claimer, forget about picking Andy Beyer out of a lineup or even what a Beyer figure is. The "public at large" can't have horse racing brought up in conversation in "the public square" without mention of drugs or cheating. Think Cronley was dead on with that topic this week.

Formblog has posted the PP's for this horse here (.pdf)

I would fault the Beyer article only for naming certain names. I wouldn't put Servis in the same category as, say, Wolfson. Wolfson has horses that routinely do magic turn arounds. I can think of Rockefeller as a recent example - never ran an 88 before moving to his barn, but after entering the barn the horse ran 100's over the summer and topped out at 110.

Alan Mann said...

>>I assume the same type of testing is done on thoroughbreds, no?

If you're talking about out of competition testing for EPO's such as that in Canada and in New Jersey (recall Bruce Levine at Mth last summer), the answer in most states is no.

Anonymous said...

When Eight Belles broke down, William Rhoden damn near sounded like the head of PETA stating horse racing was akin to dog fighting. The guy writes a regular sports column in the NY Times for the last 800 years, never talking about horse racing until this juicy story about a horse collapsing at the KY Derby (a girl no less!) gives him an opportunity for some extra PR.

He ended up in that 15 minute roundtable with Bob Costas prior to the Preakness, on TV, front and center. A guy with little to no racing knowledge or background.

The bottom line is that drugs, death, and controversy sells. It's the only way horse racing will be a prominent force in the national media. A Triple Crown winner may attract some attention over a short time period, but even that story will fade away when said winner retires before that years' BC Classic.

Dutrow is a story. Checkered past, obvious talent, brash, controversial....Most trainers are dull and give political non-commital answers. It's amazing to me that the racing media isn't nearly as tough on Asmussen or Pletcher. Could it have something to do with their more agreeable personalities?

Pull the Pocket said...

Sunny Jim,

Testing and Dbarns are a pimple prick, imo. There are numerous things that can not be tested for, and trainers could never be caught for. It is why some go to the dark side - win without a chance of being caught unless you are very stupid.

Having to catch DPO in a 48 hour window is like finding a needle in a haystack. Synthetic morphine is virtually undetectable. I feel bad for not only the horses, but the commissions in trying to find some of these drugs in horses. It must be a thankless job.


Anonymous said...

From Sunny Jim in Jersey -

Like this one, Pull the Pocket is an excellent blog. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"there are numerous things that cannot be tested for..."

Such as?

Anonymous said...

I would like to offer anyone to please visit my blog and comment on this topic via the post I wrote. As for Andy Beyer the man should be offered some respect for everything he has given this game. I dont think that the Beyer speed fig. is gods gift of racing numbers but I do repect it. Just to point out that not only Beyer's figs. are way to high but if you apply Brohamer's early pace of 58.57 or his turn time of 22.4 or what about Dick Mitchell's Ability time of 67.1 and I can also add in I was there standing at the rail when this horse made his move and there is no way he should have been able to do what he did looking at his p.p.s in the Form. Michael Nunmaker gave this horse a bet line of 182-1 and no chance of winning. So it is not just Beyer who saw this he just happened to have the common sense to bring it to light so just maybe something can be done to end this cheating.

Pull the Pocket said...

"there are numerous things that cannot be tested for..."

Such as?

- Cone snail venom
- Snake venom
- EPO outside 48 hour window of being administered
- Aranesp out of the same window
- synthetic morphine

I am sure there are others. But i flunked Chem in school :)

Anonymous said...

Feel free to cast aspersions but there is absolutely nothing wrong with this horses improvement.

You make it sound like he was stepping up from a bottom claimer while in fact he was a Stakes winner in similar company prior to entering Dutrows barn.

Went from a low percentage bard to a top barn, a low percentage jock to Prado, shortens up to the distance of his best prior victory, freshened 3 months, yeah it is completely unfathomable that a three year old would take a huge stride forward on his own. In fact had I been playing that day I would have been all over this one at that price.

C'mom, you might have a good argument about Dutrow but there are better example thans this.

And btw, in addition to the illegal things that can be done to move a horse forward, there are plenty of legal things that might very well have occurred, throat surgery, steroids within the legal threshhold, better feeding program etc.

So before you go all cobra venom perhaps you should leave open the possibility of just plain good horsemanship.

Erin said...

I'm not taking a stance for or against on this, because the info just isn't there.
BUT, Anon 8:51, you say "there are plenty of legal things that might very well have occurred, throat surgery, steroids within the legal threshhold, better feeding program etc."

According to the DRF article - "When asked to explain This Ones for Phil's sudden improvement, Dutrow said one of the answers could be found in the little black bag sitting just outside the tack room. He then reached into his bag and pulled out . . . his training chart."

No mention of throat surgery or a change in feed (cmon!).

Pull the Pocket said...

"So before you go all cobra venom perhaps you should leave open the possibility of just plain good horsemanship."

I hope that is not directed at me as I was just having a conversation about what can and can't be tested for. I have no idea of course what happened in this case, or what Dutrow does or does not do.

Erin said...

"At his barn Thursday, Dutrow attributed the horse's improvement to a number of changes, including alterations in his diet and training regimen."

Anon 8:51, you friends with Dutrow? Ha ha, if not - well, I'm eating crow now.

Erin said...

(Dutrow expresses ire over column,